Yakuza 4

Confirmed for Japan only at the moment.

Spotlight

VideoAll-fighting Yakuza 4 footage

Plus a bit of ping-pong too.

Yakuza 4

Sleeping with the sushi.

VideoYakuza 4 trailer shows game's locations

SEGA sends seedy-looking postcard.

VideoYakuza 4 demo footage slices in

Available now and free on PS3.

Key events

31st August 2011

Yakuza 5 announced

16th March 2011

Yakuza 4

2nd February 2011

Yakuza 4 demo announced

2nd September 2010

Yakuza 4 announcement trailer

20th April 2010

Yakuza 4

22nd February 2010

Yakuza 4 gameplay trailer

13th January 2010

Yakuza 4 character trailer

Yakuza 5 announced

Yakuza 5 announced

Sega creates Yakuza Studio.

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.

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Yakuza 4

Yakuza 4

Sleeping with the sushi.

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.

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EU PlayStation Store Update 23rd Feb

EU PlayStation Store Update 23rd Feb

Dragon Age II, LEGO SWIII, Yak 4 demos.

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?

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Yakuza 4 demo announced

Yakuza 4 demo announced

PlayStation Plus users get it first.

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.

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New Yakuza game confirmed

New Yakuza game confirmed

Yes, another one.

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.

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Yakuza 4

Yakuza 4

Beaten into shape.

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.

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Yakuza 4 tops Japanese charts

While PSP narrowly outsells DS.

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.

Yakuza 4

SEGA's superseries broadens further.

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.

Fifth Yakuza game in development

Contemporary setting, different style.

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.