Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Philippine launch party: An event to remember for Pinoy kyoudais

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth's launch party was definitely one to remember for Pinoy fans!

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RGG Studio SEA and SEGA spearheaded an intimate gathering for invited fans and media in the Philippines on January 18, 2024, at The Island at the Palace in Bonifacio Global City to celebrate the upcoming launch of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. What better way to get things heated up for the release of Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth than a launch party with our kyoudais in the community?

This is the first time in the country that the Like A Dragon fan community came together in an official event. Fifty lucky fans were given invites through the RGG Studio SEA Facebook page, while ten more were given via the biggest Yakuza/Like A Dragon public group online, Yakuza: Majimaposting Royale. The game producer, Mr. Hiroyuki Sakamoto, graced the launch party as its special guest. Local influencers like Myrtle Sarrosa, GLOCO Gaming, Een Mercado, Kristian PH, and Cherizawa also appeared in the event.

Immersive Hawaiian Scene

To fully bring the Hawaiian experience from Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, having The Island PH as the party venue was a spectacular move from our organizers. The tropical setting included a poolside, palm trees, wooden planks, hut-like structures, and even a printed shark display. Streamers and standees of the game’s protagonists and supporting characters decorated the area to which attendees may indulge in a photo op and receive printed copies.

Souvenirs were given during the event which included a Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth canvas tote bag, poster, and tee–as well as Ichiban’s iconic red Hawaiian shirt. It was a sea of red-clad kyoudais, topped off with cosplayers dressed to the nines in their pressed coats and blazers.

While the launch party was held in an open-air venue, the weather held pretty well throughout the event. The huge tent roofing provided ample protection from the afternoon heat and there was proper ventilation in the area. Food and [non-alcoholic] drinks were provided, buffet style, while the DJ played Infinite Wealth’s Barracuda Fight theme.

A United Fan Community Experience

An incredible level of vibrant energy radiated from the venue as the attendees interacted with one another. Everyone was all smiles–excited and amazed to see fellow kyoudais clamor and share their passion for the game and franchise. It was a heartfelt gathering of enthusiastic fans, eager to experience this incredible milestone. Whether old or new, the community resonated as one with liveliness and keen interest.

Dan Cubangay a.k.a Leo Gaming shared with us, “As an esports enthusiast and professional, an event dedicated solely to the game is quite new to me.” He considered himself a new fan of the franchise—and he was caught off-guard by the astounding reception by the fan community when he cosplayed the younger version of the protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga.

“Little did I know, everyone would recognize and take to my cos[play] with such warmth. The Like A Dragon community is amazing and everyone was super welcoming and accommodating to explain things to a newbie like myself,” Leo Gaming eagerly said. “I was roped in for pictures and videos and even asked to stand right in the middle of everyone because I was dressed as one of the main characters in the series. It was shocking, safe to say I was shy, but it was so much fun!”

What bolstered the whole experience even further was, of course, the crown jewel of the launch party: the appearance of the game’s producer, Mr. Hiroyuki Sakamoto. He expressed his joy to be present at the gathering and how happy he was to see the passionate fan community in the country. Mr. Sakamoto also shared that he liked Jollibee and Chickenjoy, very much to the audience’s glee.

Mr. Sakomoto took to the stage with a gameplay demonstration of his own customized Dondoko Island, as well as a boss fight with a ginormous shark. He shared that there will be a lot of boss battles in the game that fans will definitely look forward to. Furthermore, Mr. Sakamoto also showcased Poundmate Summons during his gameplay, one of which featured Yakuza Kiwami 2’s Kaoru Sayama.

And speaking of gameplay, fans were given the opportunity to play minigames during the program. One of which was the Crazy Delivery mini-game in Infinite Wealth. It was a team battle led by the invited influencers to beat Mr. Sakomoto’s 16k+ high score. Each player had a minute on the controller and they had to pass it to the next player to continue. Team Een Mercado triumphed with more than 14,000 points and received exclusive prizes.

The other game during the program was the Trivia Session. It was a quiz-type game in multiple-choice format that fans could answer by raising their letter cards provided from their goodie bags. Two kyoudais reigned supreme in the end and also received launch-party exclusive prize bags which they unboxed onstage for everyone to see.

Following the minigames was a question-and-answer session with Mr. Sakamoto, which was led onstage by the invited local influencers. There was no indication as to whether we would be expecting ‘more’ returning characters from the previous installments. While there were familiar faces from the released Infinite Wealth game trailers, Producer Sakamoto expressed, “I won’t say anything, yet.”

On the other hand, local cosplayer icon Myrtle Sarrosa had inquired if there was any possibility of a [romantic] interest for Kiryu Kazuma in this installment. Mr. Sakamoto merely encouraged the fans to play the game and see, much to everyone’s avid enthusiasm.

When asked if there was any location that the [developer] team wanted to include in the game, but had not been able to, the crowd cheered ‘Philippines’ and ‘Manila’. Producer Sakamoto considered it and said, “I don’t know yet, but there are no zero chances.” Who knows, maybe the Philippines can be one of the future game locations if it fits the storyline!

As a perk of the Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth launch party, fans had an up-close and personal autograph signing and photo-op with Mr. Hiroyuki Sakamoto. Printed copies of the photo op with the producer were provided afterward.

A Launch Party to Remember

“It’s my first-time here in the Philippines and I’m really having a great time. I would like to thank everyone who came here today,” Mr. Hiroyuki Sakamoto said in his closing remarks. “I can’t wait for the next events to come and I expect everyone to support the game!”

The event was capped off with a group photo op and a karaoke session spearheaded by the fans themselves, dancing and performing onstage. Myrtle Sarrosa led the singing of Baka Mitai and eventually, the fans proceeded to include Judgment, 24-Hour Cinderella, and Friday Night.

The Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Philippine launch party experience overall was highly memorable and exceeded expectations for the first Like A Dragon fan event in the country. Hopefully, there will be many similar events in the future after this. May the Like A Dragon fan community continue to flourish and grow even more!

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth will be released on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC on January 26, 2024.