Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth protagonist deals with aging and illness because he's 'not Superman' says producer

Kiryu discusses his mortality with friends
(Image credit: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio)

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is full of color and joy but, true to previous installments in the series, the upcoming role-playing game (RPG) from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio doesn't shy away from tougher themes, too. 

At a hands-on preview event in New York, producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto opened up about how one of the game's protagonists, Kazuma Kiryu, battles cancer during the game's main story.  

"At every release, Kiryu actually gets older as the game progresses," said Sakamoto. "We don't do this thing where the characters are the same age all the time - they're not Superman. We're following those characters aging, getting older, and hitting those different life stages. That's the story that we want to tell. Everybody goes through different stages in life and experiences different [...] problems and issues. We want to illustrate that and tell a very realistic life experience story." 

As part of this preview, I was able to play the first part of Kiryu's 'Bucket List' storyline, where the grizzled Yakuza puts together a list of things he wants to do before he dies with the help of his friends. It made for a deeply moving sequence that left me misty-eyed on more than one occasion.

However, it's important to emphasize that Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth isn't all doom and gloom. Though the game makes a strong effort to treat heavy themes with respect, the title is full of lighter moments, too. 

"We also don't want the story to be so bleak and predictable," continued Sakamoto. "We don't want Kiryu to just rot away.

"We do have a lot of excitement in the story as a whole. It's what you want to see for Kiryu, turning things around [...] and figuring out what would make him the most happy. Obviously, we're not trying to make anything that's super sad or disappointing."  

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth releases on January 26 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC. 

Want more poignant, narrative-heavy experiences? Our lists of the best RPGs and best story games have you covered.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 


Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 


Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.