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 akin to Dragon Quest that follows a new character named Ichiban Kasuga and some of his wacky friends.
After a western release was confirmed during May 2020's Xbox Games Showcase, more information about Yakuza: Like a Dragon emerged in the following months. That includes its release date across all major platforms and the famous Star Trek actor who's lending his voice to the English dub.
Here's everything you need to know about Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
Will Yakuza: Like a Dragon be available on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch?
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, a port to Sony's next-generation system makes a lot of 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?
The Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, and PS4 versions of Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be released on November 10, 2020. 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.
At the time, Sega said that the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions of Yakuza: Like a Dragon would be released on November 13. After the Xbox Series X's launch was confirmed for November 10, Sega subsequently confirmed that it would be a launch title on the system. On September 28, they revealed that every version of the game but the PS5 port will be out on November 10 as well.
If you do want to play the PS5 version of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, you'll have to wait until 2021. Sega confirmed alongside the current-gen release date shift that the PS5 version of Yakuza: Like a Dragon won't be released on PS5 until March 2, 2021.
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 is the Yakuza: Like a Dragon 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 Yakuza: Like a Dragon gameplay like?
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. Players can also mess around with a job system to gain access to new abilities. 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 just as 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.