We talk Japanese history-influenced brawlers with the producer of Capcom's Sengoku Basara.
Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes is the latest in Capcom's brawler, but it is the first to come to North America. We interviewed Producer Hideoki Kobayashi about the game's recent Wii release. Read on to find out why the game kept the Sengoku Basara name outside of Japan, how he feels about Samurai Warriors 3, and what the future of the series is.
Nintendo World Report (NWR): What are the origins of the series?
Hideoki Kobayashi (HK): The game originated with the Japanese 16th century Sengoku period, which was a very turbulent time in Japanese history. All the territories in Japan were fighting with each other and a lot of heroes were born out of this time. For the original Sengoku BASARA we took the legends of those samurai warriors from history, used the drama that was created during that time and amplified it in the manga characters style.
NWR: Why does it have a weird alternate history vibe to it?
HK: Sengoku BASARA: Samurai Heroes is, at it's a core, an entertainment game that has a historical spin to it. We took the characters from an important time in Japanese history and turned it into a world that would appeal to a wider audience. It's not meant to be a history lesson, but rather an enjoyable experience based mixed with historical references.
NWR: Why keep the "Sengoku Basara" name for the English release?
HK: While this is the third game in the series for Japan, it's the first for the Western audience. With tons of licensed products, theme park attractions, and even the image of Masamune Date used on the posters for a prefectural governor election, the name carries a lot of weight in Japan. For those in the western audience who follow Japanese games, it was important to use that name when bringing the title overseas so they would maintain the recognition that is was the game they had been asking for.
NWR: Nintendo just published Samurai Warriors 3 on Wii, and your game appears to be quite similar. Why should gamers wait and play Sengoku Basara instead?
HK: We were able to deliver a smooth experience with the characters animations and moves running at 60 frames per second. We've also eliminated a lot of downtime typical to these types of games with constant action and enemies to fight on your way to the boss in each battle. The manga style also appeals to a fresh, new audience who have been following the anime.
NWR: Would you describe this game as a modern brawler? If so, how does the gameplay evolve over time to keep providing fresh experiences to the player?
HK: As you level up your character, you get new weapons, armors, and moves. You will also encounter an array of new enemies including gigantic bosses like the Death Carriage, a tiger, and the Drillatron. They change the speed of the game keeping the player engaged
As you progress through the game the player also has options in the course that want to chart through Japan. They will form different alliances which ultimately changes the ending of the game and history itself. There are 60 different endings to the game.
NWR: With so many playable characters (16 in total), how do you keep each one fresh?
HK: Each character has very different actions and moves. Each character has their own unique weapons, personality and attacks.
NWR: How does the two-player mode work? Were there even any considerations to take the game online?
HK: In the single-player game players are accompanied by a general at all times to help out. In co-op, the second player takes control of that general. Players work together to achieve the ultimate goal of conquering Japan.
The game is very enjoyable when played with family and friends at home so we decided from the very beginning that the co-op would be offline only.
NWR: What are the differences between the Wii version and the PlayStation 3 version? Which version do you think is better and why?
HK: The game is essentially the same on both platforms, with higher resolution on the PS3. However on the Wii version, players can swing the Wii Remote to unleash their BASARA arts.
NWR: Do you plan to bring the series to portables in the future? Have you given any thought to DS, 3DS, or PSP?
HK: If there is a high enough demand for portable versions of the game, we will consider making it portable.
NWR: Do you want to return the series to Wii? Why or why not?
HK: If the users support this game on the Wii we will definitely look into supporting the series further.