SEGA has recently given both a trailer and details on the seventh entry in the Yakuza franchise, which will be localized as Yakuza: Like a Dragon. This new game will follow a different protagonist than Kazuma Kiryu, instead centered around Ichiban Kasuga. To begin the story, Kasuga is asked to take the fall for a murder he didn’t commit by his boss, a man he respects and cares for like a father. Kasuga remains in jail for the next eighteen years, but when he’s finally freed he isn’t welcomed home by his Arakawa Family brethren. Instead, he finds the Tojo Clan has completely vanished, and the Omi Alliance has taken over his home of Kamurocho.
Confronting his boss for an explanation, Kasuga winds up shot, and wakes up in the city of Isezaki Injincho in the prefecture of Yokohama. It is from there, from absolute zero, that Kasuga will have to build himself up.
This new Yakuza has numerous changes, and is being referred to by the series creator as a “watershed moment” for the series. So far, all we know about these changes is that Injincho is three times the size of Kamurocho, and the battle system has changed into turn-based combat. With this combat, it appears Kasuga will be taking allies into battle, with three people aiding him in the combat we’ve seen thus far.
With the series’ sales declining in Japan (but remaining so high in the West that they’ve already confirmed a localization for 7), SEGA has made a bold choice to switch this series from a brawler with light RPG elements to a full on turn-based combat system with active time elements. Hopefully these aren’t the only changes they make for this game–the series could desperately stand to add some cars, especially if they’re going to triple the available land mass of the game. Additionally, hopefully switching to turn-based combat will lead to them adding more RPG elements as well, concerning customization and leveling up the party.
Yakuza 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness will launch in Japan on January 16th, 2020, while the localized version Yakuza: Like a Dragon will release later in 2020.