Leveling up your social links in Yakuza 7 will unlock team attacks, jobs, and skills.
Sega released new Yakuza: Like a Dragon screenshots, explaining its Friendship System. Each character has their own friendship gauge with our protagonist Ichiban, and you can raise it by hanging out together. Leveling up a character’s friendship level unlock new team attacks, new abilities, and lets the character unlock new skills and new jobs to change to.
You can check each character’s friendship level on their Status screen. Just like in Persona, raising a level will also require you to clear specific conditions.
You can invite your party members to various places like the movies or restaurants. The restaurant scenes include “Banquet Talk” where you’ll need to pick the right answers to further deepen your bond with the character.
Lastly, just like in Persona, as you level up each character’s friendship, you’ll unlock “Friendship Drama” events. In these events, the characters will open up to Ichiban about their troubles, their past, etc. If you properly help the characters out, their abilities will grow even more. Clearing these “Friendship Drama” is most notably how you unlock the team attacks, named “Friendship Attacks”. Each character’s “Friendship Attack” has different effects, but they’re basically the most powerful attacks in Yakuza 7.
This is all highly similar to the Social Links in the current Persona games. Or to any other game with a Friendship system, as it’s not like Persona invented it. In any case, it furthermore shows how much of a JRPG Yakuza 7 is.
You can read more details from Toshihiro Nagoshi and from Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama. Toshihiro Nagoshi also said the series will go back to action if Yakuza: Like a Dragon doesn’t sell. We also translated the interviews with the cast. And here’s some gameplay.
PS4 exclusive Yakuza: Like a Dragon is titled Yakuza 7 Whereabouts of Light and Darkness in Japan and is launching there on January 16. The game is coming west later in 2020. Toshihiro Nagoshi explained why the game isn’t titled “Yakuza 7” in the west.