Man, I'm a videogame blog instead of an anime blog again. I'm only watching Dullalala and Kimi ni Todoke and LOGH Gaiden, okay? I have zines to write for, here! I'll get back on the horse, I swear!
Anyway, here's what's up: Sega is screwing up a release of a major videogame. Again. It's kind of their thing. Here's the scoop (from IGN, of all places!): according to Sega reps, content that "wouldn't resonate" was removed. "Wouldn't resonate" is code for "is a little too Japanese", as the elements confirmed removed are a Japanese history quiz and hostess clubs. Mahjong and shogi games are also speculated to have been removed, as they are absent from the trophy list that's come out.
Yakuza is a free-roaming action/RPG game with a lot of side dishes: it is by no means required, but you can walk into bars, restaurants, all kinds of establishments, and they will have something for you to do. You can go to the batting range! You can play crane games! You can get drunk and learn something about your booze! It's a fun break from beating up an endless stream of people who have it in for you. While none of this has a direct impact on the main plot, removing some of these side dishes also removes a lot of the game's unique character and much of the reason people enjoy it. The game is not destroyed, but it is hurt. This is a bad thing.
What's the excuse here? Sega's official line is weak, to say the least:
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.
Not only is this a bald-faced lie and a poor attempt to downplay the loss, it tells us nothing about the reasoning behind the decision. Let's go back to the IGN article.
The content between Yakuza 3 US/UK and Yakuza JP is a little different in that we took out certain bits in order to bring the game to the west in the time alloted for us to do so.
Now this is something, and it leads us to something even dumber. Content is being cut from Yakuza 3 to get the game out on time. Guess what day Yakuza 3 drops? It's March 9th: the same day as Final Fantasy God Damn XIII. They rushed to remove content from a game so that they could deliberately put it in the worst imaginable spot in the schedule short of releasing next to Modern Warfare.
It's not news, but Sega are idiots. When the release date came out we already knew they'd sent their game out to die, but it's even more ridiculous to see that they actually made sacrifices in order to make their deadline for failure. Those of us who follow Sega are used to the company making the worst possible decision in any situation, but this apparent superpower has not lost its ability to shock crowds of onlookers in the least. This is why I don't even bother thinking about whether or not Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown is coming out here.
(Poor Patrick Macias is going to have to field a bunch of questions he doesn't know anything about from angry fans at the launch party, huh?)