Sega and its Ryu Ga Gotoku studio announced that some big stars in the worlds of professional wrestling and Hollywood will make cameos in the upcoming samurai Yakuza spin-off, Like A Dragon: Ishin!
In an announcement trailer on Sega’s official YouTube channel, the publisher revealed that the famous All Elite Wrestling star, Kenny Omega, will appear as a special guest fighter in Ishin!. In the video, Omega said he’ll be one of the six special-guest Trooper Card characters. In the game, Trooper Cards are character cards protagonist Sakomoto Ryoma (the feudal stand-in for Kazuma Kiryu) can use to dish out special attacks on enemy samurai.
“I’ve been a fan of the Like a Dragon series for years, and to be forever immortalized in Like a Dragon: Ishin!, the newest entry in one of the most iconic game franchise of all time, is surreal,” Omega said in a press release. “I’m so excited about my Trooper Card, and I think players are going to love the artwork and attack animation—and the damage I can deal to enemies!”
According to the self-described “avid gamer,” Omega’s Trooper Card skill, “Essence of the One-Winged Angel,” will be essential for players because it’s got a huge area of effect and is great for crowd control.
Back in September of last year, Omega and fellow wrestlers CM Punk, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson were suspended for a backstage fight All Elite Wrestling fans have dubbed “the brawl out at All Out.” During his suspension period, Omega took a tour of the Sega studio in Japan and uploaded a photo of himself getting scanned as a character model for Ishin!.
Sega’s announcement of Omega’s Ishin! appearance is slightly ironic on two fronts. For one, Omega missed out on appearing as a guest character alongside other NJPW wrestlers in Yakuza 6. On the other hand, Omega’s appearance in Ishin! is timely considering the AEW star is NJPW’s newly-crowned IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion.
The other tinge of irony is that the human “best bout machine” will appear in a Yakuza game before appearing in his wrestling promotion’s upcoming video game, AEW: Fight Forever, which was originally slated to release last year. The cause for AEW: Fight Forever’s elusive release date is due to the game’s ESRB rating. According to WrestleZone, the amount of blood and gore in the game has prevented it from attaining a “Teen” rating.
“As someone who is emotionally invested in the Like a Dragon story, I’m nervously excited to take on this mantle of being a small part of Ryoma’s journey,” Kohli said in the press release. “The close relationship that Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio have with their fan community, has been really exciting to see manifest in these cards. I’m very honored to not only be a part of the community, but to also be a part of the series.”
Read More: How To Get Into The Yakuza Series
Unlike the mainline games in the Yakuza series, Ishin! is a historical period piece that takes place in 1867, the year of the Meiji restoration and the downfall of the Shogunate. Within this historical lens, characters from the Yakuza series have been re-imagined as famous historical figures.
“Designing Trooper Cards for Kenny and Rahul, who are passionate fans of the Like a Dragon series, has been a really fun, fulfilling experience,” Hiroyuki Sakamoto, chief producer of Ishin!, wrote in the press release. “We worked with each of them individually to create their unique, personalized card, allowing them to let their creativity run wild. We loved the results, and we think players will too.”
Ishin! will be out on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC in February 2023.