Like a Dragon 8 will be a turn-based RPG, what about the future? In a new roundtable interview that included IGN, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio [RGG Studio] and series executive producer Masayoshi Yokoyama seemed to leave the door open for a return to the franchise’s action-based roots…. if it fits the story.
Speaking before the formal announcement of Like a Dragon 8, Yokoyama was cagey about its status despite series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Kazuki Hosokawa previously saying that Like a Dragon would remain a turn-based RPG going forward. It was later confirmed that Like a Dragon would indeed be an RPG.
As for the series overall, Yokoyama says that Like a Dragon will utilize whatever gameplay mechanics enhance the story – even if that means turning the series into a “party game.”
“For us, when we make a game, the kind of system itself, we don't feel restricted by it. We basically design our games, we use the system that best highlights the story that we want to tell,” Yokoyama explained. “In Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, our goal is to make a game with an interesting story, so whatever system best highlights that is the system we'll choose…If we think a party game will make this story sound the best, we will make a party game. And one of the really fun parts about making a game itself is that there are no rules…when you're making a game, you make the rules. So in that case, we like to stay flexible.”
Released in 2020, Yakuza: Like a Dragon was the first game in the series to feature turn-based RPG mechanics. Yokoyama denied the long-held rumor that the system arose from an April Fool’s Joke, saying that the studio had already decided to try turn-based combat long before that. In our review at the time, we wrote that the system “successfully manages to introduce a more tactical form of team-based street fighting without sacrificing any of the series’ signature flair and offbeat humor.”
However, some criticized it for its lengthy battles and occasionally unbalanced mechanics.
“[W]e are very aware of both the good and bad feedback and we knew that we had a lot of places that we could improve on, both technically and in the way the game feels. So if, and this is big if, we are indeed making another turn-based series, we would definitely find things that we can improve on. Once again, just clarifying the ‘if’ there,” Yokoyama said.
Yokoyama and RGG Studio are coming off several major announcements including the official reveal of Like a Dragon 8 and a brand-new sidestory featuring Kazuma Kiryu. RGG Studio also recently revealed Like a Dragon: Ishin, a new action-based samurai game for the PlayStation 5, during this week’s Sony State of Play. You can find everything announced here.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.