The highly anticipated Yakuza RPG game, Infinite Wealth, is set to release on January 26th, but it has already caused quite a stir within the gaming community. The game’s developer, Infinite Wealth, has decided to lock the New Game Plus mode behind more expensive editions, leaving players frustrated and disappointed.

Usually, the New Game Plus mode is a free feature that allows players to replay a game with all their acquired skills and gear intact. However, Infinite Wealth has chosen to paywall this feature, making it available only to those who purchase the Deluxe or Ultimate editions of the game.

The standard edition of Infinite Wealth, which provides access to the base game, is priced at $70/£60 on Steam. However, players who wish to experience the New Game Plus mode will need to shell out $85/£75 for the Deluxe edition or a staggering $110/£95 for the Ultimate edition. These premium editions also include other extras such as a post-game dungeon, bonus music, and additional characters for the mini-games inspired by Animal Crossing and Pokémon.

The news of locking a previously free feature behind a paywall has sparked outrage among gamers. Many express their disappointment in online communities, calling the decision “greedy” and criticizing the developers for their cut-throat approach to DLC. Players believe that locking a basic feature behind a paywall undermines community goodwill and diminishes the game’s replayability.

Yong Yea, the voice actor for one of the game’s protagonists, Kazuma Kirya, also voiced his concern over the monetization strategy. He took to social media to state that no game should lock New Game Plus behind a paywall. Yong Yea argues that such a decision not only hampers player satisfaction but also has long-term negative consequences for the game’s reputation.

The controversy surrounding Infinite Wealth’s decision to lock New Game Plus behind a paywall raises a larger question about the ethics of monetization in the gaming industry. While developers have the right to earn money for their work, players argue that essential features like New Game Plus should not be held hostage behind additional paywalls.

The inclusion of New Game Plus has become a standard feature in numerous games, providing players with the opportunity to replay their favorite titles while retaining their progress and items. Even major titles like Elden Ring and Alan Wake 2 offer this feature as part of the base game or through free post-launch updates. The gaming community has grown accustomed to New Game Plus being a complimentary addition rather than an extra expense.

Infinite Wealth’s decision to lock New Game Plus behind a paywall has caused widespread discontent among gamers. The developer, known for its acclaimed Yakuza series, now faces criticism for its monetization strategy in its latest release. The backlash highlights the growing tension between developers’ desire for profitability and players’ expectations for fair and accessible gaming experiences. With this controversy, it remains to be seen how Infinite Wealth will respond to the outcry from its fanbase and whether other game developers will think twice before monetizing essential features in the future.

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