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|Developer: New Entertainment R&D Dept. #1|
|System(s): PlayStation 2|
|Number of players: 1|
Yakuza, known as Ryu ga Gotoku (龍が如く) in Japan, is an open world action game developed by New Entertainment R&D Dept. #1 and published by Sega for the PlayStation 2 in 2005. It marks the start of the Yakuza series, a set of successful first party games centered around the world of Japanese organised crime.
Though not directly related, Yakuza is often seen as a spiritual successor (and lower budget alternative) to Shenmue. It was produced by Toshihiro Nagoshi of Super Monkey Ball and Sega AM2/Amusement Vision fame. During development the project was known as Project J.
Taking place in 1995 in Kamoro-cho, a fictional district in Tokyo (which modelled after Shinjuku) story follows Kazuma Kiryu, a young Yakuza working under Dojima Family of Tojo Clan, a powerful Yakuza organization in the Kanto area of Japan. Kiryu's life changes irreversibly when one day his love interest Yumi is kidnapped by Dojima, leader of the family Kiryu is serving. His close friend Akira Nishikiyama attempts to save Yumi from Dojima and ends up killing him. Kiryu decides to take the blame for killing (Nishkiyama's sister is in deathbed) and spends 10 years in prison for murder.
In prison, Kiryu receives a letter of ex-communication and removed from Tojo Clan. Although he is visited by Shintaro Kazama, his adopter father who is also a Yakuza leader, he doesn't hear anything from either Yumi or Nishikiyama.
Eventually released in 2005, Kiryu attempts to bring his life together and find Yumi. On the way, he meets Haruka, a mysterious little girl. After being targeted by Yakuza families all around the Tokyo for "10 billion Yen" and realizing that Haruka could be the key to finding Yumi, Kiryu takes Haruka under his protection and resolves to solve the mystery.
Much like Shenmue before it, Yakuza became a substantial success in Japan but failed to convince Western consumers upon release, despite a large marketing campaign and mostly positive reaction from gaming community. The Japanese version was re-released as part of the PlayStation 2 the Best budget range on 26 October 2006 for ¥1,800 (1,890 inc. tax), and has since been remastered as part of 2012's Ryu ga Gotoku 1&2 HD Edition for the PlayStation 3 (and later Wii U).
The game was initially dubbed into English for North American audiences, however criticism with the English voice acting prompted Sega to keep the Japanese voiceover in subsequent overseas releases.
Yakuza was followed by a range of sequels (starting with Yakuza 2 in 2006), as well as spin-offs and two live-action films. Lukewarm sales in Western regions led to Sega developing a steadily declining appetite for overseas Yakuza games - Yakuza 2 was delayed by two years, and 2008's spin-off, Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! was not released in Western regions at all.
A soundtrack album for the first two games, Ryu ga Gotoku & Ryu ga Gotoku 2 Original Sound Track, was released on 25 January 2007.
The game was later remade for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 using the Yakuza 5 engine under the title Ryu ga Gotoku Kiwami. It was released on 21 January 2016 in Japan, it's unknown if the remake will get a release in western regions.
|Sega Retro Average|
| Based on|
|PlayStation 2, KR (Big Hit)|
|Yakuza/Ryu ga Gotoku series of games|
|Yakuza (2005) | Yakuza 2 (2006)|
|Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! (2008) | Yakuza 3 (2009) | Yakuza 4 (2010) | Yakuza: Dead Souls (2011) | Ryu ga Gotoku 1&2 HD Edition (2012) | Yakuza 5 (2012) | Ryu ga Gotoku 5: Yume, Kanaeshi Mono Kanzen Kouryaku Kyoku no Sho (2013) | Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin! (2014) | Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho (2015) | Ryu ga Gotoku Kiwami (2016)|
|Kurohyou: Ryu ga Gotoku Shinshou (2010) | Kurohyou 2: Ryu ga Gotoku Ashura Hen (2012)|
|Ryu ga Gotoku 1&2 HD Edition for Wii U (2013)|
|Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin! (2014) | Yakuza 0 (2015) | Yakuza Kiwami (2016) | Yakuza 6: The Song of Life (2016)|
|Yakuza/Ryu ga Gotoku related media|
|Ryu ga Gotoku & Ryu ga Gotoku 2 Original Sound Track (2007) | Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! Original Soundtrack (2008) | Ryu ga Gotoku 3 Original Soundtrack (2009) | Ryu ga Gotoku 4 Densetsu wo Tsugumono Original Soundtrack Vol.1 (2010) | Ryu ga Gotoku 4 Densetsu wo Tsugumono Original Soundtrack Vol.2 (2010) | Kurohyou: Ryu ga Gotoku Shinsho Original Soundtrack (2010) | Ryu ga Gotoku of the End Original Soundtrack Vol.1 (2011) | Ryu ga Gotoku of the End Original Soundtrack Vol.2 (2011) | Ryu Uta: Ryu ga Gotoku Karaoke Best Selection (2011) | Ryu ga Gotoku The Best Original Sound Track (2011) | Majima no MajiROCK (2012) | Kurohyou 2: Ryu ga Gotoku Asura Hen Original Soundtrack (2012) | Entenka / Shonan no Kaze (2012) | Ryu ga Gotoku 5 Yume, Kanaeshi Mono Original Soundtrack Vol.1 (2012) | Ryu ga Gotoku 5 Yume, Kanaeshi Mono Featured Songs (2012) | Ryu Uta: Ryu ga Gotoku 5 The Best Songs Collection (2012) | Ryu ga Gotoku 5 Yume, Kanaeshi Mono Original Soundtrack Vol.2 (2012) | Ryu ga Gotoku Series Best Soundtrack (2014) | Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! Original Soundtrack Vol.1 (2014) | Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! Original Soundtrack Vol.2 (2014) | Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho - 80's Hits! Collection (2015) | Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho - 80's Hits! Collection (2015) | Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho Original Soundtrack Side A (2015) | Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho Original Soundtrack Side B (2015) | Ryu ga Gotoku Kiwami Original Soundtrack (2016)|
|Yakuza Official Strategy Guide (2006) | Ryu ga Gotoku 5: Yume, Kanaeshi Mono Kanzen Kouryaku Kyoku no Sho (2013) | Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho Kouryaku Shinan no Sho (2015) | Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho Kanzen Kouryaku Kyoku no Sho (2015) | Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta Kouryaku Shinan no Sho (2016) | Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta Kanzen Kouryaku Kyoku no Sho (2017)
|Like a Dragon: Prologue (2006) | Like a Dragon (2007)|