Sega explains why it’s dropping the ‘Yakuza’ brand

The series will now be known as 'Like a Dragon'

Yakuza, the popular crime drama series from developer Ryū ga Gotoku Studio, is getting a new name in Western markets, and will henceforth be known as Like a Dragon.

In an interview with Digital Trends, a Sega of America representative explained that the rebranding was to maintain parity between the Western and Japanese releases.

“I can confirm the series will be known as “Like a Dragon” moving forward to more closely align with the Japanese name,” said the representative.

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In the franchise’s home country of Japan, the series has always been known as Ryū ga Gotoku since its inception in 2005, and takes after the name of its developer, Ryū ga Gotoku Studio. While ‘Ryū ga Gotoku‘ translates to ‘Like a Dragon‘ in English, Sega opted to rename the series upon its Western debut in 2006 – and thus Yakuza was born.

Yakuza: Like A Dragon
Yakuza: Like A Dragon. Credit: Sega

The name change makes sense for multiple reasons. First, since the series has in recent years begun to shift focus away from the activities of the Yakuza, meaning the name no longer entirely makes sense for the franchise. Additionally, with the series becoming more and more popular in the West, it seems sensible to have a singular branding for a series with a growing global market.

The Like a Dragon branding first appeared in the West with the 2020 release of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the seventh mainline entry to the series which introduced a new protagonist and combat system to the franchise. Since that title offered a brand new face and approach to the game’s world, it seems that Sega and Ryū ga Gotoku Studio are using it as an opportunity to leave the Yakuza brand behind.

Three Like a Dragon titles are currently in the works at Ryū ga Gotoku Studio, including the 8th installment to the main series, a new spin-off title following the adventures of former series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, as well as the long-demanded remake of Like A Dragon: Ishin, which was first released in Japan in 2014 but has never been released in the West.

In other gaming news, Deathloop is coming to Xbox and PC Game Pass next week.

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