Yakuza 5 Coming In December With Five Playable Characters

By Spencer . May 22, 2012 . 8:22pm

yakuza1Yakuza 4 had four characters. Yakuza 5 ups the ante with five characters and five locales to travel to. Famitsu reports Kazuma Kiyru is playable along with Yakuza 4 leads Shun Akiyama and Taiga Saejima. Haruka Sawamura who Kazuma protects like his daughter is a playable character in Yakuza 5.


Tatsuo Shinada is a new character. He used to be baseball player, but was banned from the game for gambling. Debt collectors are chasing Shinada down who may not be guilty. Famitsu says Shinada is a character players can emphasize with.


The story picks up after Yakuza 4 (some sources say two years after, but this is unconfirmed). Haruka left Okinawa and went to Osaka hoping to become an idol. She has been practicing singing and dancing, but her agency has sinister plans for her. Taiga is in prison serving a three year sentence. Shun is traveling to Osaka and Kazuma is working as a cab driver in Fukuoka. Players will be able to visit five different areas in Yakuza 5 – Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Hokkaido.


Famitsu also says the game will have the largest amount of content than any game in the Yakuza series. The development team spent twice the time working on Yakuza 5 and made many improvements to the game’s controls (which were not revealed) and have seamless transitions between battle and adventure scenes.


Yakuza 5 is slated for release on PlayStation 3 in December.

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  • MrRobbyM

    I really wish they’d change the combat system. It’s too shallow and repetitive for me. It’s the reason I stopped played Yakuza 3. Besides that, I love the Yakuza series.

    • Zertan

      Well they say that it’s a new engine. Not sure how different it’s going to be.

  • Fantastic baby!!!

  • Hoping for a US release.

    • Herok ♞

       Every major game in the series has one so its a matter time before they announce it.

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    >Playable Haruka

    She’s all grown up now! <3

  • Watahashi

    Early scan. Gawd, I can’t wait.

    • Zertan

      Found the Screenshot with Kiryu and ….TAIGA???

    • William Hsia

      man the years were VERY generous to haruka

  • Luis Camargo

    Me Gusta and December can’t come soon enough. Getting the JP version and the US right after =D

  • Zertan

    Haruka – Okay I’m guessing that subquest from 2 meant something in the actual story

    Tatsuo Shinada – needs to meet with Akiyama and get a loan from him.

    Taiga – What is he in for this time?

    Akiyama – What is he doing in Osaka? Did someone kidnapped Hana?

    Kiryu – Cab Driver… Um… I’m going to sink that in for a bit.  Never thought I’d see him as a cab driver.  Thought he would still be running the orphanage.

  • kupomogli

    So they brought back every character except my favorite.  Well.  Kazuma is everyone’s favorite, but out of the new characters.  Why did you not bring back Masayoshi Tanimura, Sega?  He was an extremely likable character and had an amazing moveset compared to the other characters. 

    Saejima, while cool at first, just became boring with attacking and then charging each attack repeatedly.  The most boring character to play as. 

    Akiyama is awesome though and I’m glad he’s making a return. 

    But Tanimura.  You’ll be missed.  I really think that they could have left Tanimura in the game as a cop.  Get a promotion to a high ranking officer that still works the streets.  Maybe a murder investigator.  That would keep him on the streets and keep him kicking a**.  Or maybe break off from the police and become a private detective.  I mean cops can transfer to other cities if they want to expand beyond Kamurocho.

    • XiaomuArisu

       Well is Tanimura face is based on his VA who is a famous(?)actor in japan,maybe that would cost too much money…or the rumors are true that Goro Majima gets a spinof,that would mean he needs a partner for…whatever a maddog does….casino robbery?Oceans Eleven style?

  • gouramiagogo

    So it’s set in my second hometown, Osaka?  Cause I’m all in if it is.

    •  How can you have more than one hometown?

      • if you move around 8-12, it becomes hard to choose just one.  you identify with both.

      • gouramiagogo

        When you live in Japan for many years, but the first place you stayed was Osaka, it becomes your second home town.

        Plus, it’s Osaka.  Between the food, the people, and the history, I’ve adopted it (or it’s adopted me?).

  • Man this sounds like it makes no sense sequelwise. I sure hope they explain why Taiga is in prison again or why Kiryu is a friggin cab driver…

    • William Hsia

      maybe taigas serving for escaping jail, to avoid any spoilers even with the end his escape still counts as illegal, plus that annoyingly persistent guard can file charges against our little power house..as for kiryu…man ill need 100 writers 500 geeks and 25 Galatia fans to help explain this to me

      • maybe he retired and somebody else got tuck care of the orphanage and hope harukas battle stile is good or is she going to battle at all

    • Wondering_Zero

      Taiga escaped from jail remember? Not going into spoilers, but because of that I’m sure he earned some jail time for it. Kiryu…That’s a good question. After the events of 4 I wouldn’t think he’d have to do something like that, but then again IIRC due to all the debt his family had amassed during his leave probably has something to do with it.

      Or it has to do with the orphanage…Dead Souls, IIRC again, isn’t canon so disregard everything there.

      • cj_iwakura

        25 years. Time served should have gotten him off the hook, I would think.

        • XiaomuArisu

           Dont forget he
          Is a yakuza
          escaped from jail
          almost every cop is a corrupt ahole.
          But hey after a week in jail comes majima to the rescue using a shovel and a goat.

  • Ok, see, since three I think Yakuza contracted a growing case of seasonal rot. In three it was the whole deal with the orphanage and all the kids and how the game tried to make us care for them, but spent too much time on it so they got annoying instead. Aside from that Yakuza 3 was great. The main problem with Yakuza 4 was, of course, the story didn’t focus on each character as much as we wanted it too, and the plot became a game of “who can betray the person next to them first?”. Now 5 has 5 playable characters, which is bound to make 4’s problem worse, not to mention these wild developments. Why is Saejima back in jail? Haruka is becoming a pop idol and Kazuma is a cab drive? What the Hell happened to the orphanage? Also, Haruka is playable? Does that mean that she can fight now? Since when did it become ok for this game to hit women?

    • Zertan

      “Since when did it become ok for this game to hit women? ”

      Yakuza 1 – A certain lady died at the end
      Yakuza 2 – Kaoru fight along side with you, sometimes get punched in the face in cutscenes
      Yakuza 3 – In a side quest: you beat up a girl cross dressing as a man and get chase by her lover whom a man cross dressing as a woman.
      Yakuza 4 – A certain lady died. Hana get gonk on the head by a butt of a gun. Tanimura’s side quest involve training with a female agent. involve punching each other and slamming them onto walls.
      Dead Souls – Female zombies.
      Haven’t played nor watch the other games including Kenzan.

      •  Ok, I stand corrected. Violence against females was just overshadowed by the abundance of frowny guys beating each other with bycicles and whatnot, but clearly it’s still there. But the fact that Haruka will be playable still worries me a bit.

        • you’re playing as her, you will be doing most of the hitting.  why is this even a problem?

    • Nemesis_Dawn

      Me, I found myself very much caring for the kids in Yakuza 3.

  • Paradox me

    1) Excited, because Yakua freakin’ rules.

    2) Gonna refrain from speculating. That’s what the game’s story will be for, explaining all of these seemingly strange turn of events. I’d be pretty bummed if they went and spoiled everything via Famitsu.

  • DanteJones

    Shun Akiyama, woo! He was seriously my favorite character from Yakuza 4, hands down. Glad to see hes returning for Yakuza 5! :)

  • W00t OWH YEAH, Definite Day one Buy!

  • Wondering_Zero

    Fudge…I liked Tanimura too so it’s a shame he’s not making a comeback, though 4 did wrap up his story nicely so I can understand why he’s not coming back. Will be hoping for cameos. Also, incase anyone is confused about a few things here are a two points I’d like to make. I did only play 3 and 4 so don’t quote me on this.

    -Taiga escaped from jail in 4 so he probably earned some jail time even after the end of 4.

    -IIRC at the end of 4 Daigo mentioned something about a huge debt his family had amassed so that could possibly explain Kiryu’s job change. Or it could do with the orphanage.

    That would, hopefully, explain the two most confusing things about what was revealed so far. Hope to see this stateside and now if you’ll excuse me I’ll be picking up Dead Souls to make sure I do my part on getting this to come over.

  • Alexander FromUkraine

     Five playable characters? I guess the story will be a mess even more than in Yakuza 4. On one hand I understand why developers feel the need to keep expanding games in next iterations, but in many cases they end up loosing something important that made previous entries so great. For me it was a story – I loved Yakuza 1-2 because they have very interesting stories, easy to follow, about things anyone can understand and relate to. Then there was Yakuza 3. Barely made it ouside of Japan. Still good, but story.. about orphanage, and land, and some policics, I guess? Yakuza 4 – I don’t have a clue what it was all about. With 4 characters in a game the scale of Yakuza it’s borderland impossible to create interesting and coherent story. That you will most likely get is convoluted mess, unfortunately.
     I’ll still buy 5 (unlike Dead Souls, skipping on that one, which is weird as I like everything zombie), but I so wish they would scale it back someday and make it about one, maybe two playable characters that I will end up really caring about instead of several, when I’ll forger even they names next day I finish the game

    • Dantis

       Dead Souls is actually terrific.

      • Alexander FromUkraine

        Really? Hm.. I guess I should wait for discount and pick it up. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised. Even if not it’s not so bad when it’s cheap. And I really wish to support Sega when I can, since they are one of my favorite developer/publisher this gen.
         OK, it’s decided, I’m buying it =)

        • Nemesis_Dawn

          You do realize, with how bad Sega’s finances have been, waiting for a discount is NOT supporting Sega, right?

        • Dantis

           It’s definitely worth playing if you’re a fan. I enjoyed it a lot.

    • SupaPhly

      Dead Souls isn’t bad actually. It’s basically Yakuza 4.5, but with gun action and zombies instead of fighting, plus you play as Majima.

    • Nemesis_Dawn

      Dead Souls is awesome, especially the Majima sections. The only part that sucks is when you play in first person mode. That’s a death sentence, most of the time, but I only had to use it during two boss battles the whole game.

      •  Majima being playable is probably Dead Souls’ only saving grace.

        • Nemesis_Dawn

          I completely disagree. I loved it and still would have, had he not been playable. It’s a quality game, with one weird control issue.

    • Story of 3 and 4 made perfect sense to me, but then again I can make sense of Kingdom Heart’s supposed crazy plot so… Maybe it’s just me?

      And about the gun combat in Dead Souls that everybody’s talking about, I had trouble at the beginning using FPS mode but stuck with it and works just fine for me. Head lock on is a must upgrade.

  • Dantis

    Once this actually gets shown I’ll probably be really hyped. Love all the Yakuza games.

    Not fussed about Saejima being back as a playable character though. I would have preferred Tanimura.

    • they probably dropped Tanimura because Haruka and the baseball player will have all the finesse moves.

  • SupaPhly

     freakin yes!
    I hope sega usa doesn’t spaz out and decides not to localize this, that would make me a really sad panda

    • boundries_san

      I don’t think so here, Almost all Yakuza series had  comes here even Yakuza of the Dead lol.

  • Ronald Bixler

    “Haruka left Okinawa and went to Osaka hoping to become an idol. She has
    been practicing singing and dancing, but her agency has sinister plans
    for her.”

    What, they’re going to make her swing around a leek while she sings? Perhaps her older, overweight, female agent is going to go crazy and try to steal her identity? Maybe they’re trying to use her singing to empower an army of giant, humanoid aliens?

    • Göran Isacson

       I am now imagining what those stories would be like if everything was solved by having angry Yakuza show up to beat up whoever was threatening the idols in them. And it is glorious.

  • canarinta

    Are the Yakuza series self contained, or should I start with 1?

    • XiaomuArisu

       Well I just played the 4th and loved it!
      The game has movies explaining what happend in the other 3 games that helped.

      • canarinta

        Ah, then hopefully I can start with 5. : )

  • XiaomuArisu

    So if I understood correct….
    Akiyama the money lender goes to osaka
    Haruka(PLAYABLE!?!)Idol-in-training goes to osaka(Maybe Kazuma trained her in singing and fighting)
    Shinada has debts should go to osaka(see Akiyama)
    Taiga is in prison maybe Goro”Mad dog”Majima will get him back
    Kiryu Kazuma The dragon of dojima will do what Kauma can do best”Cleanse evil with his fist”
    Im afraid my PS3 will explode with so much awesomness.
    Dear Xbox users this game is one of the reasons I have a PS3 and not the boxXD

  • Nemesis_Dawn

    After thoroughly enjoying Dead Souls (once I learned that going first person should always be a last resort), I really hope Sega are able to localize this one. I love the Yakuza series like no other, but with Sega’s recent fortunes, I’m not sure if we’ll see this one.

  • badmoogle

    Awesome!Finally we’ll get to explore some new locations!

  • Ravage27

    New engine with new gameplay and locations? Sega you better localize this or else…

  • Kazuma as a cab driver…if his boss is a short sleazy balding guy and he has a coworker who’s a wacky ex-hippie stoner then this game will be even more awesome

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

     custom  characters would be lovely don’t you think?

    • XiaomuArisu

       Could a custom character be better than Akiyama?XD

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        no NVM then :}

  • Roberto Armando Iraheta

    Haruka as a playable character? YES!!!

  • Zero Shift

    I kinda wish they would do an HD collection of the first two Yakuza games. I really want to get into this series, but the stories are all connected and the fact that the story is a huge part of the series pushes me away from just jumping in with the PS3 games.

    • Nemesis_Dawn

      I want to see a collection like that too. However, there are movies (about a half hour each) on Yakuza 3 and 4 that tell you what happened in each of the games. It’s enough to know who everyone is, enough so that you’ll still enjoy the games. But yeah, I do still want to play the games.

  • Göran Isacson

    Having an idol singer beat in someones face with a stop-sign may just be the kind of crazy awesome that FINALLY gets me playing one of these.

  • KOTheWorld

     Haruka is becoming very very beautiful!

  • Setsu Oh

    Haruka better have those incredibly awesome yakuza onna black awesome kimonos full of awesomeness

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