Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is coming out early next year, and like its predecessors it's likely to be rammed full of side-activities complex enough to be their own games. We've already seen a straight-up Animal Crossing send-up packed into it. I shudder to think what other dark designs the developers at Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio have up their sleeves.
Turns out, likely a few—as revealed in an official behind-the-scenes video on the studio's YouTube channel and translated by Automation Media. Studio head and writer Yokoyama Masayoshi says the game has a "monster-class" playtime that creates a unique problem for his team: getting you to actually play the whole thing.
"[It's] longer than anything we've made so far. If you go at it continuously, you'll get sick, and it won't end with just one or two all-nighters. This means that a lot of people are going to hesitate to play the game, or will end up having it wait on their shelves. I found the possibility of that kind of outcome sad, so I thought: 'We have to get everyone hyped up enough to play it.'"
In an era where even long-standing MMOs—famous for their no-life grinds—are bending towards respecting your time, just coming out and saying 'we want you to binge this thing' is both a little unsettling and also par for the course. I mean, the game's chief director Ryu Ga Gotoku carries a spreadsheet full of over 7,000 karaoke songs, which he's determined to add 300 new songs to every year. Good grief.
"We have to get people to play the game in about a week or a month, even at the cost of their health, which is why it's our duty as creators to generate enough to be excited about," says Yokoyama in a statement I'm hoping is tongue-in-cheek. "I've thought this way for the past year or two—for a game like Infinite Wealth, we have to get a festival going on. It would feel kind of rude to just drop such a long game and be done with it," he laughs.
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is probably going to be my first Yakuza game—I've watched the series through a window, but I've never gotten my feet wet. To hear that my first step into Ichiban Kasuga's bizarre adventure could be long enough to prove a health hazard is a little intimidating. I'm still recovering from Baldur's Gate 3. You can't do this to me.
Mind, who knows if it'll be a 100-plus hour game. If the runtime of prior games in the series is anything to go by, Yokoyama might be overselling it a bit for a laugh. That, or the studio's developed some arcane mind curse that'll glue you to the screen just so you can fully appreciate their take on Tom Nook, or Ryu Ga Gotoku's 300 latest karaoke bangers. Anything's possible.