At the PlayStation State of Play in September 2022, it was revealed that the 2014 feudal Yakuza spinoff, Like A Dragon: Ishin! would be remade, and coming to the West. At the Ryu Ga Gotoku Summit 2022, which took place the following evening, the studio announced a release date for the title: 21 February 2021. The game will be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.
The release date announcement followed a new trailer, which shared a more detailed glimpse at the characters of the game.
Ishin! is the second feudal spinoff for the Yakuza/Ryu Ga Gotoku series, and takes several of the characters from the mainline series, reimagining them as important historical figures. In Ishin!, longtime series protagonist Kazama Kiryu is projected onto Sakamoto Ryoma, an influential samurai who advocated for the end of feudalism, and the industrialisation of Japan.
The predecessor to Ishin, Ryu Ga Gotoku Kenzan! (2008), is unconnected and takes places two centuries earlier, imagining Kiryu as legendary swordsman-turned fable, Miyamoto Musashi.
The history of Yakuza games being translated for the West is an interesting one. The first game received a full English translation with a Hollywood cast that failed to make significant waves, and the following games on PlayStation 2 had content pulled for being too culturally specific to Japan.
Kenzan! and Ishin! presumably never made it to the West because of their settings, deeply rooted in Japanese history.
With the newfound global popularity of the series, it seems like Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku have deemed Like A Dragon: Ishin! worthy of a complete overhaul, with an English translation and release to boot. Here’s hoping that Kenzan! also eventually receives the same treatment.