After the success of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Ryu ga Gotoku Studios has announced their plans for the Yakuza series to remain a turn-based RPG in the future, completing the remarkable transformation of this now-beloved franchise.
In an interview with IGN ahead of the reveal of Lost Judgement, Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Kazuki Hosokawa confirmed that the action gameplay the series was once known for will now be found and confined within the Judgement franchise, while the Yakuza series continues to evolve the turn-based gameplay first introduced in the latest entry in the series.
The pair told IGN that ‘the Yakuza series has been transformed into a turn-based RPG. On the other hand, over the years, Ryu ga Gotoku Studio has accumulated resources and know-how of making flashy and exhilarating action games that are effortless to enjoy. We decided that we should let our signature action gameplay live on through Lost Judgment.’
The result is a transformation in series direction rarely seen in the medium of gaming before. We have seen various beloved franchises evolve over the years, with Final Fantasy a major example that saw what was once a turn-based RPG in its early NES and SNES entries absorb more real-time elements until it became the action RPG we now know the series to be today. Still, this is a transformation that took place over many years, and even the recent Final Fantasy VII Remake gives players the option of reverting to turn-based action.
With Yakuza, within the span of a single title and spawned from a positive reception to an April Fool’s gag, the title made the vast shift from action to turn-based RPG and that shift is here to stay. It’s a move rarely seen in gaming, but considering the fun of these games and the shift to a new protagonist to accompany it, it’s a fun and successful one.
At least this news means that those who long for the gameplay of old will still have something new to play. After all, Lost Judgement is releasing worldwide in September!