The Yakuza series has been revitalized, with new announcements and reveals giving fans a look at the franchise’s future. The RGG Summit of 2022 provided an in-depth look at three new games alongside a rebranding of the series in the west, now being a direct translation of its Japanese name of Ryu Ga Gotoku — Like a Dragon. There were even some new announcements for fans outside of the Summit, with PC ports for a certain pair of games finally being revealed. For anyone that might have missed the livestream, here’s every Yakuza / Like a Dragon announcement from RGG Summit 2022!
Every New Yakuza / Like a Dragon Announcement
Fans might be surprised to see the name “Yakuza” being dropped from English releases in favor of “Like a Dragon.” It makes sense, seeing as how all announced games don’t actually feature Yakuza groups as heavily as prior titles, but it’s still something that many English fans will be unfamiliar with. The rebranding has affected each game in different ways, as Like a Dragon: Ishin! is known as Ishin Kiwami in Japan, following the familiar naming scheme from other Yakuza remakes. This meant that English viewers might not have been aware of the changes made to Ishin, many of which were only elaborated on in the Summit.
Like a Dragon: Ishin! gained updated information following its reveal from Sony’s recent State of Play. Fans were given a release date of February 21, 2023, and major changes to the game’s story were shown off in full. Certain characters from the original release’s storyline were recast as characters from more recent Yakuza titles. Kuze, Awano, and Arakawa are only a few familiar faces making new appearances. Other characters from Yakuza 0, Yakuza 6, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon will also make appearances. They seem to primarily replace characters that didn’t have mainline counterparts from the original game, as well as relatively minor or not-as-popular characters like Hamazaki and Hayashi. Whether these characters will still make appearances has yet to be seen, but there seems to be plenty of reason to check out Like a Dragon: Ishin! even if you’ve played the original.
Of note, despite its status as a Kiwami remake, Ishin does not feature the Dragon Engine. Instead, it uses Unreal Engine to provide a somewhat similar experience to older games such as 0 and the first Kiwami title. It’s unknown if this engine change will affect the game’s performance or feel, but fans will be able to see for themselves in due time.
Like a Dragon 8 and Like a Dragon Gaiden
While players have been expecting a Yakuza 8 for quite some time, they can now look forward to it as Like a Dragon 8 due to the series’ rebranding. The game features the return of both Ichiban and Kiryu in dual-protagonist roles, something long-time fans are familiar with from games like Yakuza 4 or Yakuza 0. It will keep the turn-based combat introduced in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, but the extent of this altered fighting system has yet to be seen. Further story details will also be shared at a later date, though Kiryu’s new appearance as well as his return to a protagonist role after Yakuza 6 will certainly be a point of contention for some fans.
To resolve this contention, another game is also being released, detailing Kiryu’s story between his departure in Yakuza 6 to his return in Like a Dragon 8. Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name will showcase Kiryu’s activity from 2018 onward, likely ending before or in 2024 to coincide with Like a Dragon 8’s release year. No gameplay has been shown, but the Summit described this title as being somewhat shorter than most Yakuza games. Fans can expect it to be half the length of other titles, though it’s promised to be longer than DLC such as the Kaito Files. Like a Dragon Gaiden will release in 2023 while Like a Dragon 8 will launch in 2024.
Every Yakuza / Like a Dragon announcement from the Summit amounted to these three reveals. However, there was one more announcement that wasn’t even mentioned during the livestream.
Bonus Announcement: Judgment and Lost Judgment PC Ports!
While every Yakuza / Like a Dragon announcement in the Summit focused on new titles, a long-awaited spinoff had a bonus trailer just a few hours later. Judgment and Lost Judgment PC ports were revealed and released in one fell swoop! Previously, fans were worried that neither game would release on PC due to conflicts with a Japanese talent agency tied to both titles. These rumors even led fans to believe that there may never be a third Judgment game in the future. While it’s still unknown whether or not a new title featuring Yagami will revealed, concerns about PC ports are no longer necessary. Both games — as well as the Kaito Files DLC — are available for purchase right now. If all of these announcements have you craving some Yakuza / Like a Dragon action, now is the perfect time to take advantage of it!