Fans have been clamoring for a new entry in the venerable Sakura Wars franchise since the 2005 release of SWV (known in the west as Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love.) While characters from the SRPG series appeared in a familiar genre with the recent Project X Zone, it’s been a long wait for fans looking to get back into fighting demons and romancing a cast of beautiful ladies.
But recently, Sega seemed to hear these cries for a new entry and teased a new title, featuring the return of Sakura Shinguji. However, the wait seems to have been for a bit of a let-down. The new title, ostensibly called Sakura Wars For Mobage, is a social game for smart phones with a pay-to-win model.
According to SegaBits (http://segabits NULL.com/blog/2013/07/27/sega-announces-new-sakura-wars-game-fans-not-very-pleased/), the game is being released by a mobile games portal known for its emphasis on “freemium” titles with very little gameplay depth. So, think Farmville or The Sims Social, but with beloved characters that mean a lot to a very passionate fanbase. Personal thoughts on this aside, this seems like a really bad move on Sega’s part, given the colossal failure of Shenmue Mobile.
Japanese fans are none too pleased about this decision, either, if these angry forum posts (http://jin115 NULL.com/archives/51964147 NULL.html) are anything to go off of. One poster commented, “Do not expect anymore [from] Sega”, and another characterizing it as “a sore disappointment.” Aside from the method of delivery, many comments focused on Sakura’s outfit, which emphasizes more cleavage than past get-ups. “Breasts are larger!!!”, cried one user, and another noting, “Sakura […] you have received breast implants.”
It is clear that fans are deeply angered by this newest incarnation of such a classic franchise, and it’s difficult to fault them. Here is a series that is deeply rooted in intricate dating simulation and strategy gaming mechanics, being reduced to nothing more than a cheap, pithy cash-grab. Hopefully, this is not the last we hear from the Sakura Wars franchise, because if that’s the case, it is truly a pathetic state for such a beloved and classic title to have fallen to.