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Like a Dragon 8: release date speculation, trailers, gameplay, and more

No one expected Ichiban’s adventures to be over after just one outing, and we were right to assume so. This scruffy-haired goofball with a heart of gold (and fists of steel) is back for another adventure in the streets of Kamurocho and beyond. However, it appears that yet another, somewhat unexpected face from the series’ past will be joining him in some capacity. After the series took on the subtitle of Like a Dragon, which was always what the game was known as in Japan, that moniker has now fully replaced the old Yakuza branding.

Like a Dragon 8 will be the direct sequel to Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, which introduced us to the new protagonist of the series, Ichiban Kasuga, as well as the shift from a 3D action brawler to a turn-based JRPG. This major shift paid off since that game was the bestseller in the series to date, so a sequel was all but inevitable. However, you never can quite be sure where this series will go next, narrative or mechanically, so we braved the back alleys of Kamurocho to gather all the intel we could on Like a Dragon 8.

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Release date

Ichiban from Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
Sega

With the initial announcement, we only got a release window for Like a Dragon 8, which is slated for sometime in 2024. This makes sense since the series typically hits a near annual release cadence, and we’re already getting two other games, Like a Dragon: Ishin and Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, in 2023.

Platforms

Despite being two or so years off, Like a Dragon 8 isn’t going to abandon last-generation consoles just yet. It is announced for PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Trailers

Like a Dragon 8 | Announcement Trailer

The announcement trailer for Like a Dragon 8 is quite brief but has a rather surprising reveal, given the assumed direction the series was taking.

The trailer opens on the familiar streets of Kamurocho with the unmistakable silhouette of Ichiban strutting toward the camera. According to however good the translation function is on YouTube, many voices talk over one another, saying things like, “It’s been a long time, Ichiban.” Most of the dialogue the translation doesn’t even attempt to parse, due to so many voices. However, you can clearly hear Adachi, Nanba, Saeko, and (we believe) Joon-gi and Zhao as well, though it is tough to tell.

At this point, a second silhouette joins Ichiban. This time, we get subtitles as this second figure states, “Guess we don’t have a choice.” To which Ichiban replies, “All right, it’s hero time … Kiryu-san!” If the voice hadn’t given it away, we finally see the faces of our two leads: Ichiban and a gray-haired Kiryu.

While Kiryu did appear in the prior game, it was not in a leading role. He was essentially a boss fight and summon whose purpose was to show the passing of the torch from him to Ichiban as the series’ new lead. That, however, may no longer be the case if his role in the game is as prominent as his placement in this trailer is anything to go by.

Multiple leads aren’t anything new to the series, with Yakuza 0 swapping equally between Kiryu and Majima and Yakuza 4 having four playable characters. How this game will handle it, or if our assumptions about Kiryu are completely wrong, will be revealed later.

Gameplay

Yakuza 8 Ichiban and Kiryu
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Like a Dragon was the splitting point for the series. From that point, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios (RGG) explained that the Like a Dragon series would continue on using the JRPG, turn-based style gameplay, while the new series, Judgment, would carry on the traditional 3D brawler action mechanics the series was built on. So, even though we haven’t seen a lick of gameplay yet, it is almost guaranteed that Like a Dragon 8 will feature an updated and expanded version of the gameplay style we had in Like a Dragon.

Outside of combat, expect to still have a dense city area to explore, with Kamurocho almost certainly being included as one of the explorable areas. There will no doubt be the staple mini-games spread around the city, such as karaoke, arcade games, batting cages, bowling, and perhaps a few new activities to mess around with.

Some type of business or management game is also another feature most games include that you’re typically able to spend tons of time on. Whether it’s running a cracker business or a real estate company, these side businesses are surprisingly well-featured and developed.

Pre-order

2024 is still a far way off in the future, plus RGG has two other Like a Dragon games to market and release before Like a Dragon 8, so don’t expect pre-orders to pop up for this one anytime soon. Once they do, though, we’ll be right here with the details for you.

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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