Fans of the Yakuza series, recently renamed Like a Dragon in a direct translation of its Japanese name, have a packed schedule ahead of them. The franchise’s developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio announced two upcoming entries. And the studio’s latest livestream has been rich in brand-new information.
Like a Dragon Gaiden is officially arriving in November. Subtitled The Man Who Erased His Name, this spin-off entry is set to focus on the side story of the series’ former primary protagonist. Kazuma Kiryu was a playable character in every game so far, except for Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
Lifting the veil on the events that unfolded between Yakuza 6: The Song of Life and Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the next game will center around Kiryu’s attempts at starting with a clean slate under a new codename to protect his loved ones. But as he renounced the violent ways of the yakuza by faking his death, only occasionally taking on missions for a shadowy organization known as the Daidoji Faction, the reformed mobster will be dragged back into the fold by a mysterious figure.
With Kiryu back front and center, Like a Dragon will seemingly mark a return to the series’ arcade-like action brawler roots. And exclusive footage revealed during a 45-minute-long presentation held by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio gave fans a brief look at Kiryu’s new combat style.
Two gameplay clips displayed during the RGG Summer Summit 2023 livestream showed the Dragon of Dojima switching between two distinct fighting styles. Kiryu’s wildly aggressive Yakuza persona is all about unbridled natural strength and martial arts, including familiar techniques like brutal context-sensitive Heat Actions and attacks stemming from Yakuza 0. Players can then switch to an Agent character leveraging high-tech gadgets, such as wire shooting out of Kiryu’s wrists and drones capable of distracting enemies.
The livestream disclosed more exciting information on its spin-off’s casting and locations. Ranging from Omi Alliance family members to a supporting character first introduced in Yakuza 0, both new protagonists and familiar faces will join Kiryu in his adventures. The developers also confirmed that most of the action would go down in Sotenbori, an entertainment district that played a major role in past titles like Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 2. Players will once again roam the streets of this district modeled after Osaka’s real-life Dotonbori neighborhood, hitting karaoke parlors and showing off their best dance moves at the nightclub.
Besides its action-packed formula, the Like a Dragon franchise is known for its endless side activities and wacky minigames. If leaks are to be believed, Like a Dragon Gaiden could even herald the return of a fan-favorite pocket circuit racing minigame alongside a secret Battle Arena and live-action cabaret clubs.
Following the blueprint of its predecessors, this spin-off might also feature several casino minigames. If lovers of all things blackjack and poker are left hungry for more gambling action, though, many online platforms are right at their fingertips. Comparison hubs like CasinoBonusCA help them get started. New bonus deals and seasonal promotions are regularly updated to help players pick the most profitable website. Advanced filters allow users to sort through hundreds of bonuses to skip the time-consuming process of checking each offer one by one. Unlike the shady underground venues scattered across the Like a Dragon open world, only carefully curated online casinos make the cut.
Fans of the series can therefore expect to get their hands on an exciting spin-off in a little less than five months. Better still, the ninth mainline installation in the franchise is slated for release sometime in 2024. The first trailer for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth dropped at the Xbox Showcase 2023, showing its main protagonist Ichiban Kasuga butt-naked on a US beach with no idea how he landed there. While the exact location of that foreign beach remains unconfirmed, rumor has it that the game’s action could partly take place in Hawaii in the series’ first venture outside of Japan.
While developers released an exclusive Infinite Wealth cutscene at the end of the livestream, precious little information came out. Gamers may have to wait until the RGG Summit Fall 2023 to learn more about the game’s plot and the dynamics between its dual protagonists. Meanwhile, hardcore fans can always enjoy playing Like a Dragon Ishin!. A remake of a past Japan-exclusive title set in the late Edo era, this spin-off may be the best samurai game around.