Announced in the upcoming issue of Weekly Famitsu, the Yakuza 4 remake will launch in Japan on January 17th, 2019, and feature a new addition to their voice-acting cast. Coming just four months after the Japanese remaster of Yakuza 3, this release will mark the second out of the three remasters of Yakuza 3, 4 and 5. Additionally, the voice and likeness of the major character Masayoshi Tanimura will be changed, as original voice actor Hiroshi Narimura has since retired from voice acting work. In his place will be Toshiki Masuda, a voice actor with prolific anime billing, but otherwise limited experience with games. We'll see just how well Toshiki and the rest of Yakuza 4 stack up when it releases early next year in Japan.
Set one year after the events of Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4 follows the life of Kazuma Kiryu as he interacts and attempts to survive the ever-changing criminal underworld. Kazuma is not alone in Yakuza 4 however, as he is joined by three other protagonists, each with their own missions and fighting styles. You play as the corrupt cop Masayoshi Tanimura who specializes in aikido and kung-fu, and whose special missions involve receiving police reports and apprehending criminals on the streets. There's also the violent Taiga Saejima, whose missions involve training fighters through grueling practice sessions. Finally, Kazuma is joined by the mysterious loan shark Shun Akiyama, with his special mission set involves both building business relationships with local store owners and scouting for new hostesses at the cabaret club he owns.
While there's still no word yet on when those of us overseas Yakuza fans will be able to explore the remastered versions of Kamurocho for ourselves, but series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi did say that the surprising success of Yakuza in the West was one of the driving factors behind the trilogy of remasters. Hopefully, this means that we'll be able to fully explore Akiyama's story in the Yakuza 4 remaster, as the cabaret management was cut from the Western release. We'll hopefully be able to play Yakuza 4 on PS4 in the West soon, but Japan gets their chance on January 17th, 2019.
Are you hopeful for the full Yakuza 4 experience to come to the west? Are you happy to see these games being remade? Do you have any fond memories playing this originally?