Yakuza 7 RPG combat style will allow for more over-the-top antics

There’s been a lot of trepidation ever since Sega announced that Yakuza 7 would be moving to a turn-based combat system. Previous games featured real-time action, so fans worry that the new system won’t be able to capture the feel of those. Now, the game’s director has stated that Yakuza 7’s combat will be even more over-the-top.

Director Toshihiro Nagoshi discussed the game’s combat system in a recent Sega Nama live stream. Here, he did his best to assuage fans’ fears about the change to the combat system, stating that it would not be like a traditional turn-based RPG at all: “If what you’re picturing is an old school command RPG, then that’s the wrong impression,” stated Nagoshi  (as translated by Gematsu). “This will be completely different.”

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Sega first teased that Yakuza 7, subtitled Like a Dragon in the West, would be turn-based via an April Fools video it released for the online mobile game Yakuza Online. Back then, most fans simply treated the video purely as a joke with no bearing on the actual game. However, Sega finally did confirm that the game actually was turn-based when it held its big reveal event last week.

According to Nagoshi, the team made the decision because they wanted to try something new with the game’s combat. “Since we’ve always done action up until now, doing action again and following the system system would honestly make it really hard to come up with something that goes beyond what we already had,” he stated. “We wanted to do something new and fresh.”

Despite the move to turn-based action, however, it seems that the game can still be played somewhat like an action game. Nagoshi mentioned that the system would not consist of a player simply selecting a command and watching their characters perform the actions.

Additionally, Nagoshi stated that his team isn’t a fan “of the slow pace [of turn based combat].” As such, it’s not working to create a faster-paced system that seems to allow for more real-time interactions. The director mentioned that “there are some tricks here and there, and if you learn them, you can play with the same habit of playing an action game.” These will apparently include “attack inputs” that allow for a “final blow.”

In addition to this, movement and positioning also seem to play an important role in Yakuza 7‘s combat. Nagoshi specifically mentioned that any party members who are near the players character when they perform an attack will also join in on the action.

Compared to previous games, Nagoshi claimed that the team had some “crazy developments” that went beyond what it could do with the Heat Action system featured in previous releases. He directly attributed this to the move to a turn-based system.

While the April Fools video may not necessarily reflect the final game (the interface looks a bit different, though; Nagoshi did mention that even that is still in development), it does seem to hint at some of these systems. For example, one moment shows one of new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga’s friends kicking a metal baseball bat towards him that he then uses to smash into a baddie’s head with a flashy jumping attack.

As part all this, Nagoshi also claimed that the AI for game’s characters was “quite intelligent.” So intelligent in fact that the game will feature an “auto battle” system where the AI will fight on its own.

Despite all these however, Nagoshi stated that the combat system isn’t a hybrid of action and turn-based. According to him, doing such a system would “be the same as creating two titles” and the team did not have enough time to do that. Yakuza 7 arrives on PlayStation 4 in Japan on January 16, 2020 after all, followed by a worldwide release later in the year. Hopefully, this is enough time for the team to make sure that all that Nagoshi has talked about here works as advertised.