Developing games can be a major investment, requiring not only quite a bit of money, but also a lot of time, though it seems RGG Studio has figured out how to circumvent the latter in impressive fashion. The Yakuza series (or Like a Dragon, as it’s known now) has always been known for how frequently it puts out games, and one of its upcoming releases, it turned out, was in development for a surprisingly short duration.
Speaking in a recent interview with Automaton, studio director Masayoshi Yokoyama revealed that the upcoming Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name was developed in the space of just half a year. He said that after the development team decided to dedicate a whole game to telling the story of what happened to protagonist Kiryua between the events of Yakuza 6 and 7, the fact that the game was derived from fellow upcoming release Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth allowed it to be a fairly quick production.
“There isn’t a huge difference between Like a Dragon Gaiden and Like a Dragon 8,” Yokoyama said. “By this I mean that, in a sense, Like a Dragon Gaiden was derived from Like a Dragon 8. We could have just told of Kiryu’s past through a thirty-minute interlude as part of Like a Dragon 8, but we decided it would be a lot more interesting as a game of its own, which is how the project came to be. Though this meant having a whole extra game to make, it still uses the same engine, so we thought, ‘It’s not like we have to make it from scratch,’ and decided to go with it. In the end, it took us about half a year to make it.”
Yokoyama went on to add that though the studio considered releasing Like a Dragon Gaiden as DLC, ultimately the decision was made to pivot in a different direction.
“I’m the one who first went, ‘Let’s make it.’ I said, ‘If you’re going to make an episode about Kiryu’s past, it’s going to be much quicker to make a game about it.’ From there on, we first considered making it as DLC, but then decided it was engaging enough for a physical edition. But, for a physical edition, we needed more content, so we decided to add some. This is how things escalated.”
It’s worth pointing out that though the game will have a physical release in Japan, in Western markets, it will be an exclusively digital release.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name launches on November 9 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.