Like a Dragon: Ishin will be the first entry in the series to use Unreal Engine 4 due to a specific issue with Ryo Ga Gotoku Studio's proprietary Dragon Engine, the studio head recently revealed.
Speaking with Crunchyroll in a newly posted interview conducted during Tokyo Game Show 2022 last month, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio head Masayoshi Yokoyama confirmed they are using Unreal Engine 4 for Isshin's remake due to the Dragon Engine not being great for daytime scenes. The original game also didn't use the Dragon Engine for the same reason, as the developer went back to their old engine for its development.
The engine was born to create a nighttime mecca, so it is more specialized than other engines in expressing the neon district of Kamurocho and other such areas,” explained Yokoyama. “However, in the Like a Dragon series, there were no real daytime scenes, so we didn't need to develop an engine that could do that.
When we were developing the original Ishin!, we didn't even use the Dragon Engine, but rather we used our older in-house house engine. At the time we were working on the original version of Ishin!, we were faced with the challenge of expressing daytime. Sunlight, for instance. Light coming in through windows."
I knew that the Unreal Engine was better than the Dragon Engine for the quality of expression. So, when we said we were going to remake Ishin!, we decided to use the Unreal Engine rather than the Dragon Engine because we thought Unreal Engine could express Ishin! more elegantly.
Like a Dragon: Ishin, however, will be the only modern entry in the series to use an engine other than the Dragon Engine, as both Like a Dragon 8 and Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name will use the studio's proprietary engine.
In the same interview, Masayoshi Yokoyama also went over the new production processes that is allowing the studio to develop Like a Dragon: Ishin alongside two other games. As most of the people working on all three titles have worked on entries in the series before, they could go straight into developing these titles. And while there are three separate teams, some developers are working on multiple titles, such as those working on mini-games.
For the most part, everyone has worked on the Like a Dragon series before, so they're able to go straight in and start developing. In other words, we're making all three games at the same time. But more specifically, as the story writer, I am in charge of all three games at the same time. I'm involved in the whole thing and basically the barrier.
So, of course, there are dedicated teams for each game, but there are programmers that just do all the mini-games for all the different titles. It's a kind of team like that. In fact, it's a team like that. To put it into perspective, we don't have a set line between teams, but rather, just like the water in a sponge, we spread to where it's not wet and work on areas where work is needed to be done and go with the flow.
Like a Dragon: Ishin will launch on February 21st, 2023 on PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One. Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name and Like a Dragon 8 will follow in 2023 and 2024, respectively.