Yakuza 7 or Yakuza: Like a Dragon as its known in the USA, changed the Yakuza formula massively when it replaced its real-time combat with a new turn-based system. Yakuza: Like a Dragon would even change the main cast and city, taking big risks with long time fans. The gamble paid off for Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio as Yakuza: Like a Dragon reviewed favorably and has warmed its way into the hearts of long time fans. For me, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is already one of my top three favorite Yakuza titles and really excited to see what the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has in store for the next game, especially considering that the studio has been known to improve their games with every new entry (for the most part).
I decided to ask people in the Yakuza community what they’d like to see for Yakuza 8 or what it might be called in the West, Yakuza: Like a Dragon 2. We are joined by The Tojo Dojo, Pseudochel and Yakuza Fan as they tell you what they’d like to see in the next blockbuster installment of the Yakuza franchise.
The Tojo Dojo is a Yakuza fan site that has grown a good audience of fans for being so new, as it just launched on January 12th, 2020. The website has a dedicated Yakuza forum and plenty of news that gets covered from past and present Yakuza titles.
“The thing I’d most like to see with the next Yakuza game is for them to really take their time with the game and change up the formula a little.
With the amount of Yakuza and Judgment content we’ve got in the last 5 years I’m feeling some burnout from the series and wouldn’t be sad if they said Ichiban’s next adventure was coming in 2026 at this point. The recent news that the studio is also working on a new IP has me much more excited then anything Yakuza related right now. I just hope that this new series is a lot different to what we’re used to, I’d like to see the team try something drastically different like when they made Binary Domain.
I had hoped the Judgment series would give us some variety but they feel like an extension of the universe we’re already familiar with.”
“One of the biggest reasons I keep coming back to Yakuza: Like a Dragon besides the wonderful story and supremely fun turn-based gameplay is the interactions between characters. The main characters feel like a genuine friend group; their banter, random conversations, or general support of each other is what truly perpetuates my love of Yakuza 7.
My hope for Yakuza 8 is that RGG Studio really plays into the aspect of their friendship, implemented to the max with the squad accompanying Ichiban in substories and having more minigames to play.
In my opinion, the Kiryu Saga games with multiple protagonists could feel a little disjointed until all the pieces fell together in the end; but having all the main characters always present creates an atmosphere of camaraderie that is such a strong point to me. Although Ichiban is the main protagonist, he relies on his friends as much as they rely on him and each other. That Power of Friendship gimmick is so lovable and I hope that it remains a constant.
Also I really hope they add a Poppo Clerk as a Job.”
Yakuza Fan is one of the original Yakuza fan dedicated websites in the West and was the fansite that launched the ‘Bring Yakuza 5 West’ campaign!
“Looking ahead to Yakuza 8 (Yakuza: Like a Dragon 2?) knowing we’re returning to a turn-based JRPG style has me wondering exactly what would I want changed or expanded on? Yakuza: Like a Dragon did so much right straight out the gate it’s hard to know where to begin and not just sit back and wait to be surprised. Instantly I’d want a new city as we’ve already returned to Isezaki Ijincho and Kamurocho multiple times and I’d love to see characters crossing games from Lost Judgment into Like a Dragon 2 instead of being seemingly locked to their own series but those requests are superfluous compared to what I really want to see.
We already know to expect a return of Ichiban, he’s set to be the main protag for the next few games going forward so at the very least I’m hoping we get new party members to fill out the roster, with the same level of love and attention paid to each that appeared in the first. I’d love for Ichiban to hang out with a few more people from other underrepresented classes. Y:LaD did such an amazing job showing you perspectives from the homeless, sex workers, and immigrants. Humanizing and sympathizing with all of them. I want to see the sequel take on more of the social class system and systemic problems present in Japanese society. Y:LaD was great at showing you what the world looks like from the bottom up. Let’s go deeper into that world.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon was an amazing love letter to the Dragon Quest series. Everything from the music, and vocation system, to the sprites on the loading screens was a take on the Dragon Quest series in the best way possible which, in my opinion, created something that was even better and more captivating than the latest Dragon Quest titles released in recent years. If Like a Dragon 2 continues on this path I hope it leans harder into other RPGs, poking fun at them the same way the first game did with its Sujimon and some of the more inspired “monster” designs. The few bosses that really leaned in to either elemental weaknesses or refused to attack certain party members because of their gender stood out making each fight not just a numbers game but also a sort of puzzle. I always felt the game was at its best when pointing out how ridiculous a turn based RPG system is when translated to real life but then working within those tropes to justify its own gameplay and world. I want to see more of that world building.
From a gameplay perspective they need to fix the balancing. The biggest complaint I had when playing Y:LaD was being expected to grind out levels replaying the same dungeons or arena over and over to get to the next part of the story. It even stopped you at the first major difficulty spike to make sure you understood this. It was just time consuming bringing the entire middle and end of the game to a halt while you need to bolster your levels to not end up one-shotted by a basic enemy. With the extra dev time I’m hoping we’ll see some better balancing that doesn’t amount to just upping the amount of battles on the overworld or tripling the amount of experience given.
The final request I have is to never bring up Mirror Face again. While doppelgangers are nothing new for the series the speed and accuracy of which this character could change his gender, weight, and even race killed my suspension of disbelief. In a game that dedicated itself to playing into Ichiban’s fantasy, introducing a character that could do anything, be anyone, and was pivotal to “real life” events seemed completely out of place. The guy was actually magic in a world built on delusion; he stood out as ridiculous even by substory standards.
Like a Dragon 2 has a lot to live up to. The first game was an amazing step forward for JRPGs that even rivals games like the Persona series when it comes to characters. With the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio staff changeover I can’t help but feel the remaining members are out to prove that it wasn’t just a fluke, that the ship is in good hands and will be for years to come. Whatever’s next I’m just excited to jump back into that world and check back in with Ichiban’s life and wherever it leads.”