New Japan Pro Wrestling Invades The Upcoming ‘Yakuza 6’ Video Game

Since its inception in 2005, Sega’s Yakuza series has brought a unique flavor of brawling to consoles, both in Japan and around the world. I’m admittedly not an expert on the series, but the mix of River City Ransom‘s melee combat, Grand Theft Auto‘s urban locales, and a splash of offbeat comedy certainly keeps me paying attention. I think I’ve also heard it described as “what Shenmue would be if things actually happened in Shenmue.”

In any case, the PlayStation-exclusive Yakuza 6 is approaching its Japanese release date, and in case they didn’t have enough pre-orders from puroresu fans, that’s probably going to change soon. As seen in the tweet below, a Japanese gaming publication broke the news recently that New Japan Pro Wrestling stars will be appearing in the game as a rival gang. This is absolutely a real thing that’s happening, everyone.

From left to right, that’s Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tetsuya Naito, Satoshi Kojima, and Toru Yano. I have to say, between this and the upcoming Tiger Mask W, New Japan is having an outstanding year in the field of cross-promotion. We don’t have any reliable translation on this yet, so there’s no word on whether or not the wrestlers in question will be voicing themselves in the game.

Of course, the next thing you’re probably considering is the prospect of an American release for Yakuza 6. Fortunately, the Yakuza series has had a pretty good track record with Western localization, so my educated guess would be “probably in 2017” at this point. Japanese audiences will get to play on December 8, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer to get our hands on this. By the way, is anyone else looking at these character models and suddenly wishing for a NJPW version of Def Jam: Fight for NY? I’m sorry if that rubs any AKI Engine purists the wrong way.