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, 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 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.