When video games depict a musical performance, they usually half-ass the animations. The drummer waggles his sticks around, the guitarist scrubs at the strings, the sax player sways like a drinking bird. Not Yakuza 0, man. This game takes musicians seriously.

In the video above, you can watch a brief, extremely well animated sequence where a jazz big band performs at protagonist Goro Majima’s club in Osaka. It sounds awful—nothing but fake MIDI horns and dated synth instruments. But watch the animations. Everything is spot-on, from the bassist walking his fingers along the strings to the brass section’s unified breathing to the pianist’s hand movements.


I actually don’t think I’ve ever seen a video game depict a jazz performance with this level of visual fidelity. The game’s animators must have watched a video of a live band playing, then painstakingly matched the music with the animations. It reminds me of the performance scenes in the fantastic jazz anime Kids on the Slope, which took a similar approach by basing animations on live, recorded performances. Just one more unexpected delight from a game full of them.

Kotaku Editor-at-Large

Share This Story

Get our newsletter