Famitsu has published a new interview regarding Shin Sakura Taisen (New Sakura Wars) with producer Katano Tetsu, Sakura Wars series director Terada Takaharu, and development director Ootsubo Tetsuya, which is purported to contain all of the information currently available regarding the game.
The interviewer begins with asking what lead to Shin Sakura Taisen coming about, and Terada said that while he had been constantly proposing a sequel for years, such as for one taking place in Kyoto, or for one taking place in the future, the final trigger was it coming in first in a poll for series fans wanted coming back. Ootsubo adds that the project had actually started some time before this, but development only advanced as much as it did due to the fans.
They are next asked about the size of the team working on the game, and Ootsubo says that while he cannot come up with an exact number due to people coming in and leaving the project, and parts that are outsourced to other companies, the number is at the least in three digits. Terada says that this is more than the number of people who worked on Sakura Taisen 3, making it the biggest project in the series’ history.
The reason for the game being entitled Shin Sakura Taisen (New Sakura Wars) instead of Sakura Taisen 6 is asked, Ootsubo says due to it has been over a decade since the last game, the team sees it as more of a reboot than a sequel. Additionally, many of the staff working on the game are different from before, and it is on a new platform, and all of this added up together to the word “new”, and thus this title. The lack of a subtitle, which all of the games aside from the first had, because this is the first game in a new series.
Many other titles were proposed, to the point that Terada says that they he cannot even recall how many there were, and Ootsubo says that there were over 300 potential logos as well, taking on ideas from all of the staff working on the project. They initially made logos similar to the older ones, but then decided to go with something entirely different to convey the “new” feeling. The final logo was supported by Ootsubo from early on, while Katano preferred one similar to the traditional ones, and Katano says that the staff pitting their opinions against each other ultimately culminated in results everyone could be satisfied with, which was a good step in creating the game.
The interview next discusses the shift to Tite Kubo as character designer. Terada says that the main heroine of the game was, like the original main heroine Shinguuji Sakura, to be dressed in a kimono and wield a katana, and that Kubo was the first to come to mind when thinking of the combination of “traditional Japanese garb and katana”. They contacted him through Shueisha when the project fully started, and he was interested in working with them, handling not only the character designs but also the designs of the characters’ swords, and Ootsubo says that they also used several other ideas proposed by him.
While Kubo handled the base designs for the characters, the visuals that they base the in-game 3D models on are handled by Kudou Masashi, who handled the character designs for the anime adaptation of BLEACH. Terada says that like with the combination of Fujishima Kousuke and Matsubara Hidenori, having someone to “translate” the base designs results in smoother work, and Kubo approved of having Kudou handle it. Ootsubo also mentions how quickly Kubo works, saying that there were times where, after meeting with Kubo, he returned to the office only to find that Kubo had already sent roughs over, and attributes this to Kubo’s experience with a weekly serial manga.
The staff handling the story composition and script are discussed next. Story composition is handled by Ishii Jirou, who was the producer on Sega’s side for 428: Shibuya Scramble, and Ootsubo got him onto the project for Shin Sakura Taisen before it fully started. Terada says that Ishii has an unparalleled ability to add “essence” to a plot, pointing out parts and ways where the story should surprise. Terada also says that while Shin Sakura Taisen’s story is very “Sakura Taisen-like”, like with the stories in the previous games handled by Akahori Satoru, it does have surprises in store. While the story composition is being handled by Ishii, however, the actual script is being written by Suzuki Takaaki, who worked on the anime series Strike Witches and Girls & Panzer, and is also handling the historical details of the world setting.
The interviewer expresses surprise at how Kudou Masashi and Suzuki Takaaki are also working on the game, noting that it has an impressive lineup of staff, and Terada and Katano say that they are still hiding a few members, who will be announced later on.
Tanaka Kouhei’s work on the music is discussed next. The interviewer ask their reasons for sticking with Tanaka for the music, and Ootsubo says that the theme song that Tanaka made, Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan, now being more well-known than the series itself, is one reason. What made it unthinkable for them to do it without him, however, was how Tanaka kept the flames of Sakura Taisen going through concerts and other forms throughout the years when the series was in hibernation. Terada adds that the music from the series leaves a very strong impression, and that the staff working on the game also felt that they should not change it.