The developers of the Yakuza series say that the beloved cabaret mini game will return in Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. That's good news for anyone who played Yakuza 0 and found it weirdly compelling to wring salarymen from their wallets by plying them with drinks.
'Cabaret mini-game' is somewhat misleading. These mostly optional segments in Yakuza games are about running what's commonly called a hostess club. Male customers enter your bar and players have to match a hostess with them who will suit their temperament, ply them with compliments and drinks, and make profit for your club.
It's a real industry that has a real dark side, which is somewhat depicted via Yakuza 0's rival club owners, but the Like A Dragon series mostly treats it the same way it does everything, with charm and silliness and melodrama. "It's a simple business sim about recruiting staff, managing staff stress, drawing up rosters that can satisfy all clients, and keeping an eye on customers to turn over tables and offering extra services once the night begins," wrote Alice O back in 2020. "I was quite happy to keep on grinding, optimising my rosters, watching my staff for hand signals, and just enjoying Majima doing his thing."
So it's good news that it's returning. Perhaps a little more ick is that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio tweeted the news while also linking to a RyuGaGotku-Audition.com. A Google translation of the page says that, in The Man Who Erased His Name, a woman or women "will appear in live-action footage instead of CG as the hostess who works at the store that appears in the game." They're looking for real Japanese people to apply to appear in the game as a hostess, to do promotion, and to appear in another future game, in exchange for 1 million yen (around £6000). Applicants must be over the age of 20 and live in Japan.
In any case, if you liked taking a break from all the punching to instead run a small business, you're in luck. Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is due for release in 2023 and welcomes the return of Kazuma Kiryu, before Kiryu teams up with more recent protagonist Ichiban Kasuga in 2024 for Like A Dragon 8.