The game’s remake (the original was available only in Japan for a whole console generation) would not have been decent with English dubbing.
Masayoshi Yokoyama, the head of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the studio behind Yakuza/Like A Dragon (the latter is the franchise’s new name), told GameSpot that it was already a question during the development of the original game that it would be impossible to make an English version: “When we were first working on Ishin!, we thought this game was impossible to localize. There was no way that the overseas team and the Asian team would be able to localize it. I don’t think half the people would understand what’s going on. It’s hard for Japanese people to understand; it’s probably even harder for people overseas.”
Thanks to modern localization and in-game systems, it isn’t a problem anymore. The Western version of Like A Dragon: Ishin! will also have a system to explain archaic terms, which is why the Japanese studio thinks the best version of the game will be in the West. There will also be no English dubbing because of the vocabulary. The Tojo Dojo translated another interview with Yokoyama, and here, he explained that the style of speech used during the Bakumatsu era (the 1860s) would result in sentences and utterances that are too long…
“No, they don’t watch subtitled content, especially in English-speaking countries. That’s why they prefer to have voiceovers. However, we didn’t do voiceovers for Yakuza 0. It was subtitled. And despite that, it was very popular. The fans overseas who’ve been playing since that era still play the games like that, in Japanese with English subtitles. They like Nakano and Kuroda’s voices, so they want to hear their voices while they play. You can change it in the settings. There are a lot of people who play with the settings on Japanese voices and English subtitles. For the Ishin remake, we’re using subtitles. We’re not dubbing voiceovers. We’re translating the game into English, but the specialized vocabulary and the way people talked during the Bakumatsu era would make the lines incredibly long, so it wouldn’t work. So this time, we’re doing subtitles,” Yokoyama said.