Sega's Yakuza series has blown up in popularity ever since the localization of Yakuza 0 in 2017, which brought the series to western fans with an easily accessible jumping in point for its long Kazuma Kiryu saga. Last year, the franchise took a bold new direction with the classic RPG styled Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which has since inspired Sega to bring 2019's Judgment, a spin-off set in the world of Yakuza and on the fictional streets of Kamurocho, to PS5, Xbox Series X, and Google Stadia today. To coincide with this release, Sega has announced a Judgment focused event titled "Judgment Day" set to take place on May 7th.
Judgment was first released in Japan in December 2018 for PS4, with the game releasing in the west on June 25th 2019. Judgment follows Takeyuki Yagami, an ex-lawyer turned private detective, as he tracks down a serial killer who removes the eyes of their victims. The game was the first entry in the Yakuza series to feature an English dub since the original Yakuza's release on PS2 in 2005. The game was infamously temporarily pulled from Japanese storefronts after Pierre Taki, an actor for one of the game's villains, was arrested on suspicion of drug use. The character was recast and remodeled before the English release.
For the release of Judgment Remastered on PS5, Xbox Series X, and Google Stadia today, Sega has dropped the sudden announcement of an event called "Judgment Day," which is set to take place on May 7th at 11pm JST. Nothing more was shared other than a website with a countdown to the event, which has fans speculating that this could be where the publisher announces a full sequel to follow up the recent remaster.
Rumors of a sequel to 2019's Judgment have been circulating recently after reputable Yakuza fansite TojoDojo reported that Sega had filed trademarks for two possible titles for the game, "Lost Judgment" and "Judgment: Seize The Truth." Sega of Japan filing the trademark for "Lost Judgment" could imply that it's the final title for what could be Judgment 2, however it is worth noting that Judgment is known as "Judge Eyes" in Japan, so this could be the western title.
TojoDojo also revealed that its source claimed that Japanese actor Takuya Kimura will be returning as Yagami, with his side-kick Kaito also returning for the sequel. The sequel will also likely take up a darker tone than the first game, likely to further separate itself from the mainline Yakuza series, which has fully embraced its oddball sense of humor with its latest entry. The rumored Judgment sequel could release as early as this year, especially since Yakuza developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has released games annually since 2014, with its most recent release being the Japanese release of Yakuza: Like a Dragon in January 2020.
The Yakuza series is a sprawling franchise that doesn’t limit itself to just one genre. In fact, the games are so different from one to another that it feels like you’re playing an entirely different series at times. At its core, though, the general feel and thematic quality are what brings all these titles together.
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