Samurai Warrios: Spirit of Sanada released in May 2017 in the west for the PlayStation 4 and PC. The game was the first in the series to tell the story of one clan and give a deeper insight to the Sanada clan. We reviewed the game and thought it was a refreshing entry in the series that offered new ways of enjoying the action title.
DualShockers had the opportunity to interview producer Osamu Mieda about the Samurai Warriors franchise and the unique approach the developer took with Samurai Warriors Spirit of Sanada.
Azario Lopez: The Sanada Clan is said to cherish life and fight ’til the end, even if they face defeat. How important was it to implement these feelings and emotions into the story of Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada?
Osamu Mieda: Those feelings and emotions were definitely important to our vision for this title and the core identity of its narrative. The first half of the story explores the Sanada clan’s feelings towards their masters, the Takeda Clan, and the final part focuses on Yukimura Sanada’s way of life: so, I think people will be able to feel these emotions throughout the entire story.
AL: Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada focuses heavily on the Sanada Clan, which is new for the series. Can we expect future spin-off titles to take this approach as well?
OM: I do not have any information to share at this moment, but personally it was a very fulfilling game to create, and we have received positive reviews from the people who have played it. I hope we will be able to continue this type of approach in the future.
AL: Do you see a difference between what Eastern and western fans enjoy about the Warriors franchise? And are these differences considered during development of the game?
OM: Yes, and they are considered in any given Warriors title. We wanted Spirit of Sanada to be a fresh experience that fans from both regions would enjoy, so we took elements that we felt worked well and created new features to further immerse players in the story.
This is the first time in the Samurai Warriors series that we took the style of following a single expansive story, and features of this game, such as the Castle Towns and exploration, were elements that we felt would serve to better present that story while being fun in their own right. And of course, we know for a fact that fans around the world enjoy the exhilarating action that the Warriors series is known for!
AL: Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada keeps the Warriors hack-and-slash formula that fans of the series enjoy, but is it difficult to continuously update these tried-and-true systems in order to keep things fresh for fans?
OM: This is something that we struggle with every time! One defining feature of the Warriors series is the large roster of characters, so it becomes necessary to have an enormous amount of resources to support that if we want to add a new system. So, while keeping this in mind, it is important to come up with more effective ideas and being able to implement them. It is an area that we struggle with the most, but it is also the area that the game designers find the most rewarding.
AL: Would you suggest Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada to be an easy entry point into the Samurai Warriors franchise for someone who hasn’t played any of the previous games?
OM: In previous Samurai Warriors games, the historical background was usually explained through segmented narratives and, with everything presented that way, certain details could potentially be lost on the player. Spirit of Sanada aims to make both the game’s story and its historical aspect more seamless.
For example, Castle Towns provide more natural depictions of conversations between characters, and players can refer to the Sanada Clan Chronicles to check terminology that comes up in conversations, as well as look up other detailed information on the spot. We hoped that following a single expansive story would allow players to become more immersed in the overall world. This is a game that we would absolutely recommend to first time players of a Samurai Warriors game, in addition to players familiar with the series.
AL: The western release of Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada does not include the PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game. What are your thoughts on releasing games for these two systems in the west?
OM: We sense that the western audience anticipates a higher quality game in terms of visual graphics more than the Japanese audience, so that is part of the reason of releasing the game on PS4 and Steam in the west. Releasing games on the PS3 and PS Vita will depend on the demand from the audience, but we also hope to take on the challenge of developing games for new gaming platforms as well.
AL: Koei Tecmo seems to have been doubling down on releasing games to PC in the west – what has that experience been like for the team?
OM: Thanks to improvements in console performance, it has become easier than ever before to develop games for multiple platforms. In addition, we have learned a lot from our experiences with previous PC versions, so we are now able to implement higher quality graphics. So, during the development of a console game, it has become necessary to put the groundwork in place for a PC version. We hope that by releasing PC versions of our games, even more people will play Koei Tecmo games.
AL: With the recent release of the PS4 Pro and the upcoming Xbox One X, is there a chance that future Warriors titles will take advantage of the more powerful hardware, including the Nintendo Switch?
OM: Actually, Spirit of Sanada is PS4 Pro compatible! While we do not have any information at this point on future releases, we are definitely paying attention to new hardware such as Xbox Scorpio and Nintendo Switch.
AL: Is there anything you’d like to say to western fans of Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada?
OM: This is the first time in the Samurai Warriors series that we place the focus on the life of one character, making it a brand-new endeavor for the series. There are probably many people who are not familiar with the Sanada Clan, but by experiencing their epic story through this game, we think that anyone will be able to see the allure of this clan.
There are also many new elements brand new to the Warriors series, such as Castle Towns, exploration, Stratagems, and the passage of time during battles. It is a game that was created for both Samurai Warriors series fans and for people who have never played a Warriors game before, so we hope everyone will give this one a try!
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is available now for PS4 and PC in North America and Europe, and available for PS4, PS3, and PS Vita in Japan.