After a Yakuza game's Japanese release, we in North America usually have to wait a year or so to get the title stateside. If there's one thing we're not behind on it's all the news of what to expect, as a bunch of new Yakuza 5 details have just been revealed. And while development is still in the early stages, there's plenty of news to share.
The first bit of Yakuza 5 news should make fans scream "KAZZZZZZZYYYYY" as if they were the series' iconic and slightly eccentric character, Majima. That's right, Kazuma Kiryu, the franchise's main character, will once again return as the main protagonist. The game's story will take place after the events of Yakuza 4, and there will be little to no connections with the zombie shooter spin-off Yakuza: Dead Souls (Yakuza: Of The End in Japan).
Series producer Toshihiro Nagoshi would not divulge whether there will be multiple playable characters this time around. However, for those of you who need more Kazuma in your life, he will also appear in the studio's upcoming Binary Domain as a multiplayer skin, though this has only been confirmed for the Japanese version.
Yakuza 5 will see many technical improvements over it's predecessors, such as shortened loading times. Character models and camera work have been improved, and players should expect to see more even expression this time around -- though that was hardly an issue in previous iterations. The cities that players will visit are also getting a few tweaks, and should be about the same size or larger than those found in the previous PS3 Yakuza titles.
For those worried that Yakuza 5 is just SEGA milking the franchise, Nagoshi assures fans that this is not the case, likening the sereis to a house. Essentially, if one were to view the Yakuza franchise as a house, Yakuza 5 would be an entirely different building as opposed to just another add on.
There have been a few internal changes at Studio Yakuza, as well. Masayoshi Yokoyama used to work on the Yakuza scripts and scenarios, but he will now take on the role of producer. Hopefully this will not affect the game's story, for if there is one thing the Yakuza games are good at, it's storytelling. Some plot points may end up resembling a soap opera, but the story really ropes the player in, and it would be a shame to see that aspect of the series take a hit.
SEGA will be traveling to five cities (presumably all in Japan) in order to find girls to star in commercials for the game. In the past, the company would seek out hostesses -- a staple in the games as well -- to star in the commercials, but this time they are offering any female a chance to audition. It's like American Idol, except better because it's Yakuza. Too bad it's probably not televised -- I would watch that.
Yakuza 5 currently does not have a release date.
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