While Shenmue 3 hopes to re-establish its series in the modern gaming world, its spiritual successor Yakuza has been steadily becoming more and more of a household name, having hit a surge in popularity in the last few years thanks to a mixture of new titles and re-releases. And now, Sega have properly lifted the lid on their next main project for the series - Yakuza 7. But, in a radical departure from the rest of the series, it will be a turn-based RPG.
Revealed during a recent press conference, series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi called it a "watershed" moment for the Yakuza series. According to him, the original gameplay style, which was more akin to a beat 'em up brawler (think Streets of Rage but in 3D), had "reached one complete style" so the developers wanted to try something different. While he expressed hope that fans would welcome and enjoy the change, Nagoshi did add that if it's poorly received, future games will revert back to the original gameplay style.
Nagoshi: classic Yakuza game format reached one complete style so wanted to try totally different to jump. Our experts of action game creation made this RPG with their flavor; hope fans welcome this change. If not, happy to change back to action game for future releases.— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) August 29, 2019
A new teaser trailer for the game can be seen below, which gives fans a proper first look at the new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga - a former Yakuza who is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. The similarities between him and the last protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, seem to end there, though, as Kasuga comes across as more hot-blooded and loud. Fans can also catch a short glimpse of the new turn-based gameplay as well, which was shown during the press conference. Funnily enough, developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio actually first showed this style earlier this year on April Fools Day, leading many fans to assume that the switch to turn-based combat was a joke.
It was also mentioned that, in-game, Kasuga is a big fan of the Dragon Quest series of RPGs and Sega has managed to work out a deal meaning that said series can be talked about in Yakuza 7. With Dragon Quest 11 being a current, massive success, some cross promotion between the two could help Yakuza 7's sales.
It's clear, more so than ever, that the Yakuza series is only growing stronger, especially with every mainline game in the series soon to be on PS4 thanks to the recent announcement of the Yakuza Remastered Collection. This trilogy contains remasters of Yakuza 3, 4 and 5, with 3 already available for digital download now, and the other two planned to be released over the next few months. A physical copy of the collection will then come out in February 2020.
Yakuza 7 is currently slated to release on PS4 in the West in 2020.