Yakuza 5 due in Japan December 2012, has new engine

Yakuza 5, as revealed in a leak from the latest Famitsu magazine, sounds like it's expanding significantly on its predecessors, spreading out into five Japanese cities (Tokyo, Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka) with one protagonist in each – for a total of five, one more than any previous game.

Those protagonists include Kazuma Kiryu, who is now a cab driver in Fukuoka (but will certainly get back to solving everyone's problems with violence), Yakuza 4's escaped convict Taiga Saejima, once again in prison, loan shark Shun Akiyama in Osaka, and Kiryu's daughter Haruka, playable for the first time. Why, we remember when she was just an NPC in a PS2 game, cheering for us as we showed off in the batting cages ... they grow up so fast.

According to the summary of this Famitsu interview, Yakuza 5 has had double the development time of previous games, and features a new engine, allowing the game to move from battle scenes to adventuring "seamlessly." The game is reportedly set for a Japanese release this December.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.