The Yakuza Team's Next Project Is Like Ace Attorney With Punching

By Ethan Gach on at

Today’s PlayStation event in Japan was weird, to say the least. Attendees watched a spaceship in the shape of a DualShock 4 fly through the universe while the buttons on it talked to them in weird computer voices. A few new games did get shown at the event, though, including an action-RPG courtroom brawler from the makers of Yakuza currently titled Project Judge.

The game centres around Takayuki Yagami, an ex-defence lawyer who beats people up, played by and modelled after Japanese actor and singer Takuya Kimura. After a client he got acquitted murders again, he leaves his profession in shame, grows his hair out, and puts on a leather jacket to become a private detective investigating serial murders instead. If that’s not enough to win you over, Sega describes him in its press release as “a man of conviction who fights for his beliefs, despite the overwhelming despair surrounding him.” It’s hard for me to describe how incredibly sold on this game I am, even though we still don’t know much about it.

On stage at the pre-Tokyo Game Show Sony event, Yakuza designer and Sega’s current chief creative officer Toshihiro Nagoshi said the game will focus on investigating crime scenes and the particular actions players can take in trying to solve them. In the gameplay trailer, this stuff consisted of trailing potential suspects, donning disguises to sneak into buildings, and then searching for clues once inside. There’s also apparently a camera mode for capturing evidence that can later be used in court, with in-game rewards doled out based on how good the photos are, as well as a tonne of other unique little mini-games, including pinball, in case you were wondering just how Yakuza it was.

That means there will also be tonnes of brawling. What’s the point of being a private detective if you don’t hand out a few black eyes during your investigation? But where the game seems to really shine are the story sequences, which include the voice talent of a bunch of famous Japanese actors in addition to Kimura.

The whole thing reminds me of a 90s legal thriller made into an arcade game, and I can’t wait for it. While the game already has a release date in Japan of 13 December, it won’t come to the West until sometime next year.

If you want to catch up on the rest of the games shown at the Sony event you can always re-watch the livestream. Other notable pieces of news included footage of the new Samurai Shodown game, the announcement of a Kingdom Hearts VR experience, and, my personal favourite, a remaster of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles coming to PS4 and Switch.