Strong digital presence overcomes sluggish start
When Sega’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon launched in Japan on January 16, word came in that the seventh mainline entry to the popular franchise had only shifted around 157,000 physical copies. In contrast to the 218,000 copies sold at launch by predecessor Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, things looked a little glum for new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga.
However, we’re now two weeks removed from launch day, and the numbers are starting to look up. Speaking on a recent Sega Nama broadcast, Series Director Toshihiro Nagoshi announced that – once you include digital sales – Like a Dragon has now sold around 300,000 copies.
This is very positive news when you also factor in that Like a Dragon not only features a full cast of new and unknown characters, but also takes a widely diverse approach to its action, replacing Yakuza’s classic button-bashing brawls with an all-new turn-based strategy mechanic. Taking such a huge departure from the characters and gameplay of the previous titles was an enormous risk – one Team Yakuza should be commended for taking – but it seems, despite earlier reports to the contrary, that the gamble might have paid off.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is available in Japan on PS4. A western release is expected later in 2020.