Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

The Yakuza series, also known as the Ryu ga Gotoku series, is a popular action-adventure game franchise developed by Sega. The series revolves around the Japanese criminal underworld and the struggles of its protagonist, Kazama Kiryu, as he navigates through the dangerous world of the Yakuza. With its captivating storyline and intense action sequences, the Yakuza series has gained a loyal fan base around the world. However, one question that has been debated among fans is whether the series is in chronological order. In this article, we will explore the evolution of the Yakuza series and examine whether the games can be played in a chronological order. So, buckle up and get ready to dive into the world of the Yakuza, where the stakes are high and the drama never ends.

Quick Answer:
The Yakuza series, also known as the RyĆ« ga Gotoku series in Japan, is a popular video game franchise developed by Sega. The series has been around since 2005 and has spawned numerous games, spin-offs, and adaptations. One of the most common questions about the series is whether or not it is in chronological order. The answer is yes, the mainline Yakuza games are in chronological order, with each game taking place after the previous one in the story. However, there are some spin-off games and side stories that take place before or during the events of the mainline games, so it’s important to pay attention to the context of each game in the series. Overall, the Yakuza series is a must-play for fans of action, drama, and Japanese culture.

The Origin of the Yakuza Series

The Beginning: Yakuza (2005)

Key Characters

  • Kiryu Kazama: The protagonist of the game, Kiryu Kazama is a former member of the Tojo Clan, one of the most powerful yakuza families in Japan. He is known for his incredible strength and unwavering loyalty to his friends and family.
  • Majima Goro: Another key character in the game, Majima Goro is a high-ranking member of the Tojo Clan and a close ally of Kiryu Kazama. He is known for his cunning and strategic mind, as well as his penchant for extreme violence.

Plot Summary

  • Protagonist Kiryu Kazama’s journey through the criminal underworld of Japan: The game follows Kiryu Kazama as he navigates the treacherous world of the yakuza, fighting rival gangs and trying to protect his loved ones. Along the way, he must confront his own demons and question his loyalties to the Tojo Clan.

Building the Universe: Yakuza 2 (2006)

Expanding the World

  • Introduction of new cities: Osaka and Sapporo
    • These new locations provided a more diverse setting for the story, showcasing different aspects of Japanese culture and expanding the game’s world beyond the bustling streets of Tokyo.
  • Addition of side quests and mini-games
    • Yakuza 2 introduced a variety of side quests and mini-games that added depth and replayability to the game.
    • These additional activities ranged from street racing to hostess clubs, offering players a chance to explore different aspects of the game’s world and engage with its characters in new ways.
    • Overall, the inclusion of these side quests and mini-games helped to build a more immersive and dynamic world for players to explore.

The Rise of the Dragon: Yakuza 3 (2009)

Key takeaway: The Yakuza series has evolved significantly over the years, with each installment building upon the foundations laid by its predecessors. From the first game, Yakuza (2005), to the most recent installment, Yakuza 6 (2016), the series has explored new themes, introduced new playable characters, and expanded the world of the yakuza, building a rich and dynamic universe for players to explore. The series has also introduced new gameplay mechanics, such as the Clan Creator feature in Yakuza 5, which added a new layer of depth to the game’s online components. With its unique blend of action, drama, and humor, the Yakuza series has become a beloved franchise among gamers worldwide.

Refining the Formula

The Yakuza series has always been known for its unique blend of action, drama, and humor, and Yakuza 3 was no exception. With its refined combat system and deeper exploration of the yakuza world, this installment in the series set the stage for the franchise’s future success.

Improved Combat System

One of the most notable improvements in Yakuza 3 was its combat system. In previous games, the fighting mechanics were somewhat basic, but in Yakuza 3, the developers added a new layer of complexity to the brawls. Heat Actions and Rush Combos were introduced, allowing players to execute powerful special moves during heat mode, which was triggered by filling up a special heat gauge.

Heat Actions were unique to each character and could be triggered by pressing a button at the right time during a fight. These moves were often spectacular and cinematic, adding a sense of flair to the battles. Rush Combos, on the other hand, were chains of attacks that could be executed once the player had built up enough heat. These combos were devastating and could take down even the toughest foes with ease.

The improved combat system in Yakuza 3 added a new level of depth to the gameplay, making the fights more engaging and exciting. Players could now strategize and plan their attacks, choosing the right Heat Actions and Rush Combos to take down their enemies.

Plot Development

In addition to its improved combat system, Yakuza 3 also marked a significant turning point in the series’ narrative. The game delved deeper into the political and economic aspects of the yakuza world, shedding light on the inner workings of the organizations and their influence on Japanese society.

Yakuza 3 also introduced a new protagonist, Ryota Okabe, who replaced the previous lead character, Kazama Kiryu. Okabe was a former police officer who had infiltrated the yakuza to gather information, but he eventually became embroiled in their world and rose through the ranks. His storyline added a new dimension to the game, as players could experience the yakuza world from the perspective of an outsider who became a insider.

Overall, Yakuza 3’s refined combat system and plot development marked a significant evolution in the series. The game set the stage for future installments, which would build on these improvements and push the franchise in new directions.

A New Era: Yakuza 4 (2010)

Multiple Perspectives

Yakuza 4 marked a significant departure from its predecessors by introducing multiple playable characters with interconnected storylines. The game featured four playable characters, each with their unique abilities and perspectives, which added a new dimension to the gameplay.

One of the most notable additions to the game was the inclusion of Goro Majima as a playable character. Known for his iconic mad dog style, Majima’s storyline provided a fresh perspective on the ongoing conflict between the Tojo and Omi clans.

Continuation of the Story

Yakuza 4 continued the story from Yakuza 3, exploring the aftermath of the war between the two clans. The game also delved deeper into the backstory of Kiryu Kazama, the protagonist of the series, as he struggled with his decision to retire from the yakuza life.

The game’s plot also introduced the concept of the Dragon Sphere power, a mysterious force that held the key to the ultimate power struggle between the clans. As players progressed through the game, they uncovered more about the Dragon Sphere and its potential consequences for the world of the yakuza.

In summary, Yakuza 4 represented a significant evolution in the series, with its multiple playable characters, interconnected storylines, and continued exploration of the Dragon Sphere power.

Expansion and Evolution: Yakuza 5 (2012)

Larger World, Bigger Problems

  • Introduction of a larger, more populous city: Tokyo
  • Five playable characters with distinct abilities and perspectives

Strengthening the Franchise

  • Refinement of the combat system
  • Incorporation of the Clan Creator feature
Larger World, Bigger Problems
  • Yakuza 5 marked a significant turning point in the series by introducing a larger, more populous city: Tokyo. This move allowed the developers to explore new narrative avenues and present a more diverse and vibrant world for players to explore.
  • Another notable change in Yakuza 5 was the introduction of five playable characters, each with their own distinct abilities and perspectives. This added a new layer of depth to the gameplay, as players could switch between characters on the fly, adapting their playstyle to suit the situation at hand.
Strengthening the Franchise
  • In terms of gameplay mechanics, Yakuza 5 refined the combat system, building upon the solid foundation established in previous installments. The developers added new moves and techniques, giving players more options in battle and making the experience more engaging and satisfying.
  • Another key feature introduced in Yakuza 5 was the Clan Creator, which allowed players to create and customize their own clans within the game world. This feature added a new layer of depth to the game’s online components, allowing players to form alliances, engage in clan wars, and compete with other players for dominance.

Overall, Yakuza 5 represented a significant step forward for the series, expanding upon the foundations laid by its predecessors and introducing new gameplay mechanics and features that would come to define the franchise in the years to come.

The Turning Point: Yakuza 0 (2015)

Prequel and Origin Story

Setting the Stage

The setting of Yakuza 0 is in the 1980s Japan, a time of economic boom and a period of significant change in the country’s criminal underworld. The game introduces two of the most iconic characters in the Yakuza series, Kiryu Kazama and Goro Majima, whose paths would cross and intertwine throughout the course of the game and the series as a whole.

Rearranging the Pieces

Yakuza 0 serves as a prequel to the entire series, providing the backstory and origin of the Dragon Sphere power, a mystical force that would come to play a crucial role in the later installments. The game also lays the groundwork for the complex web of relationships and alliances that would define the Yakuza series, as Kiryu and Majima navigate the dangerous world of organized crime and power struggles within their respective organizations.

Breaking the Mold: Yakuza 6 (2016)

Changes and Adaptations

  • Yakuza 6 marked a significant departure from the traditional formula of the series by introducing a new protagonist, Haruto Sato, who is not affiliated with the yakuza. This change allowed the game to explore new themes and narrative directions.
  • Another notable change in Yakuza 6 is the emphasis on the theme of fatherhood. The game’s story revolves around the relationship between Haruto Sato and his missing son, which adds a new layer of emotional depth to the game’s narrative.

Final Steps

  • In Yakuza 6, the game’s creators took the opportunity to provide closure to the story arc of the franchise’s original protagonist, Kazama Kiryu. The game’s final chapters offer a poignant conclusion to Kiryu’s journey, and the events of Yakuza 6 serve as a bridge to the next generation of the series.
  • The passing of the torch to the next generation is a key theme in Yakuza 6. The game introduces a new protagonist, Haruto Sato, who represents the future of the series. By focusing on his story, the game offers a fresh perspective on the world of the yakuza and paves the way for new narrative directions in future installments.


1. What is the Yakuza series?

The Yakuza series is a popular action-adventure video game franchise developed and published by Sega. The series follows the story of Japanese crime syndicates and their conflicts. The games are known for their unique blend of action, drama, and humor.

2. Is the Yakuza series in chronological order?

The Yakuza series is not in strict chronological order. Each game in the series is a standalone story, and while some games have connections to previous titles, they do not follow a linear timeline. This means that players can jump into any game in the series without worrying about spoilers or missing out on important information.

3. What is the recommended order to play the Yakuza series?

While the Yakuza series is not in chronological order, there is a recommended order to play the games that will provide the best experience. The recommended order is as follows: Yakuza 0, Yakuza 5, Yakuza 6, Yakuza 7, Yakuza Kiwami, Yakuza Kiwami 2, Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, Yakuza Remastered Collection, Yakuza 8.

4. What is the significance of Yakuza 0 in the series?

Yakuza 0 is the prequel to the entire Yakuza series, and it serves as an origin story for the main character, Kazuma Kiryu. The game takes place in the 1980s and sets the stage for the events that unfold in the rest of the series. Playing Yakuza 0 first will give players a better understanding of the characters and events that follow in the other games.

5. What is the connection between Yakuza 7 and Yakuza 8?

Yakuza 7 and Yakuza 8 are both set in the same timeline and feature the same main character, Kiryu Kazama. Yakuza 7 serves as a prequel to Yakuza 8, and while they are not direct sequels to each other, they share some common story elements and characters. Playing both games will give players a better understanding of Kiryu’s story and the events that unfold in the series.

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