Sega is developing a live-action adaptation from its “Yakuza” video game franchise with 1212 Entertainment and Wild Sheep Content, Variety has learned exclusively.
Erik Barmack, Roberto Grande and Joshua Long will produce. 1212 and Wild Sheep are searching for writers for the script.
Yakuza is Sega’s bestselling franchise after “Sonic The Hedgehog.” The game was first released on PlayStation 2 in 2005 and has since grown into a global franchise with an additional seven main title sequels and eight spin-off titles on all major gaming platforms.
The first game follows the story of Kazuma Kiryu being released from a 10-year prison sentence after taking the fall for the murder of his family’s patriarch. After the entire Japanese underworld is pulled into the search for $100 million stolen from the vault of his former clan, Kiryu is forced back into the lawless world of the yakuza.
The game has been widely praised for its story and character-driven plot in the unique setting of the streets of Japan’s most notorious urban nightlife districts and its portrayal of the real-life yakuza, its history, code of ethics, criminal enterprises and unique characteristics.
“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,” 1212 said. “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.”
Barmack said, “With our background in telling global stories, we are excited to bring this huge project to global platforms.”
Barmack, an executive with Wild Sheep, has executive producing credits on the television series “Quicksand,” “Sacred Games” and “The Rain.” 1212 Entertainment was a production company on 2019’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” 1212 is represented by Weintraub Tobin.
What other video games are currently being pursued by Hollywood? Check out our comprehensive list of ‘Every Movie or TV Show Based on a Video Game in Development Right Now.’