A day after informing IGN that Yakuza 3 was coming to the US with content cuts, Sega offered more explanation.
On Sega's official blog, a community manager for the company said that, without the cuts, the game wouldn't have been released.
"Ultimately, the choice that had to be made was either no Yakuza 3 in the west, or a version of the game that was almost exactly the same, but with a little less trivia."
The Western edition of the PlayStation 3 story-driven action game will not include visits to hostess clubs and Japanese trivia games. These elements might be alien to American life, but as our own Japan-based Brian Ashcraft recently pointed out, these are some of the very trappings that have helped make the Yakuza series feel like an authentic virtual visit to the seedier side of real-world Tokyo.
During a demo for the game in December, Kotaku had been told, that the game was apparently being brought to the US without content cuts.
But yesterday brought news of some trims. Today, a Sega community manager posting under the name RubyEclipse, provided this explanation on Sega of America's official blog:
Ultimately, the choice that had to be made was either no Yakuza 3 in the west, or a version of the game that was almost exactly the same, but with a little less trivia. That said, our teams also understand that many of you guys love games like Yakuza because of that experience, and rest assured that we'll continue fighting on your behalf to make sure that going forward, we can provide as close to the full experience as possible – no matter how foreign.
Even so, Yakuza 3 is still a game packed to the brim with things to do, places to see, and people to fight – offering a massive amount of options for fans of the series and new players alike. In addition, the western versions of the game will come pre-packaged with codes for the DLC, already localised and ready to be enjoyed. With gameplay that you truly won't find anywhere else, we think that Yakuza 3 is genuinely one of the PS3's best titles, and we hope you'll think so too when you play it.
This explanation raises the question as to why the trivia and hostess clubs would make-or-break the release of the game in the US Was that a Sega standard? A ratings standard?
We've asked Sega for clarification and will update you with anything we hear back.
Fans of the Yakzua series in the West have criticised Sega for dubbing the original game in the series and lauded the company's apparent shift with the subtitled Yakuza 3 to a more authentic-to-Japan approach. Online, fans appear to be angry. Whether this decision affects whether the game can sell big will be seen next month when Yakuza 3 is finally released in the US.
What's up with Yakuza 3? [Official Sega Blog]