It’s the people who’ve played the yakuza games the most who best understand that Sega didn’t make their games to be about yakuza life at all.
Are you still thinking about the strangeness of yakuza‘s abrupt renaming to its new title, Like a dragon? Why would Sega take back the name the franchise had already been known for for twenty years, knowing that longtime fans would be confused with the transition? Wouldn’t it be easier to just stick with the original name? Finally, Sega gives us real insight into all of this.
In a new interview with EDGE Magazine, franchise director Masayoshi Yokoyama made the startling revelation that the “Yakuza” games weren’t about being a yakuza at all.
This is how Yokoyama explains it:
“The main goal of our studio is not to portray Japanese yakuza. It is meant to represent people who are in positions where they are more likely to experience life and death situations. This allows us to explore basic human emotions and drama.”
If you are reading such a statement for the first time, it will make absolutely no sense at first glance. Isn’t the main protagonist of the game, Kazuma Kiryu, a yakuza leader? Aren’t you always fighting other yakuza to become the largest yakuza group in Japan?
But people who played that yakuza Games for years will understand the nuances behind Yokoyama’s feelings. Yes, Kiryu was a yakuza, but in the setting of the first game he actually is one former Member of the yakuza gang who tries to keep his nose clean and was drawn back into the yakuza business out of honor more than his own personal ambitions.
Kiryu could have become Scarface or Walter White of his universe, but we also know that’s not the direction yakuza games came in.
Soon the yakuza The games would get crazier and sillier as Kiryu would be given more ridiculous and amusing side quests that would hole him up closer to the people of his native Kamurocho and later Okinawa. This was a conscious decision by Sega to make Kiryu more attractive to players.
Eventually, Kiryu would take on a role that would completely take him away from the violence of the yakuza world. Of Yakuza 3 He would run the Morning Glory orphanage and adopt nine children, including Haruka, the daughter of his childhood sweetheart, whom he fully embraces as his own.
Today the Like a dragon Games strive to fully embrace the franchise’s goofier twist, a far cry from its once-probable influence on Japan’s formative Yakuza Papers franchises of films.
Like a dragon 8 was announced last year and will be released in 2024 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows and SAteam.
Source: EDGE via Games Radar