According to Sega Europe boss John Clark, Sega’s long-running Ryu ga Gotoku series has persisted and rose in popularity in the West exactly because it did not become another open world game clone. Ryu ga Gotoku, meaning ‘Like a Dragon’, is the love child of Nagoshi at Sega, who created the series back in 2005, with the first game that featured the now iconic figure of Kazuma Kiryu, ‘the Dragon of Dojima’, a young yakuza who struggles against the yakuza establishment from the beginning of the series. The series now has 7 mainline titles, along with many spin-offs.
According to Clark, “We’re not turning every Yakuza title into an open-world Yakuza game. That’s not what’s happening,’ speaking on behalf of SEGA. He adds: ‘We’re representing the Japanese IP, the Japanese road map, the Japanese content to the relevant audience within the West. And whether there’s a need to change that or not, I don’t know. But it seems to be successful and it seems to be working.”
This shows that no matter how big the Yakuza franchise grows, it will maintain its Japanese roots and not try to pander to Western audiences. Given the fact that there are already several open world clones in the market, this is some very good news for fans of originality in their games.