Ichiban Kasuga will be the leading protagonist of the Yakuza franchise “for the next ten years,” according to Kazuhiro Nakaya, the character’s voice actor.
Ichiban was introduced in the most recent game, Yakuza: Like A Dragon, which saw the series move on from long time protagonist Kazuma Kiryu. In an interview with Famitsu, Nakaya and Kazuma’s voice actor Takaya Kuroda discussed the future of the franchise.
In the interview, Nakaya revealed Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi told him, “Nakaya, you’re gonna help me make my living for the next ten years.” Kazuma Kiryu had been the series lead since 2006, and Nakaya hopes Ichiban can become as popular and as successful a face of the franchise.
Kuroda meanwhile praised Nakaya’s performance as Ichiban, and admitted it was time for the Yakuza series to freshen up. As for Kazuma, Kuroda claimed he “will continue to live a cool and sophisticated life even outside of the events of the games.”
Kuroda added that in his real life, he will “have to maintain a level of sophistication in my life so as not to embarrass Kiriyu if I were to be called upon going forward.”
In other Yakuza news, the developers of the series recently had a Kazuma Kiryu marathon, beating all seven of Kazuma’s games back to back in a single week. Elsewhere, Yakuza producer Daisuke Sato revealed he would love the opportunity to work on a Sonic The Hedgehog game.