Holy shit. It was just two months ago that I was asking Sega, very nicely, to maybe think about bringing the Yakuza series’ historical spin-off games to the West. Now, today, Sega only went and announced that one of them is indeed on the way, and has been remade for modern hardware to boot.
Like a Dragon: Ishin! begins in 1867, the year of the Meiji restoration and the downfall of the Shogunate. While this is ostensibly set in the past, and everyone has different names, a large number of characters are drawn from the modern-day Yakuza titles, right down to the playable star
Kazuma Kiryu Sakomoto Ryoma.
The game’s official description says:
Like a Dragon: Ishin is an action-adventure historical thriller set uniquely in 1860s Kyo, a fictionalized version of Kyoto. While other games tell earlier stories in Japanese history, Ishin lets you experience the story of how the iconic samurai era vanished. Our hero, Sakamoto Ryoma, is a true historical figure largely credited with overthrowing the shogunate and taking Japan into a radical reformation.
Like a Dragon: Ishin brings in familiar faces to tell this epic historical tale. Fans will recognize our protagonist as Kazuma Kiryu from earlier entries in the franchise. In Ishin, Kiryu is cast as Sakamoto Ryoma and brings the rest of his crew along too. Goro Majima and other Yakuza celebrities join Ryoma as friends and foes in this fictional world that trades the flashy streets of Tokyo for the chaotic bustle of 1860s Kyo. These new character dynamics are as thrilling as they are unexpected, with a series of mind-blowing twists and turns in a story only RGG studio can tell.
What’s very cool here is that we’re not just getting the game, but we’re getting a remake. The original came out in 2014, so developers RGG have rebuilt the whole thing in Unreal Engine 4, which explains why the cutscenes in particular here look a lot nicer than you’d expect for an eight year-old Yakuza game:
Ishin! will be out on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC in February 2023.