Hot on the heels of its hit Fallout show, Amazon is releasing a 'gritty' series based on the Yakuza games later this year

Like a Dragon: Yakuza key art - Kazuma Kiryu showing off his huge tattoo
(Image credit: Prime Video)

Following the massive success of its Fallout series, a critical and commercial hit that sparked an unprecedented uptick of interest in the games, Amazon has announced that a live-action series based on Yakuza: Like a Dragon called, creatively, Like a Dragon: Yakuza will debut later this year.

Like a Dragon:Yakuza will tell an original story based on the famed game series, directed by Masaharu Take and starring Ryoma Takeuchi as lead character Kazuma Kiryu. The series will showcase "modern Japan and the dramatic stories of these intense characters ... that games in the past have not been able to explore."

(Image credit: Prime Video (Twitter))

Despite aiming to tread new ground, the series will apparently be based on the events of the first game: "In 1995 and 2005, spanning across two time-periods, Like a Dragon: Yakuza, an original crime-suspense-action series, follows the life, childhood friends, and repercussions of the decisions of Kazuma Kiryu, a fearsome and peerless Yakuza warrior with a strong sense of justice, duty, and humanity," Amazon said.

Masayoshi Kikuchi, head of Like a Dragon developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and long-time producer on the series, said he's never considered remaking his older work because of the "challenges and hardships" involved, but he seems to be glad that someone else is doing it.

"If I were ever sent to the past through some kind of cosmic joke, this is the experience I'd want to create," Kikuchi said. "If I had to go through the wringer anyhow, I'd want to make the most engaging versions of Kamurochō and Kazuma Kiryu I could—and this show has it all.

"While the games let you experience their world through the subjective lens, this adaptation will be the ultimately objective way to enjoy the show. I have no doubt that fans of the series will be drawn to how it brings the games to life and adds new surprises. Newcomers, I'm sure will find themselves invested simply in the gritty realism of the show. If anything, I'd love to watch this version alongside audiences all around the world—experiencing all of its intensity and soaking in every single second."

I'm not sure what to make of that. Yes, Like a Dragon is at least nominally a bloody-knuckles crime tale, featuring plenty of scowling villains and bad behavior. But it's also, well, this:

And that's a show I'd watch! "Gritty realism" seems less interesting somehow—although I say that as someone who never got into The Sopranos either, so take it for what it's worth. Maybe it's a "me" thing.

We'll no doubt get a better feel for what's in store when promotional trailers start to drop. There's no sign of when that's going to happen at this point, but I would expect to see more relatively soon: Like a Dragon: Yakuza will be released in two batches of three episodes each, on October 25 and November 1.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.