Earlier today, Sega finally dropped the big news on the next chapter of the Yakuza. A new name, Yakuza: Like a Dragon. A new lead protagonist with the introduction of Ichiban Kasuga. A new location with this game taking place in Yokohama, Japan. Oh yeah, and perhaps the biggest news that this new Yakuza game is going to break the mold and feature a turn-based combat system. One that’s similar to a JRPG, as what we’ve seen in Persona 5. Yes, I know Persona 5 isn’t the only game to use this, it’s just an example, ok?

Apparently, the reception of the news well, except for the combat system change. Judging from all the comments and complaints I’ve seen today, there seems to be a number of those who aren’t like the change. Who can blame them, right? One of the biggest appeals to the Yakuza series has been the exceptional 3D combat that we’ve all come to love. It’s fun, it’s over the top and did I mention it was fun? I’ve enjoyed it, even if I haven’t played most of the games in the series. So why change a good thing, then?

Well,  this new game is a beginning of sorts for starters. A new main lead, a new chapter and this seemed like the perfect time to change this up. We’ve all played a turn-based game at one point or another. Some we’ve enjoyed, others we couldn’t wait until the game was over. Now, that’s not me trying to soften the blow, but perhaps we should give this new combat system a chance. Throughout seven different Yakuza games, Judgement and Fist of the North Star, Sega has been cranking out pretty much the same thing. Sure, they’ve added a few things here and there, but the combat has always been cookie cutter. Perhaps Sega wants to do something completely different and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’ve played many a game in my time where a developer was like “We’re going to change things up” and I figured whatever they did would stink. Yeah, sometimes that did happen. In other instances, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by the result.

At the same time, it’s not like Sega is going into this blind. Far from it and we all know why. Sega owns Atlus, Atlus has pioneered some of the best JRPG games that any of us have ever played with the Megami Tensei and Persona games. Games that I’ve witnessed people play and exclaim how great they were, even when those very same people weren’t fans of turn-based games. Especially with Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5. Heck, you can still find people that can’t believe how good the combat is in Persona 5.  You better believe that Sega kept that mind and is tapping Atlus’s think tank when it comes to Yakuza 7.

Hell, let’s be honest with each other, ok? How many games have gone and made major changes that ended up just want the game or series needed? I could go on and on about this. Innovation is what drives change, change leads to evolution which ultimately benefits everyone. If Sega feels this is what the series needs, I doubt anyone of us knows better than they do. I can already see the potential of this new system. Just think of the team combo attacks and strategic elements this is going to bring. I also am liking the idea that we’ll have parties instead of just one guy going around and better the crap out of everyone. If the charm that made us fall in love with the series remains intact, I doubt the combat system changes are going to make that much of a difference.

We only saw a small bit of that today and any of what we saw can change throughout the development. What little we did see, sure it didn’t seem that impressive but it also didn’t look bad either. We’ll just have to wait until Sega breaks it all down and gives some hands-on of the game. Which like won’t be until the 2019 Tokyo Game Show. And if we see something we don’t like, be honest and tell them. But not until we see something more than a few seconds of gameplay. Oh, did I say a few seconds? Sorry, I’m mistaken as Sega actually gave us an early look at the game and we all thought it was an April Fools joke. Instead, we saw some gameplay footage months ahead of time and damned if it wasn’t interesting when we thought it was going to be an online Yakuza game. Blessed Sega, for not only tricking us by actually giving us a look at the future

So, I’ll remain very curious about Yakuza 7, and I feel you should too. Should you not care, the classic Yakuza games will still be playable. With Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Zero, along with the remastered collection and Yakuza 6. Not to mention the spin-off, Judgment and Fist of the North Star. There’s still more than enough to go play if innovation isn’t your style. Which would be funny, since it was the same innovation that birthed the Yakuza series in the first place.

Yakuza 7 is due out on January 16th, 2020, with a Western release is also slated to be released sometime later in 2020.

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. Yes, I'm a black guy!