Yakuza hitting US this summer

Confirming rumors, Sega announces it will bring Ryu ga Gotoku to North American and European PlayStation 2s later this year.


Earlier this year, Sega applied for a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a game called "Yakuza." For those following the Japanese game trade, the obvious implication of the filing was that the publisher was bringing Ryu ga Gotoku, its crime-action game for the PlayStation 2, to the US. Despite the evidence, though, Sega of America reps declined to comment at the time.

Those same reps sang a different tune this morning, announcing that, yes, Ryu ga Gotoku would be released in North America under the title Yakuza this summer.

"Yakuza...delves into one of the most mysterious and iconic aspects of Japanese culture," said Sega of America vice president Scott Steinberg. "Players will have the opportunity to take on the world's most notorious and sophisticated underground organizations as they embark on a series of dangerous missions set in the gritty and seedy underbelly of Tokyo."

As outlined in GameSpot's import hands-on, Yakuza follows Kiryu Kazuma, a laconic thug who returns to a life of crime after a long absence. The game lets him roam through the colorful streets of Japan's biggest neon-bathed megalopolis, Grand Theft Auto-style, as he collects debts and defends his turf. The game's combat is exclusively hand-to-hand, with players making use of everyday objects as garbage cans, signs, baseball bats, and microphone stands in a series of brutal brawls.

Yakuza has not yet been rated, though its graphic combat--which literally lets players knock out opponents' teeth--will likely earn it an M for Mature label. No price has been announced for the PS2-exclusive title.

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