Sega is reportedly developing a live-action version of its Yakuza video game franchise with 1212 Entertainment and Wild Sheep Content. The film, which will be produced by Erik Barmack, Roberto Grande and Joshua Long, doesn’t have a script yet.
Yakuza, which was first released on PlayStation 2 in 2005, is Sega’s bestselling franchise after Sonic The Hedgehog. The game has spawned seven main title sequels and eight spin-off titles on all major gaming platforms. The original game followed Kazuma Kiryu, who had served a 10-year prison sentence after taking the fall for the murder of his boss, Sohei Dojima. After he’s released, he’s pulled back into the world of the yakuza as he searches for $100 million stolen from his clan’s private bank.
The game was widely acclaimed for its innovative gameplay and cinematic storytelling, as well as its character development and exploration of Japan’s criminal underground. Yakuza was followed by a sequel, Yakuza 2, which was released in Japan on December 7, 2006. The follow-up featured an improved fighting system and further exploration of yakuza culture. A remake of the original, Yakuza: Kiwami, was released on January 21, 2016, in Japan for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
According to 1212 Entertainment, “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. 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.”
Meanwhile, Barmack, an executive with Wild Sheep, who has produced several television series, including Quicksand, Sacred Games, and The Rain, said, “With our background in telling global stories, we are excited to bring this huge project to global platforms.”
Sega is set to release Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the eighth main release in the Yakuza series, on November 10 for PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. A PlayStation 5 version is also set to release at a later date. The game was released earlier this year in Japan, where it won a Japan Game Awards Award for Excellence in the Future Division at the Tokyo Game Show.
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