Sega and Ryu ga Gotoku Studio’s have officially announced action crime thriller sequel Lost Judgment, along with a worldwide release date.
As previously reported, the game was rumored back in March 2021, and leaked hours ahead of its official reveal via the Japanese PlayStation 5 store. The game will still feature Takayuki Yagami, along with partner and former yakuza member Masaharu Kaito, and other characters from the original.
The story was also rumored to “feel much darker.” While not delving into the wild and surreal humor of the Yakuza series, Judgment did dabble in more humorous scenes, but was more serious overall. What the rumor’s source described (in Yakuza fan site The Tojo Clan’s words) “makes it sound like Yagami didn’t battle all of his demons in the first Judgment.”
During the court case of Akhiro Ihara is sentenced to six months of penal servitude, he admits to killing Hiro Mikushiba- who drove his son to suicide. Ihara’s condemnation of the law as being broken throws up more questions, as evidence suggests he could not have committed the crime. As Yagami investigate the case, a high school gets involved, and matters escalate, even he begins to question what justice means.
Director Koji Yoshida explained how the team wanted to overcome the walls they had built themselves with the first game, and how the script took countless hours to get right. Over 1,000 minutes of dialog was recorded, and alongside the returning cast are Koji Yamamoto, Hiroshi Tamaki, and Ken Mitsuishi.
Producer Kazuki Hosokawa explains that the game includes the new location of real-life Yokohama. Combining bid tourist attractions and seedy underbelly, it can reveal different elements depending on the time of day. This is also where the high school will be based.
The games combat has also been improved from the original game. Players can use the Crane fighting style against multiple foes, while Tiger is for more damage in one on one conflicts. Along with these two returning styles, Snake is being introduced. This style focuses on catching foes unawares, and striking them when they least expect it.
Once again, players will tail, chase down, and disguise to track down suspects and solve mysteries. Yagami has new techniques that will show off his athleticism, stealth, and wiretapping. For example, he can kick a ball into a fleeing suspect to knock them down, or climb and wall run on buildings.
Yagami will also be able to go undercover at the school to discover more about the case. Presumably acting as a teacher, he helps guide young students from all walks of life, and unlocks side quests called School Stories. This mode is intended to be more light-hearted than the main story, but full of “laughs, tears, struggles, and maybe even a little suspense too.”
You can find the announce trailer and full Judgment Day broadcast below.
During a Q&A segment, Hosokawa explained how many of the first game’s system’s and worldview was based around the Yakuza series. However, the desire to make Judgment its own series- including story, protagonist, and activities, should all feel like its own thing; and took a lot of trial and error to perfect. As such, Lost Judgment incorporates the lessons learned from developing the first game.
Yoshida also explained how Yakuza and Judgment were further set apart. Despite both taking place in modern Japan, Yakuza is about “hot-blooded men,” while Judgement is more suspenseful and a pulse-pounding thriller story with twists and turns.
Hosokawa explains the Ijincho district of Yokohama (last seen in Yakuza: Like a Dragon), was added because of its aforementioned “two faces,” with each having its own distinctive expression. The team also wanted to use it as the backdrop of Lost Judgment‘s story.
Hosokawa also elaborated on the Snake style, explaining that it can be used to disarm foes carrying guns and katanas, as well as redirect foes attacks at one-another. There are even situations where players may need to fight the high school students, so elements of this fighting style, such as parrying, are used rather than the punches, kicks, and take-downs of Tiger and Crane.
Yoshida revealed a new Chinese character, after being asked if someone like Tianyou Zhao from Yakuza: Like a Dragon would appear. He could only explain that he can be a potential friend and enemy to Yagami, and a “very interesting guy.”
It was also revealed that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio write the script and dramatic scenes at the same time, with Yoshida imagining them being read by particular people as he writes. This helps decide who to cast in those roles later; delivering the maximum effect to the dramatic scenes.
Yoshida will even do directly to an actor if he was the one he had envisioned for the role. He explains how being honest and explaining how he had pictured them in the role works more often than you would expect. “I believe the key to creating anything is simply convey your honest thoughts to the relevant people. And that’s probably how I’ll continue to approach potential actors.”
The game will also utilize the next-gen consoles’ capabilities of 4K resolution and 60fps.
Lost Judgment launches worldwide September 24th on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.