New Yakuza 5 Screenshots Highlight the Five Main Characters

Kiryu and company.

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With Yakuza 5 finally due out in the West sometime later this year, Sega has released a bunch of new screenshots of the long-awaited game, most of which focus on the game's many protagonists.

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Yakuza 5 features five main characters, more than any previous game in the series. This includes Kazuma Kiryu, the main protagonist of the entire franchise, as well as several returning characters and one brand-new addition.

Whether you're new to the series or have simply forgotten these characters' backgrounds--who could blame you, with Yakuza 4 having been released in North America and Europe in early 2011--Sega also offered up summaries of each of the five. These follow below.

Kazuma Kiryu: After the events of the previous Yakuza games, Kazuma Kiryu--the Dragon of Dojima--has retired from the Yakuza to be a commonplace taxi driver in Nagasugai, Fukuoka, far away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. But when his junior (and more notably, the Sixth Chairman of the Tojo Clan) disappears, he is dragged back into seedy underworld of Japan. Kiryu will once again need to rise as the legendary dragon in order to find his friend.

Taiga Saejima: Taiga Saejima is a legendary Yakuza enforcer, sentenced to 25 years in prison for allegedly murdering 18 rival gang members. After the events in Yakuza 4, Saejima gets re-incarcerated and just wants to serve his new sentence peacefully. But in Saejima's case, "peacefully" quickly leaves as an option. Which will require his survival skills more? The interior of the prison walls, or the harsh Hokkaido winter?

Haruka Sawamura: Years after meeting Kazuma Kiryu, 16-year-old Haruka Sawamura is living in Osaka to pursue her dreams of becoming a star on TV. At the start of Yakuza 5, she's already made it to the finals of the Princess League, a competition between rising stars, where the winner goes on to have a successful career. But even though it looks so carefree and lavish, the life of an up-and-coming idol is not without its perils. Haruka learns firsthand just how dangerous the waters of the entertainment industry can be.

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Shun Akiyama: Shun Akiyama is a dubious money lender who owns his own company called Sky Finance. He has a unique test that prospective borrowers must pass in order to receive a loan--he wishes to see how each will change their own destiny with the money. Akiyama is trying to set up the Sotenbori Branch of Sky Finance, but those plans get a wrench thrown in them when he receives a call about the untimely death of a former client.

Tatsuo Shinada: Tatsuo Shinada had a promising career in the major leagues, but it was cut short when he received a lifetime ban for a baseball gambling/game fixing scandal. Now, Shinada now earns a meager living as an adult entertainment writer in the Nagoya region of Kineicho. But his (mis)fortune is in for a turn when a mysterious masked man confronts Shinada and tells him to uncover the truth behind his ban.

It's been a long wait for a localized version of Yakuza 5. It was released in Japan back in December 2012, and it was only earlier this year that we finally heard it would be coming to western markets.

It'll be released as a digital-only title on PS3 before the end of the year, but we don't yet have a specific date. A recent Sega blog post describing some of the technical hurdles with the localization said the goal was for the game out to be out in mid-November. However, this release window was later removed from the blog post. Today's press release only said the game was coming out this autumn, a period which extends into December.

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