Yakuza series developers Ryu Ga Gotoku already brought out one announcement this week: a new look at Like A Dragon: Gaiden during Summer Game Fest. But I'm less interested in a new Kiryu-centered game (let the man retire) and am way more invested in whatever Ichiban and co. are getting up to in the next mainline Like A Dragon game. RGG showed up to the Xbox showcase today to share its proper name (Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth) and a release window (early 2024) but after watching Ichiban go full Austin Powers environmental censoring gag I somehow actually know less about what the hell this game is going to be.
Ichiban wakes up on a beach, fully pantsless, surrounded by English speaking sunbathers. "An unexpected chain of events sets two legendary ex-yakuza, Kasuga Ichiban and Kazuma Kiryu on a larger-than-life RPG adventure," it says in the trailer description, which also confirms that yes, this is definitely the next mainline game. And that's all we get.
The original reveal teaser for the next mainline Like A Dragon game showed newly-crowned protagonist Ichiban and protagonist regent Kiryu walking through the neon gates of Kamurocho together. So far, we knew that LAD 8 would continue to have turn-based combat and that Kiryu and Ichiban would star as dual protagonists. I figured that would mean LAD 8 would bring Ichiban back home proper, returning to the primary city district setting of the series after spending Yakuza 7 off in Yokohama.
But the beach full of English-speaking sunbathers is a curveball. Spoilers for Yakuza: Like A Dragon—which ended with an effective clerical end to the Tojo Clan. Organised crime doesn't die so easily though, so I figured we'd see the clan rise from the ashes in some unlikely new form the way that its protagonists are wont to do. The only other hint we get is the title shot at the end which shows Ichiban looking off into the sunset in a casual button-down and capris reminiscent of that jaunt off to Okinawa that Kiryu took in Yakuza 3, though the American-sounding beach throws that out the window too. There's no true info to be found on the Infinite Wealth website that Sega refers to either, aside from this locale image.
I've got at least four new questions and only one new answer.
What's up with that capsule-like second necklace he's wearing?
Where is Kiryu anyway?
Is this all some sort of hallucination in the same way that the whole turn-based combat of Yakuza: Like A Dragon took place in Ichiban's head?
Is RGG really going to split up its protagonists by letting Kiryu claim Kamurocho for good and shipping Ichi off to America?
Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth launches sometime in early 2024. You can keep an eye on the Infinite Wealth website or see if you can sus out more secrets than I was able to.