Sony has been quite prolific in recent years, re-releasing some of their big hitters from the Playstation 2 era. Famed series such as Jak & Daxter, God of War, Ratchet & Clank and Sly Cooper have all been published as budget-priced collections, with value-added features, including high definition graphical upgrades and trophy support. The response from fans, myself included, has been mostly positive, and the latest news is that Sony plans to re-release the first two games in Sega’s famed Yakuza series. The news broke when a listing for the Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Collection appeared on Sega’s Japanese website, and for someone like myself who is green to this series, this is very welcome prospect indeed.
The Yakuza series is an interesting choice for a re-release. The first game was released in 2005 on the Playstation 2 and became an instant hit in Japan, however it took longer for it to achieve worldwide success. The reviews were positive, and when Yakuza 2 was released a year later, it fared better in the western markets and remained a solid earner in Japan. Where the series really hit its stride was in 2009 when Yakuza 3 was released on the Playstation 3, and the subsequent release of Yakuza 4, which many fans consider to be the strongest games in the series. The success of the franchise on the current generation of consoles, which includes almost yearly releases of new games, is likely the driving force behind Sony doing some vault-dipping with the first game games.
The reported enhancements to both games are the inclusion of item drops at save points, which makes managing your inventory much easier, and the ability to install the games on your hard drive. This helps minimize load times, which many have complained were problems in the original releases. What has not yet been confirmed is what versions of the games will be included, as changes were often made to the Yakuza games when they were ported over to the west. Given that Japan will see this collection first, the original versions are most likely. Trophy support is also not confirmed as of yet, however it is a near-certainty that it will be included.
The release date quoted on Sega’s website is November 1, 2012, however this only for Japan and the date is tentative at best. Erring on the side of caution optimism, a western release is very likely given how most of the previous games have been localized. Whether the original Japanese versions will make the overseas trip is unknown at this point.