Coming out of SegaFes 2018, the perennial publisher announced that a new Sakura Wars (the series is known as Sakura Taisen in Japan) game was in development, with more details to come later. Tentatively titled “Shin Sakura Taisen,” this would be the first major game since 2005’s Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. We know very little about the project at this time, other than it’s set in 1920s Taisho-era Japan, much like earlier games. Sega did promise that the “full scope of the project would be announced at a later date,” so you can expect more details in the weeks (or months) to come. What little we know now comes from various sources, saying you can expect this latest Sakura Wars game to come “in 2019 or later“, and that it will be a continuation of the series.
Sakura Wars as a series strikes a tone close to the Valkyria Chronicles games, well before the series existed. Taking place in an alternate-history world where supernatural monsters roam the earth, many of the games have blended together visual novel and dating sim elements alongside turn-based combat. Sakura Wars has prided itself on integrating the combat and adventure sequences with one another. For example, deepening relationships between characters means that said characters will do better in combat, by having a higher chance to hit, and even blocking enemy attacks. Later games in the series introduced bipedal mechs and did away with the grid-based system, resulting in combat mechanics that would return in Valkyria Chronicles.
Sakura Wars as a whole has seen a number of anime adaptations through the years. Beginning with a TV series in 2000, the media adaptations would continue up through 2008, when the manga finally ended. The only English-language release in the series was Sakura Wars So Long, My Love, and Sakura Wars as a whole only has seen five major games since 1996. Even though Sakura Wars So Long, My Love saw widespread positive reviews, it was a commercial failure here in the West. It did, however, include the extraordinary step of offering the Japanese audio on a separate disc alongside the English translation and voice acting.
Shin Sakura Taisen came as part of a flurry of announcements out of SegaFes 2018. Alongside the news of yet another Mega Drive Mini, Sega will also be bringing classic games from the era to the Switch’s digital library. Perhaps the most stunning news was the reveal of a Shenmue 1 & 2 HD remaster, coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC later this year. Perhaps fitting with the retro theme of announcements from SegaFes, a Sakura Wars revival doesn’t seem all that unusual for Sega, after all. We’ll know more about what shape this revival will take sometime later this year
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