The next game in the Yakuza series has a subtitle, a story trailer, and a release window for western shores. Yakuza: Like a Dragon will come to the US in 2020, and it's already looking like a different kind of story than the Yakuza we're used to.
A new trailer, debuted last night at Tokyo Game Show 2019, shows what the setup for debut series protagonist Ichiban Kasuga's adventures in Yokohama will be. After taking the heat for a crime he didn't commit, Ichi is committed to prison for 18 years. But once he gets out, no one is there to welcome him back; in fact, it seems as though his former clanmates would prefer him dead.
It almost mirrors the setup of the first Yakuza game, but longtime series lead Kiryu Kazuma is nowhere to be found. Instead, Like a Dragon looks to center on Ichi's rise to power in the Ijincho region of Yokohama, as Ichi clashes with several factions all vying for power. The "Ijin Three," as they're called, are the masters of Yokohama: the Chinese mafia, the Seiryu clan, and an organization called "Geomijul."
The next entry in the Yakuza series looks to introduce turn-based combat, rather than the traditional brawler mechanics. But since this is a new Yakuza, with a new protagonist and new ambitions, I'm pretty excited to see what can be done with an RPG setup in this universe. It's definitely still Yakuza; at one point in the trailer, you can see Ichiban fighting someone who is driving a truck. Please, oh please, let me suplex it.
Like a Dragon is also set to be longer than other Yakuza games, and is taking some cues from classic RPG design. It's fitting that the protagonist is also, apparently, an avid fan of the Dragon Quest series. Kiryu will always have a special place in my heart, but Ichi is looking like a solid step forward for this series. We'll find out how it holds up sometime next year.