It’s safe to say that Sega’s Yakuza 7, known internationally as Yakuza: Like a Dragon, was a resounding success. Initially launching in its native Japan in 2020, the title made its way around the world in November that same year and was considered a breath of fresh air for the series with its new turn-based job system. Sega recognized this new resurgence for the franchise as Chief Strategy Officer Shuji Utsumi told Japanese publication Famitsu that the game was the most successful entry for the franchise worldwide. He also mentioned that he would like to “globally expand” more Atlus titles with bigger releases.
Another interesting tidbit: Nagoshi was asked to work closer to game development again to help turn big titles into global hits and therefore necessary profits (which explains why his role at SEGA has been changed some months ago)
— Nibel (@Nibellion) May 12, 2021
Utsumi attributes this to the fact that Yakuza 7 was distributed across multiple platforms at the same time. Yakuza was a PlayStation console exclusive for nearly its entire lifetime, only being made available on the PC platform in the past couple of years. Yakuza 7 is the very first title in the series to launch for several platforms in its initial launch; something that was not lost on Sega. This would explain why the company is giving Lost Judgement a worldwide release, breaking from their usual launch protocol.
Utsumi also touched on applying this new idea with another one of their subsidiary studios, Atlus. Utsumi specifically states that he would like to see this done with the Persona series, which is Atlus’s most well-known franchise, which in and of itself is a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series. Persona has a long history of seeing sporadic releases during its lifetime, and it’s possible that an international launch for any future entry would be a welcome one.
This point is also emphasized by the end of the above tweet. Apparently, Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator and Creative Director of the entire Yakuza franchise, was asked by Sega to work much more closely than he has been in recent years in order to assist in the development. This was more than likely done to ensure that the series continues to be successful, and may have had a hand in Nagoshi changing things up when it came to Yakuza 7.