In a vaguely Yakuza sort of way, we’ve been treated to our first glimpse of what’s likely to be Yakuza 8. First spotted by Japanese video game magazine Famitsu, MMA fighter Mikuru Asakura and his team posted a video of them touring Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s offices before he gets his face scanned by a wall of cameras. But before the face-scanning, they record snippets of the Yakuza: Like A Dragon lads having a heated discussion in a small apartment. Ichiban has a ponytail! Apparently, there’s a new town? And I got my mum to translate some bits. Sorry mum.
The video in question sees Mikuru Asakura wandering about RGG’s studios having a great time. First, he chats with Sega Sammy’s President Haruki Satomi, who says that there’s a new town in the next Yakuza game and reaffirms that they’re developing a title outside of the Yakuza and Judgment series. Aside from that, it’s a jovial enough chat with no more morsels of info to chase.
And then Asakura is given a proper tour of the development area by RGG representative Masayoshi Yokoyama, where he marvels at the sheer number of folks working on the game and the face motion capture on some dev screens. Then onto the juicy stuff, which sees the camera pan over what looks like Yakuza 8 footage. In it, we see Ichiban Kasuga (who now sports a pony tail instead of a wild mess of hair), Yu Nanba, and Koichi Adachi from Like A Dragon having a right old natter. Asakura even asks whether it’s okay to be filming these bits, but Yokoyama gives him the go-ahead.
So I asked my Japanese mum to translate what they seem to be talking about, devoid of any context surrounding Yakuza, its fighting crawfish, or diaper-wearing gangs. From what she gathered, they seem to be talking about a “fighter’s bat”, possibly referencing Ichiban’s baseball bat? One line of dialogue says roughly, “Are you joking, you didn’t throw it away?”, while another appears to question whether he’s okay with it being lost, saying, “You don’t have a problem with that?”. Other scattered bits of dialogue may refer to Ichiban having “destroyed the atmosphere”, but it’s unclear what and how and why, obviously. What’s semi-clear is that they’re looking for someone or something and that Ichiban may have messed up.
Right at the end of the video, we see Asakura head into a special space where they photo your face in some elaborate net of cameras. It’s amazing to see the work that goes into capturing realistic mugs.
So, there we have it. Our first look at Yakuza 8 through an MMA fighter – how apt. And thanks to my mum for a bit of translation with zero context and the patience of a saint as I ensnared her in an excuse that it’s for work. My only disappointment? Majima didn’t pop out of a bin at any point during the tour.