Yakuza: Like a Dragon: How to find and run the business mini-game
One of the major features of the Yakuza series is a business management mini-game and Like a Dragon is no different. But while Kazuma Kiryu would skim off the top of the profits to line his own pockets, Ichiban Kasuga just genuinely wants to help a struggling family build up a massive business empire.
That’s not to say there’s no reason to play the game. On the contrary, some of the best rewards come out of taking some time to rise in the stock market. It’s a bit complicated and the tutorial doesn’t do a fantastic job of teaching you the ins and outs, so we are here to give you a crash course in the cutthroat world of business.
Where do you find the business management mini-game?
You will come across it naturally as the plot progresses, though you will be well over 10 hours in by the time you do. Ichiban comes across it in the middle of chapter five, when Eri, the previous owner of “Ichiban Confections” will come to him asking for help with her business after an untimely death. Considering that the business and the protagonist share the same name, it must be fate.
After it’s unlocked you can play the game by visiting Ichiban Confections or, later on, at your office building. You can access a part of the menu called “Business Management” but this actually only allows you to see the progress of the game, not play it. Talk to Eri and she will allow you into the game.
What’s the goal of the business management mini-game?
The goal is to rise in the stock market to number 1. There are several tiers in the stock market, and each time you pass a tier milestone you will get some sort of reward. There are milestones at 100, 50, 20, 10, and then finally number No. 1 in all of Yokohama. Some of these milestones are timed, but it’s usually just the easier ones. Keep in mind this does mean you can fail this mini-game and miss out on some of the rewards.
Aside from these tier rewards, Ichiban will get a bonus every time you have a successful shareholder’s meeting. These bonuses can be hundreds of thousands of yen or more, making it one of the easiest ways to rack up cash. You can be a literal billionaire after completing this mini-game with very little of your own pocket cash invested.
What are the rewards of the business management mini-game?
Aside from cold hard cash, here’s what you have to earn.
Getting into the top 100 companies will make Eri join you as a party member. This is absolutely the most important reward and you should get it ASAP, considering she’s a completely missable character. She is also the only way to get a second female party member, which means she has access to the list of female-only classes.
Tiny spoiler, shortly after Chapter 5, Ichiban gets removed from the party for a short period of time. If you don’t pick up Eri, then your party is stuck at only three members. This makes Ichiban’s short… vacation time much harder. Picking Eri up early on will make these segments far easier since you have a full party of four.
Every character in Yakuza: Like a Dragon has bond levels that increase by using them in the party, playing social mini-games with them, eating with them at restaurants, and so on. Eri, however, is special. Her bond only increases each time you hit a new business tier. This means you can get her to the maximum bond level of 5 very early on without actually having to use her in the party at all. This not only makes her a combat powerhouse, and ensures that she will be gaining maximum XP when outside the party, but it also means she will have access to the most powerful female classes in the game way before your other female party member, Saeko, would.
So yeah, Eri is awesome.
Aside from her, Ichiban will get a new skill at every new tier. He gets three separate levels of Stack Slap, a bashing attack that hits the enemy with money, at tier 50, 20, and 10, and then gets access to an unbelievably powerful Orbital Laser at rank 1, whose damage just goes up the higher your profits from your business. Stack Slap and Orbital Laser are actually some of the best combat abilities in the game, and they are usable regardless of what Ichiban’s current class is, so be sure to pick them up.
So how do I… business?
Here’s where things get tricky, in the sense that the tutorial doesn’t really teach you all the ins and outs and stumbling blocks of business management.
Let’s start with the basics: properties. Each property has a certain maximum money-making potential (sales volume). It also has base levels and requirements for product, service, and notability, and three slots for employees, one leader, and two supporting employees.
Each employee has a fee you have to pay to hire them, a salary you have to pay them every time they work, and ratings in product, service, and notability. Any employee put in a leader slot will add all three of their stats to the property’s base stats. Any employee put in a supporting slot will only add the stat that is highlighted on that slot. The better your employee, the higher their salary.
This is the basic flow of business. Your goal is to get every category into the blue, i.e., past its requirement, without spending too much money doing so. Fulfilling all of a property’s requirements will make it earn somewhere around its maximum earning potential. As long as that is above the salaries of the employees who are running the joint, you are making a profit.
How do I manage employees?
This is going to sound awful but, you never want to pay more than you have to for employees. Employees are rated in a gacha system, with common employees having low stats and rarer employees having higher stats. However, if you fill out your roster with nothing but rare employees, you’ll find yourself having huge salaries to pay that your business can’t keep up with. So always hire the fewest employees with the lowest salaries to meet your property requirements. You don’t make any extra money for going above those requirements, so you always should aim to just meet them.
Try not to keep any employees waiting in your employee pool. If they aren’t working you still have to pay a surplus labor fee for them, which will very quickly become a drain on your profits. If they aren’t serving a purpose, give them the sack.
Employees will slowly become fatigued and angry as they work and if they become overworked they might quit. There are two major ways to make employees happy, promoting them, and giving them bonuses. Unless you absolutely have to, never give bonuses. That’s money that just goes down a hole. Promoting an employee raises their motivation to max and raises their level cap by 5, allowing them to increase their stats in preparation for your next big property purchase. Only give bonuses if the employee has reached their maximum level.
Every so often an employee will get a counteroffer from a competing business. For the most part, it’s not worth paying to keep them around. If you let them go, they will eventually re-enter the hiring pool anyway and you can re-hire them at their original rate.
By the way, doing this made me feel like real scum. Don’t do this in real life!
How do I manage properties?
There are two things you can do to make the most out of your properties: upgrade them and sell them.
Upgrading them either increases the base value in one of its three categories or increases its money-making potential (sales volume) at the cost of increasing the thresholds you have to meet when doing business. Each property has a different cap on how many upgrades you can put into every category.
Focus on upgrading base values first. Why? Because it allows stores to operate with less skilled and less costly staff. Fully upgraded properties practically run themselves, which means you are getting nothing but profit.
Only upgrade your potential profit if you are easily meeting all your property’s needs with a single employee. Upgrading this will make meeting your property’s needs harder, and doing this too early will saddle you with a property that operates at a loss. In short, you should only upgrade your property’s sales volume if you have nothing better to spend money on.
When it comes time to pick up another property, start small but diversify. Every so often special events will come up that will make certain types of properties boost their profits. You never want to miss one of these, but it’s not particularly worth selling and reacquiring a business just to take advantage of it. So try to have properties from every category, if possible.
Finally, every time you rank up a tier, it’s time to start selling your properties. Your old locations simply will not generate the profit you need to climb the ranks. So as you have the time and space to do so, sell off older properties, and buy newer properties with higher sales volume. You can actually get quite a bit of money back for selling an old property as its value goes up when you upgrade it. In general, you don’t want to sell properties until they are fully upgraded.
How do I succeed at a shareholder’s meeting?
Now, this is the most important part of the business management mini-game. As long as you make some profit you’ll be good from quarter to quarter, but impressing shareholders will not only get Ichiban some nice pocket cash, but it will skyrocket you in the stocks. In fact, if you find yourself unable to cross over into another tier, that’s because you have to have a special shareholder boss battle first.
Shareholder meetings are taken on by a party of four board members, employees you personally pick to represent you. Each employee has four important stats for shareholder meetings: Charisma, Tenacity, Command Cost, and Argument Type.
First, let’s talk about argument types. You should think of shareholder meetings as RPG style boss battles with rock-paper-scissors mechanics. Blue reputation types beat red personnel types. Red personnel types beat green profit types. Green profit types beat blue reputation types. You can see the makeup of the enemy shareholders before you go into a meeting. Always bring one board member of each type and then an extra one to handle whichever enemy shareholder type is most prominent.
Charisma is your board member’s damage. Tenacity is their health. Command Cost is how many command points it takes to have them attack.
Command points are stored in your command bar. This bar increases over time, at a faster rate if your board members are motivated. So be sure to promote and or give bonuses to your board members right before each meeting.
When the meeting begins, you’ll get a bonus for your support depending on how well you performed in the last several business sessions. Your goal is to get support to 100 percent by countering shareholder arguments.
The shareholders will slowly fill their action bars, with the most annoyed shareholders filling their bars fastest. If you let their action bars fill all the way, they will target a party member, deal damage, and you will lose support. Your goal is to counter these arguments as fast and effectively as possible.
First, select a shareholder you want to target. They will put up a shield of one of three random colors. Use that color’s weakness to break the shield. The game will highlight this with a small “weak” indicator below the text bubble.
Once their shields are broken, switch to a board member that is strong against their innate argument type and go to town. They now have an increased chance of scoring a critical counterargument and they do more damage with each attack. Attack until the opponent’s tenacity is gone and not only will your support raise, but they won’t bother you for the rest of the meeting.
At the beginning of every meeting, it’s important to find the weakest board member and take them out quickly. Reducing the enemy party is key to surviving long meetings. Bonus points if they are an angry one.
Then, take your time and let your command refresh before you go on to the next one. Prioritize shareholders that you can defeat with board members that have low command costs. Stick to this simple strategy and you should come out on top.
If things get sketchy, remember that Ichiban can use his special skill: apologize. This builds up over time, deals damage to the whole shareholder party, and restores command and tenacity for your whole party. Level one apologies are best used as stop-gaps to keep your party going when things look tough. Level three apologies are major attacks and heals and should be specifically waited for in order to turn the tide of battle. There’s not much use for level 2 apologies.
Trust in the chicken
Finally, our last tip for running a business: let a chicken do all the work.
You have two employees you cannot fire, Eri’s mother and her pet chicken Omelette. Her mother is best treated as a normal employee and simply put somewhere where her stats will do the most good.
Omelette, on the other hand, is a beast. A business beast. A partially upgraded Omelette can run your fully upgraded Ichiban Confections home location (the only one you can’t sell) by herself for an insane amount of profit. Omelette doesn’t need a huge salary, after all… she’s a chicken.
Omelette is also a monster in shareholder meetings. While she has low tenacity and only middling charisma, her command cost is five which is absurdly low. This allows her to break through most shields at a lower cost than most other employees could! Whenever someone comes at you with an argument, just have your chicken squawk in their face!
That’s all the tips we have for you today. Now get out there and make some yen!