The next mainline Yakuza game, Like a Dragon 8, will be released in 2024 and will feature the return of Kazuma Kiryu as one of two protagonists, alongside Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s Ichiban Kasuga.
Kiryu will also star in a spinoff game to be released in 2023 called Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. And yes, it seems that the name of the series in English has officially changed from Yakuza to Like a Dragon (a direct translation of its Japanese title, Ryu Ga Gotoku).
The news was revealed Wednesday during a livestream hosted by developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, which also went a bit deeper on Like a Dragon: Ishin!, the remake of the 2014 samurai-era spinoff that was announced during Tuesday evening’s PlayStation State of Play stream.
Details on Like a Dragon 8 are light, and only a brief teaser was shown, featuring the two co-protagonists. Nevertheless, Kiryu’s radically changed appearance, with graying hair swept down over his forehead, was enough to shock viewers on Twitch.
RGG Studio head Masayoshi Yokoyama said that there were “a lot of reasons” for Kiryu’s new hairdo, but said they would remain secret for now. He added that Like a Dragon 8 would have a role-playing gameplay system similar to Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s, explaining that this decision was motivated by story; both games feature lots of discussion and are based around working with friends, and the RPG system and combat seemed to fit best.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, however, will be an action-adventure game, and “about half the size” of a mainline title in the series, according to Yokoyama. It won’t be entirely linear — players will still be able to “go to town, hang out and do side quests,” he said. But it will be “easy to play, not too long, not too heavy.”
The Man Who Erased His Name is set in 2018 and is considered a companion piece to Yakuza: Like a Dragon. It will fill in what happened to Kiryu after he disappeared at the end of Yakuza 6. A mysterious trailer shows a meditative Kiryu being assigned some sort of contract by an unknown stranger who refers to him as “codename Joryu.”
Yokoyama also introduced a new, longer trailer for Like a Dragon: Ishin!, and noted that some of the characters have changed in this remake. The original 2014 release, which never made it to the West, featured characters from the first five Yakuza games as the samurai; the remake has been updated to include characters from Yakuza 0, 6, and 7 as well, to ensure it’s an “all-star cast” drawing from the whole series up to the present.
Like a Dragon: Ishin! will be released on Feb. 21, 2023, with Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name following later in the year and Like a Dragon 8 in 2024. All three games will be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.