Yakuza, Sega, film

To quote the great Kazuma Kiryu, “Nani?”

Smoke on the street in places like the city of Kamurocho and beyond is that Sega is developing a live-action adaptation based on its Yakuza video game franchise with 1212 Entertainment and Wild Sheep Content. Obviously, this news is so exciting that its likely to make fans of the series want to dress like Ono Michio and herd cats for the grand opening of a new Cat Cafe. Let the shenanigans begin!

Erik Barmack, Roberto Grande, and Joshua Long are producing, while 1212 and Wild Sheep are on the hunt for writers to pen the screenplay.

Yakuza is Sega’s bestselling franchise after Sonic the Hedgehog. After making its debut on Playstation 2 in 2005, the Yakuza series has grown exponentially to include an additional seven main title sequels and eight spin-off titles across several gaming platforms. The first title in the series revolves around  Kazuma Kiryu and his assorted dealings after being released from a 10-year prison sentence on account of taking the fall for the murder of his family’s patriarch. After the entire Japanese underworld is pulled into the search for $100 million stolen from the vault of his former clan, Kiryu is forced back into the lawless world of the yakuza. (via Variety)

Having played a few of the Yakuza titles myself, I feel as if I can vouch for its quality. While not every game in the series is as addictive as the rest, I highly recommend Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, and its spin-off, Judgment, if you’re in the market for a zany, story-driven, hard-boiled RPG-style brawler. While playing either game, you’ll never want for things to do, be it visiting the local arcade, eating ramen at your favorite restaurant chain, or helping the locals through a series of over-the-top side missions. Straight up, the fun never ends, and it’s all ridiculous in ways that are both entertaining as well as endearing.

“Yakuza offers us a new playground in which to set compelling stories with complex characters in a unique environment that audiences have rarely seen before,” 1212 said. “The saga of Kazuma Kiryu has a built-in cinematic appeal – a mix of kinetic action with bursts of comedy, multiple converging storylines, and a gripping journey towards redemption.”

Barmack said, “With our background in telling global stories, we are excited to bring this huge project to global platforms.”

My hope is that the Yakuza film project will be just as insane as the game series itself, but we’ll have to wait and see just how far those in charge of it are willing to go, I suppose. One thing’s for sure, the team will have plenty of story content and colorful characters to choose from when putting this project together, so let’s hope that they dig deep and bring Sega’s Yakuza series to the screen in style. 

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