Earlier today the Ryu Ga Gotoku team took to the stage to discuss the last 15 years of Ryu Ga Gotoku history. They had promised we’d see “what’s next for the future of the series” and in the end we were left with an announcement for Ryu Ga Gotoku 7 International Version (A PS5 version of Yakuza: Like a Dragon with the english content included) and a character encyclopedia book announcement being the highlights.
Among panelists were Takaya Kuroda (Kazuma Kiryu voice actor), Kazuhiro Nakaya (Ichiban Kasuga voice actor), Toshihiro Nagoshi (Yakuza series general director), Daisuke Satou (Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio representative / producer), Masayoshi Yokoyama (Yakuza series chief producer), host Yurika Tachibana (hostess actor in Kurohyou 2: Ryu ga Gotoku Ashura Hen). There was also a Zoom call of about 50 people that won the chance to sit in on the event live and have the chance to get their questions answered.
At the start of the event we were introduced to the Ryu Ga Gotoku timeline board which has every major yakuza release mapped out along with other major events that occurred the same year as the game launched.
Following the timeline on this board was to be our next 2 and a half hours. Allowing us to feel fully immersed in the passage of time.
Here’s the highlights:
- Nagoshi credits the advertising for making this a success along with the passion for his team to try something never before done.
- Okinawa was added to Yakuza 3 because Nagoshi liked to visit.
- Yakuza 4 was originally a spin off but the staff internally kept referring to it as Ryu Ga Gotoku 4 and once Kiryu was a playable character it became a mainline entry.
- Yakuza 5 was developed with the intention that it would be the series finale (which is very obvious based on the size, number of locations, and ending)
- Yakuza: Dead Souls was originally going to have Kiryu fighting Aliens instead of Zombies because Nagoshi really liked the idea of Kiryu yelling “don’t just barge into people’s planet like you own the place“
- Yakuza: Black Panther’s main character and tone were based on Ashita No Joe (the boxing Manga)
- Nagoshi-san admitted he didn’t know much about History or Fist of the North Star but trusted his team to make the game regardless.
- When it came to the Fist of the North Star he only thought of the manga as a “quarrel between two brothers” not realizing how close in contrast it is to Yakuza 1.
- When hearing the classical names of historical figures in Ryu Ga Gotoku Kenzan and Ishin he didn’t believe people were really called that.
- Yakuza 0 was not originally set in the 80’s but they needed a way to make Majima a playable character and this fit well with his timeline.
- The period on the end of Ryu Ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta. (Yakuza 6: The Song of Life) was meant to represent the end of Kiryu’s place in the story.
- In regards to Yakuza: Like a Dragon the team knew a lot of people would be mad at the genre change but it was needed to keep the series and team fresh. They had been creating action games for nearly 15 years and needed a change.
- A fan asked “If you could work for one Yakuza character who would it be” the general answer was Kiryu, Akiyama, or None as they’re all too bothersome.
- A fan asked if any characters personalities were changed during development. Nagoshi responded that although characters change while being developed once they are completed all that changes is the amount of screen time they get in later games. Like Majima for example.
- The fans were polled about how many have completed all games in the series. 84% said Yes and 16% had not.
- Nagoshi teased the audience saying “We’ve already started the next Yakuza game so look forward to that.”
- Kazuhiro Nakaya (Ichiban Kasuga /Nishiki) was asked how he prepares his voice when playing the different characters. He says it just comes naturally depending on who he’s playing.
The comedians that were playing the 151.5 hour Yakuza marathon stream turned up and pretended to get in to a fight. Kuroda, Nakaya, and Nagoshi each took turns breaking them up and then got roasted accordingly.
About 2hours and 15 minutes later they were finally ready to share some announcements for the future of the series:
- The special 15th anniversary logo
- The PS5 version of Ryu Ga Gotoku 7 International Edition was announced. This one has PS5 upgrades and includes the entire western localized version.
- 2 Colognes so you can smell like Kiryu and Ichiban (you can buy these at Don Quijote stores and BicCamera stores.
- A character encyclopedia containing all characters from Yakuza 0 – 7 even side characters and ones that turn up in sidequests. The book has been described as having “an overwhelming amount of information”. This goes on sale March 19, 2021 at retailers in Japan.
- You can preorder the DX edition of the book from the SEGA store and get some bonus goods; Desk calendar, 1 of 3 Towels, A bean plate set, a Majima construction helmet, and a Majima Construction towel.
- The set with the Majima Construction helmet sold out pretty much instantly.
- Preorder here.
- The band Shonan no Kaze will be holding a [Virtual Live Event] where they will be performing their songs from yakuza: Like a Dragon and Yakuza 0 while being presented in their Dragon Engine skins.
- The Phantasy Star Online 2 tie in was shown with the Ichiban Skin showing up January 2021
- A tie in with SEGA gambling app MJ was announced but no details as to what this will be have been provided yet.
After the event Nagoshi showed off his award from the PlayStation Partner Awards 2020 Japan Asia. Thanks were given to all attendees and all fans that tuned in from around the world. Hostess Yurika Tachibana even specifically thanked the international audience for tuning in “Thank you and Xie Xie”.