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Project Sakura Wars is the second mainline installment to have a Western release since Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love in 2010. This is the sixth main game in the series, coming out nearly a decade after the fifth game’s original 2005 release. Project Sakura Wars is to “inherit the DNA of the series” and is a soft reboot of the franchise.
Oji Hiroi created the original Sakura Wars in 1996. It contains a variety of elements including tactical RPG, visual novel and dating sim. Sakura Wars was highly popular in Japan but Sega was reluctant to distribute it worldwide as they were uncertain of the game’s reception on a wider scale.
Project Sakura Wars includes the previously mentioned generic elements. Although a soft reboot, the setting remains in a fictionalised Taisho period and takes place twelve years after So Long My Love. As Seijuuro Kamiyama, you can wander around Ginza and in battle you also control the all-female Flower Division of the Imperial Combat Revue.
Whilst exploring Ginza, Suijuuro interacts with other characters to progress the story and do sub stories. When talking to other characters, the dating sim aspect comes in as the Live and Interactive Picture Sequence is used to deepen the relationships based on Suijuuro’s answers. There is a mixture of battle and adventures within Project Sakura Wars, as you take part in mecha battles when not exploring the world.
Behind the Project
Kohei Tanaka has returned once more as the musical composer for the series, having done so since its original 1996 release. He is one of the only members from the original team to return for Project Sakura Wars‘ development. Tanaka has numerous credits to his name from video games to anime.
Composing the story is Jiro Ishii, who has been collaborating with scriptwriter Takaaki Suzuki. The two have prior experience in these areas, with Suzuki working as a researcher on Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Ishii having directed and produced games in the past. Ishii’s last work in terms of story composition was Monster Strike in 2015.
In charge of character design is Tite Kubo, the creator of the manga series: Bleach. Kubo was their first choice for character designer, having designed swords and been popular for his characters’ traditional garb. Joining Kubo is Masashi Kudoh who is in charge of visual settings, he has worked with Kubo before on his anime adaptation and thus has experience on working with his designs. Whilst these two are both new to the series, Mika Akitaka, the previous designer of the mechas will be returning to Sakura Wars.
Directing the game is Tetsuya Ootsubo, who will be corroborating with producer Tetsu Kitano and executive producer Haruki Satomi. Working with them are Sega CS Research and Development #2, or Sonic Team as they are more commonly known as, with animated cutscenes being produced by the animation studio: Sanzigen.
Project Sakura Wars is scheduled for a Winter 2019 release in Japan, and a worldwide release in Spring 2020 on the Playstation 4.