RGG Studio and Sega have kept up a busy cadence of releases for the Like a Dragon franchise (or Yakuza, as it used to be known until not too long ago), and fans of the series have plenty more to look forward to in the coming months as well. The main attraction is, of course, going to be Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, the next mainline instalment, which is due out in January. Before that, however, we’re getting another game to bide our time with when Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name launches on November 9. To prepare for its launch, then, here, we’re going to go over some crucial details you should know about its story, combat, optional content offerings, and more.
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life was supposed to be the last hurrah for series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, though he did, of course, return to the fold towards the end of Yakuza 7. Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name focuses on his story in the time between those two games. Having faked his death, Kiryu has gone into hiding for the protection of his foster children, though he’s soon thrust back into the action as a secret agent for the Daidoji faction under the codename Joryu when a mysterious figure tries to pull him back out of hiding.
Yakuza 7 was a big change for the series for multiple reasons, chief among them being a complete switch of genres. The upcoming Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth will follow in its footsteps and deliver yet another turn-based RPG experience, though Like a Dragon Gaiden is returning to the series’ older style, and will feature the real-time brawler combat that we’ve always been used to seeing in stories led by Kazuma Kiryu.
Having multiple different fighting styles for players to experiment with is this series’ bread and butter, and Like a Dragon Gaiden won’t buck that trend. It’s been confirmed that the game will have two fighting styles. There’s the Yakuza style, an aggressive, brawler style that will resemble Kiryu’s classic fighting maneuvers, and Agent style, a new twist on the series’ combat that will revolve around using high-tech gadgets in combat, martial arts techniques, and quick movements.
As you’d expect from a Yakuza game, Like a Dragon Gaiden will have multiple open world districts that will collectively serve as its setting. Of the three districts in the game, two will be familiar to fans of the series, those being Sotenbori and Yokohama. Both districts have appeared in past releases, including as recently as Lost Judgment (which featured Yokohama) and Yakuza 7 (which featured both). The third district, meanwhile, is an entirely new one. Called the Castle, it is accessible through Sotenbori, and is described as an “adult amusement park”.
Like a Dragon Gaiden’s story will see a conflict between two familiar factions in the Omi Alliance and the Daidoji Faction, which, of course, means that series fans will also see several familiar, returning characters, like Daigo Dojima, the sixth and current chairman of the Tojo Clan, and Masaru Watase, the patriarch of his family and the captain of the Omi Alliance, while the likes of Goro Majima and Taiga Saejima are also returning. Interestingly enough, Ichiban Kasuga – protagonist of Yakuza 7 and co-protagonist of the upcoming Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth – will also have a part to play. Oh, and Masaharu Kaito from Judgment and Lost Judgment will be showing up as well.
Familiar characters will clearly have a lot to do in Like a Dragon Gaiden’s story, but as you might expect, Kiryu will also be crossing paths with plenty of newcomers. There’s Kosei Shishido, the intimidating and loyal liuetenant of the Watase Family; Yuki Tsuruno, the second-highest ranking member of the Watase Family, described as a “bold and meticulous” man; Homare Nishitani III, a young yakuza who had a meteoric rise to become the head of the Kijin Clan; Kihei Hanawa, a handler for the Daidoji Faction, and Kiyru’s only point of contact with the outside world; Yoshimura, a violent Daidoji Faction manager who seems to have it in for Kiryu; and more.
AKAME AND SUBSTORIES
Another key character that will be making its debut in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. Living in Sotenbori as an informant, she is described as a jack of all trades who is “deeply acquainted with the city’s underbelly” thanks to her thorough network. Akame will also serve as your primary source of Substories, as it will be her who will distribute information that she has access to to Kiryu, sending him to different places and different people for various Substories and requests.
As you’d expect from any Yakuza titles, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name will also have a healthy smattering of side content on offer, which, of course, will include plenty of minigames. That will include the toy car racing minigame Pocket Circuit, the Boutique, which will let you customize Kiryu’s appearance, karaoke, which will also include a new song, and darts.
MASTER SYSTEM AND ARCADE GAMES
Players will also have the option to go to the arcade to play some games, which is yet another series staple at this point, and Like a Dragon Gaiden will include a number of classic Sega arcade and Master System titles. The likes of Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Daytona USA 2, Fighting Vipers, Enduro Racer, Alien Syndrome, Galaxy Force, and many others will be fully playable in-game.
Here’s side activity returning in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name that you’ll likely remember from Yakuza 0. Kiryu will once again be able to head to a cabaret club (found in the Castle district), where he can meet with one of five different hostesses. Interestingly enough, in Like a Dragon Gaiden, here, the game will transition to live action. How smoothly it handles those transitions remains to be seen.
Another returning side activity in Like a Dragon Gaiden is the battle arena, or the Coliseum, as its known here. Also found in the Castle district, where you’ll be able to participate in different kinds of fights in front of a cheering crowd, including tournaments, special event matches, Hell Rumbles (where you’ll be fighting against a swarm of enemies), and more. Players will be able to choose between multiple playable characters in the arena beyond Kiryu, including Goro Majima (among several others).
NEW VOICE FOR KIYU
We haven’t ever really heard too much of Kazuma Kiryu in English. The original Yakuza in the PS2 had an English dub, and featured Darryl Kurylo as Kiryu’s voice actor. Several subsequent Yakuza games released without English dubs, though the next time we got one in Yakuza 7, Kurylo reprised his role. In Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, voice actor and YouTuber Yong Yea will be voicing Kazuma Kiryu. He will also play the role next year’s Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
NO PHYSICAL RELEASE
As physical media becomes increasingly dominant, we’re beginning to see even major titles choosing to release only as digital games. Like a Dragon Gaiden will be one such game. Though it will get a physical release in Japan (where physical media has a higher marketshare than most other places), in the West, it will be a digital-only release on all platforms.
Like a Dragon Gaiden is obviously being marketed as a way to tide fans over until the next mainline entry in the series releases, and its price will reflect that. Upon its launch on November 15, on all platforms, the game will be sold at a price of $49.99 (unlike next year’s Infinite Wealth, which will retail for $69.99). Meanwhile, it will also be available day one via Game Pass.
Those intending to play Like a Dragon Gaiden on PC won’t need a very beefy rig to be able to run it, as is usually the case with the series. On minimum settings, you’ll need either an i5-3470 (3.2 GHz) or a Ryzen 3 1200 (3.1 GHz), along with either a GeForce GTX 960 (with 2 GB VRAM), a Radeon RX 460 (with 2 GB VRAM), or an Arc A380 (with 6 GB VRAM). Meanwhile, on recommended settings, you’ll need either an i7-4790 (3.6 GHz) or a Ryzen 5 1600 (3.2 GHz), along with either a GeForce RTX 2060 (with 6 GB VRAM), a Radeon RX Vega 56 (with 8 GB VRAM), or an Arc A750 (with 8 GB VRAM). On either setting, you’ll also need an 8 GB RAM.