RGG Studio, the developer behind the long running
Yakuza Like a Dragon franchise, is in the process of "researching" Unreal Engine 5, as it considers dropping its current, in-house Dragon Engine. As reported by IGN, the team is aware that its custom engine is starting to show its age, and would probably need a "major update" if it was going to be used for future games.
There was a time, not too long ago, when the Dragon Engine was the bee's knees. It was introduced through Yakuza 6: The Song of Life in 2016, and represented a significant jump in terms of technical and graphical prowess. The Dragon Engine still looks good — even great at times — but with RGG Studio adding so many bits and pieces to it over the years, its foundations are starting to creak.
But here's the interesting part: the newly announced Like a Dragon: Ishin! — a full remake of the PS4 and PS3 samurai spinoff from 2014 — is using Unreal Engine 4. Clearly, the development team thought it would be easier to utilise Epic's software for that project.
"We are kind of looking at it and saying, what are the merits of each? What's the merit of the Dragon Engine? What's the merit of the Unreal Engine?" says Masayoshi Yokoyama.
"The main challenge is that now, we have so many platforms," he continues. "We have PC, we have Steam, we have Xbox, we have all sorts of things from which our game can be a part of, and so making a game that can be on all these platforms and using the chance to share our game with people all around the world is the major challenge that we think we want to face going forward."
It could well be that moving to Unreal Engine 5 is the answer to RGG Studio's conundrum, as it looks to push Like a Dragon even further into the spotlight. Do you think the team should let go of the Dragon Engine and move onto something new? Pray for funny physics in the comments section below.