There’s not too much longer to wait to play Like A Dragon: Ishin!, the latest entry into the Yakuza/Like A Dragon series from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. The game itself is a remake of the original Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! title, which was only released in Japan back in 2014. With the remake of the title almost ready to be explored by Western audiences, a new interview with Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has given players a bit more insight into the game and its “all-star” cast of characters.
Speaking to PSU, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio Chief Producer and Director of the 2014 version of the game Hiroyuki Sakamoto and Like A Dragon: Ishin! Game Director Yasuaki Uehara discussed the timing of the remake and the studio’s choices for characters. Longstanding fans of the Yakuza/Like A Dragon games will recognise a number of faces in Like A Dragon: Ishin! from previous games. While these characters have the same physical likenesses of their iconic alter egos in previous Yakuza titles, in Like A Dragon: Ishin!, they’ll be taking on new personas entirely. When asked how the studio came to a decision on which characters should be included in the remake, the developers explained that character popularity, as well as their overall ability to contribute to the game’s storyline, were the main driving factors.
“We looked at all the characters who were both popular and important in our titles from [Yakuza] 0 onwards, and basically picked those out first,” Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio explained. “That was kind of the initial choice. The overall story of Ishin hasn’t changed. But we were looking at the roles within the Ishin story and places where we could insert new characters as actors that fit and play the role really well. We generally looked at that, too, in how to include them.”
The game’s prior Japan-only release was another reason why Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio opted to remake Like A Dragon: Ishin! for Western audiences. “In the past, we had a lot of people overseas who were very curious about it and wanted us to localize it and release it,” the developers explain. “Initially, we released it for the PlayStation 4, and it was very well received. A lot of new fans to the [Like a Dragon] series came from Ishin – they played Ishin, and they became fans of the series.”
Adding to this decision was the rise in popularity of characters that are now more globally recognized from Yakuza games post-2014. Ryu Ga Gotoku opted to build on this by adding them to the new iteration of Like A Dragon: Ishin. “Looking around at the overall health of the series, and where we are in the series, we felt now was the best time to remake Ishin. Especially because we have this idea of all-stars – this game has a cast of all-stars [from the series]. Right now we have all these new all-star characters, these new popular characters who have just popped out.”
There’s not too much longer to wait to explore the newest entry into the franchise. Like A Dragon: Ishin! launches on February 21. It’ll be available on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam and the Microsoft Store. Those who pre-order the game now ahead of its release will be able to get their hands on some extra items, including three bonus weapons and four days of Early Access to the game on February 17th.