If you were wondering whether or not Yakuza: Like a Dragon continued the series tradition of featuring an ambitious minigame, the answer is called Management Mode. At one point in the story Ichiban will be tasked with taking over a company in shambles, rebuild it, and take it all the way to the top by purchasing properties and hiring employees. It can be daunting to learn the basics and challenging to maintain the budget afloat, but don’t worry, here’s everything you should know to become Yokohama’s prime magnate.
How to Unlock Management
In order to embark yourself in this financial quest, you’ll have to progress through the main story until Chapter 5. After the group talks with the woman outside of Otohime Land she will mention the problems around her business, and Ichiban will offer himself to take the helm. This unlocks the substory Ijincho’s Safety Net. After you take on the tutorial and talk to Eri two more times to learn all the basics, you’ll be all set.
But this introduction barely scratches the surface. It’s a complex mode that could easily be its own game, and yet it’s intertwined with multiple aspects of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, including an unlockable party member, Part-time Hero challenges, and more. It’s vital to learn the ropes if you want to see the game in full, and it also hides some uplifting and exhilarant moments that you shouldn’t miss.
Understanding the Basics of Management
So, this is a business management simulator through and through. Ichiban is granted an initial capital to kick things off, taking the role of president, but this comes with certain conditions. He is not only tasked with growing Ichiban Confections (yes, that’s the name), but also with reaching certain milestones:
- The company must never be in red
- The company’s Share Price Ranking must be in Yokohama’s top 100 after four periods
- At some point, you need to reach first place
It sounds overwhelming, and to some extent it is, but all of these goals are accomplished in a gradual manner. The third milestone just means you have to reach the end of the minigame, so forget about it for the time being. In Management, the focus should always be in maintaining a steady money flow so you can avoid taking on loans (keep in mind that Management’s capital and Ichiban’s own money are separated from each other). By doing so, all your attention can be in keeping your properties and employees in check, and then crush shareholders during meetings. It’s basically summed up to this – no matter how many menus and confusing icons it throws at you.
From here, it’s more straightforward than it seems. Goals have a set number of periods until you need to fulfill the deadline. Your first goal mentions four periods, so that means four “days” inside the minigame, per period. During this time you can upgrade, purchase or sell properties, hire new employees or promote the ones you have already recruited, and then open for business. This will lead to a separate screen where you see a tiny Ichiban running through a long road, which represents the costs of opening that property in red, while showcasing all the profits you gain in green. Once that’s over, you’ll see how the overall number is affected by your current costs, and the final amount that goes to your capital.
Rinse and repeat until the end of the period. This is the time when a shareholder meeting will take place, which are crucial moments in which you need to convince shareholders that you’re actually doing a great job. These are “battles” of sorts that we’ll get into detail later. Once they are over, you’re most likely to rank up several steps towards top 100, top 50, and so on as the minigame progresses. The best part is that you can opt in and out at any time, so if you just want to return to your yakuza endeavours and return later, feel free to.
Management: Properties – Yakuza: Like a Dragon Tips
Properties make for the foundation of your business. Ichiban Confections, as modest and humble as it is, can only take you so far, and you’ll have to purchase more of them as soon as possible. This has a capped depending on the rank you stand on at the moment – at first you only have one additional slot (Ichiban Confections cannot be sold), and it expands over time up to six slots. This is great since it helps to keep a slow pace during the beginning, and makes the economic leaps much more substantial when you reach your goals and set on accomplishing new ones.
There’s quite a bit to consider on top of the purchase price. There’s always information on the descriptions, such as whether or not it will lead to a huge profit or if it won’t have many spikes but rather maintain a steady income, and the areas that will be worth improving over others. But in reality, it’s best to keep an eye on the expected profit, how many yen symbols the property has (called Sales Volume), and the areas where you’ll have to focus the most.
Expected profit always gives you an estimate of how much money you’ll make from opening business with that property, but this can be increased with Sales Volume. If there’s three yen symbols, for example, that showcases it can be upgraded up to three times. Increasing Sales Volume also increases the need for its respective areas, which are always Product, Service, and Notability. This is where your employees come into play: if the sliders for all three areas are on the other side of the needle, they’ll be light blue – if not, they’ll be red. This will vary depending on the people you choose to assign to that property, as they have their own specialties.
You will see three slots for this: the Leader is going to be the backbone in terms of stats, and if the employee’s icon matches the property, even better. Then, both Member slots showcase a preferable stat to increase – properties such as cabarets will focus more on Service than Product, for example. Again, choosing the right people for the job is key, since it will allow you to increase the Sales Volume and make a difference in your funds.
In addition, here’s some quick tips:
- The “Toggle Item” button prompt inside a Property menu lets you switch between Employee Assignment, Property Improvement (upgrades), and Property Trade (selling properties), so you can easily interact with all three fronts without leaving the tab.
- It won’t look like it at first, but Ichiban Confections can become a gold (yen?) mine if you invest enough on it. Plus, since its the only property you can’t sell, it’s always best to know when to stop spending yen on others, especially if you’re gonna sell them, and focus on it for a while.
- Lastly, don’t be afraid to sell properties. At first it will look like anything is a big profit, especially after investing heavily on a property. But, the more you rank up, the more you’ll notice when it’s time to sell them a purchase one that has similar or higher Expected Profits. You’ll be starting from scratch, but the stats are better – and the profits only grow higher when you increase the Sales Volume.
Management: Employees – Yakuza: Like a Dragon Tips
Purchasing the most prestigious properties in town means nothing if you don’t have people working on them. As we explained previously, it’s really important to hire folks and choose the best for each job.
Once Management is unlocked, you’ll be able to recruit new potential employees in the streets. Just look for characters that have a distinct sign on their heads (a silhouette alongside money) and talk to them. Always make a quick stop for this, since you never know when you will need the human effort. In order to know which rarity they’ll have, those who are Rare and up will usually ask for an item to convince them. You can obtain some of the best out there by doing substories, too.
You can hire as many employees as possible, and the limit will increase over time, but we don’t recommend going on a hiring frenzy. Recruits will always start at level one, which means that you will have to pay to level them up. There’s an initial cost for hiring, plus their salary (which impacts as Labor Costs when you’re doing the Open for Business section) – paying for Seminars to level them up and then Promotions to increase that level cap adds even more costs.
That’s where it gets tricky. You need to invest a substantial amount of yen into your employees if you want them to perform at their best capacity, but this means you’ll increase the Labor Costs of the property they’ve been assigned, which means less profits for you. Finding that balance depends on the recruits that you have at hand, but it’s something you should always keep in mind.
For us, the strategy that worked the most was to keep a small team and focus on them. Whoever isn’t unassigned to a property will add Surplus Labor Costs, which is not ideal, so add them to all vacant slots and stay there. On top of all the aforementioned costs, each employee has a motivation meter (displayed by an emoji that changes depending on their condition), and it’s vital to keep them happy with Bonuses. This will lead them to become more motivated when you Open for Business, increasing the profits.
In addition, here’s some quick tips:
- Employees will not level up past their limit until you have promoted them, so keep this in mind before paying for a training course.
- Even employees who have been terminated or recruited by other companies won’t be off the table forever, meaning that there will be opportunities for a rehire in case you don’t want to spend money on a sudden promotion to keep them.
- At times, not having all three property slots occupied by employees can project bigger expected profits, especially when you upgrade one employee quite a bit, adding to the labor costs. But the catch is that this will add up to your Surplus Labor Costs.
Management: Shareholder Meetings – Yakuza: Like a Dragon Tips
Shareholder Meetings are crucial moments in your mission to conquer the world and everything in it. You’ll have to choose up to four employees to join Ichiban and face a group of corporate assholes. These are Q&A battles played in real time, but don’t fret, you won’t actually have to answer anything. It’s all about choosing employees with the right stats, understanding how the minigame can work in your favor, and using all the tools at your disposal.
The first step we recommend taking every time you have a meeting available is to prepare yourself first. If you have been making a higher profit than the past period, that will give you an advantage ahead of it. But, perhaps most importantly, is having all your employees’ motivation up beforehand. As you gain more profit, paying for bonuses won’t be such a big cost, and you should always do this before going toe to toe in a meeting.
Also, you’re gonna want to pick the best employees you have for these occasions. That’s where information like Charisma, Tenacity, and Command Points come into place. Honestly, don’t pay too much attention to the first two – as long as you choose the ones that have the highest numbers, you’ll be fine.
Command Points are different – during meetings, you’ll see a bar at the bottom that represents how many actions your employees can make when you’re talking with one of the shareholders. This is crucial as there’s always a timer involved – the more commands you can allocate in that time, the quicker you’ll take all of them down. Sometimes it’s best to go for at least one or two employees that carry as much of a punch like the rest, but instead have a Command Cost of five points, so you can make two or three actions instead of one.
During shareholder meetings, it’s not necessary to rush ahead and try to answer all the questions at once. This is important since you will most likely run out of command points fast, although these recharge over time. That being said, keep in mind that your opponent’s gauge meter will also start filling up, represented by a glowing circle around their icons, which will make it harder for you to break that barrier to deal damage (think of it as a shield). As long as you have the time to spare you’ll be fine, though.
It’s vital to use Ichiban’s apology skills. These don’t have any extra cost, and can deal damage to all shareholders at once. It’s a nice boost to have, and one you should absolutely put into use during each meeting without hesitation. During longer meetings, you’ll have the chance to let the meter fill up to deal a level two or level three apology, which have their own bonuses as well as more damage.
The more meetings you attend, the more time will be of essence. Keep an eye on the timer so you know when to react and when it’s the best time to sit back and wait for a couple seconds until you can deal a more powerful apology. In addition, don’t worry if you weren’t able to deplete an enemy’s health during the first time. Keep on circling with the rest and come back to them afterwards. If any of the shareholders are low on health, a quick apology might do the trick. Plus, they always go on standby when you’re answering someone else’s questions, so use this to your advantage.
Getting to the Top
The minigame doesn’t tell you this, but up to rank 100 you won’t have many options to increase your profits. In our playthrough we went ahead and purchased a second property as soon as possible, and invested in it. At one point we had to request a loan from the bank, but the cost was high, so profits were low after each Open for Business run.
That being said, even if there’s not much cash flow, there’s a steady strategy that you can follow. Focus on having only six employees, and promote them as soon as you’re able to. Keep their conditions in check so they’re always happy and, by consequence, work their hardest (look, it’s just biz). Then, use the remaining capital to invest in upgrades for your two properties. Keep in mind that during the next phase of the minigame, you’ll have slots for two other properties, so focusing on these as much as possible at first will leave you more room for growth.
What you really want to do is succeed in Shareholder Meetings. This will give you the necessary boost to get to top 100, so they’re really important. Upgrade your employees, keep them happy, invest in your properties, and you’ll get there without any major problems. Just know that if you absolutely need to take a loan, do so with the bank. The fees will already be high, even if it’s just five percent, but this will guarantee for you to be debt free by the last period before the goal.
Once you get to the top 100, you won’t have to worry about money that much. Nick Ogata will call Ichiban to congratulate him and offer a new goal: to get to top 50. As a (quite hefty) motivator, he will transfer 50,000,000 yen to your account. Now is when your financial empire can truly begin. But now that the stakes will be higher, making Shareholder Meetings harder and opening up the door for competitors to try and defame your business. This will continue with each milestone you complete, so remember to take things slow and don’t bite more than you can chew. Capitalism is a tough business.