Sega has just announced a prequel to the Yakuza series set in 1998, titled Yakuza 0, or Yakuza Zero.
The announcement may not be the one that many fans were hoping for – the localization of Yakuza 5. Yakuza 0 is set in December 1988 in the fictional districts of Kamurocho, Tokyo, and Soutenbori, Osaka, according to Japanese magazine Famitsu (via Gematsu).
The game stars Kazuma Kiryu, a 20-year-old bill collector working for the Tojo Clan’s Dojima Family, and Majima Goro, a 24-year-old cabaret club manager whose club has closed down. As a prequel, Yakuza 0 sets up the events of the first Yakuza, released back in 2005 on the PlayStation 2. It seems that many of the characters from the original will be making an appearance in Yakuza 0.
While Yakuza 0 is in development for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, the game is only said to be around 65% complete at this point and does not have a Japanese release date.
Since the original game back in 2005, the Yakuza franchise has exploded into a franchise of five main-story games, a token zombie apocalypse spin-off, Yakuza Dead Souls, and a Meiji-era spin-off, Yakuza Restoration. Neither 2012’s Yakuza 5 nor Yakuza Restoration are currently planned for a western release, and while whether or not we see a localized copy of Yakuza 0 remains to be seen – it does seem quite unlikely at this point.
We will keep you posted on news of the Yakuza prequel as it emerges.