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Yakuza devs discuss Like a Dragon 8 characters and Kenzan at TGS 2022

Yakuza devs Ryu ga Gotoku Studio discuss returning Like a Dragon 8 characters for Sega JRPG and why a Yakuza Kenzan remake is unlikely at Tokyo Game Show 2022

Yakuza devs talk Like a Dragon 8 - Ichiban Kasuga, flanked by Nanba and Han Joon-Gi, from Yakuza 7: Like A Dragon

Returning Like a Dragon 8 characters and the possibility of a Yakuza Kenzan remake are among the topics discussed by the series creators at Tokyo Game Show 2022. Ryu ga Gotoku Studio, the development team behind the RPG games formerly known as Yakuza – which is now fully adopting its original ‘Like a Dragon’ moniker in the west – talked about its future products and why the remake of Like a Dragon: Ishin is unlikely to be followed up by similar treatment for its Edo period predecessor.

The interviews, reported on and translated by series fan site Dojima’s Dragon Girl, cover the three most recently announced games in the Like a Dragon series (spoiler warning for Yakuza: Like a Dragon). Speaking about side story game Like a Dragon: Gaiden, studio head Masayoshi Yokoyama says that while writing the story for 8, there was a point where the team realised they were going to have to use returning protagonist Kiryu.

While the Dragon of Dojima appeared in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Yokoyama says that “we deliberately didn’t talk about how he got there, and we won’t in Like a Dragon 8 either.” He adds that Gaiden is, in part, aimed at the audience for whom Yakuza 7 was their introduction to the series, “to show them just how awesome Kiryu Kazuma actually is.”

As hinted at by previous leaks, Yokoyama confirms that Yakuza 7 party members Adachi, Nanba, and Saeko will all be returning for Like a Dragon 8, while other characters will “appear if the story needs them.” While it’s the first game in the series since Yakuza 4 to not bear a subtitle in Japan, Yokoyama teases that “there is a reason for not having a subtitle but… until you’ve seen the ending I can’t tell you.” He also says to expect a gap of around four years between numbered main series entries in the future.

As for the story direction of Like a Dragon 8, Yokoyama is naturally reluctant to give out too many details, but says that “It’s not about the past characters, but rather about the ‘business.’ The yakuza world and its necessary evils.” He comments that “In Yakuza 7, we showed you how the underworld lost its power,” and explains that Like a Dragon 8 will continue that story and “show you how the underworld moves on and cleans itself up.”

Sadly, it seems there’s bad news for fans hoping that the announcement of Ishin! Kiwami would be followed by a similar treatment for its predecessor, Yakuza Kenzan. Yokoyama explains the team is unlikely to do this, saying, “We’d have to completely remake it from scratch. Also because it’s a PS3 game, it’s impossible to match some things now… It would be so different we would have to release it as a new game.”

Yokoyama and chief producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto praise the game’s English localisation team at SEGA, with Sakamoto saying, “They can’t speak Japanese at all, but they provide us with very good translations. You can still sense the goodness of Ryu ga Gotoku in it.” Yokoyama praises the recent English dubs of Yakuza 7 and the Judgment and Lost Judgment games, saying he believes the localisation quality has been instrumental in overseas fans now representing almost 70% of the total audience for the series.

Previously, Yokoyama said that a Like a Dragon Ishin English dub “just wouldn’t work.” Meanwhile, you can now get both Judgment and Lost Judgment on PC after the detective games snuck across to the platform in September. If you’re after more of the best action games on PC, or perhaps the best JRPGs on PC, we’ve got plenty of those for you too.