Early Yakuza: Dead Souls concept saw our heroes battling aliens in Kamurocho

Of all the cities, on all the planets…

Yesterday saw Team Yakuza host its Ryu ga Gotoku anniversary stream, looking back on the myriad of mainline titles and spin-off releases in the dramatic/ridiculous RPG franchise, celebrating 15 years of back-alley brawls and hilariously off-tone mini-games.

Unfortunately the stream was, (once again), a bust in regards to new announcements, with series director Toshihiro Nagoshi reiterating his previous statement that the development team is currently working on a new title, but offering no new details regarding the mystery title’s brand, platform, gameplay style, or release date.

Regardless, as translated by the folks over at DualShockers, there were some interesting tidbits discussed by Nagoshi and the stream’s guests, which included producers Daisuke SatÅ and Masayoshi Yokoyama, alongside Kazuma Kiryu and Ichiban Kasugi’s respective voice actors: Takaya Kuroda and Kazuhiro Nakaya.

Among the anecdotes recounted was the admittance that Team Yakuza chose turn-based combat for the recent Yakuza: Like a Dragon after feeling they had simply taken the series’ traditional brawler elements as far as they could go. It was also revealed that Yakuza 0 – arguably the title that broke the series into the mainstream – came about as a result of fans clamoring to play a mainline Yakuza title with the maniacal Goro Majima as protagonist.

Perhaps one of the most interesting tidbits refers to 2011 spin-off Ryu ga Gotoku of the end – known on western shores as Yakuza: Dead Souls. Initially, the third-person shooter saw Kazuma, Majima, Goda, and Akiyama squaring off against an alien invasion in Kamurocho. As fans will be aware, this was ultimately changed to a zombie apocalypse instead, perhaps in keeping with the industry’s dogged fascination with battling hordes of the undead.

While it’s disappointing not to receive a new title announcement, it makes me happy to see Yakuza continue to reinvent its tried-and-tested universe – while continuing to draw in new fans – over a decade after the series’ debut. Those who were around for the earlier PS2 releases will be aware that the series had a very inauspicious launch in the west, so watching the franchise rise to the dizzy heights it enjoys today has been almost as satisfying as a bicycle wheel to a punk’s cranium.

Yakuza – Ryu ga Gotoku 15th anniversary live stream summary [DualShockers]

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s. Former Saturday Night Slam Master. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors.