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Is Like A Dragon: Ishin Coming To Nintendo Switch?

Officially changing its English name from "Yakuza" to "Like a Dragon," the series known as "Ryū ga Gotoku" has rocketed from "cult classic" to one of Sega's most successful IPs in recent years (via PlayStation). With 19.8 million sales as of 2022, it's joined the likes of "Monster Hunter" and "Final Fantasy" in the top 10 best-selling RPG franchises in Japan (via Capcom and Square Enix).


Despite its success, "Like a Dragon" remains one of the few best-selling Japanese RPG series to not have a single title on the Switch. In a correspondence with GameSpot, studio head Masayoshi Yokoyama clarified that the Nintendo console's "family-friendly" reputation in Japan was a little too much for the "underground" experience of the "Like a Dragon" IP, crushing any hopes of the mainline games coming to the handheld anytime soon.

Not all hope may be lost for the appearance of "Like a Dragon: Ishin" on the hybrid system, however. This upcoming spinoff takes place in the final years of the Edo period, putting aside the modern criminal overtones for a more fantastical, alternate-history style plot that would fit in nicely with the likes of the "Dark Souls" Switch editions. Will the producers ever change their minds, and would the Switch even be able to handle the high-definition remake?


The Switch might not have enough power for Like a Dragon: Ishin

While Sega hasn't shared the exact specs of "Like a Dragon: Ishin" just yet, it would likely run into the same problems as any other modern release considering a Nintendo Switch port: despite possessing surprising power for its size, the Switch is still a handheld console from 2017 and can only do so much. The 32GB of the standard models and the 64GB of the OLED models just aren't built for games like "Elden Ring" and "Outriders." That said, storage and performance issues can potentially be solved with cloud gaming — as is the case for the planned "Resident Evil" Switch ports.


If the port didn't make use of the cloud, it's debatable whether the Switch's hardware could handle a more intense, high-action game. As the rather amusing glitches in "Pokémon Scarlet and Violet" have demonstrated, the handheld can struggle to run titles designed for it to begin with, nevermind ports from more powerful consoles. Even if "Ishin" released on the Switch, it could have the same "atrocious" performance as seen in the port of "Ark: Survival Evolved."

Given these hardware concerns and the image-related hesitation from the developers, the upcoming "Ishin" remake likely won't ever make its way to the Switch — however, there is one possibility left that circumvents both issues.

The original Ishin is perfect for a Switch port

Newer fans of the franchise in the English-speaking parts of the world may not have realized that "Like a Dragon: Ishin" is a remake of a 2015 title of the same name, as the original was never localized outside of Japan. In some ways, the upcoming "Ishin" is the Western release the original never got. Based on comparisons on YouTube, the remake looks like a one-to-one reconstruction with some small alterations.


This seems like the perfect chance for Sega to localize and port the original "Ishin" as well — with all the needed translations already done for the remake, it appears more than feasible to fit those translations to the original and package it for Western audiences. Additionally, the Switch is more than capable of running a 2015 console game with a few graphical compromises, as demonstrated by the port of "The Witcher 3" (per Polygon) — "Like a Dragon: Ishin" wouldn't be any problem for it at all.

A localized Switch re-release might also get around the console being too "family-friendly" in Japan for the franchise by targeting non-Japanese audiences instead. With the studio described as "hesitant" instead of "adamant" (per GameSpot), fans can only hope the developers will change their stance on a port of the original "Ishin," if no other title from the IP.