As teased last month, SEGA has finally unwrapped the new game being developed by the team behind the massively successful Yakuza franchise. At yesterday’s pre-TGS PlayStation Lineup Tour conference hosted by Sony, the most stylish man in video games and Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi took to the stage to unveil Judge Eyes as it’s known in Japan, and Project Judge for the rest of us. A westernized re-titling is expected at some point down the line.
Heavily stylized on Yakuza, Judge Eyes explores what it’s like to be on the other side of Japan’s criminal underworld, putting players in the shoes of a lawyer, come private investigator. The showcase features an extended trailer made up of one long cut scene taking place in a law office before delving into the gritty streets of what we presume is Tokyo. In the usual Yakuza style, the character adopts the harsh vocal tones synonymous with the more rugged aspects of Japanese society.
Judge Eyes looks to borrow from Yakuza when it comes to combat and action scenes, though with a heavy emphasis on playing the virtual sleuth with clues to uncover and criminals to track down, very much in an L.A. Noire/Heavy Rain style. Standing around on street corners, lockpicking, disguises, photographic evidence gathering, mini games, trailing suspects, and acrobatic street fights are all set to make up the Judge Eyes gameplay loop.
Judge Eyes releases in Japan on December 13th for PlayStation 4, before coming to the rest of the world at some point in 2019. You can check out the Japanese trailer below, which offers a better taste of game play and the action sequences. If you happen to live in Japan, head over to the PlayStation Store to download a short playable demo.
There’s no denying that Judge Eyes is very similar to a Yakuza release and represents only a small departure from the franchise, but we aren’t complaining as it sure looks good from what we’ve seen so far. We just wish SEGA hadn’t been so flippant with the ‘completely different’ game description we got back in August.