The Winds of War Blow Once More
Folks, I’ll be real with you: I don’t really know what Sakura Wars is. I know of Sakura Wars, but it’s never really been in my purview. Part of that is simply because most of the Sakura Wars franchise has remained firmly Japan-exclusive. Out of five games, only one has ever been released in English (Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love for the Playstation 2 and Wii in 2010).
In Japan, Sakura Wars is apparently a moderately popular franchise to say the least. According to Wikipedia, there was a time where Japanese magazine Famitsu placed Sakura Wars just under Final Fantasy VII as one of the most anticipated games of 1996. It has spawned a manga series, multiple anime, and even movies. The games often top the sales charts in Japan.
From what I understand, Sakura Wars games are strategy RPGs with visual novel and dating sim elements. Big robots beat each other up while drama runs rampant. This new Sakura Wars game is notable for employing Kubo Tite for its artwork, who is probably most remembered for his massively popular manga, Bleach. Story will be handled by Jiro Ishii, whose previous work includes Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and 428: Shibuya Scramble. The project apparently reboots the Sakura Wars franchise with new characters, set in an alternate-history version of 1940.
Sega’s announcement of Sakura Wars for the west is undoubtedly linked to the growing popularity of games like Yakuza in America and Europe, which Sega has attributed to particularly strong localization. Perhaps they are hoping to make another splash with a historically Japan-centric franchise.
Details are slim on Project Sakura Wars, so it’s easy to assume the game is early days yet. A release planned for the Playstation 4 some time in 2020.