I have never written a blog post thus far, but I had too much to say about this topic to simply post really long comments in every Yakuza related page. Also, please note the full title of this article was too long for the header and should be "Why You Should Still Buy Yakuza 3 or How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Accept That I'm Bend Over a Barrel." So here it goes:
Yakuza 3, as many already know, has many elements cut. And that sucks. And many people are now not buying the game in protest of this. That is a terrible, terrible idea. Unfortunately, you are damned if you buy the game, and double damned if you don't. Allow me to elaborate.
Your Yakuza 3 option are:
A) Buy Yakuza 3, cuts and all, risk a possibly cut Yakuza 4
B) Have no Yakuza at all. No Yakuza 3, No Yakuza 4, No Yakuza 5, No Kenzan (although you weren't getting that one anyway)
Now you may feel that option B is preferable because it sticks it to the man. Unfortunately, it doesn't the fact of the matter is, it just sticks it to the fans. Think back to Yakuza 1. It was a niche title that was horribly misadvertised, contained many cut minigames and English voiceovers. While many enjoyed the game, the English voiceovers were widely complained about, and some people also missed the minigames, but not many, because they were Shogi and Mahjong, which most people don't know how to play. Sega responded by releasing Yakuza 2 with the minigames intact and with the fancy original voices, just like everyone wanted.
Now, Sega dropped the ball with Yakuza 3, but frankly, the cut content was non-essential. That's not saying I'm not disappointed. I'm quite disappointed. I really wanted the "Run a Hostess Bar" side quest. But I can live without it for the opportunity to play Yakuza in a language I understand better. I'm borderline illiterate in Japanese, and I'm pretty sure most people who are complaining about the cut content are equally illiterate, or completely so (in Japanese). So what option do you have? Import a game you will have to struggle to make any progress in? Fact of the matter is, anyone more illiterate than me will be completely unable to any of the cut content in it's original language and be able to milk any actual enjoyment out of it. So you want any of Yakuza 3, you basically have to play ball.
So, here's the next thing: Will buying Yakuza 3 result in a Yakuza 4 that is equally butchered? No one can tell. Sega simply hasn't had to localize many games with the massive scope of Yakuza (1-3). They made mistakes in the first one, heard the complaints, fixed it in the second. They tried something new with Yakuza 3 in order to save money and rush it to the market, and I doubt they haven't heard the complaints. Besides, say we do get a cut-up Yakuza 4, the situation is the same. Most people clamoring for an English translation of Yakuza 4 are the same people who can't read. I argue a cut Yakuza 4 is still better than none at all.
And many people say Sega should follow in the footsteps of Atlus. Frankly, they are. Look at Atlus and you see (mostly) fantastic localization. But now look back at baby Atlus. Yeah, way back there. Look at 90's Atlus, when they first began localizing projects of this scope. Revelations: Persona has more than half the game missing, much of it being more essential than what is cut from Yakuza 3. It's one of the most shoddy localizations in videogame history, and it is doubtful that anyone will be able to topple that.
Atlus learned from it's terrible localization, yet it still drops the ball sometimes: Devil Survivor's localization is full of typos and awful mistakes, yet many people totally overlook that. Sega simply hasn't had to localize enough games with the massive scope and niche audience of Yakuza 3. Xseed was the same way. Looking at their early games you see utter garbage localization, literally massive failures on the scope of Revelations: Persona, now they still aren't the best in the business, but they've realized their market and adjusted. Sega simply isn't at that point yet. And history has shown they're not the fastest of learners (Oh, Sonic...).
My final argument is on the responsibility of niche gamers. Fact of the matter is that being a niche gamer is, almost by definition, to be bent over a barrel. Your only bargaining power comes from the gracious love of the developer/publisher. You wanted to play Megami Ibunroku Persona in the 90's? You had to learn Japanese, or you had to play Revelations: Persona. You wanted to play Ar Tonelico 2? You had to learn Japanese, or you had to play NISA's shoddy, game-breaking localization. You want to play Yakuza 3 now? Well, you've got to suck it up about the cut content, oh, or learn Japanese. You want to play Lux-Pain? You've got to suffer through ignition, or learn Japanese. You want a physical copy of Agrest War w/ expansion on the PS3? Too bad! How about obscure game X? Better learn Japanese or pray that Atlus, in their generosity, decides to localize it. None of those titles sell insane numbers. While Atlus survives almost solely on the wallets of every possible niche group (other than the niche group Aksys owns), Sega doesn't. Sega's Japanese Yakuza sales and sales of crappy Sonic games are more than enough to keep them a float for now. They would like your money for Yakuza 3, but if you don't want to hand it over, they don't give a shit. That just saves them the time of translating Yakuza 4. Perhaps a boycott would work if Yakuza 3 brought in the kind of money it did in Japan, because Yakuza 4 would already be in the pipe. But it's teetering on the edge.
Don't believe me? Well, I suppose you're right. I mean, that's why we're all playing our English Tales of the World 2, right? And how could I forget about Shenmue 3, since it managed to get released despite the poor sales! And the overflowing money that made Clover Studios the top branch at Capcom! I'm pretty sure those guys all got raises this year. And how Marvelous is now putting more weight behind the wii! Muramasa 2 anyone? I mean, clearly if Sega sees Yakuza 3 does really poorly in sales, they'll realize they need to pour more time and more money into the localization of Yakuza 4 if they want it to sell well. That way, it can have the massive sales of Yakuza Kenzan that we got last year. Right? Right!?
Never mind then, boycott away! In the mean time, I'm going to play my "incomplete" Yakuza 3 and work twice as hard at improving my Japanese reading skills, since you assholes are going to guarantee that I never see an English Yakuza 4.