Like a Dragon Gaiden will have all the side content you’d expect — just in a shorter game

Less time will be spent on backstory.

Screenshot via Sega YouTube

Fans of Yakuza, or Like a Dragon as Sega would prefer you call it now, fully expected to see something related to Like a Dragon 8 at last month’s RGG Summit. What they probably didn’t expect, however, was that it would star the series’ previous protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, and that he’d also be getting a separate game of his own, titled Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name.

Very little of Like a Dragon Gaiden was shown off outside of a cinematic trailer, with RGG Studio only confirming that it would be a traditional action game, not an RPG like Like a Dragon 8. They also revealed the release year of 2023 and that it would show what Kiryu was doing after the events of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life.

Thanks to a recent Twinfinite interview with studio head and executive producer Masayoshi Yokoyama, we now know a bit more about what to expect. While it sounds like a classic Yakuza adventure, it also seems to be more compact than the previous games, further cementing its status as a side game.

In fact, Yokoyama says Like a Dragon Gaiden is expected to be less than half as long as a typical Yakuza game, mainly due to the fact that it won’t be spending a lot of time explaining who Kiryu is. “We are depicting a pre-existing protagonist independently, and won’t need to include long explanations in the dialogue,” he explains, “I think you can say it would be somewhere around 4-6 chapters of a usual mainline game.”

It’ll be interesting to see then if the game will heavily rely on players already being familiar with Kiryu’s past or if it intends to serve as an introduction to his character for newer fans who began with Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which featured a brand new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga. Previous games in the series have usually aimed to be self-contained, although they’ve always maintained a degree of continuity for returning fans. Like a Dragon Gaiden will likely be no different and feature at least a few throwbacks to previous games.

Despite its shorter length, Yokoyama assured that the hallmarks of the Yakuza series will be present. Namely, a variety of side stories and minigames to eat up your time. He didn’t provide any specific examples, but it may be safe to assume that series regulars like mahjong, baseball, and karaoke will be included.