According to an interview between USgamer and Yakuza series producer Daisuke Sato, the game Yakuza Online will not be released in the west due to western taste issues with the game’s gacha mechanics. In the interview Daisuke Sato answered with the following quote when asked about Yakuza Online:
“The reason for this is that the game design is based strongly on the Japanese market and players,” the producer stated. “So the game mainly relies on a gacha mechanic, and if you look at the western mobile gamers, they would probably demand other mechanics as well to enjoy the game.” He would go onto to say “It’s not possible to bring it as it is with just localization to the west, but if we do decide to bring it to the western world there would need to be some additional development and game design to make it fit for the western users.”
The idea of gacha game, a name that comes from the sound crank-based vending machines (known as gashapon, which gacha is short for) make, typically consists of a mobile or mmo game (typically, but not always free to play) in which new characters or items are obtained at random by spending in-game currency. This currency is often either earned through gameplay or bought with real-world money, though characters are often spread across various rarities with the best among them having less than a 1% chance to appear from a given transaction which often leads some to spend large amounts of money chasing said character. Popular gacha games include Fate/Grand Order, Grand Blue Fantasy, and Magia Record.
In the west, Gacha-style mechanics are typically called loot boxes and have been featured in games such as Overwatch, the Fifa franchise, and others. Japanese ones may be referred to as Gacha, particularly if used with getting characters like Fire Emblem Heroes. For more about the controversy surrounding Loot Boxes in America check out our coverage here, but it has faced regulatory scrutiny in western markets, being likened to gambling and banned in several markets.
Do you play any Gacha games? Let us know and what you think of Gatcha as a mechanic in the comments.