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Subscription services helped Like a Dragon's popularity in the west, says Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio head

"I do think subscriptions like Game Pass have contributed largely to the increase in audience."

The hype is very real for Like a Dragon (formerly Yakuza) fans right now.

A long-awaited remake of Like a Dragon: Ishin! will release on 21st February 2023, which will be followed by Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name later in the year. In 2024, the maineline series will continue with Like a Dragon 8, and sees the return of protagonists Kazuma Kiryu and Kasuga Ichiban.

Ahead of the busy schedule for Like a Dragon, director and executive producer at developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio Masayoshi Yokoyama has spoken more about the increased recognition of Like a Dragon overseas, the upcoming games, and the possibility of the series on Nintendo Switch.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name | Announcement Trailer.Watch on YouTube

Speaking to Twinfinite, Yokoyama attributed some of the series' recent success in the west to subscription models. Yokoyama named Game Pass in particular, adding that "allowing people to play the previous games" has helped grow their audience.

All of the Like a Dragon games (not including spinoffs Judgment and Lost Judgment) are available on Game Pass and PlayStation Plus.

When asked about Kiryu's new look in Like a Dragon 8, Yokoyama declined to give any details as it is "deeply related to the story". He also stated the smaller scale spinoff Gaiden, which will explain Kiryu's whereabouts between Yakuza 6 and Like a Dragon 8, will be the same length as around 4-6 chapters of a mainline game.

Once again, Yokoyama cited the differences between the "impression of the Switch market and the market for [Like a Dragon]" in Japan as the main reason why Switch ports aren't being considered by the studio. He acknowledged the lower hardware specs of the Switch compared to home consoles was also a factor.

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