After promising that it would be released in 2015, Sega snuck in just under the wire by announcing that Yakuza 5 will be available to download from the PlayStation Store on December 8 during today’s 2015 PlayStation Experience keynote. More than a simple crime story, Sega’s John Hardin tried to explain the appeal of the Yakuza series to those who’ve never played it (and his aunts) at the PlayStation Blog:
Taking place across five different cities in Japan, Yakuza 5 follows five protagonists who have been involved with various yakuza syndicates in the past. Through a series of events, the protagonists are forcibly dragged back into the seedy underworld of Japan and will need to rely on their fighting, driving, shooting, and dancing skills to survive. Moreover, we like to call the game “The Japan Simulator” because the game’s numerous side-missions and mini-games genuinely make the game feel like being in Japan.
Hardin also revealed that a 1980s-set prequel, Yakuza Zero, will also finally make its way to North America (and Europe too). In development exclusively for the PS4, players will “witness the rise” of Kazuma Kiryu in Yakuza Zero:
Not yet the Dragon of Dojima, Kazuma Kiryu tries to regain his honor after a botched debt collection that ended in murder. Additionally, for the first time in a numbered game, gamers will be able to play as Goro Majima, the Mad Dog of Shimano, as he tries to rejoin his clan. You don’t get nicknames like “Dragon of Dojima” or “Mad Dog of Shimano” for being soft, so expect each character to have his own unique fighting style and abilities that can be unleashed on poor rival gangsters. The game is set in Tokyo, December 1988, and players will experience the cold weather and cold hard cash that is flooding the city. Cash is king and everyone, especially the yakuza, needs to have more of it. Thankfully, Kiryu and Majima are the “entrepreneurial” type and will have plenty of ways to make, spend, and take money. From telephone clubs to disco halls, there will be ample opportunities for Kiryu and Majima to flex their colorful suits, gold watches, and fat stacks.
We don’t know when Yakuza Zero will be released, but unlike Yakuza 5 and its digital-only launch on the PlayStation Store, Yakuza Zero will be available as a downloadable title and on a Blu-ray disc.