Sega is officially killing off the Yakuza name and will call the series Like a Dragon going forward. That means 2020’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon will, ironically and appropriately, be the last game with Yakuza in the name.
This follows on the announcement of Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name (opens in new tab) and a look at the Like a Dragon 8 trailer (opens in new tab) this week at Tokyo Games Show. The series had been called Yakuza in English releases since 2006.
The clarification (opens in new tab) was made by Sega to Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett, who told him that the name would “more closely align with the Japanese name.”
That makes sense: In Japan, the series has always been called Ryu Ga Gotoku, which means… Like a Dragon. The studio that makes the series is also called Ryu Ga Gotoku. The branding, then, only changes in future Western releases. Still, expect to see the series referred to as Yakuza intermittently while we all get used to the swap.
No idea what all of us in the games press are going to do about that change, though. Telling you the trivia that it was called Ryu Ga Gotoku in Japan was always good for a free sentence in any article about the series.
The series formerly known as Yakuza has seen unprecedented success in the past few years, even selling 2.8 million copies (opens in new tab) on PC alone. It’s one that Sega didn’t advertise in the West that much during past years, but has started to treat as a big release. For Sega’s boss, that’s because it commits to its authentically Japanese vision. (opens in new tab)
That Japanese vision is also probably why we’re getting a remake of Like a Dragon: Ishin! (opens in new tab), the samurai-era Yakuza spinoff. Also why it’s only getting subtitles, not dubs (opens in new tab): Gotta stick to that vision.