Sega has revealed when players in the West can expect the next instalment of Yakuza and, thankfully, it won’t be long.
In a recent press conference, by way of Gematsu, Sega announced details of Yakuza 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness, titled Yakuza: Like A Dragon in English-speaking markets. There will be a new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, who takes over from Kazuma Kiryu whose story finished in Yakuza 6: Song of Life, and a new gameplay system and, most importantly of all, it will hit shelves sometime next year.
The short turn-around for localisation is an exciting revelation, as previously there’d been years between the Japanese and English language release. Prequel Yakuza 0 launched March 2015 in Japan before coming out everywhere else January 2017, while Yakuza 6 came out December 2016 in Japan and April 2018 worldwide. Both did prove to be massive hits for Sega, and in the time since the company has obviously been investing in its translation department to shorten the gap.
When will Yakuza 7 be released in the West?
We don’t have a firm date yet, but it’ll leave Japan sometime in 2020.
It will be interesting to see how the refreshed mechanics go over. Given that Kiryu’s multi-game-long saga has ended, it makes sense to approach Yakuza 7 with a blank slate. Combat will now be turn-based adopting ideas of JRPG battles and the sort. All the same esoteric humour and eccentricities are there, just to a different rhythm than before.
Gematsu has also translated parts of the Sega Japan site for the game, revealing the guts of a synopsis: Kasuga takes the fall for the crimes of the higher-ups in his Yakuza clan, and serves 18 years in prison. When he finally gets out, no one is there to meet him. He returns to Kamurocho to find it now controlled by the police and Omi Alliance, and his clan wiped out. He’s then shot by his old boss, and winds up back in Yokohama, the main setting of the game.
As grim as that sounds, no doubt Yakuza 7 will have us laughing through the tears.