Sakura Wars Is Set to Be the Biggest JRPG Release of April
This week it was announced that the Sakura Wars reboot had been pencilled in for an April 28 release in the West, and is sure to be the biggest and best JRPG releasing in April. To the best of one’s knowledge there is no other JRPG releasing in April, and even if there were it would not be as important or reputable as such a venerated series as Sakura Wars. April is really looking like a big old vacant void of a month save for the release of Sakura Wars.
The game will see players take on the role of Seijuro Kamiyama, who is the leader of the Flower Division of the Imperial Combat Revue, a military unit cum theatre troupe, who must protect Tokyo from demonic invasion. The game will be split into adventure sequences where they player is free to explore Ginza to perform side quests, while also nurturing their relationship with the harem of waifus under their command; and also combat sequences, which will essentially involve action RPG fights, where female character abilities will depend on their relationship to the protagonist.
This will be the first game in the series to not be a strategy RPG, and it feels like Sega has missed a trick here given the recent success of Three Houses. The fact that Sakura Wars will have lengthy narrative-driven chapters really means that it probably would have been much better served by sticking to weighty and strategic combat similar to the other games in the series, instead of opting for light and breezy action mechanics which will probably result in the combat chapters feeling overly brief. That said, Sakura Wars has allegedly been built atop some of the technology powering the Yakuza series, so that may have forced their hand in this regard. Either way, Sakura Wars will nevertheless be the best, and indeed only, JRPG releasing in April – so look forward to it!
A Sakura Wars anime will also debut in April, providing that the coronavirus outbreak does not see it delayed.
Interest In the Series X Has Absolutely Cratered
Interest in the Xbox Series X has flatlined, quite literally in this instance. Xbox and Don Mattrick really messed up when they decided to flub the launch of the Xbox One, as this has been the single worst generation to fail, given the importance that a persistent backwards compatible infrastructure is set to play in the next console generation. Nobody bought an Xbox One, and because of that Microsoft do not really have much of a base to carry across to the Series X. This fact is very much evident when looking at next generation console interest on Google Trends. Google trends is able to measure the intensity with which a particular search term has been entered relative to another, and through that determine the relative interest that the internet has in a particular thing.
Looking at US search trends over the last 90 days we can see a very short lived spike in interest around the Series X from back in December, the point at which the Series X was officially unveiled. After this point interest in the Series X quickly flatlined to less than half of the interest exhibited towards the PS5 – this in spite of the fact that the PS5 and its launch exclusives have yet to be unveiled, and we know next to nothing official about the console. The situation becomes even more dire for Microsoft if one looks to worldwide search trends, which show interest in the PS5 to be almost four times that of the Series X. This generation everyone bought a PS4, and now they plan to take their library across to the PS5. It would take a massive fumble on the part of Sony for them to convince gamers to return to the Xbox ecosystem.
Good Guy Tim Sweeney Uses Keynote to Appeal to Reason
This generation has seen Blizzard banning people from their own games library. This last year has seen Blizzard persecute one of their players (and two employees) for saying “free Hong Kong” on a livestream. This last week has seen Resetera successfully conspire to destroy Persona 5 Royal through heavy handed censorship. Gaming has never been more political than it is today, and it is neither fun nor funny. The grip that the moral censors have over the industry is now so tight that it is getting difficult to breath. It is times like these that any dissenting voice becomes a godsend.
This month has seen the annual DICE conference, and Epic Games CEO good guy Tim Sweeney took the opportunity to stress that developers should be making their games as politically neutral platforms for all gamers, while tolerating their customer’s rights to free political speech.
… as neutral venues for entertainment and employees, customers – everybody else can hold their own views and not be judged by us for that.
The world is really screwed up right now. Right now our political orientations determine which fast-food chicken restaurant you go to? And that’s really dumb. There’s no reason to drag divisive topics like that into gaming at all.
A company is a group of people who get together to accomplish a mission that is larger than what any one person can do. And a company’s mission is a holy thing to it, right? Epic’s mission is to build great technology and great games. And we can count on every employee at Epic — we can even demand every employee at Epic unite behind that mission. But every other matter we have to respect their personal opinions. And they may differ from management’s or each other’s or whatever.
Sweeney went on to talk about how companies need to divorce themselves from politics, including the politics of foreign government censorship – which was a clear dig at how Blizzard disgraced themselves over the Blitzchung incident. These days it feels like we take five steps backwards for every one step forward, but it sure is nice when good guys like Tim Sweeney stand up and say in front of a room full of people that their customers do not deserve to be mistreated for having a difference in political opinion.