Yakuza: Like a Dragon was nothing if not outlandishly set apart from the action-heavy martial arts and brawling of the Yakuza series. It’s not that there wasn’t fighting, but the turn-based JRPG take on the game was definitely out of the ordinary. However, if you thought this was a one-off for the series, you’re in for a surprise. According to studio Ryu Ga Gotoku, further Yakuza games will also follow this formula. The more action-based gameplay will be left to the Judgment series.
This information came out Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Kazuki Hosokawa themselves during a conversation with IGN. According to the two, Yakuza: Like a Dragon wasn’t a one-time deal. Following its rather hefty success worldwide, it’s the direction the studio wants to go with mainline Yakuza games going forward. Indeed, it was a more than successful transition as far as our Shacknews review was concerned, and we were hardly alone in that sentiment. Reportedly, Like A Dragon represents only the first step in transitioning the series in this direction.
It’s not like Ryu Ga Gotoku is about to abandon its efforts on action games though. The studio has built up quite a reputation for impactful combat in its games over the years. This will apparently be carried on through the Judgment games, which just got a sequel announcement in the form of Lost Judgment coming this September 2021.
“The Yakuza series has been transformed into a turn-based RPG,” Nagoshi explained. “On the other hand, over the years, Ryu ga Gotoku Studio has accumulated resources and know-how of making flashy and exhilarating action games that are effortless to enjoy. We decided that we should let our signature action gameplay live on through Lost Judgment.”
Indeed, Lost Judgment is looking like a quality step forward on top of the blend of investigation and combat that was introduced in the first game. Even so, it’s interesting to hear that Yakuza: Like A Dragon is indicative of the series overall ongoing direction. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see what comes next for Yakuza, even as we await Lost Judgment this year.