Yakuza 5 detailed in Famitsu

New engine. Haruka and newcomer Shinada playable.

Yakuza 5 ups the four character ante set by Yakuza 4 and Dead Souls with five playable characters, this week’s Famitsu reveals. Joining series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu are Taiga Saejima, Shun Akiyama, Haruka Sawamura, and newcomer Tatsuo Shinada.

Haruka is the first female playable character in the series. What happened to her as a result of previous events is being kept secret. Tatsuo Shinada is a former baseball player banned from the sport for gambling on games – a crime for which he may be innocent. He is currently being chased by debt collectors.

The sequel is set throughout five cities: Tokyo, Sapporo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Osaka. Each city houses one of the five main characters, whose stories will intertwine. Kiryu begins in Fukuoka, where he is a taxi driver. Saejima is serving a three-year prison sentence. Akiyama is headed to Osaka on business. Haruka is also in Osaka, pursuing her dream of becoming an idol, but her talent agency has different plans for her.

Yakuza 5 is the series’ largest project yet, and runs on an entirely new engine. The team has spent twice the amount of time developing the title, and its script is of the series’ greatest scale. The transition from adventure to battle scenes are seamless, and controls have seen a dramatic improvement. The game is currently 70 percent complete. It is due for PlayStation 3 in Japan this December.

Thanks, Game Memo.

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