Sega’s long-running Yakuza game series, set in the Japanese criminal underworld, was initially inspired by yakuza movies – a popular film genre in Japan, akin to Hollywood’s gangster flicks. So it’s perhaps fitting that the game series is coming full circle and heading to the big screen with a new movie adaptation.
With eight main games and several spin-offs, Yakuza is Sega’s second bestselling franchise after Sonic The Hedgehog (which saw its first movie adaptation released in cinemas earlier this year), so it's not surprising that a film is in the works.
The first game was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2006. The latest – Yakuza: Like A Dragon – has already been released in Japan, with a western release for current-gen consoles imminent (and next-gen versions scheduled for 2021). So it seems an apt time for the announcement of a movie based on the series.
Here’s everything we know about the upcoming Yakuza movie…
Yakuza movie announcement
Variety has reported that 1212 Entertainment, the production company behind the recent movie adaptation of classic children's book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, is working with Sega to bring Yakuza to the big screen with a live-action adaptation. They are currently searching for writers to work on the film's script.
“Yakuza offers us a new playground in which to set compelling stories with complex characters in a unique environment that audiences have rarely seen before,” 1212 told Variety. “The saga of Kazuma Kiryu has a built-in cinematic appeal – a mix of kinetic action with bursts of comedy, multiple converging storylines, and a gripping journey towards redemption."
Yakuza movie plot
With a script still yet to be written, there are obviously no details on the plot just yet. However, it's a fair bet that it will centre around series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu – a gangster who's released from prison and is soon drawn back to the mean streets of Tokyo and the murky world of the yakuza when a huge stash of cash is stolen from his former clan.
Yakuza movie cast
There's no word yet on who will play Kiryu himself; nor is anyone attached to any supporting roles at the moment. With the movie having just been announced and the search for a scriptwriter now underway, we'd expect more news on the film's casting over the coming year as the project moves through the development process and nears filming.
Yakuza movie trailer
Again, given that there's no script for the movie yet, it's going to be a long time before cameras actually start rolling – and therefore any footage making its way to the interwebs. As soon as it does, we'll add it here – in the meantime, check out the trailer for the gaming franchise's latest instalment, Like A Dragon.
Yakuza movie release date
No timeframe has been suggested for the film to enter production – it's only in the very early stages of development at the moment. If the film is to capitalise on the upcoming release of the eighth Yakuza game, Like A Dragon, whichever writer is chosen to pen the screenplay will need to get their skates on.