There's something magical about video games set in the real world. At the intersection of the fantastical and the mundane you get to become the hero of our very own world while taking in some of the most beautiful vistas our planet has to offer, all from the comfort of your couch.
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Super Monkey Ball mastermind Toshihiro Nagoshi has been promoted to Chief Creative Officer, Sega has announced.
Sega has announced the development of Yakuza 5 and the formation of Yakuza Studio.
Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi heads up the new team. According to Japanese magazine Famitsu (translated by Andriasang), Yakuza Studio is not a Yakuza-exclusive developer, despite its name. In fact, its first game is Binary Domain.
Following that game's launch, Yakuza Studio will create Yakuza Black Panther 2 for PlayStation Portable, the sequel to the PSP spin-off. In Japan it launches in spring 2012.
Five million Yakuza games have been shipped globally, Sega has announced.
Yakuza 4 sold more copies than any other PlayStation 3 game in Japan last year, according to new data.
Has cage fights and school girl karaoke.
Plus a bit of ping-pong too.
For the video game sightseer drawn to urban breadth and spectacle, nothing yet beats Grand Theft Auto's Liberty City. It's a sprawling virtual capital with distinct districts, diverse architectural influences and landmarks that imprint the memory.
But if you want authenticity and depth, Yakuza 4's grimy Kamurocho is the go-to destination. The geography may be more limited than in Rockstar's city, but its ambition is no shorter. And it's in the details that Kamurocho – a semi-fictional location based closely on Kabukicho, Japan's notorious red light district – beguiles.
In the daytime, the higgledy-piggledy mess of a Tokyo district is in plain view. Tangles of overhead electrical wires bunch like bird nests in a forest of neon and concrete. Buildings hunch shoulder-to-shoulder next to one another, one tall, another squat, their almost-embrace forming tight alleyways all around - narrow tributaries darting off from the main street inviting snug exploration.
Available now and free on PS3.
Demos for Dragon Age II, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars and Yakuza 4 headline today's PlayStation Store update.
Both DAII and LEGO:SWIII are 1.5GB files, so leave yourself plenty of time to download them.
New games (free to trial) are Alien Breed 3: Descent (7/10 on Eurogamer), TNT Racers (7/10 on Eurogamer) and The Undergarden (7/10 on Eurogamer). What do you mean we favour a certain review score over others? Where is your evidence?
The limited Steelbook Edition of Yakuza 4 includes an exclusive game mode for SEGA's forthcoming PlayStation 3 gangster epic.
Impending gangster sequel Yakuza 4 gets a playable demo this month, publisher SEGA has announced.
PlayStation Plus members get a headstart on it from 16th February, before the riff-raff jump in on 23rd February via PlayStation Network.
The demo will let you try out all four playable characters ahead of the PlayStation 3 exclusive's full release on 18th March.
Japanese gangster game Yakuza 4 comes stuffed with a mind-bending 384 minutes of cutscenes to watch. That's more than six hours worth (6.24 approximately)!
Cage-fighting ex-con says hello.
He's a charming fellow.
Punch lots of people in the face.
Yakuza 4 will be released in Europe and North America in Spring 2011, SEGA has confirmed.
There's yet another Yakuza game in the works, series director Toshihiro Nagoshi has confirmed.
According to Japanese mag Famitsu (translated by Andriasang), the new game has been in development alongside PSP title Black Panther Yakuza Chapter, and will be released on the PS3.
It looks like the fifth main Yakuza game, although Nagoshi refused to officially name it.
SEGA has confirmed that the western version of Yakuza 4 will feature hostesses.
SEGA has announced that PS3 exclusive Yakuza 4 is heading to "the West" in spring 2011.
Made in less than a year with the same engine as Yakuza 3, you'd be forgiven for thinking Yakuza 4 would be a rehash or a lazy update. The similarities are plain to see; there's not much to differentiate the teeth-smashing, limb-snapping combat or fastidiously detailed setting from its predecessor's, at first glance. The differences, though, particularly the introduction of three new characters with which to roam the neon-lit streets of fictional Tokyo, have a huge impact on a series that's notoriously resistant to change. It's a notable improvement.
Practically everything that was true of Yakuza 3 also applies to Yakuza 4, which makes it rather difficult not to repeat myself. Its visual representation of Japan is astonishingly accurate, and though its endless series of street-brawls and bizarre side-missions can hardly be called a true-to-life portrayal of everyday life in Tokyo, the game does offer a fascinating insight into Japanese attitudes and melodramatic storytelling culture - right down to the institutionalised sexism, unfortunately, but we'll get to that. It'll fulfil your Japan fantasies, even if those fantasies merely involve actually winning something from a UFO machine.
But Yakuza 4's four-character structure completely changes the pacing, turning the game from a soup of open-world tasks interspersed with six hours of cut-scenes into a structured, episodic story. The Yakuza series' enduring problems - irritating random battles, ponderous story, repetitiveness and lack of direction - are mostly alleviated by the variety that four different characters bring to the fighting system and plot. It's a bit of a revelation.
PlayStation 3 is the best-selling console in Japan for the week ending 21st March, thanks in large part to the launch of chart-topping Yakuza 4.
SEGA, a day after announcing Yakuza 3 for the West, has revealed a Japanese date for Yakuza 4.
Imagine a game that depicted a living, breathing London - not 1940s London, not post-apocalyptic London, but today's London, with every homeless drunk, ambling pedestrian and dingy side-street intact, every brand name, every overflowing bin. Imagine there was one Pret a Manger outlet for every six residents of the city, and you could walk in and choose from a selection of actual products they sell in real life - if practically every shop and brand in the whole game were a real one, fully endorsed and realistically reconstructed. This is what Yakuza is to Japan, and Tokyo in particular. Kamurocho might be a fictional, sleazy corner of the city, but it might as well be real; everything in it is true to life, even the adverts on the vending machines.
The third instalment in the Yakuza series isn't going to make it outside of Japan, by the looks of things.
SEGA firebrand Toshihiro Nagoshi has revealed that work has already begun on a fifth game in the Yakuza series, known as Ryu Ga Gotoku in Japan, exclusively for the PS3.