Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi recently spoke with 4Gamer to talk about how Yakuza: Like a Dragon ended up becoming an RPG.
Here’s a snippet from the interview:
4Gamer: We saw the completion of Kazuma Kiryu’s story as a big punctuation mark for the series. Yakuza: Like a Dragon introduces new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga. Did the big change in direction come at an early stage for Yakuza: Like a Dragon?
Toshihiro Nagoshi, Sega CPO: “Well, we didn’t exactly decide that in advance. However, as the series continues to build over a decade, while there’s still room for growth as an action game, there’s the thought of wanting to go for it if there’s a chance it can also grow under a different genre.”
“Leaving the system the same felt half-hearted if we’re changing the protagonist from Kazuma Kiryu and setting from Kamurocho. We need to go all-out since it’s a new departure for the series. With that policy in mind, we weighed options with trial-and-error, and in the end, settled for an RPG.”
4Gamer: So there’s a possibility that it could have been something else other than an RPG?
Toshihiro Nagoshi: “Yes. We also had plans for some kind of action and RPG hybrid. We also had ideas for something action and out of the ordinary. However, I felt that making something too extravagant would choose its own players. Yakuza series fans aren’t all a bunch of big gamers, after all.”
“For example, I’m sure we could make a high-difficulty action game or an action game that has superhuman-like movements. But doing so would break the balance with the drama.”
4Gamer: So making it an RPG would fit with the drama of Yakuza.
Toshihiro Nagoshi: “RPG is just a style, so there aren’t many dramas or themes that don’t work with them. There are important parts to it like ‘How much game joke material and settings should we put together,’ and I felt that we could do a good job.”
“However, since we’re changing genres from what we’ve had up until now, I understood that it meant getting backlash from a considerable number of fans. In any case, I decided to be brave and keep moving forward with no fear.”
Yakuza: Like a Dragon releases for PlayStation 4 in Japan on January 16, 2020. The game releases in North America and Europe in 2020. You can check out some Yakuza: Like a Dragon‘s RPG elements in the latest Japanese commercials. You can also check our previous report for a look at Daigo Dojima, Masaru Watase, and more.