Kenny Omega tells us why his Trooper card Like a Dragon: Ishin is all Elite

Like a Dragon: Ishin, the upcoming remake of the 2014 yakuza spin-off set in 1860s Japan gets a dose of elite thanks to the inclusion of All Elite Wrestling’s Kenny Omega. Sega has announced that The Cleaner will help players as one of the game’s many Trooper maps.

The core mechanic of Ishin, these cards grant special attacks and bonuses thanks to the help of several fan-favorite characters, including Ichiban Kasuga. Omega’s card, aptly named Essence of the One-Winged Angel after his Final Fantasy-inspired finishing move, can slice enemies with a powerful, long-range attack using his angel wing.

To learn more about the announcement, I sat down with Omega to talk about the origins of his Trooper card, his longtime love for the series formerly known as Yakuza, and if he knows how to wield a katana .

GI: I know you’re a huge Like A Dragon fan, and I also know you’ve spent a lot of time wrestling in Japan. Have you ever played the original version of Ishin? And if so, either between that or the remake, what excites you most about it?

Omega: So I never played the original Ishin. However, at the time of publication, I was staying in a dorm for the current promotion I was fighting for, then DDT, and we had something like bunk beds in my room. So I was on the top bunk, and my roommate on the bottom bunk always played along. And I said, hey, what’s that? And he tried to explain it to me because my Japanese was fine at that point. He also tried to speak English as best he could. And he’s like, ‘Oh no, that’s Yakuza.’ I said, ‘Wow, they do samurai stories in yakuza?’ [He’s] like, “Yes, they do.” And I said, ‘Well, how is it? It is good? Is it just as good as the real ones [are]?’ [He said] “Yes, it’s just as good. You don’t have it in Canada?’ I said, ‘No, we don’t [it] in Canada.’ And that always blew me away that there were fully fleshed out entries released in Japan in a completely different era and we never got to the US. So it’s very cool to have a full remaster ready that we can all play now. And even more exciting that I also have a little bit of inclusion with me.

Looking at your map and the usage of your One-Winged Angel theme, can you talk about what kind of input you had to give for your Trooper map?

So I was actually afraid to say anything because I wasn’t sure where the lines were. I just thought I was lucky to be here. I’m just happy to be here so let’s do whatever we can. I just want it to be good for fans of the series, for fans of the game, for people who just want a really strong card. And they came to the table with the essence of the one-winged angel that I thought where, you know where that came from, right? And yes, they say, ‘No, we know. We just thought it was you. You make the move, it’s part of who you are, it’s part of your identity and that’s what we want in the game. So in between the card arts, everything; that’s me through and through. So [it’s] It’s very cool to have a 100 percent representation of Kenny Omega and I feel like it’s very, very accurate.

Kenny’s Essence of the One-Winged Angel card. His description reads: “A strapping fighter who has traveled through space, time, and reality to serve the Shinsengumi. It is said that his elite abilities can summon the stars themselves.”

By the way, this is a hell of a feat by RGG. So it just says, “Yes, we know where One-Winged Angel came from” and then just keeps going

Yes! I mean it’s great. It’s kinda [like] in wrestling when you come out of a business where you have to try to pretend that nobody exists but you. That’s absolutely not my mission statement in wrestling. I thought, man, it’s cool to see people who have the same mindset. It is wonderful.

I noticed that your card character has a katana and I was wondering: Have you ever used or learned how to use a katana in real life?

Not in real life, no. I remember a photo shoot way back when they put armor on us and gave us very basic lessons just so we could have proper footwork and maintain proper posture while we were taking the pictures in Japan. And it was great fun. And it made me just do it as a hobby when I could. But sometimes you see something interesting and want to take your time with it, and eventually just pick up the other schedules you never can. But it was always something I found really cool, and every time I see it portrayed at its highest level, I sort of regret not going down the path. But it always feels that way [that], You know? I wish I could sing better. i wish i could dance I wish I could play the piano. I wish I could have a black belt in some martial arts. And you always have these feelings like, damn, I wish I could have figured out a way to fit it into my schedule a little bit better.

You’re in a video game, so personally I feel like that replaces all the other stuff.

A little, yes.

Congratulations on that. Aside from yourself, what’s your favorite Trooper card to use in Ishin after playing with it?

Oh man. Well I haven’t been able to play anything other than the demo [Tokyo Game Show], so it would be prescient and a little premature for me to say that I have a favorite besides mine. And I’ll just throw it out, there’s probably a good chance that even after playing every Trooper card, mine will still be the favorite. Because what I’ve seen so far I think is the most useful. And I think they upped the ante on me just a little bit as a favor for all my years of hard work and service on the show and the millions and millions of dollars I’ve pumped to a Yakuza fan after all this time to be . So I hope my character card lives on as one of my favorite decks.

Are there big Like-a-Dragon fans in the AEW dressing room, and if so, did you take the opportunity to brag to them about that cameo?

This is a very good question. I’ve rarely talked about video games with a lot of people at AEW lately. I remember when I was in Japan and New Japan [Pro Wrestling], and we rode the bus a lot, and that’s becoming more of a common topic of conversation. “Hey, are you playing any games, what are you doing to kill time, yadda, yadda, yadda.” And, you know, that will lead to a conversation about what kind of TV dramas you watch or what kind of games you play. I mean, there are some of the old guys that I would still talk to that I traveled with in New Japan. I will speak to Trent [Baretta] every now and then and say, ‘Hey, are you playing anything?’ But yes, not specifically. I have a feeling that maybe the person I’ve spoken to the most about video games is Adam Cole?

That makes sense.

Yes Yes Yes. No, he definitely knows that I love this series. And we’re always kind of talking to each other about what game is currently taking up our time. So it’s going to be a very topical topic of conversation for us. So when Ishin comes out, I’ll definitely be talking about Ishin.

You can convince Adam to stream Ishin and then have him use your card all the time.

Yes! I mean he likes to stream single player story campaigns. So yeah, I think that’s good for him.

You are quite famous for all your video game cosplays that you have done on various wrestling shows. Can we expect your Trooper card to be cosplayed at a big show in the future?

I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it before. So probably. It’s almost a safe bet.

And then you can practice your katana skills for it.

Yes. I mean, at least we have, even if it’s not a traditional katana sword game, at least Hikaru Shida in AEW who is very talented in kendo. So I will be able to learn something. At least one or two things.

So how can players get their in-game card?

Very easily. So without revealing any secrets. Well, it’s a big secret, but it’s available for free if you download the game at launch. So it’s the easiest card you could ever get. All you have to do is own the game! If you own the game, download the DLC 1,000 percent free. Very simple, like me or hate me. Hey, get a free map of this. So it’s a free card, very powerful, and again, look, you don’t know me as a wrestler? It’s good. I do not care. We’re just RGG fans, and I’m trying to give you guys the OP crowd control section of the effect card that you could possibly get your hands on, and it’s yours for free. I think you will like it. Essence of the One-Winged Angel, look out for it. It really does contain mine, and I really hope that all fans of RGG, all fans of Pro Wrestling, and myself if there are, will enjoy this map.

To get the ball rolling, is there anything you’d like to convey about your card that we haven’t talked about today?

There are. I believe it will be available after chapter five, something like that. So I think things will be a lot easier once characters can use this card. I would say that many battles become almost too easy. So whether you find it more fun to feel empowered in this way, or whether it’s too easy for you, I don’t know. But regarding the map I have now given all the information I can give but I think everyone will like it. And hopefully it’s the first recording of many more possible ones. It would be great to get back to work with the series, to work with Sega who are all these wonderful people, and to connect with fans. That’s always the most rewarding part of just switching like that and seeing how many people like me have all these other interests and all these other entertainment media around the world. So it’s very cool to be a part of something that’s very close to my heart and to meet people who are a little bit cut from the same cloth. It’s very neat.

Like a Dragon: Ishin will be released on February 21 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Kenny Omega tells us why his Trooper card Like a Dragon: Ishin is all Elite

Fry Electronics Team

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