We threw a few Qs to the Yakuza 6: The Song of Life devs to find out what to expect from the new game. 

Have there been any changes made to the Western release of Yakuza 6?

Yes, we added English subtitles! I kid, but the reality is that a lot changes when you localise a game from one language to another, whether that’s additional context cues, graphical alterations, or simply ensuring that both emotional story beats and humorous dialog still stick the landing in the Western release. Outside of that, all of the content of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is included in the Western release.

How did you decide on the minigames you wanted to include?

The Yakuza games seek to recreate a modern Japanese nightlife experience, so things like the cabaret club, darts, and karaoke have become something of a staple of the series. Outside of those, the dev team looks at modern trends or regional activities to help inform the selection. For instance, in Onomichi, where being a port town has dictated a way of life, of course there’s a spearfishing minigame. Or where real-life cat cafes have become a cultural trend in Tokyo, they of course find their way into the game as well.

Why did it take so long for the game to get a Western release?

As you may be able to tell from the four Yakuza games coming to the West in the span of two years, we’re a bit backlogged at the moment! We have to give each game the time they need to perform a localisation to the quality that this series demands, as well as space things out across the calendar year to ensure we aren’t literally driving Yakuza games down players’ throats. These are lengthy, sprawling experiences meant to be taken in for all the incredible detail they offer, and we want to give players a fair shake at doing just that.

What kinds of weapons will players be able to pick up in the world?

Bikes, construction cones, house plants, bricks, soda cans, store signs, barrels, uh… bats, swords, knives… It’s a pretty extensive list…

Do you need to have played any of the other Yakuza games to be able to enjoy Yakuza 6: The Song of Life?

Each Yakuza game is a pretty self-contained story, and if you start here at Yakuza 6, the game goes to great lengths to make sure you know who you’re playing and who the supporting cast is. A lot of familiar faces show up, sure, but there are equally as many all new plotlines and twists and turns that don’t require any experience with the series to jump into.

How did moving to the new engine affect development?

Everything about the Dragon Engine is brand new. Prior to now, the dev team had been more or less using the exact same engine since the original PS2 title, and iterating on it with each new technological leap. But that all changed here. Moving to the new engine allowed them to make significant quality of life improvements, such as eliminating load times when entering stores or getting into fights, all new physics that adds a lot of weight to each punch and kick, dropping pins on the map, and adding all sorts of neat reflection and particle effects that really add to the experience.

How has Kazuma changed over the story of the Yakuza franchise?

We certainly don’t want to spoil his character arc, but in Yakuza 6, we find a Kazuma Kiryu who is ready to move on with his life, away from the criminal elements and bustle of Kamurocho, only to find himself dragged back into it before he even gets through Chapter 1. With his patience running thin, there’s really nothing that’s going to stop this man from getting what he wants, and what we get as a result is peak Kiryu, which is an incredible thing to witness.

What’s next for the Yakuza series?

We just announced Yakuza Kiwami 2, a full HD remake of Yakuza 2 in the Dragon Engine, coming August 28th, 2018. This is one of the most exciting entries in the whole series, and we can’t wait to talk more about it!

What kind of benefits can PlayStation 4 Pro users expect?

The experience will be more or less the same across both versions of the console, but players on the Pro will have some slight performance enhancements and slightly better “ambient occlusion,” which essentially means cooler reflections on puddles. ?

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