In an interview with Famitsu, Yakuza developer Ryu Ga Gotoku said that it has taken a leap into the unknown with Yakuza 7: Hikari to Yami no Yukue to prove that it can do more than ‘just’ action titles (via Gematsu).
Yakuza 7 has a ‘live command RPG battle’ system which is a major departure from the combat style of its previous installments. Chief producer Masayoshi Yokoyama took to Twitter to explain what the players can look forward to, as translated by Gematsu. ‘The fight is constantly in motion,’ Yokoyama said, ‘Except for some bosses, when you encounter an enemy, the battle will begin from right where you’re standing. ’
‘Enemies, party members, and even the city will remain in motion. They don’t stop moving. Characters will turn towards nearby enemies and keep their distance. And naturally, since these battles take place in the city, characters will fall if they bump into things like street signs or bicycles,’ he emphasised the ‘live’ aspect to the combat. But, there is an assist feature if players would like to take a more casual approach. ‘There is an “Auto” mode for people who want to play without worry, which automatically chooses actions based on each character’s class and traits,’ he said.
The turn to a JRPG format was also illuminated in the interview with Famitsu. Yakuza 7 is about taking the first step toward building new strength from nothing and nowhere. Protagonist Ichiban Kasuga is shot by his former mentor and boss, and reawakens in Ijincho Town in Isezaki, Yokohama. His theme of evolution is one that Ryu Ga Gotoku took to heart. ‘Unlike Kazuma Kiryu, Ichiban Kasuga is not a man of immense strength who can march into enemy territory by himself,’ it stated. ‘He fights alongside his friends, and the game system that best expresses this fact is an RPG.’
Kasuga’s party level and progress with him through the main storyline and side missions. Combat encounters will secure experience points, skills, and money, and it’s possible to level up just through battles alone. Each companion has differing abilities, as they can be assigned jobs that will be easy or difficult to complete depending on their traits. Items and accessories can be equipped, along with elemental weapons, and Yokohama is around ‘three to four times bigger’ than Kamurocho.
Ryu Ga Gotoku acknowledged that the combat and genre change up is a risk, however, it still considers the new game to be a ‘true successor’ to Yakuza Kiwami 2. We’ll be able to see the ‘live command RPG battle’ in action at the Tokyo Game Show on September 12.
Yakuza 7: Hikari to Yami no Yukue launches for PlayStation 4 on January 16, 2020 in Japan, and later in 2020 for North America and Europe.