Yakuza Series Producer Toshihiro Nagoshi On Switching Protagonists, And Adding Kiryu To Yakuza Online

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Ichiban Kasuga, the poster boy for Yakuza Online’s main story, is also set to be the protagonist of an upcoming PlayStation 4 game that hasn’t been revealed yet. During Sega Fes 2019, series producer Toshihiro Nagoshi commented on the switching of protagonists and how the series will see an evolution alongside it. Furthermore, he also talked about why Kiryu Kazuma was added to Yakuza Online as part of a series of story chapters that reenact the first Yakuza’s plot.


Nagoshi’s comment on the next Yakuza game [Thanks, Game’s Talk!]:

Toshihiro Nagoshi, producer: “Considering that the game is an action adventure game, I’d like to change the game significantly. Up until now, even when we talked about evolution, people would give opinions like, “Aren’t those just minor changes?”, but this time… If I were to compare this to an online title, rather than a large patch, I want to change it from Version 1.0 to 2.0. This is a lengthy process.


A while ago, we released Judgment, and that was also part of our experimentation for this change. We’re making this game with the amount of effort comparable to making the first Yakuza game. I believe the day will come where you will all be surprised by the changes.


To elaborate further, one of the great things is the change from Kiryu Kazuma to Ichiban Kasuga as the protagonist. When people have different personalities, they have different motivations to action, and if they have different motivations to take action, the game will change as well. The things they talk about will be different, and the way they do things will be different.


Changing the protagonist becomes a factor in forging a new path for the series, so that people aren’t like, “Well, it’s just another Yakuza game, right? It’s a game where you just walk around the streets, right?” I want to make full use of this change in protagonist. For the story, in terms of emotions, up until now the story’s been full of sadness and anger, but in this game, we’re thinking of adding in comedic scenes, goofy scenes, and those sort of laughs that translate into emotional impact in the end.”


Adding Kiryu Kazuma into Yakuza Online:

Yakuza Online is adding Kiryu Kazuma finally tomorrow, and with him are new, separate story chapters that reenact the plot of Yakuza. The first three chapters will be added at once, and the rest added in chapter by chapter like the plot of the main game. Here are Nagoshi’s comments on why Kiryu made it in [Thanks, Famitsu!]:

On why a story based on Yakuza will be added:

Nagoshi: “That’s a simple question. It’s a way of responding to the players’ voices that they want more Yakuza-like content.”


Famitsu: So you responded to your userbase’s feedback.

Nagoshi: “That’s right. The original Yakuza was sold as an HD version in the past, and furthermore got a full remake as Yakuza Kiwami, and both were received well. For Yakuza Kiwami especially, although we made a lot of it from scratch, we were worried as to how players would receive the story of Yakuza, which they had played many times over in the past. It sold way better than we imagined. From that, we could see that there was a need to play the original Yakuza in various forms. Referencing this, we decided that it would be good idea to add in the story of the first game into Yakuza Online. In a sense, you could say that it was a natural process.”


Famitsu: By the way, here’s a simple question regarding the story. How much will Yakuza Online’s story connect with the new Yakuza game?

Nagoshi: “That’s… something you’ll understand when the latest PS4 Yakuza game comes out. (laughs) Of course, we won’t make it completely unrelated, so please relax.”


The new Yakuza game is in development for PlayStation 4. Yakuza Online is available for PC, iOS, and Android.

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Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!