A live-action Yakuza movie is currently in development

By Dom Peppiatt, Sunday, 27 September 2020 17:48 GMT

Sega is partnering with 1212 Entertainment and Wild Sheep Content to create a film based on the Yakuza series of video games.

Currently, there are no writers attached to the project, but Erik Barmack, Roberto Grande, and Joshua Long are listed as producers on the title (thanks, Variety).

The movie will follow Kazuma Kiryu and his exploits on the mean streets of urban Japan. No specific game or story has been outlined yet, so it’s unclear which Yakuza era the movie will focus on.

During a TGS 2020 livestream, Yakuza Studio head Toshihiro Nagoshi noted that the film will only go into full production if the script and project are ‘really good’.

“We had an offer from the West, and a Yakuza movie is now underway in Hollywood,” Nagoshi says in the livestream (via IGN).“In a case like this, usually you have the side that wants [to use the IP] and the side that owns the IP, and a deal tends to be done as business. But in this case, I made it clear from the beginning that if the content itself was no good and I didn’t agree with it, then I would not want to do it, and I’ve been very upfront about it.

“I don’t think (a Yakuza movie) is something that needs to be done for the sake of it, so it can only happen if it’s going to be good.”

This isn’t the first time the Yakuza license has been used for a movie – back in 2007, a film loosely based on the events of the first game called Yakuza: Like a Dragon was released. It wasn’t very good. Don’t get that mixed up with the upcoming game that shares the same name.

“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 Entertainment has stated. “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.”

The film does not currently have a release date.

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