Heck yeah, the Paradise Killer studio is working with a prominent horror dev on an open-world management RPG about an ex-Yakuza and his Japanese mascot recruits

Kaizen Game Works, the studio behind the bangin' 2020 detective game Paradise Killer, has revealed its next game, and it sounds absolutely wild in a way that seems meticulously catered to my precise tastes.

I think the best way to not only sum up what Promise Mascot Agency is about and also convey just how weird it is, I'll just share what Kaizen itself says about its second project. Fair warning, it's a doozy, so strap in. Promise Mascot Agency is "the world's first (and best) open world mascot management crime drama."

Open world. Mascot management (!), Crime drama. You're an exiled yakuza lieutenant banished to a cursed Japanese town and tasked with restoring an old rundown mascot agency - that is, an agency catered to Japanese mascots down on their luck. For the uninitiated, Mascots are adorable little characters usually designed to promote something like a region of Japan, an event, or a business. For example, Domo-kun is the brown, fuzzy, rectangular representative for the Japanese public broadcasting company NHK, while Pikachu is the mascot for Pokemon. However, not all mascots are created equal.

As the sole operator of Promise Mascot Agency, along with your rotund mascot sidekick Pinky, you mostly deal with "misfit mascots," like a big old cube of tofu literally named To-Fu whose greatest adversary is "Normal Sized Door". Recruit To-Fu and they'll do various jobs for you to increase the profitability and efficiency of the agency, but be prepared to train, manage their stress levels, and help them overcome challenges, like fitting through doors, using Hero Cards with various stat-boosting effects.

"Mascots have their own hopes, dreams and desires and you’ll need to negotiate to recruit them," Kaizen says. "Some mascots want money, some want fame, some want a rice ball from the local convenience store and some want to see the entire world burn to ashes in glorious hellfire."

You still with me? When you aren't recruiting and managing new mascots, you can explore the town of Kaso-Machi by bombing along in a beatdown, but upgradeable flying truck with Pinky holding on for dear life in the bed. Along the way you'll meet all sorts of whacky characters to earn new Hero Cards, but don't forget to take a plunge in the local onsen when things get a little too weird - as if they haven't already, months before the game releases.

Kaizen is working with Ikumi Nakamura, a developer best known for her work on Okami, Bayonetta, Evil Within, and Ghostwire: Tokyo, to bring this Japanese fever dream to life, which is yet another reason it is so firm on my radar you couldn't pry it off with an industrial wrench. Promise Mascot Agency launches on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2025.

Who knows, maybe it'll weird its way into our list of the best open world games.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.