Like a Dragon: Ishin! Case Study 2023

From Japan to the West: How SEGA’s Like a Dragon: Ishin! Conquered TikTok Influencer Marketing

At the beginning of this year, our team had a fantastic opportunity to partner with SEGA and dive into the historical adventure of Like a Dragon: Ishin! — the world of authentic Japan at the end of the samurai era. We developed a unique and creative TikTok influencer marketing campaign for SEGA and took the samurai story to the next level!

Like a Dragon: Ishin! is an action-adventure video game initially developed and launched for the Japanese market, serving as a launch title for the PlayStation 4. The game is a spin-off of the Like a Dragon series, formerly and commonly known in English localization as Yakuza.

Set in the chaotic Bakumatsu (1853–1867) phase of the Late Edo period, players take on the role of Sakamoto Ryōma, who is distressed, resulting from conflicting pressures and uncertainty about one’s self and role in society. Being embroiled in the middle of a Tosa coup d’état and bent on finding the murderer who assassinated his father figure, Ryōma burrows himself with a hidden identity in the streets of Kyo and joins the grim Shinsengumi.

A remake, Like a Dragon: Ishin!, was released in February 2023 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Steam, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Our team supported SEGA in the Western release announcement by collaborating with TikTok influencers, creating engaging content ideas, and highlighting the game’s key features. So let’s take a closer look at the whole campaign.

Campaign Goal

The campaign goal for Like a Dragon: Ishin! was to support the title in entering the Western market and generate more interest among broader JPIP Action and Samurai Era gaming audiences.

Our TikTok campaign also had 2 stages:

Pre-launch TikTok In-Feed Ads push

Our objective was to generate a buzz of excitement leading up to the game’s launch. To accomplish this, we leveraged the pre-launch localization trailer assets by transforming them into captivating in-feed ads. With an interactive countdown sticker adding an extra element of anticipation, viewers were in eager anticipation of the game’s arrival. Our efforts paid off: we successfully created a groundswell of enthusiasm around the game, resulting in 5 million impressions.


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Influencers releasing their videos & TikTok Spark Ads Push

We collaborated with 13 TikTok influencers, each sharing their own unique video on their channels. Moreover, we primarily focused on the DE, FR, SPA, and ITA markets and partnered with the influencers who publish content about gaming, comedy, art, and the overall entertainment industry. Each influencer published a unique TikTok video presenting Like a Dragon: Ishin! gameplay, discussing the games’ features, showing comedy sketches about the game using VFX effects, or drawing the main character.


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These videos were performing organically for around a week to reach each influencer’s dedicated audience. Following this initial phase, we took these same 13 videos and pushed them out as Spark Ads, reaching new target audiences.

To elevate engagement, we added an interactive display card featuring a link to the landing page. The impact was great, with over 8.1 million impressions. Thanks to the influencers’ creative prowess and our strategic marketing approach, we were able to cultivate widespread interest and enthusiasm for the game.

The whole campaign lasted from the 27th of February till the 18th of March and successfully increased the overall awareness of the title.

Meet the Influencers



1M+ Followers



1.3M+ Followers



619K+ Followers



224K+ Followers



121K+ Followers

162K+ Followers



665K+ Followers



1.8M+ Followers



1.3M+ Followers



1.3M+ Followers



1.4M+ Followers



482K+ Followers

Campaign Video Content

The videos were created in 4 different languages. The most memorable ones were produced by elchurchesoficial, lee.andy, and keinpart2. The overall campaign with 13 videos from influencers successfully gained 8.3M+ views, 143K+ likes, and 4K comments and shares in total. Let’s take a look at some of the content pieces:

Fan Engagement

The Japanese setting, combat system, and unique characters have attracted the attention of many new players. The TikTok videos sparked enthusiastic conversations among the audience, delving beyond the game itself and exploring fascinating aspects of Japanese history. Viewers eagerly shared their insights, comparing in-game events with their real-world counterparts and sharing their knowledge with others.

The level of engagement was truly remarkable, the campaign videos have received many great and inspiring comments, while the game has also gained many positive reviews and new fans.

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