Money, Sex, Power Central to Yakuza 0’s Gameplay and Story

In a closed media meeting at the Tokyo Game Show, Yakuza 0 writer Masayoshi Yokoyama discussed the upcoming game's setting, story, themes, gameplay, and more.

Yakuza 0, known in Japanese as Ryu Ga Gotoku 0, is set in 1988, during a time of relentless economic growth in Japan, so its main themes are money and power. For younger players, Mr. Yokoyama said that the new game can display "a different Japan" and players can wonder "Wow, people really had that kind of money?" For older players, it can be a nostalgic trip back to one of the most prosperous times in Japanese history. To this end, coins and bills fly out of enemies in battle and instead of experience points, players level up by purchasing their skills with in-game money, not real money (as other publishers are wont to do).

And of course, since Yakuza games are known for sexiness, the theme of sex is right in there too. In fact, certain ladies will give the protagonists "sexy tapes," which are VHS videos of them wearing next to nothing and doing, well, sexy things. This is a Japanese game, though, and Yokoyama pointed out that they're not going to show any of "the goods." He said, "We wanted to make it as erotic as possible but still keep a low rating." ("Rating" here means the CERO rating, which is like Japan's version of the ESRB or PEGI.)

Players take the roles of both Kazuma Kiryu and Majima Goro, with the former in Tokyo and the latter in Osaka. They need "legitimate business" to account for their earnings, like any good mafia dudes, so Goro runs a cabaret and Kiryu is a real-estate tycoon. Players can become very involved in both of these systems.

Made for both PS3 and PS4, Yakuza 0 is slated for a 2015 release in Japan. North America had received several Yakuza titles, but none had very high sales. PS3-exclusive Yakuza 5 and PS3/PS4 spinoff Yakuza Ishin have so far stayed in Japan.