Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator of the Yakuza franchise, has revealed why protagonist Kazuma Kiryu has not been a guest character in fighting games: he does not want Kiryu hitting women.
Editor’s Note: The link to Red Bull France contains spoilers for Yakuza: Like a Dragon. We have omitted mention of those elements in the article.
The producer and video game designer spoke to Red Bull France in a recent interview, discussing the series (translation: DeepL). Therein he discussed his surprise at the franchise’ 15 year success, the games continuing to appeal to Japanese audiences (which is what foreign fans want as well), and working on a Yakuza film with Sega.
Nagoshi also discussed how Yakuza: Like a Dragon (or Like a Dragon 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness in Japan) came to be. Unlike the previous games with action brawling, this time the game features turn-based RPG combat.
“We’ve always focused on real-time combat systems, ever since Yakuza first,” Nagoshi stated. “However, we still wanted to evolve this formula, but nothing really stood out among the ideas we had for Yakuza: Like a Dragon.”
“Then, during development, we just focused on offering the most interesting and fun way we could develop for our players… Which led us to start on an evolution of the RPG fighting system.” Now the game has been out in Japan, and with hindsight, Nagoshi says the system was received positively.
The interviewer also discussed how some fans would like to see series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu in a fighting game; due to his prowess with different fighting styles and brutal environmental and weapon-based special moves. Popular suggestions include the Tekken series. However, Nagoshi revealed why this is unlikely to ever happen.
“We get a lot of requests for this. Of course, there are exceptions, but fighting games usually have female characters, and personally, I don’t really want to see Kiryu hitting women.”
It would certainly be in character for Kiryu to avoid hitting women, tending to go all-out against opponents who have the means to kill him (or the odd street punk trying to get into a more dangerous criminal life). Kiryu also avoids killing his foes, something that fans point out is doubtful with how deadly some of Kiryu’s attacks can be.
Nagoshi also revealed that while he knew fans want Like a Dragon Restoration and Like a Dragon Arrives! released outside of Japan (both games set during samurai-based eras of Japan, though the former featuring characters from the mainline Yakuza games in a new setting); he had no plans at this time.
Image: Yakuza Kiwami 2 (via Steam)