Because we get new Yakuza games all the time, and because they’re so often set in the same places starring the same people using the same engine, the series has never needed big, staged reveals before. Take the next game, for example, of which we’re getting our first look...over a developer’s shoulder.
The video below is of a 17-minute tour of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, developers of the series. While most of it is filled with polite interviews and a look at the team’s motion-capture setup, there’s a couple of parts—one that I’ve set to autoplay below—where we get a very brief, first look at the next game in the series. (The next game was announced last year, but without any visuals to accompany it.)
I know, that’s not much! But we do get to see Ichiban’s new and improved haircut. (Or old and improved haircut, since he was sporting a ponytail when released from prison in the last game. Remember, his perm from Like a Dragon was a result of a hairdressing disaster!)
We can also see his old buddies Yu Nanba (the homeless wizard) and Koichi Adachi (the enormous former cop), all three of them hanging out in what looks like Ichiban’s suitably shitty apartment.
A follow-up story from Japanese magazine Famitsu says that in addition to the brief glimpse of the game in action, it was also revealed that the next game in the series will see the introduction of a “new town,” something that is always a pleasure to take in.
I reviewed Like a Dragon back in 2020, and found that while the switch to a JRPG system had more than its share of teething problems, that same ol’ Yakuza magic was still shining through. With that experience under their belt, I’m very excited to see what Ryu Ga Gotoku can come up with next...whenever this game is released. There’s still no official date for it.