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Yakuza: Like A Dragon Trailer Pulls No Punches On Next-Gen Gaming

Fans have known for a few months that a new entry in the Yakuza franchise, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, is coming — but this game is definitely developing an irreverent and unapologetic personality of its own. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the new trailer, which dropped on Oct. 20. The "Next Generation of Yakuza" video specifically pokes fun at the standard, next-generation gaming jargon that has emerged while showcasing a certain kind of dark humor that many players seem to appreciate. 

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a Sega-published Series X|S launch title that will release on Nov. 10 alongside the Microsoft consoles. It'll also be available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on that date. The title won't come to the PlayStation 5 until March 2, 2021 according to a tweet from developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. PlayStation 4 owners will be able to upgrade to the PlayStation 5 version when it arrives, but save files won't be transferable. Like a Dragon released in Japan early this year, and by March had sold more than 400,000 units (as reported by Gematusu).

Outside of Japan, people mostly haven't had an opportunity to get their hands on Yakuza: Like a Dragon yet, but the new trailer shows off a few of the unique next-generation gaming features that it offers in a rather satirical way. At first, the new video provides some general superlatives you might expect from a next-generation title,  like "breathtaking visuals" as it shows off some of the characters and "blazing fast speeds," complete with a traveling vehicle. Still fairly standard stuff.

Then things go a bit off the rails. The trailer advertises "immersive roleplaying" — again, nothing unusual, except for the bizarre scene that goes with it: a room full of men acting like babies with pacifiers awaiting the ministrations of a daycare worker. After that, the video doesn't even bother with seriousness. It advertises a bevy of features from "next-gen crustacean A.I." (perhaps parodying the PlayStation 3's giant enemy crabs?) to "optimized protagonist optimism." The visuals include strange but surprisingly cuddly costumes, an infinite Droste effect loop of a character holding his cell phone up, and crowd-surfing. Apparently, "cutting-edge hairstyles" and "highly shareable shenanigans" (presumably made to be distributed with the Xbox's new "Share" button) are included as well.

For many, the trailer offers a welcome lightheartedness. Such a humorous touch also seems unusual in the run-up to the release of next-generation systems coming next month. Intense debates, such as which console has the best launch lineup, have been taking place in the industry with the coming debuts of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 — both Sony and Microsoft have plenty at stake here. The taglines that make fun of the usual video game marketing tactics offer a welcome bit of levity right now. Even so, fans agree the taglines that make fun of the usual video game marketing tactics offer a soothing bit of levity right now, with many commenting on funny parts of the trailer.

The comments also indicate that this video apparently does a good job of getting people hyped for the release of the new game. Yakuza: Like a Dragon will eschew its action-gaming roots and embrace the RPG style, complete with turn-based combat. Kasuga is the first new main protagonist the series has had since the beginning, and he collects a group of outcasts to help him in his fights as he works his way through the narrative. 

Actor and internet personality George Takei voices Masumi Arakawa in the American version, playing the mentor who asked Kasuga to take the fall for someone else years ago. When Kasuga finally gets out of jail, he discovers that Arakawa has destroyed their previous clan and is behind the rise of the Omi Alliance. He tries to find out the truth about the past — a task that includes karaoke, a jobs system, nine separate districts to explore, kart racing, and much more.

The Yakuza series is well-known for its minigames and crazy side-quests, as showcased in a previous trailer. Some of the unusual graphics from the new trailer were likely drawn from these sources — although where the crabs come in is a bit ambiguous at this point. But if variety is the spice of life, Yakuza: Like a Dragon seems like it will offer plenty of heat. You'll just have to wait about three weeks for the actual game to be released to see how all these elements fit together into one cohesive story about a mob boss ruling over the criminal elements of Yokohama.