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First Look: Project K

Meet main character Tatsuya Ukyou and learn how this latest Yakuza game kicks off.


Famitsu.com had its usual followup on its print counterpart's exclusive reveal of Project K today, sharing first screens and artwork from the tentatively titled Yakuza sequel.

As detailed at the site, Project K takes place in Kamurocho, the same city as past Yakuza games. However, it deals with themes of "youth" and "violence," telling a drama from the perspective of a youth who spends his days fighting.

That youth is 18-year-old Tatsuya Ukyou. This latest Yakuza series main character believes power is everything and also trusts only himself. He's a dropout of society -- but not, as series director Toshihiro Nagoshi made clear in his Famitsu interview this week, a mobster. Tatsuya gets involved in an incident of some form and becomes aware of his "destiny to fight."

Project K's background story begins with Tatsuya in attendance at East Kamuro High School. Tatsuya knocks a kid from another school unconscious in a fight and is placed in juvenile hall. Released on parole, he once again causes unrest and finds himself expelled from high school.

Tatsuya proceeds to live his life fighting on the streets of Kamurocho. He eventually comes to be known as "Kamurocho's Strongest Street Fighter."

One rainy day, Tatsuya makes a plan to steal some money from a city loan shark. Due to the dangers of the plan, Tatsuya's partners leave him, and he attempts to make the robbery on his own.

However, waiting for Tatsuya at this loan shark is Naoki Toda, a high ranking member in the Tojo Clan, Tokyo's largest yakuza organization (also central in the other Yakuza games). Todo attacks Tatsuya, who fights back with all his might. When he comes to, Tatsuya finds Toda unable to move.

Project K's story will be told through fully voiced event scenes, but not of the sort that you're used to seeing in past Yakuza games. The game will use a unique visual technique that combines still shots and animation. Sega enlisted Tokyo-based Spooky Graphics to work on the event scenes.

It's presumable that the stylish teaser trailer Sega shared at Project K's announcement last month uses the very same technique as the game's events. I've included the trailer here:

The gameplay side of things looks closer to a traditional Yakuza game. The site does not provide specifics, but does hint at new actions and gameplay systems for combat. Additionally, the city of Kamurocho will offer familiar shops and restaurants, some of which can be seen in the images, and residents with substories waiting to be explored by the player.

When Project K was first announced, many expected that it would be the next entry in the yearly Yakuza series, meaning it would likely arrive in Spring 2011. In his Famitsu interview, Nagoshi, who's listed as the game's "overall producer," said that a different team is at work on the game.

Project K will actually arrive much sooner than Spring 2011. It's planned for a Fall 2010 release.

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