North American PlayStation 4 cover art
|Developer(s)||Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio[a]|
Yakuza 0[b] is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Sega. It is the sixth main entry in the Yakuza series and a prequel to the original game. It was released for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Japan in March 2015, and in North America and Europe for PlayStation 4 in January 2017. It was released on Microsoft Windows on 1 August 2018 and was released on Xbox One on 26 February 2020. A free accompanying game application for PlayStation Vita, titled Ryū ga Gotoku 0: Free to Play Application for PlayStation Vita,[c] was released in Japan in February 2015.
Yakuza 0 is an action-adventure game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. The game takes place from December 1988 to January 1989, in Kamurocho and Sōtenbori, fictionalized recreations of Tokyo's Kabukichō and Osaka's Dōtonbori areas respectively. The player controls series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu and recurring character Goro Majima, alternating between the two at predetermined points during the story.
Players can freely walk around Kamurocho and Sotenbori, interacting with people they meet to trigger side-quests, battling enemies who attack them on the street, or playing one of several minigames, including fully playable versions of Sega arcade games such as Out Run, Super Hang-On, Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone. Completing certain objectives, such as eating every dish at a restaurant or reaching a target score in a minigame, will also grant the player special Completion Point currency; these Completion Points can be spent at a shrine to receive additional bonuses, such as special items or character upgrades.
Character customization and growth is similar to the system from Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin!, with abilities earned by buying them off of a skill tree that is gradually unlocked during the game. Instead of using experience to buy skills, the player uses money acquired from fights or via Kiryu and Majima's side businesses. Money is more liberally awarded in Yakuza 0 than in previous entries, with every heavy attack causing enemies to drop cash. The player can lose their money if they encounter a special enemy called Mr. Shakedown, huge men who are far stronger than normal. If the player is beaten, they will lose all their cash, but can beat the enemy again to earn back their money and extra.
Kiryu and Majima also have side businesses that they run during the game to earn money: Kiryu invests real estate in Kamurocho, while Majima runs a cabaret club. Completing side-quests will often result in characters they meet offering to help with side businesses, allowing them to more easily and quickly progress. Progressing in side business sequences or training with specific masters will unlock additional abilities for purchase on the characters' skill trees.
A major innovation of Yakuza 0 is the addition of fighting styles for both Kiryu and Majima that can be switched in the middle of battle. Kiryu utilizes the balanced Brawler style, similar to that of previous entries; the powerful but slow Beast style, which allows him to use heavy weapons; and the fast boxing-based Rush style, which emphasizes mobility. Conversely, Majima uses the balanced Thug style; the weapons-oriented Slugger style, primarily focused around a baseball bat; and the tricky dance-based Breaker style. Completing Kiryu and Majima's side businesses will unlock an additional "Legendary" fighting style for the characters, the "Dragon of Dojima" and "Mad Dog of Shimano" styles, respectively.
In December 1988, during Japan's bubble period, Kazuma Kiryu, a yakuza, is suspected of murder in Kamurocho, Tokyo, after a man that he has collected money from winds up dead in the city's "Empty Lot", which is currently being fought over internally by Sohei Dojima's Dojima Family, a powerful branch of the main yakuza family, the Tojo Clan, for the "Kamurocho Revitalisation Project". Forced out of the family, Kiryu meets Tetsu Tachibana, a powerful real estate owner hired by his incarcerated foster father, Shintaro Kazama, who promises to help Kiryu clear his name. Together, they try to prevent the Empty Lot from falling into the Dojima Clan's hands and seek out the owner of the Lot, all whilst being hunted by the captains of the Dojima Family. After Kiryu's house is arsoned, he cuts ties with his oath brother Akira Nishikiyama to keep him safe, and keeps a low profile. Kiryu is later rescued by Tachibana, who reveals his true identity as a former Chinese mafia member. Seemingly out of options, they drive to the Tojo Clan's HQ, where they negotiate and reach an agreement to protect Kiryu from the lower ranking Dojima Family. Tachibana later discovers the identity of the Empty Lot's owner: a psychologically-induced blind woman named Makoto Makimura, who resides in Sōtenbori, Osaka.
In Sōtenbori, Osaka, Goro Majima, an ex-yakuza, runs a cabaret club under surveillance from the Tojo Clan due to a botched hit years earlier. One day, Majima's supervisor, Tsukasa Sagawa, offers him a chance to rejoin the Shimano Family by assassinating a target named Makoto Makimura. Majima's search takes him to a chiropractic clinic, where he learns that Makoto is a receptionist and under the protection of the clinic's owner, Wen Hai Lee. Majima takes Makoto to an abandoned warehouse and sets out to find answers as to why Makoto is being hunted. Lee suggests murdering a look-alike of Makoto, but Majima refuses to do it; however, a yakuza patriarch named Homare Nishitani carries out the deed in his place. Suspicious of the killing, Sagawa sends men that discover the warehouse, forcing Majima, Makoto and Lee to flee. Upon taking Lee's car, it explodes, killing Lee in the process. Sagawa attempts to kill Majima and Makoto, but is stopped by Masaru Sera, president of the Nikkyo Consortium, who carries Makoto away. After Sagawa tortures Majima, they work together to find Makoto's location, eventually discovering Sera's identity from Nishitani, who is then killed by an officer. Majima storms through Nikkyo's base and confronts Sera, revealing to him that Makoto had already been taken away by Tachibana Real Estate's men prior to Majima's arrival. Sera is then shot in the back by Sagawa, who pulls Kiryu's card from Sera's pocket. The two then decide to travel to Kamurocho.
Eight hours before, Tachibana's right-hand man, Jun Oda, met with Sera and Kiryu and escorted Makoto back to Kamurocho. On the way back, they are pursued by Shibusawa, a lieutenant of the Dojima Family, and his men. They narrowly escape and hide at a construction site, but Oda attempts to betray them. Upon being subdued by Kiryu, Oda reveals that Makoto is Tachibana's sister, and he was the person who sold Makoto to Korean mafia many years ago, when she moved from China to Sōtenbori in search of Tachibana. Kiryu and Makoto escape, returning to Kamurocho, while Oda is killed by Shibusawa. Upon returning to Kamurocho, Kiryu meets up with Tachibana and prepares to take him to see Makoto, but is shot by Lao Gui, a Chinese assassin who set up the Empty Lot murder and framed Kiryu. Tachibana surrenders in order to spare Kiryu. Kiryu recovers and finds Nishikiyama - the two of them track down Tachibana being tortured in a basement. After freeing him, Tachibana succumbs to his injuries and dies. Makoto partially regains her sight only after discovering his dead body.
Majima and Sagawa learn from the head of the Shimano Family, Futoshi Shimano, that he never intended to kill Makoto, knowing Majima wouldn't be able to follow the order; he hoped for Majima to be able to gain Makoto's trust, and convince her to give the Empty Lot's deed to Shimano himself without trouble, so he could sell it to the Omi Alliance. Majima wanders Kamurocho in search of Kiryu and finds Nishikiyama; he learns from the latter about Makoto's disappearance, and goes to the Empty Lot, where he finds Makoto on a nearby rooftop. Makoto wishes to avenge her brother by demanding Dojima's three lieutenants' heads in exchange for the Empty Lot deed. She escapes Majima's sight and goes to meet Sohei Dojima in an attempt to negotiate a deal. Sohei, however, refuses to accept the deal, and has Lao Gui shoot her instead, just as Majima arrives at the scene. After clearing out Dojima's men, Majima and Sera, who survived Sagawa's gunshot, rush Makoto to a hospital.
Shibusawa discovers that Makoto is still alive, and storms the Nikkyo ship where she is being held. In chase, Kiryu confronts Shibusawa's army and duels against him, emerging victorious. Nishikiyama, however, stops Kiryu from killing Shibusawa, not wanting him to cross the line of becoming a murderer.
Majima arrives at Dojima Family's HQ, fighting his way through the building. He fights Awano, a lieutenant of the Dojima Family, who is then killed while trying to defend Majima from Lao Gui. Sohei Dojima then commands the assassin to kill Majima, but he prevails and prepares to murder both of them. Sera arrives and stops Majima, announcing his new ownership of the Empty Lot from Makoto, convincing him to stand down. He instructs Majima to kill Shimano for betraying the Tojo Clan to the Omi Alliance, but Majima spares him, instead offering his life. Shimano, in response, kills an Omi Alliance envoy in return to deny his involvement with them, and reinstates Majima into his family as a captain.
In January 1989, Sera is promoted to Third Chairman of the Tojo Clan. Cleared of suspicion, Kiryu rejoins the Dojima Family. Majima, inspired by Lee and Nishitani, decides to live a crazy, carefree lifestyle. As punishment for his failure to secure a deal with the Shimano Family, Sagawa is killed. Majima encounters Makoto, who does not recognize him due to her past blindness, as well as her doctor, who has feelings for her. Majima encourages the doctor to take care of Makoto, then leaves.
In a post-credits scene, Majima comes face to face with Kiryu in Kamurocho, and greets him gleefully.
The game was first announced in a special Yakuza event on 24 August 2014, together with a trailer. A Chinese-language localization of the game was announced in 2014 and eventually released in Asia in May 2015. Shonan no Kaze performed the game's main theme and ending theme, "Bubble" and "Kurenai" respectively; these songs were not licensed for the English release and were instead replaced by original instrumental tracks.
On 5 December 2015, at PlayStation Experience in San Francisco, Sony Computer Entertainment's Gio Corsi announced that Yakuza 0 would be coming to the Americas for the PlayStation 4. Initially, no official confirmation was made of a European release. In July 2016, it was announced that the game would release in North America and Europe for the PlayStation 4 in January 2017.
Western localization of the game was led by Scott Strichart, associate producer of Atlus USA, who has localized Yakuza Kiwami, Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Yakuza 6. The team took a year and a half to localize Yakuza 0, which has 1.8 million Japanese characters, nearly twice as many as the average JRPG, which has 1 to 1.2 million Japanese characters. In addition to challenges translating tone and humor, Strichart's team at Atlus had difficulties localizing traditional Asian games, including Mahjong and Shogi. In order to make these minigames accessible to Western audiences, Atlus had to provide detailed rules alongside gameplay. During the localization process, Strichart said the team wrote a total of "34 pages of Mahjong explanation."
The game debuted at number 1 on the Japan software chart in its first week of release. The PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4 version sold 146,000 units and 90,000 sales respectively. PlayStation LifeStyle's review of the import version was a 9/10, calling it the best in the series and "the result of 10 years spent not just perfecting a formula, but adding to it." The game received a 36/40 from Famitsu on both platforms. Eurogamer ranked the game 45th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017", while Polygon ranked it 44th on their list of the 50 best games of 2017, and The Verge named it as one of their 15 Best Video Games of 2017.
As of 28 June 2018, Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami were relaunched as PlayStation Hits. The games, as with all PlayStation Hits games, come in a red case and retail for $19.99 in both the United States and Canada.
As of June 2015, the game has sold over 500,000 copies within Japan and Chinese-speaking regions of Asia. Sega president Haruki Satomi stated that the Chinese version of the game sold more than originally expected.
The Japanese version of Yakuza 0 won a Japan Game Awards Award for Excellence in the Future Division (for pre-release games showcased at the Tokyo Game Show) in 2014. The game was nominated for "Best PS4 Game" in Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017, and for "Best Action-Adventure Game" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards; it also became a runner-up for "Best Style" in Giant Bomb's 2017 Game of the Year Awards. The game won the award for "Best Main Character" (Goro Majima) in Game Informer's 2017 game of the Year Awards.
|2017||Golden Joystick Awards||PlayStation Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|2018||National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards||Game, Franchise Action||Nominated|||
|Original Light Mix Score, Franchise||Nominated|
In 2020, an internet meme emerged utilizing deepfakes to generate videos of people and fictional characters singing the chorus of "Baka Mitai" (ばかみたい), a song from the game's karaoke minigame. Most iterations of this meme use a 2017 video uploaded by user Dobbysrules, who lip syncs the Yakuza 0 version of the song, as a template.
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