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Yakuza's Cabaret Minigame Is Making A Triumphant Return

A fan favorite is coming back for Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

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Screenshot: Yakuza

Every Yakuza game has some kind of weird side hustle going on, where players can sink hours of their time into what’s essentially a management sim. In Like a Dragon is was a confectionary store. In Yakuza 6 it was a baseball team. In one of the series’ two upcoming games, however, it’s going to be something more familiar—and beloved—by fans.

That’s right, cabaret management is coming back for Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, the Kazuma Kiryu spinoff that’s going to fill in some Yakuza story (and give players a throwback fighting experience). A key part of entries like Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami 2, the game-within-a-game saw players taking control of a club, outfitting their hostesses, then overseeing a night’s business, monitoring conversations, and swapping out personnel like the most glittery sports game ever made.

That’s quite a paragraph, but it also doesn’t even scratch the surface of why people love it so much, and why it was such an improvement—in terms of gameplay but also tone—over the hostess management found in older games. Words can only do so much. This video does a much better job:

Yakuza Kiwami 2 - Cabaret Club Gameplay

I am very into the whole retro (from a design perspective) thing The Man Who Erased His Name! has got going on here. Like a Dragon, aka Yakuza 7, made some pretty big changes when it shifted an action-centric series to more of a JRPG, so it’s nice to see the developers continue catering to a more traditional Yakuza experience, first with the Judgment games, and now this.

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While the English-language cabaret announcement simply said, “The cabaret mini-game will be returning in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name!, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s Japanese account had a lot more information, primarily because—as is series tradition, both for the cabaret club but other games with hostess sections as well—many of the cabaret models are going to be based on real people like idols and Japanese adult video stars.

For this game in particular they’ll be holding public auditions as well, with winners scoring $8,000 in cash, a job promoting The Man Who Erased His Name, and an appearance as one of the hostesses in the game itself.