Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name took just six months to develop, according to Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio director Masayoshi Yokoyama.
In an interview with Automaton, he also said the studio once considered releasing it as DLC before deciding to flesh it out into its own game.
The spin-off, which takes place between Yakuza 6 and 7, tells the story of Kazuma Kiryu, who fakes his own death and disappears from the public eye to protect his loved ones.
Priced at $50 / £45, it will be released next week for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC, and will include a demo for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, which is coming to the same platforms in January 2024.
“There isn’t a huge difference Between Like a Dragon Gaiden and Like a Dragon 8,” Yokoyama said. “By this I mean that, in a sense, Like a Dragon Gaiden was derived from Like a Dragon 8.
“We could have just told of Kiryu’s past through a thirty-minute interlude as part of Like a Dragon 8, but we decided it would be a lot more interesting as a game of its own, which is how the project came to be.
“Though this meant having a whole extra game to make, it still uses the same engine, so we thought ‘It’s not like we have to make it from scratch,’ and decided to go with it. In the end, it took us about half a year to make it.”
Yokoyama added: “I’m the one who first went, ‘Let’s make it.’ I said, ‘If you’re going to make an episode about Kiryu’s past, it’s going to be much quicker to make a game about it.’
“From there on, we first considered making it as DLC, but then decided it was engaging enough for a physical edition. But, for a physical edition, we needed more content, so we decided to add some. This is how things escalated.”
At launch, it will be playable only in Japanese with English subtitles, with an English dub set to be added in a post-release patch.