Find out what year each Yakuza game takes place, how many chapters they have, and in what order it is best to play them.
Despite the fact that the events of the crime series Yakuza mainly unfold within the same Japanese region (even the map is almost the same), each part has its own time frame, thanks to which the game world is constantly expanding. Games usually take place in the same year they were released, but in some cases this is not the case.
Although the latest game in the series, Like a Dragon, takes the action to a completely different city (not to mention significant gameplay changes), it still maintains a connection with the world of Yakuza and complements its timeline.
Yakuza 0 – 1988 год
In fact, Yakuza 0 is the sixth of the main games in the series, but its plot takes place long before the events of the first Yakuza and covers the very beginning of the story.
The game tells the story of the late 80s, known in Japan as the period of the economic bubble, which was marked by a sharp increase in property prices. The player can control both young Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima, while the characters do not collide with each other until the very end of the game, when they first meet.
Yakuza – 1995 and 2005
Much of the action of Yakuza, like its remake Yakuza Kiwami, takes place in 2005, when the original game was released. Nevertheless, the first chapter covers the events of 1995, before Kiryu’s imprisonment.
In the second chapter, Kiryu is released in 2005 and discovers how much the situation in the underworld has changed during his absence. It seems that the creators of the Yakuza series really like this backstory, because it was not in vain that they decided to repeat it in the case of Ichiban from Like a Dragon.
Yakuza 2 – 2006 год
Yakuza 2 and its Yakuza Kiwami 2 remake takes place in 2006, a year after the events of the first part. Kiryu struggles to stop the war between the Tojo clan and the Omi alliance. Also in Kiwami 2, players will find three bonus chapters that tell about the events of February 2006. In them, Goro Majima fights for the position of head of the clan after the events of the first Yakuza.
The original Yakuza 2 did not have this subplot, so he only appeared as president of his company, Majima Construction.
Yakuza 3 – 2007-2009
Yakuza 3 is the first game in the series to be released on PlayStation 3. It takes place in 2007, four months after the events of Yakuza 2. This time, the story unfolds not only in the Kamurocho district, known from the two previous installments, but also on the island of Okinawa …
Unlike previous games, Yakuza 3 lasts several years, and time jumps help advance the story. This time, Kiryu wants to leave all the wars in the past and spend the rest of his life caring for the orphanage. But the Dragon of Dojima is again drawn into a criminal showdown by former colleagues who are trying to buy out his property for profit.
Yakuza 4 – 2010 год
The events of Yakuza 4 take place a year after the end of Yakuza 3. A new protagonist awaits the player – the usurer Shun Akiyama, who lends money to Hiroshi Kanemura, the head of the Shibata family.
Kiryu appears later as a playable character, but now, unlike the previous parts, as many as four main characters appear in the story. Also, Yakuza 4 is the first game in the series since the original Yakuza, which does not go beyond Kamurocho’s borders, but at the same time adds new locations to explore within the area.
Yakuza: Dead Souls – 2011 год
Yakuza: Dead Souls is a spin-off set in April 2011, a year after the events of Yakuza 4. Kamurocho is at the mercy of zombies, and Kiryu, Majima, Akiyama and Ryuji from Yakuza Kiwami 2 must save the city.
The game became a PlayStation 3 exclusive. It was released in Japan in 2011, and a year later reached the West. This funny spin-off, of course, is far from canon, but it is definitely worth playing.
Yakuza 5 – 2012 год
The Yakuza series is fond of time jumps, and this storytelling is most vividly embodied in Yakuza 5. The game is divided into five parts, each of which begins with a flashback covering what is happening several years before the events of the title, which unfolds in 2012.
Kiryu is once again embroiled in criminal cases after the apparent death of Goro Majima. Some characters again need his help in resolving conflicts between the leaders of rival gangs and their subordinates.
Yakuza 6 – 2012 and 2016
The last page in Kiryu’s history begins in 2012, right after the events of Yakuza 5. However, from the second chapter, Yakuza 6 rewinds time until 2016, in which the game was released.
After serving another prison term, Kiryu is released and discovers the disappearance of his adopted daughter Haruka. Later, he learns that the girl had an accident, as a result of which she fell into a coma. Although Yakuza 6 ends with the presumed death of Kiryu, he returns in the epilogue with the intention of escaping a life of crime, although he later appears as a side character in Like a Dragon.
Judgment – 2018
There are quite a few spin-off titles in the Yakuza series, but few have made it to the West. One of these is Judgment, which takes place two years after the events of Yakuza 6, with a new protagonist entering the stage.
The player takes on the role of Takayuki Yagami, a lawyer who decided to become a private detective. The hero investigates the case of a serial killer known as the Mole, and along the way tries to save the reputation of the Yakuza from the Matsugane family.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon – 2000 and 2019
The prologue covers the events of 1971, but already in the first chapter we find ourselves in 2000. Like Kiryu in the original Yakuza, Like a Dragon protagonist Ichiban Kasuga took the blame for another family member’s crime. After 18 years of imprisonment, he returns to freedom and sees that the world he knows has changed dramatically.
Starting with the second chapter, the game takes place in 2019 and in a new setting (most of the gameplay is focused on Ijincho, not Kamurocho). This is a kind of reboot for Yakuza fans and a good option for those wishing to get to know the series better.
What is the order of the Yakuza streak?
It is best to play the Yakuza series in chronological order, as follows:
Yakuza Kiwami 2
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
However, some fans prefer to go through Kiwami and only then play Zero before Kiwami 2. This breaks the chronology of the series, but it is still preferable to get to know Kiryu and Majima in Kiwami in order to better understand their backstory presented in Zero.
How many chapters are there in each Yakuza game?
Yakuza 0 – 17 chapters and epilogue
Yakuza Kiwami – 13 глав
Yakuza Kiwami 2 – 16 main and 3 additional chapters titled “Saga of Majima”
Yakuza 3 – 12 chapters and epilogue
Yakuza 4 – 17 chapters (5 parts) and an epilogue
Dead Souls – 17 chapters
Yakuza 5 – 21 chapters (5 parts)
Yakuza 6 – 13 chapters, prologue and epilogue
Judgment – 13 chapters
Yakuza: Like a Dragon – 15 chapters and a prologue