Project Judge will not feature any characters from the Yakuza franchise, despite sharing a universe. The newest game from the creators of the Japanese organized-crime series was revealed earlier this month by SEGA.
This information was revealed during a live stream with the developers hosted by IGN Japan. This is despite being set in the fictional Tokyo ward of Kamurocho and following on from hints towards a shared universe. Project lead Toshihiro Nagoshi has confirmed this information. He added that “Project Judge’s location and assets might be the same, but the gameplay and story here are drastically different.”
He elaborated on this decision by saying that having familiar faces from the older franchise would detract from the new title. This is because “it could draw people out of this new experience.”. The producer for the game, Kazuki Hosokawa, also added that this ban on Yakuza characters will extend to cameos and side quests. He noted that “Project Judge is very different from the Yakuza series, so there isn’t anything we can do with Yakuza characters” in the new game. He also added that this reluctance to use returning cast members is because the team feels like they could not satisfy the fans’ expectations with such appearances.
Project Judge will be the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s newest IP for Sega. It will follow the story of Takayuki Yagami, a lawyer in the Kamurocho region. Players will be tasked with solving crimes and unraveling mysteries. This will be done through various means such as integrating suspects, eavesdropping on their conversations or engaging in combat. It will also include various mini-games that the Yakuza franchise is famous for. It will release later this year in Japan, with a Western release slated for 2019. There is a demo of the game currently available on the Japanese PSN store.