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 next topic of the interview is the content of the game. The interviewer asks about what has changed in the setting, and Ootsubo’s answer is that though ten years have passed in the Sakura Taisen world, the core concepts of “steam-powered civilisation” and “Taisho-era romanticism” remain the same. One major difference, however, is how the Combat Revues, which were secret organisations in previous games, are now widely known of. It is in such a world where the “World Combat Revue War”, an international sports-like event in which Combat Revues from around the world gather in Tokyo to participate in a tournament, is held. The year Taisho 29 which the game takes place in is also the year of the third tournament, and the story is about how the supposedly peaceful tournament takes a turn.
The trust point system where characters’ performance in battle improves or declines based on their current state returns, as do the character endings.
Ootsubo says that the basic framework of the game, such as there being next episode previews, remains unchanged, and Terada says that there are also not just things added to amuse old series fans, but also things that purposely go against old series conceptions, making the game different from the series up till now.
The game is fully depicted in 3D, a change from previous games which made great use of 2D portraits and backgrounds, and entering into conversations with characters is done seamlessly with no transitions. Characters and the camera do move during conversations, however, which Terada says should make the game more “dramatic”. Ootsubo notes that they are doing their best to make sure that load times when moving between maps is shortened to a stress-free level.
The interviewer inquires about the “Smartron” seen and mentioned in screenshots released so far, and Ootsubo confirms that it is a new version of the Kinematron (a mobile phone-like communications device) seen in previous games, that is more smartphone-like, but still runs on steam power. The Smartron displays the current mission and objectives, and also provides the player with a map and icons indicating events, which Ootsubo says was necessary due to the shift to 3D making it easier for players to get confused about where to go.
Other series staples such as the LIPS system also return, but with changes to adapt them to 3D, such as using camerawork, and Click Mode (in which the player clicks on specific parts of a character to get a response from them or the protagonist) returns as well, with new gimmicks.
The game also includes over 40 minutes of anime cutscenes, handled by animation studio Sanzigen; Cutscenes aside from these are entirely in 3D.
Terada says that the shift to 3D was a necessity with the game being released on the Playstation 4, and in response to the interviewer asking if this was difficult, says that the transition also resulted in problems with non-technical elements, such as the shift to having the protagonist constantly seen from a third person view meaning that he had to be fully voiced and animated, which he says resulted in more than twice the effort usually needed.
Ootsubo points out that protagonist Kamiyama Seijuurou has more than five times the dialogue than any other heroine, and says that voice actor Azakami Youhei who plays him said that this role had more lines than any other character he had played in his career. While Kamiyama may look like a more “contemporary” type of “cool” character, however, Ootsubo makes sure to note that they made Kamiyama to be an adaptable character, who depending on the player’s choices can also be a beau, or a clown.Terada says that Kamiyama may be different from Sakura Taisen 1-4 protagonist Oogami, but is also an interesting character. Kamiyama’s job in the theatre is to promote the theatre, and Terada hopes that players will look forward to seeing exactly how he goes about doing so, and says that when looking at the choices players can make, there may be more comical situations than serious ones.