This week's issue of Famitsu was full of new information on Ryu ga Gotoku Studio's Ryu ga Gotoku 7, titled Yakuza: Like a Dragon in the West. While not all of this information was new, there were some re-caps on information that was already shared via Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama's Twitter and the official press release that followed the announcement of the game. Famitsu had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the minds behind this upcoming Yakuza title and illuminate where this new story will be taking place and dropped a bit more information on the new and exciting battle system that will be introduced with this entry.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be taking place in the fictional city of Ijincho, which draws inspiration from the real life city of Chojamachi. The developers decided to go for another fictional, but similar, 1:1 recreation of an already existing city, to not upset the people of Yokohama. It was also mentioned that this area will be somewhere between three to four times bigger than Kamurocho, the Yakuza series most prominent and reoccurring city-scape. That being said, players will be in Kamurocho at some point in the game, though they did not specify when. For those feeling worried about the potentially massive map, there is a fast travel feature that will be available.
Story chapters will be handled in the same manner as Yakuza ONLINE, the mobile game that was announced alongside Yakuza: Like a Dragon's development (You can read more about the story in Yakuza ONLINE and how it will tie into Yakuza: Like a Dragon through our previous articles) However, character relationships will be handled differently so that is something to consider when comparing these two entries.
New information regarding the battle system mentions that players can strictly choose to treat Yakuza: Like a Dragon in the sense that they can relegate to only receive experience points through battles - there will also be dungeons in Yakuza: Like a Dragon though it hasn't been mentioned how they'll manifest or what they'll look like. Players can also equip characters with items to boost their stats similar to traditional RPGs. Character occupations will fill the role of traditional classes in RPG style games, and players can choose which occupation they would like each character to take.
As mentioned before, Dragon Quest is a big inspiration for the battle theme and style for Yakuza: Like a Dragon as this references Ichiban Kasuga, the main character of this installment, and his fondness for the series. Battles are done in this more traditional style (though there are some deviations to this that you can read about in our previous article) because of how Ichiban views the situation. Entering combat will change the appearance of enemies and allies to make them more outlandish or fantastical, such as your allies being able to draw swords in combat or enemies wearing buckets on their head or their names changing entirely once combat is initiated.
Sub-stories are still present and by participating in them with Kasuga and his party they will gain experience and grow stronger. You can earn money, experience, and even new skills by participating in sub-stories or by heading to play spots on the map.
While there are loads of new gameplay elements in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the storytelling will retain its usual style, and it was mentioned in the Famitsu article that it will be around twice as long as previous titles. Those looking for a lengthy experience will definitely be pleased as it seems like Ryu ga Gotoku Studio has a lot in store for new and old Yakuza fans.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be released for PlayStation 4 in Japan, South Korea, and China on January 16, 2020, and there are already plans in place to bring the game to North America and Europe later in the same year.