It’s now likely that the western releases of Sega’s Yakuza 3 will have the options for at least Japanese and English voice acting. A Sega of America studio director confirmed this week that the game is being dubbed, clarifying the obstacles to the game’s release outside of Japan.
Constantine Hantzopoulos made the confirmation on the January 1st episode of 1up.com’s the 4 Guy’s 1up podcast. Hantzopoulos explained that localization makes up the bulk of the cost of bringing Yakuza 3 to the U.S., as has been speculated.
“A lot of lines in [Yakuza 3] so obviously the more expensive it gets, you wanna land the right actors, voice the right parts,” said Hantzopoulos.
The original Yakuza was released in the U.S. with only English voice acting from expensive Hollywood-grade talent that included Michael Rosenbaum and Eliza Dushku. Because of the niche game’s relatively poor sales, the sequel was only given subtitles in the U.S.
Poor sales of both games discouraged a western release of the higher budget PS3 Yakuza 3. Furthermore, Sony Computer Entertainment America decrees that all retail PS3 games released in North America with voice acting must at least include English voice acting.
When Yakuza 3 was originally announced for western release, Sega advertised that it would retain the original Japanese voice acting. Speculators presumed that this was to cut down on localization costs, apparently not.
“We’re talking over 500, 600, $700,000 to localize this game,” Hantzopoulos said. “Lot of voices, lot of different peeps, lot of different characters.” This in combination with the original Japanese audio and the amount of space allowed on a Blu-Ray disc makes it very likely that Yakuza 3 will have dual audio.
Sega has not yet announced Yakuza 3’s voice cast. The game is set for a North American release in March.