Like a Dragon: Ishin will only feature Japanese voice acting, producer Masayoshi Yokoyama has confirmed.
In an interview with Yakuza fan site Tojo Dojo, Yokoyama revealed that whilst the Yakuza series has sometimes offered English voice-acting, Like a Dragon: Ishin’s “specialised vocabulary […] would make the lines incredibly long”, so the game will be translated into English via subtitles.
“No, [Western players] don’t really watch subtitled content,” Yokoyama acknowledged in the interview (thanks, PC Gamer). “Especially in English speaking countries. That’s why they prefer to have voice overs.
“However, we didn’t do voice overs for Yakuza 0. It was subtitled. And despite that, it was very popular. The fans overseas who’ve been playing since that era still play the games like that even now, in Japanese with English subtitles. They like Nakano and Kuroda’s voices so they want to hear their voices while they play. There are a lot of people who play with the settings on Japanese voices and English subtitles instead.
“For the Ishin remake we’re using subtitles. We’re not dubbing voice overs. We’re translating the game into English, but the specialised vocabulary and the way people talked during the Bakumatsu era would make the lines incredibly long so it just wouldn’t work. So this time we’re doing subtitles.”
Sega recently announced that a western release for historical Yakuza spin-off Like a Dragon: Ishin – which has been “rebuilt from the ground up” – will be making its way to PS4 and PS5 next February.
Like a Dragon: Ishin originally released for PlayStation 3 and PS4 in Japan under the name Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! back in 2014, transplanting the chaotic Yakuza formula to the Late Edo Period for a historical slice of samurai action. It follows protagonist Sakamoto Ryōma as he returns to his home in Tosa where, after a run-in with a high-ranking samurai, he’s sentenced to be executed.
News of the Japanese-only game follows the recent confirmation that the movie adaptation of Ghost of Tsushima will similarly be “a complete Japanese cast, in Japanese”.