SEGA have launched the official website for Yakuza 5, offering loads of information on this latest entry in the series. With a new engine and a massive increase in scale this looks to be the most ambitious game Kiryu and co have featured in to date!
Five is the magic number here, five playable characters and five huge cities to explore.
As well as the series mainstay, Kamurocho(Yakuza’s take on Tokyo’s seedy Kabukicho district), we’ll return to Osaka for the first time since Yakuza 2 and explore Fukoka, Nagoya and Sapporo for the first time. The series has generally had 2 main cities at most and then the odd side area, so this increase in scale is big.
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Yakzua 4 really benefitted from multiple character arcs, so it’s great to hear that’s a format they’re sticking with. Main character Kazuma Kiryu returns, joined by two of the protagonists from Yakuza 4 – Shun Akiyama and Taiga Saejima along with newcomer Natsuo Shinada, plus Kiryu’s adopted daughter Haruka is playable for the first time. Tanimura(Y4’s cop character whose fighting style focused on reversals) isn’t playable this time and no mention has been made of him, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t make an appearance at some point.
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Set 2 years after Yakuza 4, the death of the 7th Chairman of the Omi Alliance sparks an all out war. The Tojo Clan will be reaching out to old clans in these new cities to create a new organisation to stand against the Omi. Tojo Clan Chairman Daigo Dojima will no doubt call upon 4th Chairman Kazuma Kiryu to help forge this new alliance.
The lives of some returning characters have changed considerably during the 2-year gap, Kiryu – who we last saw managing an orphanage in Okinawa is now a taxi driver in Fukuoka. Saejima is serving a three year prison sentence and will no doubt bust a few heads while he does and Haruka now lives in Osaka, pursuing her dream of becoming an Idol. Not really sure what Akiyama’s up to, probably sleeping 🙂 Finally, Newbie Natsuo Shinada is an ex-baseball pro who left in disgrace after being accused of match fixing and now spends his life constantly running from debt collectors.
Engine improvements include an increase in map size, smooth transition between adventure and combat mode plus an overall improved dramatic tempo.
Yakuza 5 is slated for a December release in Japan, so hopefully a playable version will be at TGS in September.
No word on an international release yet.