Context Initially released in Japan in January 2020, Yakuza: Like A Dragon has launched in Western countries on November the 10th 2020, in coordination with the launch of the Xbox Series X. Sega wanted to make both the launch in the West memorable by doing an impactful online display campaign. The main countries targeted by this campaign were USA, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Austria.
Challenges Using exclusively all assets created by Ryû ga Gotoku Studio, we adapted our creatives to best appeal to a European/ Western audience, conveying more emotions and humour through both copy and visual. Working in collaboration with SEGA America, we also divided the work to make sure our assets could be used globally.
As for the game, the Yakuza franchise, had until now the same playable hero, however in this new opus, Ichi was the new main protagonist. This hero was more appealing to a european audience with his artsy and sensible personality, but his reputation and back story was still to be known by the fans and friends alike.
We also needed to shed light on the new game mechanics. Unlike other Yakuza games and their hack and slash fighting mechanics, Yakuza: Like A Dragon fight scenes are using more RPG mechanics. Based on a turn based actions with specific weapons or actions related to the path you have chosen for your hero, this opus offers a completely new direction.
Creative Thinking During our research for this project, we deep dove into people’s fascination for secret societies such as the Yakuza - or any other famous mafia organisation. People can be obsessed by the violence behind it, and video games are a window to explore it. With Yakuza: Like A Dragon you can become both a pariah of society but also infiltrate this organization from the inside. Additionally, people are more easily rooting for the underdog, the anti-hero archetype, which will be more subtle, have his own weaknesses and won’t be afraid of exploring them. Our hero, Ichi, fits this archetype and we needed to communicate around it.
Then, the localization of our creative production was important too, not only on a language level but also on the translation of the ideas that were depicted by the japanese assets. We wanted to keep a creative consistency. SEGA chose us because they knew we could handle the production, distribution and organization of a digital campaign for the targeted markets.
Creative Answer We presented to SEGA our creative recommendation based on the insights we found above, which was to underline the thrilling narratives and humorous tone of the Yakuza franchise, while showing the new combat mechanic to excite fans and friends. We wanted players to understand that in this new Yakuza, they would truly take control of their destiny.
To do so we produced a set of assets to be displayed on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter. We used intelligent data from Facebook Audience Insights, GWI datas and our internal knowledge to target precisely an audience that would be the most likely to appreciate our posts, in a mix of paid media and organic media campaign.
Finally, we fully took charge of the localization of the trailers we made and also the ones made by SEGA America.
Results We received praises from Ryû ga Gotoku Studio and SEGA for the creation of our assets. Our canvas was particularly loved by the Japanese Studio.