Like a Dragon Gaiden’s New Bonus Pays Homage to Gaming History

Highlights Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has a treat for Like a Dragon fans with a special demo of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth included in Like a Dragon Gaiden. Including a demo for the highly anticipated mainline entry of the series is a great way to reward fans and build excitement for next year’s release. The practice of including bonus demos with new games is rare in the modern era, but it taps into the nostalgia of past gaming experiences and should be embraced more by companies.

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio seemingly has a lot in store for Like a Dragon fans in the coming months as Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is set to release later this year and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth slated for a 2024 release. After already releasing the spin-off Like a Dragon: Ishin! earlier this year, the developer has another treat for fans as the latest trailer for Like a Dragon Gaiden revealed that the game will include a special demo version of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. This bonus is reminiscent of a bygone era of gaming that more releases should follow.

While of both these titles are highly anticipated among fans, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is the next mainline entry in the series and the bigger of the two games, so including a demo for it with Like a Dragon Gaiden at no extra charge is a great way to reward fans and whet their appetite for next year’s release. The demo also reportedly contains special content not found in the full version of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, giving players an even greater reason to check it out. This practice harkens back to the days of bonus demo discs that were common during fifth and sixth generation of consoles but have become scarce in modern gaming.

Like a Dragon Gaiden’s Special Infinite Wealth Demo is Reminiscent of a Nostalgic Gaming Practice yakuza-0-kiryu-club-sega

Prior to the days when digital downloads of games were common practice, players had to get their hands on a demo disc in order to access demos of upcoming releases. Often these demo discs could be obtained by industry insiders at trade shows like E3, retailers with a demo kiosk in store, and even subscribers to certain magazines. However, the most common way the average player gained access to new game trials was from demos that were included with other full retail releases.

A classic example of this type of practice is the original Crash Bandicoot for the PlayStation that included a demo disc for other upcoming PlayStation titles players could try out. Titles like Tekken 2, Wipeout 2097, Destruction Derby 2, Monster Trucks, and Formula 1 were available via demos on this disc. Another great example is the bonus disc included with the special edition of Mario Kart: Double Dash!! which featured demos for games like Mario Party 5, F-Zero GX, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3, and Sonic Heroes.

Unlike these games that contain an array of different demos from a variety of series, Like a Dragon Gaiden only features a demo for RGG Studio’s next release. However, the practice of including any sort of demo for an upcoming release bundled with a new game is very rare in the modern era, and more companies should capitalize on the nostalgia associated with it. The special feeling of getting a bonus demo with a new game is an exciting treat for players, and Like a Dragon Gaiden is smart to tease fans with a taste of the much larger Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth by including this demo version of the game.

Unfortunately, demos are much easier to distribute via a free download in the modern gaming space, so there isn’t as much of reason for publishers to include demos with new releases. Like a Dragon Gaiden releasing as a digital-only title may be part of the reason why this special demo is included with it, since it wouldn’t take any further resources to produce on a physical version. With more games seemingly going the route of a digital-only release, there is a chance more releases like this will feature special demos in the future.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name will launch November 9, 2023, on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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