Yakuza Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama Explains Yakuza 7’s Turn-Based RPG System

Yakuza 7 has class changes and tons of skills. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio wishes to make interesting games they deem valuable in themselves.

You probably heard the news by now. Yakuza 7 was fully revealed during a press conference on August 29, and the game uses a mix between real-time and turn-based battle systems. Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi already explained the choice and also said they’ll go back to action if it doesn’t work.

Masayoshi Yokoyama, the chief producer of Yakuza 7,  published on August 30 multiple tweets explaining Yakuza 7‘s battle system.

First off, Yokoyama mentioned how this is mostly things he said at the August 29 press conference, but he’s repeating it now on Twitter as more details on the battle system will only be published later by news outlets.

He explained how Yakuza 7 is different from most turn-based traditional JRPGs in how characters are constantly moving and doing something. The core concept is “showing fights while the city keeps breathing”. When a battle starts, NPCs not participating in the battle will still be there. Just like in past Yakuza games, you’ll still be able to use the environment, signs, bicycles, etc.

He confirmed Yakuza 7 also uses the Dragon Engine, and everything is controlled and rendered in real-time by the engine, like in past Yakuza games.

Battle transition is seamless, and battles take place in the same environment as the exploration. Meaning the initial situation of the battle always depends on how you triggered the “encounter” with the enemies. It’s also possible to get suddenly attacked by enemies who were hiding. It’s even possible to surround a group of enemies beforehand and trigger the battle that way.

Yokoyama then explained how turn order is decided by each characters’ stats. Also, if you try to attack enemies that are far away from your character, as in running and trying to attack them, there’s a high chance you’ll get intercepted by another enemy. As everyone is always moving. Like in past games, certain techniques also hit multiple enemies at the same time.

Yokoyama also explained each characters’ attacks are determined by the distance to the enemy they’re targeting and their surrounding environment. The stats and each character’s Class also decide which action they can do. Basically, not all party members can lift a nearby bicycle and ram it into some dude’s face. Pushing enemies on the road, which makes them get hit by a car passing by, is also possible, just like in past games.

Yokoyama explained that all of these elements make the city constantly alive during the battles, hence why they’re calling the battle system “Live Command RPG Battle”.

Yokoyama also mentioned there are action game-like elements, like hitting the right buttons consecutively, or at the right time, to execute certain techniques. There’s also an Auto battle mode for those who want the battles to be even smoother. The Auto mode makes the characters act depending on their stats and Class but you should be careful when using it as it might not always pick the best choices.

Yokoyama also stated they’re only explaining the basics about Yakuza 7 for now, and how the battle system is really deep, with tons of skills and a Class change system. He mentioned that if you pile it all up, the game has more finishing moves and super techniques than any past Yakuza game.

Enemies also become smarter as their levels rise, and you’ll need to come up with different strategies to defeat them. One nice thing to do is hiding behind other enemies so they hit each other.

Later on, this time in an actual thread instead of unlinked tweets, Masayoshi Yokoyama explained why they changed the battle system. He published these tweets as he was answering a fan who went as far as say things like “this is a betrayal” when Yakuza 7‘s not even out yet. and nonsense about how “this is to please Yakuza Online players”.

Yokoyama explained how Yakuza Online and Yakuza 7 are completely different, and they aren’t expecting one’s player base to play the other. Yakuza 7 is the game Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio found the most interesting to make, and the best choice to make for those who love the series. With this change, they want to explore new possibilities with the Yakuza series and send a strong message to adult men who don’t play games anymore.

They’re challenging themselves, thinking “how can we make Yakuza reach further heights?” and this is the answer they reached. They’re a game company, making games for money. So of course, they make the scenario and cast the characters while thinking about that, but they also wish to create games they deem valuable in themselves. Yokoyama himself and the over 100 people working on Yakuza wish to make something interesting. They’re going through trial and error, using all the experience they got with their action games,  to make games with a new value.

Yokoyama ended with this:

We realize that for a lot of fans, Yakuza means “Kiryu + Fighting+ Action gameplay”. However, all of the development team and everyone involved in the project, the marketing team included, love Yakuza as well. Much more than all of you can imagine. We can talk and talk, but it’s impossible to make someone like what they hate. That’s how entertainment works. So no matter how people dislike it, we’ll just keep making the game we want with “Yakuza 7“. And if it doesn’t work, well, that’s life. *laughs*.

Personally speaking, I’m 100% cool with the change and looking forward to how Yakuza 7 will turn out. I think it’s a great thing they’re trying something new. I’m interpreting what he’s saying as the studio being tired of redoing the same things, so it’s nice for them.

Yakuza 7 launches on PS4 on January 16 in Japan. The game will be launching in the west later in 2020.

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