Yakuza producer explained why the series left Japan and went to Hawaii

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth marks a turning point for your favorite Yakuza series, for the first time going beyond the limits of its Japanese roots on the sunny shores of Hawaii. The chief producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto recently talked with The Gamer to talk about the reasons for such a bold step. Although the growing international popularity of the series probably played a role, Sakamoto emphasized that the plot dictated the scene.

According to the interview, the mother of Kasuga Ichiban found a place where you can hide, and this was the most important task. Hawaii with their significant Japanese population is ideal for this. Alternative places for filming, such as Bali, were not considered for long, but ultimately they became spare options, until the team was able to approve Hawaii as an ideal background. Sakamoto admitted that they were not very serious about other options.

The influence of Hawaii extends not only to the narrative, but also to gameplay elements, such as mini-game "Crazy delivery", inspired by the wide roads of the island and the prevalence of Uber eats.

However, Sakamoto explains that the crossing abroad was due not only to international attractiveness. When releasing each game, they are always focused on the plot; They don’t think about the next game. If Hawaii is best suited for the plot, then the team will go there. The team opted for Hawaii, because many Japanese lives there, and because it was the only real option to tell the story that they wanted to tell.

With each iteration of each game that we release, we do not think about the next game. It all depends on the plot. If the game, the action of which takes place outside of Japan, will improve this story and make it more interesting, then we will definitely go along this path. It all depends on what history will be and what we want to tell. Each time we just reboot and say: "Okay, what will be the story?", and then [think] about what place should be chosen to facilitate the narrative.

This attention to the plot continues the emotional rod Infinite Wealth. Fans can expect Kire to face cancer and together with Ichiban will make a list of their affairs. Sakamoto assured the players that, despite the difficult topics, hope and excitement remain the central element of the game, reflecting the resistance of Cyrus.

The island of Dondoko, offering to take a break from the main plot, offers players to clean the island, collection of resources, crafting and even collecting beetles and fish. Although the influence of Animal Crossing is recognized, the main emphasis is on interaction with Hawaiian nature and wild animals, which is quite consistent with the character of Ichiban.

Sakamoto confirmed that the SEGA retro games are returning, and the Arcade Exclusive Spike Out will debut on the console. However, licensed and technical restrictions limit the choice of retro biblioteums. So even outside Japan we will see games from Sega.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is released on January 26 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC. Unlike Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, it will not be available on Game Pass.