Brawling is King in Like a Dragon Gaiden

von Intel Gaming |

Fresh danger walks the streets of Sotenbori district, wher e death is cheap and honor rules. Hard-hitting, gadget-fuelled action adventure Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name comes hot on the heels of period piece Like a Dragon: Ishin! released earlier this year. It’s the present day, and series hero Kazuma Kiryu, the legendary Yakuza, has faked his own death in an effort to keep his family safe. Intel Gaming Access tracked down Hiroyuki Sakamoto, chief producer on the Like a Dragon series at SEGA’s Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, to squeeze him on what’s at stake for Kiryu this time round.

“Like a Dragon Gaiden is the hidden story after Kiryu’s disappearance from the stage in 2016’s Yakuza 6,” says Sakamoto. “It’s a profound story, filled with the anguish and conflict, bonds and love of a man who has erased his name and lives in the underworld as an agent.” As with every game in the triumphant and long-running series — the first Yakuza game was released almost exactly 18 years ago — Like a Dragon Gaiden keeps the focus on story and character, adding a ton of street brawling spiced up with fun new tricks.

This time players can switch between two distinct combat styles: Yakuza and Agent. Where the familiar Yakuza style is about hitting hard and launching street furniture into the faces of combatants, the new Agent style invites a more agile style of play. As an Agent, you have a bunch of cool toys at your disposal, including a lasso and even rocket shoes — particularly effective in flattening opponents. “We were inspired by many things, including numerous spy movies, which have influenced the action with gadgets,” says Sakamoto.

There are locations in Like a Dragon Gaiden that series fans will recognise, but it’s nonetheless impressive that the team has managed to deliver a second compelling Like a Dragon experience in a year. “The challenge was to develop this title in a fairly short period of time,” acknowledges Sakamoto. “The entire Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio team worked together to complete the project.”

And the Like a Dragon series continues piling on the heat as it gears up for the January 2024 release of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, the sprawling RPG adventure set in Japan and Hawaii. According to Sakamoto, the story of Like a Dragon Gaiden leads directly into Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. “We encourage you to play Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth after you have played Gaiden,” Sakamoto advises.

Don’t be disheartened if you’ve never played a Yakuza or Like a Dragon game before — there’s always room for one more bad-ass on the streets. “The game is not only for previous Yakuza and Like a Dragon fans, but also action-loving players who will enjoy the content,” confirms Sakamoto.

Fans new and seasoned can certainly expect more from the beloved series in the future, but will have to wait a little longer to discover exactly what. “After Like a Dragon Gaiden and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, we of course have many ideas, but we are not ready to disclose them yet,” teases Sakamoto, adding encouragingly: “We promise to continue to create games that will surprise and delight our players.”

Get Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name on Steam