Per Variety, Sega’s popular Yakuza video game franchise is being turned into a movie. Sega is teaming with 1212 Entertainment and Wild Sheep Content for a live-action adaptation of the series, and are currently searching for writers.
The Yakuza franchise has existed since 2005, when the first game debuted on the PlayStation 2. It’s since grown to include seven main titles and several spin-off games. It’s unclear right now whether the film adaptation will take story beats from a number of the games, but they’d be smart to simply follow the narrative of the first game.
It follows the story of Kazuma Kiryu, who is released from a 10-year prison sentence after taking the fall for the murder of his family’s patriarch. Soon, the entire Japanese underworld is pulled into a search for $100 million stolen from the vault of his former clan, and Kiryu is forced back into the lawless world of the yakuza.
1212 told Variety: “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. 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”.
Video game adaptations, long thought to be cursed in Hollywood, have found some success in the past year thanks to Pokémon: Detective Pikachu and Sonic The Hedgehog. Although Yakuza isn’t likely to be similar to those movies, it will take some encouragement from their box office success.
Obviously this is in the very earliest stages of development. We’ll see what director gets attached and whether any big stars are interested before getting too invested.