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Yakuza: Like a Dragon gets an extended trailer and an official Western release window

(Image credit: Sega)

Update: The next Yakuza game will drop the number scheme, at least outside of Japan. Sega has confirmed that Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the official title for the new game, which is the first to star new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga, and that it's coming to the West in 2020. "Like a Dragon" is a translation of the series' Japanese name, Ryu Ga Gotoku, so it's a nice culture-bridging callback along the same lines as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard's title.

Sega also shared an extended trailer for the game that features full English subtitles. This trailer expands on the new crime kingpins Kasuga will clash once he arrives in Yokohama - and though it doesn't show any of the new turn-based RPG-style combat, the announcement confirms that's coming in the Western version too.

Original story: The Yakuza series was always meant to continue after bidding farewell to longtime protagonist Kazuma Kiryu in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. Now that Kiryu's entire story will soon be playable on PS4, it's time to properly greet the new face of the series: Sega announced today that Yakuza 7 will hit PS4 on January 16, 2020 in Japan and later that same year in North America and Europe. According to translations of the Japanese press conference, Yakuza 7 will star a new protagonist - which we knew - and it will add turn-based strategy elements to the standard Yakuza fighting system - which we didn't, unless you count that April Fool's Day joke.

That "turn-based" part will probably make Yakuza fans go "hahhhh?!" like a clan patriarch who just heard that Kiryu beat up the 20 guys who were supposed to kill him. I was unnerved when I heard it too, but it looks like it could be a natural evolution of where the Yakuza series has been going with support characters in recent games. Check out this off-screen gameplay clip.

New protagonist Ichiban Kasuga doesn't fight alone. He's accompanied into battle by allies, and players can pause combat to use their special abilities - the character we see above takes a swig of liquor and holds up a lighter, using his alcohol-infused breath as flamethrower fuel. Once they finish, the next character in the "Turn" counter in the lower-left side of the screen takes over.

It's a huge change for the Yakuza series and for Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio games as a whole (Judgment shared Yakuza's real-time combat system despite starring a lawyer turned private investigator). I loved fighting dozens of thugs in real time with nothing but Kiryu's fists and occasionally a traffic cone or two, but I'm willing to give the new style a shot. As Yakuza leaves the Dragon of Dojima era behind, it's time for the nearly 15-year-old series to try new things.

You can get ready for the Ichiban Kasuga era with this story trailer, if you don't mind all the untranslated dialogue.

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