Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is a spin-off Samurai Warriors 4 which in itself was a spin-off of Dynasty Warriors. Both franchises have become classic hack-‘n-slash series in their own right and Dynasty Warriors has been a staple of the gaming landscape since early in the days of the PS2.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada was released in Japan in November and will finally come to the west on May 30 2017. In the lead-up to the release on PC and PS4 we had the chance to ask developers Omega Force about the game, the franchise and what it would like to achieve.
PowerUp!: Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors are long running series with many games. How do you keep the new titles fun and fresh and make sure to keep players interested?
Omega Force: As a series’ first, it is a story focused game solely following Yukimura Sanada. The addition of new features such as Castle Towns and Exploration enables us to show the daily lives of the characters which we haven’t been able to do until now, and allows us to enhance the game’s story.
In addition, we have included the ‘Passage of Time’ as a theme to the game. From Yukimura’s birth to his death, we’ve shown the changes in characters’ appearances. Battles also take place over multiple battlefields, and during battle time passes from day to night, changing the appearance of the battlefield as well.
PU!: How does adding the hub ‘Castle Town’ change the game?
OF: In Samurai Warriors games, we have told the story through narratives and event scenes in between battles. In addition to these methods, we’ve been able to expand upon the story through the conversations between characters in the Castle Towns, explaining the historical background and showing the daily lives of the characters.
We’ve also added new ways to play with the addition of various Facilities, Tasks and Exploration features using the Castle Town as a base, so I think we have expanded the scope of play.
PU!: Can you explain ‘Stratagems’ and how the idea came about and was implemented?
OF: In this game, we have adopted the system called the “Multi-Stage Battles” system, where battles take place across multiple battlefields. In previous Samurai Warriors games, historically famous battles in Japanese history were depicted on a single battlefield, but with this system we are able to illustrate deeper battles.
Stratagems were brought about to strengthen the relationships between battlefields that comprise a battle, and also show how the player’s actions taken in the Castle Town influence the battle. In addition to the player’s actions affecting the next battlefield, there is the strategic element of players deciding whether or not to activate Stratagems.
PU!: Warriors games are well known for having dozens of characters, how do you manage to make sure they are all well rounded and have a satisfying character arc and story?
OF: The premise of this game is a story where Yukimura Sanada is the main character, so we focused on adding characters that have deep ties with him. As every single character added has a historical background, it served as the base of their relationships with existing characters, but we did adapt the content and added original elements to keep the story interesting.
PU!: There have been many spin-offs of Warriors games, including The Legend of Zelda, One Piece, Fist of the North Star, Berserk, Gundam and more. You’ve announced Fire Emblem Warriors for Switch and 3DS, but if you could make a Warriors game with any franchise at all, what would it be?
OF: What a difficult question to answer, since there are so many franchises I’d like to work with…!
This is completely my own personal wish, and so there is nothing in the works, but personally I like dark fantasy worlds, so I would like to work on such a game.
Also, and this is a completely different category, I’d like to make a game where families can play together.
PU!: Are you ever surprised by Warriors titles popularity outside Japan, especially in Western regions that may not know the history of Japan very well?
OF: Yes, and so the fact that the gameplay is what people find attractive about the Samurai Warriors series makes us extremely happy. If this becomes an opportunity for people to find out more about Japan’s Sengoku-era history, or become interested in other Warriors titles, that makes us happy as well.
PU!: How important is it to accurately portray the era in-game?
OF: Since we are in the position of using the material, we obviously respect the history very much. On top of that though, in order to make the story and gameplay alluring, I think it is important to find new interpretations and possibilities and arrange them as fits.
PU!: What is your message to fans?
OF: The focus on the Sanada family and following a single and deep storyline is unlike any other Samurai Warriors game. While it is a spin-off of the main series, the development team created it with the intent of making a game that people will say would be fitting for a new numbered title in the main series.
The exhilaration of the Warriors series is there, and there are various new elements incorporated into the game. I hope everyone will pick it up and play it!
We’d like to thank Koei Tecmo and Omega Force for their time and for answering our questions.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada will be available for PC and PS4 on May 30, 2017.