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Developer Interview

Hiroyuki Kobayashi / Producer, R&D Strategic Planning Section

Goal is to create a new action game that "anyone can pick up"

- The first version of "Sengoku BASARA" was released in 2005. What led you to adopt the Sengoku period as the theme?
The Sengoku period has long been a familiar theme for people in Japan. In addition to games, there has been a variety of television dramas, films, manga, and novels made that portray this period. So we decided to make a new kind of game, since there really hasn’t been an action game based on the Sengoku period that was easy for users to pick up and play.
- Do you think "Sengoku BASARA" series and the current Sengoku boom produced a kind of synergy effect that boosted the other’s popularity?
Yes. Although the "Sengoku" is currently experiencing a boom of sorts, I feel there are always waves to these kinds of trends. In the midst of this continuing boom, we have released new titles in the "Sengoku BASARA" series each year since 2005. In addition, the promotion of related goods and events has helped expand the fan base, and gradually we’ve things to really take off.
- Unique characters have been one of the main features of this series. How did you go about choosing which ones to put into the game?
After we decided to move forward with development, we did research on Japanese history. We found that not only were Masamune Date and Yukimura Sanada popular, but they were also very important historical figures during this period. So we've decided to portray them as the main characters. We then selected the other characters from a list of different Sengoku warlords from across Japan that we felt best matched the correlation chart and the setting for the game.
- Figures that don’t really stand out in history are also featured prominently in the game.
The characters were selected based on the region they represent. For example, Chosokabe is from the Shikoku region, and Mori is from the Chugoku region. We also threw in some imaginary characters.
- This series is also popular among women. What do you think are the reasons behind this?
We never really expected "Sengoku BASARA" to become so popular with women. The basic concept for this game was taken straight from male comics: a simple battle between "Good and Evil" played out by two main heroes. There are many women that enjoy male comics, and the fact that this game has a lot of cool characters has helped make it hit among female fans. Although it is said that not many women play action games, "Sengoku BASARA" is easy to get into play so that helped to attract a lot of female users.
- You mean that the controls are easy?
Yes. We made the gameplay simple for everyone in order to clear the game.
- "Sengoku BASARA" has successfully drawn people that usually aren’t all that interested in games. That’s an advantage.
It ended up working out that way. We made the age range rather broad with the aim of not only appealing to gamers, but targeting those that aren’t especially good at action games and consumers that aren’t really into games. More specifically, in addition to lowering the difficulty, we produced a range of related merchandise and animated features in order to create a series people of all ages can enjoy. The result exceeded our own expectations, and through this series we were able to gain a wider user base. At one event I came across a mother that said "I enjoy the game just as much as my kids."
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  1. 07.Takeshi Tezuka
  2. 05.Yoichi Egawa
  3. 06.Manabu Seko
  4. 03.Jun Takeuchi
  5. 04.Shutaro Kobayashi
  6. 01.Ryozo Tsujimoto
  7. 02.Hiroyuki Kobayashi

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