Toshihiro Nagoshi, arguably the most tanned Japanese man you’ll ever see and Yakuza series producer, has told Famitsu that work on the next Yakuza game is underway – with auditions already being cast for the new games’ hostesses. No platform, release date or localization details were given, but Nagoshi expressed that he expects a further announcement to be made later in the year.
The “hostesses” mentioned above reference the cabaret hostess that have made an appearance in every Yakuza game to date. Players have to smooth talk them into meeting them outside of club hours for mini-game based hijinx. The hostesses character models are modlled in exacting detail after their real-life counterparts. Hostessing is actually an accepted part of Japanese culture, so while some may take issue with it, it at least makes sense in the context of the game’s setting.
Japanese netizens have responded to the news by expressing their discontent with the series in general, decrying that it has fallen into a clichéd rut. It’s a sentiment that we can’t help but agree with based on our time with the abysmal, as-of-yet un-localized Yakuza 5.
It’s a sentiment that is sure to puzzle many western fans of the series who’ve only had the chance to play the five of the ten entries into the series. Among those are the two PSP Kurohyou (which translates to “Black Panther”) spin-offs that follow the story of hot-headed delinquent Tatsumi – these two games featured a close-quarters combat system of grapples, counters and sways that’s closer to a boxing simulator than the arcade-y style the series is normally known for.
There are also two un-localized samurai-themed Yakuza games, the passable Yakuza: Kenzan, which was set in during the 1600s, and the most recent series release – Yakuza Ishin (Yakuza Restoration). As tired as we were with the series, we were bowled over by the player friendly design, compelling level of challenge and addictive side-quest structure in Restoration, a game we feel breathed new life into a dying franchise.
We don’t know at this point if the new Yakuza game will be localized or not, but if new details are to be forthcoming this year it’s most likely they’ll come out of the Tokyo Game Show. The Tokyo Game Show is scheduled for September 18-19. We’ll let you know more about this upcoming Yakuza game as we hear about it.