While the Yakuza series carried on the story of Kazuma Kiryu for 11 years, the next mainline title is branching out in a major way. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a turn-based RPG like Dragon Quest that follows a new character named Ichiban Kasuga and some of his wacky friends.
After a western release was confirmed during May's Xbox Games Showcase, more information about Yakuza: Like a Dragon emerged during Comic-Con@Home. If you want to know when you can get your hands on the game, what platforms it will be available on, and which famous Star Trek actor is in the English dub, we've rounded up everything you need to know about Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
What platforms will Yakuza: Like a Dragon be available on?
While Yakuza: Like a Dragon only came out on PS4 in Japan, it will be released on several more platforms in the west. When it comes to current-generation systems, Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia versions of the game do not appear to be on the cards.
As we previously hinted at, Yakuza: Like a Dragon was confirmed for Xbox Series X as well in May 2020. During July 22's Comic-Con@Home presentation, a PlayStation 5 version of the game was confirmed. As the series has historically been associated with PlayStation, that kind of release makes sense.
Smart Delivery will be available, so you can feel safe purchasing it for Xbox One while waiting to buy an Xbox Series X. PS4 players will also have the option to upgrade to the PS5 version of Yakuza: Like a Dragon if they want to.
When is the Yakuza: Like a Dragon release date?
Yakuza: Like a Dragon was released for PS4 in Japan in January, and the western release only had a vague "2020" window until July. More launch details were given during Comic-Con @ Home, which is also when pre-orders went live. Sega confirmed that the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions of Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be released in November 2020.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is actually a launch title for Xbox Series X, so Sega hasn't revealed a release window outside of "holiday 2020" for it. Whenever the Xbox Series X release date is confirmed will know the release date of that version of Yakuza: Like a Dragon as well.
Sadly, the release date gets a bit muddier with the PS5 version. The press release announcing the PS5 port simply says that Yakuza: Like a Dragon will come to the next-gen console "at a later date." This suggests that it's not a PS5 launch title, so that release could slip into 2021. As such, it's probably best for PlayStation players to just get the game on PS4 and upgrade to the PS5 version for free once it launches.
What’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s story?
In 2001, 18 years prior to the main story, the leader of the Arakawa Family, Masumi Arakawa, informs Ichiban Kasuga that the family needs somebody to take the fall for a murder. Kasuga agrees, believing this sacrifice will cement him as a hero in the family. When he’s released 18 years later, Kasuga finds that nobody remembers him. He goes to visit Arakawa, who shoots him in the chest.
Kasuga awakens amongst heaps of trash with a new goal, to uncover what the heck happened while he was away. While that premise sounds pretty heavy, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is actually a bit more lighthearted. The "Heroes of Tomorrow" trailer highlights many of Ichiban's quirky friends, who will also help him out during fights.
What’s the gameplay like in Yakuza: Like a Dragon?
Unlike the series’ previous titles, which acted as third-person beat-em-ups, Yakuza: Like a Dragon goes in a different direction: turn-based combat. Kasuga and his allies will face the Yakuza turn by turn, similar to the fights found in older Final Fantasy games or Pokémon. There are even summons available, allowing you to receive assistance from living and dead characters that previously appeared in the franchise.
There are still some vestiges of the old system, such as how characters move around the map while in combat. The combat camera acts as it did with the former active battle system was still in play. Nevertheless, Like a Dragon is a whole new Yakuza game.
Do you need to play other Yakuza games first?
Despite being labeled in Japan as Yakuza 7, this is a soft reboot of the Yakuza franchise. The protagonist and gameplay are both different from previous games. You don’t need to play other Yakuza titles to follow the story, but references will be made to previous narratives. The story will feel more rewarding if you’ve played at least one Yakuza title prior to starting Like a Dragon. The suggested starter titles are Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami, which are both available on PS4 and Xbox One.
If you’d prefer to go whole-hog into the franchise before Like a Dragon is released, there are two comprehensive bundles to experience Kiryu’s full journey; both are available on PlayStation 4. There’s the Yakuza Origins Bundle, containing Yakuza 0, Kiwami, and Kiwami 2, available for $49.99 as of this writing.
To follow that up, there’s the Yakuza Remastered Collection containing Yakuza 3, 4, and 5. All three titles in the remastered collection have been completely overhauled from their original releases with changes including script rewrites, graphical upgrades, and re-adding content that was originally cut from the Western release. You can purchase the Yakuza Remastered Collection for $39.99.
Once you’re done with those two collections, you can hop onto the Kiryu’s final chapter in Yakuza 6, which can be purchased for $20.98 on Amazon as of this writing.
Is George Takei inYakuza: Like a Dragon?
During Comic-Con@Home, Sega confirmed that Yakuza: Like a Dragon will feature an English Dub like Judgment did. While the full voice cast has not been revealed yet, Sega did reveal the biggest star that will be in the game: George Takei of Star Trek fame. As one of the most famous Asian actors out there, he's a great get for a western Yakuza dub.
He will be portraying the aforementioned antagonist Masumi Arakawa, and you can hear a bit of his voice in the "Heroes of Tomorrow" trailer. While we like to play Yakuza games in Japanese with subtitles, it's awesome to see that Sega is putting more effort into the western voice cast.
Spoilers for Yakuza: Like a Dragon follow.
Is Kiryu in Yakuza: Like a Dragon?
The protagonist of the previous Yakuza titles does make an appearance. He and other characters from the former Yakuza-era appear as summons available to use in battle. Kiryu himself will also occasionally appear in the story mode. His role is more to officially pass the metaphorical protagonist torch unto Kasuga, providing him with insight and cryptic comments like: “You have potential.” Beyond that, he’s little more than a fan-servicey Easter egg to look out for.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be released in the west in November 2020.