Yakuza: Like A Dragon is going to be a big departure for the series. The main protagonist Kiryu has walked off into the sunset. The game appears to be more RPG than beat ’em up. With these changes, the studio has the chance to tell another story in the universe they’ve created, and, like previous franchise entries, the characters and story will be crucial to the success.
The PlayStation Blog has a post from the game’s Chief Producer, Masayoshi Yokoyama, to give some background on the new cast. The new leading man is Ichiban Kasuga. He shares some similarities with Kiryu, but isn’t as physically strong. He also isn’t going to be as stoic. He relies on his emotions and isn’t above sitting down to talk with someone to work out a problem. He is very charismatic and flawed, but his friends help him to be successful. This change in the character type caused a ripple of changes throughout the game even impacting the mini-games.
Saeko Mukouda is the game’s leading lady. She is described as “charming” and “nosy” and is a person who is always willing to help her friends. That part of her personality makes her an ideal support character for the party.
Musumi Arakawa is an old school Yakuza with a commitment to his family. That family is a criminal organization, but he was separated from his real family and became a part of his new one. His loyalty to his Yakuza family above everything else will be put to the test when a real son comes into the picture. Yokoyama believes Arakawa to be a second unofficial protagonist.
The last two characters are Nanba and Adachi. Nanba is a homeless man who saves Kasuga’s life. His role in the story grew after his creation, and he represents an even harsher environment than the one in which Kasuga grew up. Adachi is a former detective who represents the vivacious “elderly” population of Japan. He’s not there to represent or explore the role of a cop in this story. He’s a trusted companion, friend, and overall help to the group of characters.
The trailer at the top shows the cast in action, and we seem to have a release date for the game. I may have missed it earlier, but the PlayStation Store is showing a November 13th release date for the different editions you can pre-order now. Even though it’s assumed at this point, the trailer also confirms availability for the PS4 and PS5.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon will be different in many ways, but it seems to be another story in the universe we all love. We’ll have to wait until November to see how the new changes impact the gameplay and feel, but today’s news and trailer makes me hopeful.
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Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.