Fans of role-playing as a badass Japanese Yakuza gangster rejoice! Sega has unveiled the newest chapter of the long-running action-adventure series with Yakuza: Like a Dragon. This seventh outing of the Yakuza franchise is going to hit PlayStation 4’s some time next year.
Getting a new Yakuza game isn’t really that surprising. The series has been exploding in prolificness like few other franchises this generation. What is a major surprise however, is that Yakuza: Like a Dragon is drastically changing gears by abandoning its real-time melee combat and going turn-based. Now, that’s something no one was expecting.
The fact that Yakuza hero Kazuma Kiryu is retiring with new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga taking over the reigns is almost relegated into the backseat. As a newly released prisoner, Ichiban will fight hard to overcome the criminal world of Yokohama. A new location for the franchise.
Sega is describing the new turn-based combat as “Live command RPG battles”, which aims to combine the visceral and brutal melee combat of the series with a new tactical layer. The shift to a more strategical combat will undoubtedly enhance the combat beyond button-mashing and a few combo moves. No matter how the game will turn out in the end. The fact that both the main character and game design are different will no doubt make Yakuza: Like a Dragon a unique franchise entry.
In the meantime, check out the official game description thanks to Gematsu:
January 1, 2001. The yakuza Ichiban Kasuga, who belongs to third generation family of the Tojo Clan—the Arakawa Family—was asked to take the fall for the crimes of wakagashira Jo Sawashiro by his boss Masumi Arakawa, which he agreed to do. For the family that he loves, for the respect of his boss… Kasuga served 18 years in a strict penitentiary, and in 2019, was finally released.
However, there was no one there to greet him upon his release.
With no one to welcome him, Kasuga returned to his hometown of Kamurocho. But the Kamurocho was not the Kamurocho that Kasuga once knew.
Thanks to a police policy known as the “Kamurocho 3K Operation,” the Tojo Clan had fallen. The police and the Omi Alliance of Kansai yakuza had completely taken over. And the one who created this new Kamurocho was none other than Masumi Arakawa.
“How could the boss do something like this!?”
In order to ascertain the truth for himself, Kasuga went to go see Masumi Arakawa.
After getting past obstacles like Omi Alliance members and his former superior Sawashiro, Kasuga manages to make his way to Masumi Arakawa.
A reunion 18 years in the making with the “Boss” he loved like a father, the yakuza he admired—But what awaited him there was not the smiling face of a reunion, but rather the cold barrel of a gun.
“I’m sorry, Ichi… you need to die.”
The gunshot echoed. Kasuga’s vision dimmed—.
While wandering the depths of life or death, Kasuga somehow regained consciousness. But when he came to, he was at a dumpsite in homeless town lined with cardboard houses.
“…Where am I?”
Kasuga’s question is answered by a homeless man.
“Ijincho… Isezaki Ijincho. This is Yokohama. Got that? Yokohama.”