The Yakuza series will continue as a turn-based RPG

A one-time joke becomes the future of the franchise.

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Yakuza Like a Dragon
Sega

When Lost Judgment comes out in September, it will give Yakuza fans the chance to revisit the action brawler gameplay the franchise was known for before last year's Like a Dragon. And moving forward, Sega plans to keep it that way. In an interview with IGN, Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Kazuki Hosokawa said future Yakuza games would be turn-based RPGs. "We decided that we should let our signature action gameplay live on through Lost Judgment," they told the website.

That's a pretty significant development for the series when consider Like a Dragon didn't start as a turn-based RPG. It only became one in its last year of production when Sega released an April Fools' video that fans reacted to so positively that developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio decided to retool the combat. 

Nagoshi told the story to Archipel, a YouTube channel devoted to telling the stories of Japanese creators and artists. What had started as a joke quickly turned into an idea everyone on the team was serious about pursuing. "Nobody said that it was too late to shift to an RPG, that it was impossible or that it wouldn't please the players," he told the channel. After working on six numbered titles, that's something Nagoshi said he needed. "As I was thinking of how to follow the events of Yakuza 6, I wasn't too confident on the margin of progress I could make."

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