Excess rules in Sega’s paean to Japan’s financial peak
PS3, PS4, Vita
Yakuza Zero’s slogan promises “Money, women and violence.” While these words could be applied to any Yakuza game, everything is turned up to 11 in this prequel, which sends its cast back to 1988, the middle of Japan’s economic bubble.
“What you see in the trailer is really how it was at the time – it’s not a parody,” says series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi, who was in his early 20s in 1988. “For example, the part in the trailer where people are waving ¥10,000 notes in the street to flag down a taxi really used to happen. I once saw a guy in a drinking establishment flash open a suitcase full of money to impress the ladies. That’s the sort of time it was.”
In an extended trailer at September’s Tokyo Game Show, Sega showed off a young Kazuma Kiryu, a man yet to be humbled by the prison stretch that transformed him into the anti-hero we know today, as well as a mild-mannered Goro Majima, who’s running a hostess club. “They’re both still young outlaws,” Nagoshi says. “Kiryu is the violent type and he likes to get his hands dirty, while Majima is earning a comfortable living and is quite well adjusted. He’s quite the opposite of the Majima fans know today.” The story traces the two gangsters’ early dalliances with the world of organised crime. Majima in particular has a lot of change ahead of him, triggered when unpleasant clan politics land him in the unwanted position of having to make his first kill. He’s destined to become a ruthless killer, so the sight of him trembling as he attempts to dispatch his target is captivating. And when he discovers his mark is a blind woman called Makoto Makimura, he ends up rescuing her. (Among
In period style, the Tokyo red-light district of Kamurocho is packed with ostentatious sex shops.
Goro Majima begins this game as an ex-yakuza who is told he can return to the Tojo clan for a deadly price. His unravelling life promises to be a major draw in