Following the launch of Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, NME sat down with the team at Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio to discuss the series’ incredibly popular karaoke minigame, along with the latest game’s “euphoric and melancholy” new track.
Released on November 8, The Man Who Erased His Name brings back Like A Dragon‘s long-running karaoke minigame with its first-ever Christmas song.
However, the new song – titled ‘Sayonara Silent Night’ – isn’t as cheery as other festive songs. After faking his death in Yakuza 6, protagonist Kazuma Kiryu is at a low point in his life, and that’s reflected in his karaoke.
“While the world is in a Christmas mood and spirit, Kiryu is fighting loneliness,” music director Chihiro Aoki told NME.
“I wanted the song to be both euphoric and melancholy, so I tried to express his complicated feelings by switching back and forth between major and minor keys. Kuroda-san’s wonderful singing and Horii-san’s touching lyrics ride the song, creating a song that will stick with both those who have played the game and those who have not.”
Like A Dragon series chief director, Ryosuke Horii, added that The Man Who Erased His Name‘s end-of-year launch was the right time to explore Christmas – and tie it into Kiryu’s loneliness.
“I decided to produce a Christmas song as the timing was just right, which I had been wanting to do for a long time,” he explained. “Therefore, I started to work on it. Since most popular Japanese Christmas songs are about lost love and the emptiness of spending holidays alone, rather than songs about happiness, I decided to put together this song with the theme of the struggle of not being able to spend Christmas with the person you love.”
Elsewhere, Horii also touched on the popularity of Ryu Ga Gotoku’s karaoke minigame, which has become a fan-favourite element of the studio’s games.
“Karaoke was first created when I was in my third year with the company, and from that point on, we have been steadily developing the game’s music and gameplay,” he explained. “I didn’t want to be criticized just because it was game music, so I created it with the aim of creating quality that could be enjoyed by ordinary music listeners, and I think that this commitment and enthusiasm has reached a lot of people.”
Meanwhile, Aoki believes the minigame has built up a fanbase because it keeps the series lighter – particularly during the games’ darker moments.
“I think the fact that the main characters who are taking a serious turn in the main storyline, but having a crazy good time in the karaoke game, is what makes it so popular,” shared Aoki. “Also, I think that the involvement of players will make the songs strongly attached to them, as this experience will be upgraded from just ‘passive entertainment’ in which they simply listen to the songs, to ‘active entertainment’ in which they try to enliven the songs together.”
“By the way, my personal favorite is ‘Asura Komachi‘,” she added.
It’s been a busy year for Ryu Ga Gotoku. Besides The Man Who Erased His Name, the studio launched its historical revenge epic Like A Dragon – Ishin in February, which we gave four stars in our glowing review.
Looking ahead, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth is set to launch on January 26, and we recently got a look at its Animal Crossing-style island management.
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Eugen Boglaru is an AI aficionado covering the fascinating and rapidly advancing field of Artificial Intelligence. From machine learning breakthroughs to ethical considerations, Eugen provides readers with a deep dive into the world of AI, demystifying complex concepts and exploring the transformative impact of intelligent technologies.