Well, that was fast! It was just the other day that we had some Yakuza news to share with you all, following Sega's announcement about the Yakuza Remastered Collection. It seems the company has no intention to slow down on all of this Yakuza fanservice! During a live press conference held at Akihabara, Tokyo's UDX Theater, Sega officially unveiled the next entry in the Yakuza series - Yakuza 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness. Curiously, that's only the name for the Japanese version of the game. Western audiences will see the name changed to Yakuza: Like a Dragon. For ease of explanation, we'll keep calling it Yakuza 7 throughout this article. Yakuza 7 will see the upheaval of long-time series mainstays like Kazuma Kiryu and Kamurocho in favor of a completely new protagonist, setting, and even gameplay.

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The story in Yakuza 7 revolves around Ichiban Kasuga, a disgraced Yakuza member who returns from prison to make a name for himself in the new setting of Isezaki Ijinch, Yokohama. After experiencing betrayal from former comrades, it's up to Kasuga to form a ragtag group of like-minded guys to help him work his way up. Sega was quick to put out an announcement trailer and screenshots showing off all the new characters, and in true Yakuza fashion, there are quite a few. Yokohama serves as a sizable new setting, and according to Sega, it will be "more than three times the size" of Kamurocho, the district Yakuza games are usually set in. While it's not the first time the series has played around with new locales, Yokohama marks a series' first from the usuals.

The biggest and wildest change to the formula this time around, however, comes in the form of the new battle system. Traditionally, Yakuza games put you in real-time action battles against random thugs that stop you on the streets. You usually have full control over your movement and skills with this system. Yakuza 7 has instead decided to shake things up by utilizing a turn-based RPG style battle system. Kasuga and his cohorts will have different commands and specialties in combat, between attack, defense, support, and recovery. Some footage and screenshots of this new mechanic can be seen, and it looks exactly like what you'd expect: Yakuza in RPG form, ala Final Fantasy. The moves the characters use are every bit as brutal and physical as the ones you'd usually be using in a typical Yakuza game, so no worries there.

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Surprisingly enough, the game is set to come out fairly soon in Japan. They'll be getting it on January 16th, 2020. The West can expect the release sometime later in 2020, but that's about as specific as Sega could go for the time being. The delay is likely due to localization, which is always an intense task in and of itself to provide a faithful translation. Once the game is out, it will be available exclusively on PlayStation 4. Knowing Sega's track record, the game will also be ported to Windows PC sometime down the line, just like the other Yakuza games. The decision to ditch the 7 for the Western release might indicate that Sega views Like a Dragon as a sort of reboot for the series. It's especially interesting, considering the company just recently did something similar with the recently-released Judgement, a pseudo-Yakuza game with a different protagonist and story. You can check out Yakuza 7's new trailer under here, or check out the full list of translated details on Gematsu. Keep in mind that the trailer is Japanese only for the time being.

Tanner
Tanner

Tanner is a freelance writer. He enjoys all things video games, particularly the weirder ones, and can often be found drinking coffee and trying to get through his backlog.

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