Kiryu's back, everyone, but where on Earth has he been? At today's Ryu Ga Gotoku Summit, we saw the first trailer for Like A Dragon 8 (opens in new tab) (née Yakuza 8). It showed everyone's favourite musclebound, honourbound protagonist make a triumphant return to the soaking streets of Kamurocho, but the story of how he got there will come via a different game trailered at the same event: Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name.
Like A Dragon Gaiden will tell Kiryu's story between Yakuza 6 and the next game, showing us what the Dragon Of Dojima was up to while other people were starring in his games. In the reveal trailer, we see Kiryu meditating on a sweltering summer's day in 2018, being admonished (with a large stick) by a monk for not letting go of his family.
Turns out the monk is a hypocrite, though, because it's soon revealed that the monastery in which Kiryu's taken up residence is just a front for the Daidoji Family from Yakuza 6. Pretty soon, a figure emerges from the shadows to give Kiryu one last job: escorting "a certain individual" who remains nameless throughout. Kiryu, on the other hand, doesn't remain nameless: he's now referred to as "Joryu" by everyone around him, which his shadowy taskmaster refers to as his "codename". Perhaps our boy has gotten into a bit of criminal espionage in his old age?
That's about it for the trailer, but the Ryu Ga Gotoku devs at the summit did reveal a few choice details about the size and scope of the game. Unlike Like A Dragon 8, which is set to be the biggest game yet in the series, Like A Dragon Gaiden will be a bit smaller than the mainline Yakuza games. It'll also return to the action-adventure gameplay of the pre-Yakuza 7 games, if you prefer to beat your thugs senseless in real-time.
Like A Dragon Gaiden will launch (opens in new tab) some time next year, ahead of the release of Like A Dragon 8 in 2024. Its announcement comes alongside a deluge of news about other Yakuza games: we're also getting a remake and English localisation of Yakuza Ishin in February (opens in new tab), and it's looking very likely that Yakuza spin-offs Judgment and Lost Judgment will head to PC (opens in new tab) in the near future.