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Like a Dragon Gaiden apparently only took 6 months to develop

The Kiryu-focused side story started its life as a DLC

The next game in the Like a Dragon (formerly Yakuza) series, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, is set to be released next week as a bite-sized side-story branching Yakuza 6 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. We went hands-on in a preview of Like a Dragon Gaiden earlier this year and had a blast, which is surprising given it was apparently developed in just six months.

In an interview with Automaton, Gaiden director Masayoshi Yokoyama revealed that the game was initially conceived as a short story in Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth – the next mainline game – before floating the idea as a DLC for that game. Ultimately, it was decided that it should be its own game, which is where the team settled.

“We could have just told of Kiryu’s past through a thirty-minute interlude as part of Like a Dragon 8, but we decided it would be a lot more interesting as a game of its own, which is how the project came to be,” Yokoyama said, “Though this meant having a whole extra game to make, it still uses the same engine, so we thought ‘It’s not like we have to make it from scratch,’ and decided to go with it. In the end, it took us about half a year to make it.”

Yup, half a year. Just six months total. That’s not a particularly long time in which to make a game, but when you’ve got all the assets, combat systems, and environments ready to go, spinning out a shorter game doesn’t sound impossible.

That said, RGG has been known to be a little bit loose with the truth in the past. Developers from the studio previously claimed to convert Yakuza: Like a Dragon to a turn-based RPG in a matter of months after an April Fool’s video was received well, despite the game being closely tied to Dragon Quest and obviously having been developed from the start as an RPG.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is set to be released on November 9, 2023, for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.