Yakuza’s Kazuma Kiryu returns in Like a Dragon 8 and a new spinoff

The next major Yakuza game, Like Dragon 8will be released in 2024 and will feature the return of Kazuma Kiryu as one of the two protagonists, along with Yakuza: Like a DragonIchiban Kasuga.

Kiryu also stars in a spinoff game to be released in 2023 called Like Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. And yes, it seems the series’ English name has officially changed from Yakuza to Like a Dragon (a direct translation of its Japanese title, Ryu Ga Gotoku).

The news was announced on Wednesday during a livestream hosted by developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studiowhich also went a little deeper Like a Dragon: Were!the remake of the 2014 samurai-era spinoff announced Tuesday night PlayStation State of Play stream.

Details on Like Dragon 8 is light, and only a short teaser was presented, featuring the two co-protagonists. However, Kiryu’s radical change in appearance, with gray hair on his forehead, was enough to shock viewers on Twitch.

RGG Studio head Masayoshi Yokoyama said there are “many reasons” for Kiryu’s new hairstyle, but said they will remain a secret for now. He added Like Dragon 8 will have a role-playing gameplay system similar to Yakuza: Like a Dragon‘s, explaining that this decision was motivated by the story; both games feature a lot of discussion and are based on cooperation with friends, and the RPG system and combat seem to be the best fit.

Like Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, however, will be an action-adventure game, and “about half the size” of a main title line in the series, according to Yokoyama. It won’t be completely linear — players will still be able to “go into 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 Cleared His Name is due in 2018 and is considered a companion piece to Yakuza: Like a Dragon. This will fill in what happened to Kiryu after he disappeared at the end of Yakuza 6. A magical trailer shows a meditative Kiryu assigned some kind of contract by an unknown stranger who refers to him as “codename Joryu.”

Yokoyama also introduced a new, longer trailer for the Like a Dragon: Were!, 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 samurai; the remake has been updated to include characters from Yakuza 0, 6and 7 as well, to ensure that it is an “all-star cast” drawing from the entire series to date.

Like a Dragon: Were! will be released on Feb. 21, 2023, including Like Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name following later in the year and Like Dragon 8 in 2024. All three games will be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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