"If things stay like this I don't think it will pass the review. How about releasing it as a PC game?"
The words were like a slap in the face to Nagoshi.
Sales of home-use game software change hugely depending on which console (platform) they are released for. Anticipating a development budget of more than 1 billion yen for this project, if they released it on a platform aimed at a small niche in the market the sales would never make it. They needed to release it for the number one console on the market. The top at the time was Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE)'s PlayStation 2 (PS2).
In order to release a game on the PS2, they had to obtain the permission of SCE, the console's seller. But Nagoshi, heading for discussions, received a harsh response. He was told that with its content the game would likely be hard to sell, and perhaps they should release it as a PC game.
The biggest issues were the depiction of violence and depictions of a sexual nature.
The player would become legendary yakuza Kazuma Kiryu and visit the number one red light district in Asia, known as Kamurocho. They could set foot in a variety of places such as cabaret and host clubs, as well as the offices of organised crime groups. They would get into fights with thugs and enter battle. As the thugs are beaten down by protagonist Kiryu, they spit out blood. By going to a massage parlour they would also have a conversation with a woman in the nightlife entertainment industry containing conceivably sexual references. As long as it was set in a red light district, it would be impossible to completely remove all references to violence and sex. However, he could see that if it were to be released on the PC, with its small market, it would end up as a niche game.
"Please; it simply has to be on the PS2."
"Now that depictions in games are becoming a social issue, there is a very high possibility that games representing excessive violence and sexual references will receive a very sensitive reaction. Is there nothing else you can do?"
"No. The project has to have this content no matter what."
Nagoshi continued with the negotiations stubbornly. Finally, the person in charge said, defeated, "I'll send another manager to you in a few days."
Several days later, at the meeting with SCE, Nagoshi felt a little awkward.
"My name is Kitagawa. I have been put in charge of this game."
The woman wearing a posh trouser suit introduced herself politely.
Yoshie Kitagawa of SCE's general affairs dept. Nagoshi and Kikuchi were to exchange thorough opinions with her from then on regarding the game's depiction of sex and violence.