The Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth press event held in the Philippines on January 18 brought forth a special surprise for fans of the beloved game series. 

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s chief producer, Hiroyuki Sakamoto, a veteran of the Like a Dragon series since the inception of the first Yakuza game, took center stage to talk about the game’s early development, new Hawaiian setting, and his favorite parts about Like a Dragon 8.

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Here are all the insights from Sakamoto’s Q&A session at the Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth press event.

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Like a Dragon Invinite Wealth press event at The Island, BGC
Credit: Nigel Zalamea/ONE Esports

Q: The Like a Dragon fan community here in SEA, especially in the Philippines, is highly active on social media and continuously growing. What can you say about this, and do you have a message for the eager fans and their contribution to the game’s fandom?

A: The game has garnered immense popularity over its 19-year history, and Sakamoto believes it will continue to grow, especially in Asia. He expressed happiness about the game’s thriving community and emphasized his desire to make it a worldwide hit.

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Q: Considering that Like a Dragon Gaiden and Infinite Wealth were developed at the same time, and also quite possibly during the time of the pandemic, how tough of a challenge was this for the team, especially since Infinite Wealth is said to have an incredibly long playtime in terms of just the actual story?

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A: The pandemic presented a unique challenge, restricting people from going out. Sakamoto turned this limitation into inspiration for the game, allowing players to explore the Hawaiian setting remotely. He highlighted the team’s focus on ensuring the game’s quality and story progression.

Q: As a fan of the Like a Dragon series, one of the best experiences was exploring the authentic representation of Japan in the game. What are the primary draws and unique elements fans can expect with the new setting in Hawaii when exploring the Hawaiian environment in Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth? What are the authentic Hawaiian experiences players can expect?

Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth characters and cast

A: The Hawaiian setting offers a distinct experience, drawing from Sakamoto’s personal visit to Hawaii. He aimed to provide players with an authentic Hawaiian adventure, promising a significantly different experience from other entries in the series.

Like a Dragon Invinite Wealth press event at The Island, BGC
Credit: Nigel Zalamea/ONE Esports

Q: Infinite Wealth is the first game in the series to be set outside Japan. How did you research and develop the Hawaii map, and what challenges did you face during development?

A: Prior travel restrictions made Initial research challenging, but Sakamoto and the team worked remotely. Once travel was possible, he personally visited Hawaii to ensure accuracy in the game. The process involved meticulous research to capture the essence of the Hawaiian environment.

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Q: Did anything from the Like A Dragon community outside of Japan surprise you?

A: Sakamoto expressed surprise at the widespread popularity of cosplay among the international Like a Dragon community.

Q: What was the most interesting part of the game’s development?

A: For Sakamoto, the most fulfilling aspect as a game producer is witnessing the joy and reactions on people’s faces as they experience the game.

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The Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth press event provided valuable insights into the development process, challenges faced, and the unique elements awaiting players in the latest installment of the beloved series.

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