Fans of SEGA's iconic series have two reasons to be cheerful as the Japanese publisher has announced that both the remake of the 2005 original Yakuza, Yakuza Kiwami, and the next main entry in the franchise, Yakuza 6, will be coming west in summer 2017 and early 2018 respectively. You can see the announcement trailer, originally shown in the PlayStation Experience keynote, showing off the remake's complete graphical overhaul, below.
Yakuza Kiwami represents a remake in the true sense of the word, the graphics have been rebuilt from the ground up to run at 1080p/60fps on the PlayStation 4, the audio has been re-recorded with the original voice actors, and more mini-games have been added to Kamurocho to bring the open elements of the game more in line with later entries into the series. In addition, the developers have added the 'Majima everywhere' system which sees the one-eyed, fan-favourite, bad guy Majima Goro stalking Kazuma Kiryu's every step through Tokyo. The Yakuza team tells us this will keep players on their toes as Majima pops out of manhole covers and more to terrorize Kazuma when he least expects it.
Combat in the game has also seen an overhaul, with the game now incorporating elements of Yakuza 0's combat system such as switchable combat stances. An additional thirty minutes of cutscenes have been added to flesh out the story of the original, while the plot remains intact. Those who prefer the original language option in their Japanese games will be pleased to hear that this will be the first time that the original Yakuza has been available with the Japanese voice track outside of its home country. Early indications suggest the title, slated for release in summer 2017, will present a remake worthy of the name. To see just how much has changed in the decade since the PlayStation 2 original, check out the graphics comparison images below.
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Along with the announcement of the remake's western release, SEGA also confirmed that the next main entry in the series, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, will be coming west sometime in 'early 2018.' Running on a new engine, dubbed the 'Dragon Engine,' Yakuza 6 will introduce a new location, called Onomichi, alongside the series' long-standing representation of Tokyo's famous red-light district Kamurocho. Interestingly, Yakuza 6 will be the first game in the series to keep its subtitle in its western release. Both titles are being localized and brought to North America by SEGA themselves, while Deep Silver are handling the publishing of Yakuza Kiwami in Europe. It has not been confirmed at this stage whether Deep Silver will be handling the release of Yakuza 6 in Europe.
For those of you not familiar with the long-running mash up of street brawler and crime drama, the Yakuza series follows the story of the 'Dragon of Dojima' Kazuma Kiryu. It follows his life both in his time as an integral member of a 'Japanese Mafia' family and his subsequent efforts to distance himself from organized crime and live a peaceful life. The series is mostly known for it's over the top hand-to-hand combat, crazy mini-games, Japan simulation, and occasionally morally-dubious side quests. You can read our review of the series' previous main entry, Yakuza 5, here. It's worth noting here that this announcement comes as series fans in the west still patiently await the localization of Yakuza 0, due for release in North America and Europe on January 24th, 2017. As has been the case with all previous entries in the franchise, all the titles will be exclusive to PlayStation.
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What do you think of these announcements by Sega? Are you interested in the Yakuza series? If so, are you more interested in Yakuza Kiwami or Yakuza 6: The Song of Life? Share your thoughts in the comments below!