Stranger than fiction sometimes.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is out worldwide now (it was released in January of this year in Japan as simply Yakuza 7), and by and large, the reception has been positive. We were pretty big fans of it ourselves. Having said that, it was a pretty big departure from the other titles that came before, going from a more beat’em up action game to a turn-based RPG with some more active elements. Opinions are what they are, but what’s crazy is what lead to this change.
In the latest documentary from Archipel Caravan, they cover Toshihiro Nagoshi, who has been a General Director for the studio behind the Yakuza games since the beginning. While it touches on the series as a whole, it has its focus on Like a Dragon in the second half. There he reveals that the game actually was being developed with the same type of action gameplay that the series was familiar with.
However, and you may remember this, but last year there an April Fools “leak” from Sega that showed Yakuza done in JRPG-style. After the game was finally revealed, it was assumed this wasn’t a joke at all, but had been an early version of the game. As it turns out, apparently due to the positive reaction to that joke they redesigned the combat around being the full turn-based combat we have now.
It’s a wild story on a lot of fronts, the biggest one being that it means the combat was overhauled in a very short time considering the Japanese release date. Either way, whether you like or not, the very turn-based Yakuza: Like a Dragon is available now.