Yakuza 5 is full of newness

Some of the complaints launched at the Yakuza series in recent years have been based on a failure to move past the traditional formula and offer anything truly new. It looks like that could change with Yakuza 5, as details from Famitsu (via) reveal.

According to the Japanese mag the next entry in the series will have five different playable characters, ranging from newbie Tatsuo Shinada to old favorites Shun Akiyama and, of course, Kiyru Kazuma. Also included are Yakuza 4‘s Taiga Saejima and, making her playable debut,¬†Haruka Sawamura, who Kazuma has looked after since the first game in the series.

The five characters will be complimented by five locations –¬†Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Hokkaido. Traditionally Yakuza games have just featured Tokyo as their setting (with the odd trip to Okinawa), but Sega are promising a wealth of new content to be round within these new areas. The game has also reportedly had twice the development time of a normal Yakuza game, which usually has an annual release date.

Perhaps most importantly (via), the game will run on a new engine that should allow for greater graphical fidelity along with seamless transitions from exploration to fighting and improved controls. It could well be a brand new beginning for this franchise, then.

It’s said to hit Japan in December, but with no release confirmed for the west and Sega’s reported slimming down, we’re not sure it will definitely make its way over here.