Yakuza: Like a Dragon, known in Japan as 龍が如く7光と闇の行方 (Ryu ga Gotoku 7: Hikari to Yami no Yukue, meaning Like a Dragon 7: The Whereabouts of Light and Darkness), is an upcoming entry in the long-running Yakuza series. It is slated for release in Japan on January 16, 2020, with a western release following later in the year.
This is the first game in the main series following Yakuza 6, the final entry in the story of the legendary Dragon of Dojima, Kazuma Kiryu. Taking over as the leading man of the series is Ichiban Kasuga, of the Arakawa Family within the Tojo Clan. When the family's captain finds himself on the hook for murder, Kasuga happily takes his place, turning himself in to the police and taking the rap for a crime he didn't commit in 2001. Eighteen years later, he finishes his sentence and returns to civilization, only to find no one to welcome him home. Desperate to find out why he was forgotten, he searches for his family, only to receive a bullet from his leader for his troubles.
Now in the coastal city of Ijincho, Yokohama, Kasuga finds himself with more questions than answers, and no one to turn to. He must now fight his way from rock bottom back to Kamurocho, and find out why the Tojo Clan has forsaken him.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon represents the most radical shift of gameplay in the series's history, changing from a free-roaming action-RPG to a more traditional JRPG. A menu-based battle system was originally teased in an April Fools video before Sega confirmed that it would be implemented in the game during its official announcement.
Even with a new battle system, the heart and soul of the Yakuza series remains strong, as the game weaves a hard-hitting crime drama story with amusing sidequests and a plethora of other amusements to participate in, from new diversions such as go-kart racing to returning classics like karaoke, hostess clubs, and arcade games.
- Action Girl: As per the official trailers, Saeko is the first female protagonist in the series who can participate in battles.
- Anti-Climax: The announcement trailer has Ichiban Kasuga finally walking out of prison after serving 18 years there, loudly proclaiming that Hes Back. When Kasuga actually looks around, he realizes that nobody but an elderly woman was in hearing range.
- April Fools: On April 1, 2019, Sega streamed gameplay of a Yakuza game that played more like a JRPG than a brawler. A few months later, however, Sega confirmed the battle system they had presented then was legit, even demonstrating it in a TGS 2019 gameplay trailer.
- Area of Effect: A female character is shown performing a fiery attack that knocks over several enemies in a large radius in the TGS gameplay trailer. Kasuga can also attack multiple enemies around him as a Dancer.
- Genre Shift: From open-world brawler to turn-based JRPG, as shown in the TGS gameplay trailer and the associated demo.
- Job System: As per the TGS gameplay trailer, there are a variety of classes that Kasuga and his comrades can use, from the katana-swinging "Yojimbo" to the mage-like "Host", the wide-attacking "Dancer", and more.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The new battle system first demonstrated in the 2019 TGS gameplay trailer turned the typically gritty combat of the Yakuza series into something highly inspired by more fantastical RPGs and anime, from attack names flashing on the screen for special attacks to Kasuga using a bat not unlike a fantasy hero's sword.
- Summon Magic: ...well, not quite magic, but the idea is the same. As shown at TGS, Kasuga can call in help for a nominal fee from a variety of allies.
- Shout-Out: The announcement trailer ends with Kasuga directly referring to Dragon Quest by name while watching fireworks.
- Taking the Heat: The announcement trailer begins with Kasuga accepting an offer to go to prison for a shooting committed by his family's captain.