Sega has revealed new details on one of the new systems in the next mainline Yakuza game: Yakuza: Like a Dragon in the West or Yakuza 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness in Japan. In the game, the new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, will be able to form bonds with certain NPCs in the game. JRPG fans may find this enticing as this mechanic appears very similar to the Persona series’ Social Links.
Players will be able to form bonds with the friends of Kasuga. Forming and deepening these bonds allow for these characters to gain new abilities that will help in the game’s new turn based combat systems. Some abilities that these characters are able to do as the player deepens their bonds include “change jobs, learn new skills, initiate follow-ups on Kasuga’s attacks.”
Sega also gave details on how players can deepen their bonds with Kasuga’s friends. The first way they mentioned is by spending time with the characters at a Play Spot. These locations will provide certain activities for players to deepen their bonds with the characters such as seeing their favorite movie at the local theater. Another way is by eating with them at restaurants around Yokohama. While eating, special bond deepening conversations can be started called “Table Talk” by choosing specific menu items. Players will be able to check the status of their bonds on the Bonds menu screen in the game.
Finally, there are special side stories that can happen by deepening bonds. The side stories are called “Bond Dramas” These “Bond Dramas” will have characters open up to Kasuga and “reveal their secret pasts, worries, and troubles.” Once completing a “Bond Drama” players are then able to upgrade a character’s skills in a brand new way. This new way is call “Bond Skills.” “Bond Skills” have the highest power of skills in the game, and vary by the character that have the deepened bonds. Thus, players are encouraged to max out their bonds with as many characters as possible.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is set to launch on PS4 on January 16, 2020 in Japan and at some point later in 2020 in the West.