The last couple of weeks have been huge for Yakuza fans. After a months-long radio silence, the Yakuza: Remastered Collection finally dropped out of nowhere, at least partially. Then, in the last few days, all sorts of new information have come out about Shin Yakuza. I mean, Yakuza 7. Er, actually I mean Yakuza: Like A Dragon. Yes, if you’re living in the United States or are planning on purchasing an English language version of the game, Yakuza: Like A Dragon is the title you’re getting. Bigger news than the title and Japanese release date though, was that this newest installment in the series is going to be a JRPG. Now, its unique ‘Live Command RPG System’ has been detailed further.
While we still don’t have a gameplay centric trailer to really sink our teeth into, series producer Masayoshi Yokoyama has made some details available to the public. For starters, these fights are constantly in motion instead of being stationary like a Dragon Quest game. Most notably, characters and the city itself will be in constant motion in and out of fights and will use the physics of the Dragon Engine System first put into place with Yakuza 6. Where you are in relation to your enemy will change the outcome of your choices, and just like in previous games if you’re near items on the ground you’ll be able to use them.
I’m sure the full battle system takes is more nuanced than the above description alone suggests. Until we see video footage of this ‘constant motion’ in a turn-based situation, it’s a little hard to imagine it full at work. That said after 7 Yakuza games, Judgement, and the Fist Of The Northstar spin-off, I’m perfectly ready for something completely different out of the series. Besides, the creators have said if fans don’t end up taking to this new system they’re willing to switch back for future installments. So let’s give it a shot, yeah?
Yakuza: Like A Dragon will come out in Japan on January 16, 2020, and sometime later for the West.