Yakuza devs reveal why Ishin was remade instead of Kenzan

Like a Dragon: Ishin
(Image credit: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio)

Yakuza developers have revealed why Ishin was chosen for a remake instead of the older Kenzan.

For those unfamiliar, the infamous Yakuza Ishin is only one of two Yakuza games that were never released outside of Japan. The other is Yakuza Kenzan, another feudal-set Yakuza spin-off, which was released some years before Ishin but never received a western release with native localization.

Now, all that is changing, with Like a Dragon: Ishin releasing worldwide as a full remake of the original Ishin in 2023. Speaking to OneMoreGame at Tokyo Game Show recently, Yakuza executive producer Masayoshi Yokoyama and chief producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto revealed the thinking behind remaking Ishin over Kenzan.

"From all of the fan feedback we have received, many fans wanted an Ishin remake more than Kenzan," the pair told the outlet. "We also believed that Ishin was more popular, and if we wanted to bring in the Kenzan remake, we would want to change the storyline a little bit, and that would take a lot of time and would be budget-consuming. It really needs good timing for us to consider a remake of Kenzan."

It's not surprising that Ishin turns out to be a more popular Yakuza game than Kenzan. The former achieved a unique level of notoriety among the Yakuza fanbase, while Kenzan, as the older of the two games, has never quite achieved such cult status among Yakuza fans, likely by nature of simply being the older game.

Like a Dragon: Ishin launches for PS4 and PS5 next year on February 21, 2023. Unlike Yakuza games of late though, the new remake won't sport an English dub

Elsewhere, Yakuza 8 is due out in 2024, the series developer revealed last week during Tokyo Game Show. 

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.