Yakuza: Like a Dragon Will Be A Launch Title For Xbox Series X
Big things are in store for Xbox fans. That much became crystal clear thanks to the recent Xbox Series X event held by Microsoft. The event was a way for the company to show off gameplay from various titles that will be coming to the next-gen console, as well as reveal who all is going to be involved going forward. The proceedings contained some delightful surprises, but one of the biggest came in the form of Yakuza. The series' eighth mainline entry, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, will be featured prominently as one of the launch titles available for Xbox Series X. It's a big win for Microsoft, and a feather in their cap as far as making the Series X a lucrative option right from the get-go.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a big departure for the Yakuza series as a whole. For those who haven't heard anything on it yet, here's the scoop: Kiryu's story is over. The dramatic saga that spanned seven whole games ended with The Song of Life, but that doesn't mean Yakuza is done. This is likely why Like a Dragon ditched the numeric convention in favor of an original name. The game centers around new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga, a hot-headed Yakuza member who takes a prison sentence for a murder he didn't commit on the promise of fame and glory. Turns out things don't go that way once he's let out. The game takes place in an entirely new setting with the Yokohama district of Isezaki Ijincho, though Sega has stated series mainstays Kamurocho and Sotenbori will still make an appearance in some form. Perhaps the biggest alteration to it is the combat; gone is the real-time brawl-em-up action from the other games. In its place: RPG-inspired turn-based combat with four characters.
As an added bonus for Xbox players, Yakuza: Like a Dragon will support Xbox Series X' Smart Delivery system, a feature that allows players to play the game on Xbox Series X at a later date if they already purchased it on Xbox One. In addition to this, the two consoles will share cross-save functionality for Like a Dragon, making it very easy to transfer from one to the other if you're not keen on purchasing a brand new console right away. It's likely that a lot of other games in Microsoft's space will see the Smart Delivery support going forward. That just leaves one nagging concern: How about other platforms? Following the Xbox event, Sega confirmed that the game will simultaneously release on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC via Steam alongside the Xbox One and Xbox Series X versions. No official date has been announced for this yet, as Microsoft has yet to give a concrete release date for their console outside of 'Holiday 2020', but once that's revealed, so too will the game's date be for all platforms. It's unclear when the game will come to PlayStation 5, the Series X' next-gen competitor that's set to release around the same time.
It's helpful, then, that Microsoft has so many partnerships with other publishers and developers. It's something they've touted at recent E3 conferences, where they've swept up other developers (such as Ninja Theory) under the Microsoft umbrella, giving teams more resources and funds than they had previously. During the Xbox event, they also revealed which companies are currently making Xbox Series X games. Some of the notable ones on the list include Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Square Enix, Capcom, Epic Games, and From Software, though there are many others. As mentioned previously, Like a Dragon won't receive a solid release date until Series X does. Even so, the game already released in Japan earlier this past January, and its seen good feedback there already. Recently, Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will not alter the Series X release date. He did admit, however, that certain game production times may be affected. This likely includes some launch titles they had planned. Keep an eye on the news.