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Yakuza Black Panther Update

A summary of the opening moments, character profiles for the supporting cast, and a few precious gameplay details.

 

Famitsu has a big spread this week on thew new PSP Yakuza game, Black Panther Yakuza New Chapter. The magazine managed to fill in many of the blanks that Sega left when announcing the basics of the game's story and characters a couple of weeks back, and also provided some tantalizing gameplay info.

First, a more detailed account of how the game kicks off. As suggested by the recent trailer, events in Black Panther begin when main character Tatsuya Ukyou accidentally kills Naoki Toda, a ranking member of the Tojo Clan. From here, events progress as follows:

  • 1. Ukyo plans to flee Kamurocho. However, he's attacked from behind by some men who knock him out with a stun gun.
  • 2. The unconscious Ukyo is taken to the Dragon Heat underground fighting arena that's run by the Tojo Clan's Kuki family. There's a big fight going on.
  • 3. In the ring are two of the underground dojo's fighters, Takeru and Ryu. Takeru has great power, but loses out to the unrivaled precision of Ryu's attacks.
  • 4. As Ukyo watches the fierce fight, Ryutaro Kuki, the fighting ring's manager, appears before him. He says that he'll overlook the death of Toda if Ukyo joins Dragon Heat.

The magazine also details some of the characters whose names were announced last week without much in the way of supporting details. Here's a look at everyone, including Ukyou himself. The images I've included are from the trailer. Famitsu debuts non-impressionistic art of the three supporting characters.

Tatsuya Ukyou

A boy who's rumored to be the strongest street fighter in Kamurocho. He believes strength is everything and trusts only his fists. After being expelled from high school, he threw himself into the dark areas of Kamurocho. One day, he formed a plan to rob a city loan shark, something that scared off his allies. He went through with the plan anyway. Waiting for him was Naoki Toda, a high ranking member in the Tojo Clan, Tokyo's largest yakuza organization. After a scuffle, Ukyou ended up killing Toda and found himself pursued by both the police and Tojo Clan goons. Voiced by Kengo Koura.

Taizan Amemiya

A Judo Therapist at Dragon Heat, an underground fighting arena that's said to move over a billion yen per day in gambling funds. The arena does not let its fighters go to a hospital even if they've incurred injuries. Instead, Amemiya treats them. He's also manager of fighter conditions, and oversees pre match body checks, rehabilitation, and training. Voiced by Koichi Iwaki.

Ryutaro Kuki

Known as the brains of the Tojo Clan. He supports the Kuki Family on his own via internet-based gambling and has built up tremendous profits through illegal activities, including Dragon Heat. While he may seem like a dirty man who's just interested in money, he actually has a strong love of fighting and will sometimes show his manly spirit (the profile does not clarify what this means). Voiced by Toshio Kurosawa.

Saki Kudou

A trainer in the Dragon Heat ring, Saki is an assistant to Amemiya. She's a capable fighter herself, having won a national tournament during her junior high years. One day, she learns of the Dragon Heat tournament and becomes determined to be a pupil of Amemiya. Voiced by Haru.

Tired of all the story details? Sega looks like it's all set to open up on the gameplay side of this latest Yakuza game, as Famitsu offers up a few bits.

As expected, the Dragon Heat tournament plays a central role not just in the game's storyline, but in the gameplay as well. The game's story is set up as a series of chapters. Waiting for Ukyo at the end of each chapter is a boss fight in the Dragon Heat tournament.

The first of these bosses is Tomoki, a fourth year college student who's known as the "Monster of the Karate World."

Sega previously detailed Tsuyoshi Aramaki, a Dragon Heat fighter who will appear as one of Ukyo's rivals towards the end of the game. It's unclear if he's one of the bosses.

Ukyou in the ring with Aramaki. Aramaki is voiced by pro boxing champ Takashi Uchiyama.

The form of combat you use in both the Dragon Heat battles and the game's street fights could see some changes from past Yakuza games. According to Famitsu, you'll be able to freely select your fighting style. It's unclear at present how this system will work or what styles will be present.

Joining the combat, Black Panther will have all the shops, play spots and side activities one expects of a Yakuza game. You'll find such shops as Don Quixoti and beef bowl chain Matsuya. Play spots include the expected hostess clubs. The game will also include "sub story" side quests, with over 100 planned for inclusion here.

For those without access to the print Famitsu, Sega seems to be providing weekly media updates to websites, so expect to get a look at all these features later this week.

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