Hiroyuki Sakamoto, series producer on Like A Dragon (aka Yakuza), has revealed that it was always the developer’s intention to bring back series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, despite the character seeming being retired in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life.
Kiry-san also turned up in Yakuza: Like A Dragon as a late-game boss fight, and it was assumed that this was the final farewell for the character, with newcomer Ichiban taking over the role of “the dragon” form Kiryu. However, Sakamoto-san revealed that it was always planned to have the the legendary Dragon of Dojima return as a dual protagonist for Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
Here’s what he had to say during an interview with IGN:
When we said goodbye to [Kazuma Kiryu], we were still planning to have him appear as a double protagonist for [Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth]. So, this has been kind of a long time something that we’ve been thinking about. So, also in [Yakuza: Like a Dragon], Kazuma kind of appeared as a sort of backup character, and a lot of people who played [Yakuza: Like a Dragon] but weren’t familiar with the previous games in the series are probably still wondering, ‘Who is this character and what’s his role?’ within the series.
So, [Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name] was kind of invented as a spinoff, a Gaiden, but what we really wanted to do with it was talk about what sort of life Kazuma had from the end of [Yakuza 6] to the events in [Infinite Wealth]. So, what he was doing in the background and what he was up to. This is the goal for this whole game.
Kiryu will of course be starring in his own game, Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, which takes place prior to the events of Infinite Wealth and is due out on November 9, 2023. Infinite Wealth, meanwhile, is pencilled in for an early 2024 launch.
[Source – IGN]