While it's not actually first-party, Yakuza is as integral to Sony's strategy as any of their in-house stuff. The Japanese crime caper began life on the PS2 in 2005, and SEGA has continued to spawn sequels on Sony consoles. However, with Microsoft snatching up Sony exclusives left, right and center this generation - although the tables have duly turned in recent years - it has often been speculated that Yakuza would go multiplatform. Not so, according to director Toshihiro Nagoshi, who reveals Yakuza will remain on Sony's platforms. For now.
Nagoshi reveals it was Sony's confidence in the Yakuza project early in its development that led to their initial partnership. "At the beginning of the project we spoke to all the platform holders including Sony and Microsoft," he told Eurogamer. "Every platform holder was negative about this prospect, but we kept on pushing because we believed in the potential, and as we kept going one platform holder that showed interest and saw the prospects of this title was Sony." And considering Yakuza's success, especially in its native Japan, it would appear Sony made the right choice.
"That's how we started working with them, and that's probably not going to change," Nagoshi adds, although I seriously doubt Yakuza will forever be a Playstation exclusive. While Nagoshi sounds loyal, matters such as exclusivity obviously lie outside of his domain, and I imagine a Microsoft envoy carrying a big old wad of cash to the Sega offices might change things.
However, in the meantime, the recently released Yakuza: Of the End would appear to be just that; the end of the current era of Yakuza titles. Nagoshi admits the the long-running series has hit the conceptual ceiling, and should a new game be in the works, it would signal a change in direction. "The basic style and mechanics is really an old game that started on PS2 and continued on PS3. Times keep changing, and if we started on some new games they would be in a very different shape - so the last game was the end of one particular era." [Eurogamer]