The videogame story of Japanese mobster Kazuma Kiryu is set to end after 12 years, as Yakuza 6: The Song of Life arrives in March 2018 for Western audiences.. The series originally began in 2005 with a PlayStation 2 release. Now the ‘Dragon of Dojima’ returns after a spell in prison in the first title to have been developed from the ground up purely for the PlayStation 4.
This means a new physics engine, interactive shop fronts, and revamped minigames. Plus a story entirely voiced in Japanese audio as Kiryu finds his surrogate daughter has gone missing, and is lying in a coma after an accident. He also learns that she had a son, who Kiryu has to look after as he journeys from his previous haunts in Kaurocho to the seaside town of Onomichi, Hiroshima to find out the truth about Haruka, her son and a sinister secret.
The Yakuza series has always combined stories and mass battles. In The Song of Life, Kiryu sticks to one fighting style but in addition to combos and the Heat Actions from previous games, he can now unleash an Extreme Heat Mode with heavy-damage combos using his fists or any nearby weapons.
Given the long-running history of the series, the final outing for Kazuma Kiryu is being celebrated. When Yakuza 6: the Song of Life arrives in March 2018, there will be a limited launch edition of the game with a sleek hardcover art book which also holds the game disc.
And there’s also an “After Hours Premium Edition” on the way. This will include:
- The Hardcover Art Book
- 2 Bar Glasses (280ml) desigered with Kiryu’s dragon tattoo
- 2 Ice Stones to chill your drinks. one with the flame heat action icon, and one with the Japanese ‘kiwami’ heat action icon
- 2 Tojo Clan branded coasters
- All in a collectable outer box.
The long-running Sega series began with a plot created by novelist Hase Seishu, who was involved with Yakuza and the immiedate sequel. The first game had an English voice cast including the likes of Michael Madsen, Eliza Dushku and Mark Hamill. Since then the other main games in the series have also had releases in the West, including the spin-off, Yakuza: Dead Souls. Only a few spin offs have stayed as Japanese exclusives. Like the 2014 title Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin!, which is a bit of a shame as it’s set in the Bakumatsu period in Japan (1853-1867), and followed samurai Sakamoto Ryoma.
All of the titles have been developed by Sega, except Kurohyo: Ryu ga Gotoku Shinso and Kurohyo: Ryu ga Gotuku Ashura Henu, which were developed by Syn Sophia for the PlayStation Portable in 2010 and 2012. In total, the Yakuza series has now sold more than 9 million copies.
The Yakuza series has also led to live action and film versions, with Like a Dragon: prologue from 2006, directed by Takeshi Miyasak. And Like a Dragon deirected by Takeshi Miike in 2007, with Kazuma Kiryu portrayed by actor Kazuki Kitamura.