Watch Us Play Yakuza 6: The Song of Life With One Of The People Behind It

Last year, Yakuza 0 brought gaming’s best crime thriller and cabaret management series to a new group of fans. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life wants to be accessible to veterans and newbies alike. We took a closer look at the game alongside senior localization producer Sam Mullen to get a sense of what’s next for professional soft-boy Kazuma Kiryu. Also, karaoke!

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Yakuza 6 has a difficult balancing act to perform—it needs to continue a story that’s over 20 years old while accommodating new fans. To keep things fresh, Yakuza 6 has rebuilt the city Kamurocho using a new engine that lets player go from inside buildings to fist fights and side quests without ever stopping to load. Playing Yakuza 6, I was taken aback at how smoothly everything ran. If I wanted to run off to play in the arcade, I could. If I wanted to rush out to the streets and beat up some thugs, all I had to do was step outside. No loading, no fuss. Kamurocho felt truly alive and there was hardly any downtime between activities.

Senior localization producer Sam Mullen made for an excellent copilot as I explored the city. We played some rounds of Virtua Fighter 5, went bar crawling in the quiet town of Onomichi, and talked about exactly what goes into localizing fan favorite Goro Majima’s Kansai accent. Yakuza 6 has a little bit of everything, and it was great to talk about the series with someone familiar with all its quirks.

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Yakuza 6: The Song of Life releases in North America on March 20th.

Former Senior Writer and Critic at Kotaku.

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DISCUSSION

I’m intrigued by the city feeling alive bit. The lack of loading screens helps with that, but two things that often put the lie to that feeling for me are lots of buildings you can’t enter (Yakuza 0, Persona 5, GTA 5, etc.) and NPCs that don’t have actual behavioral patterns/routines (may of Skyrim’s NPCs have them, the citizens of SimCity were found not to) and often have the same closes, faces, and limited animations such that they soon feel like clones instead of individuals.

How does Yakuza 6's Kamurocho feel in terms of those things?