Interview: Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada (Producer Osamu Mieda)

Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is the newest title in the Samurai Warrior series, hitting store shelves on May 26th across Australia and New Zealand for PlayStation 4

Fortunately for us and our readers, we had an opportunity to speak with Osamu Mieda, Producer on Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada to discuss some of the intricate details of the game. Read the full interview below.

Esperino:  Could you please tell us a little about yourself and your role working on Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada?

Osamu Mieda: I am the game’s producer, Osamu Mieda. I was the Director of “SAMURAI WARRIORS 4” and “SAMURAI WARRIORS 4-II”, and the Producer of “SAMURAI WARRIORS 4: Empires”. This is my second time in the role of a Producer.

This game is a new challenge for the SAMURAI WARRIORS series, so I am deeply involved in all areas from the game’s design to its promotion.

Esperino:  English speaking fans may be familiar with the Samurai Warriors franchise but not so much with the NHK Taiga drama, Sanadamaru. Could you please provide a brief overview on Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada and how the two franchises are connected?

Osamu Mieda: The Taiga drama is broadcast on Japan’s national public broadcaster ‘NHK’, and every year they air a drama series that becomes known nationally and runs for a year. Last year, they aired a drama called “Sanada Maru” where Yukimura Sanada was the main character. Since Koei Tecmo has worked with NHK in the past, and a main character of the SAMURAI WARRIORS series is also Yukimura Sanada, we decided to create this game as a way of celebrating the ‘Year of Sanada’ together. The Taiga drama used the 3D map of Japan from our Japanese historical strategy game “NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Sphere of Influence”, with supervision by Kou Shibusawa, and we’ve also used this map in the game.

You don’t need to have watched the drama to enjoy this game, so people unfamiliar with it have nothing to worry about.

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Esperino:  What was the experience like collaborating with the NHK Sanadamaru team?

Osamu Mieda: The best thing was the motivation of the team! As I mentioned earlier, the Taiga drama is well known across Japan and although there is a difference of one being a game and the other being a drama, since they share the same main character there are parts we can compare. Due to this, I think it gave the team strong motivation to create something excellent and to not be outdone by the drama.

Esperino:  Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada introduces long-term battles where battles are divided into several skirmishes with day-and-night cycles. Can you tell our readers more about this new feature, and how day-and-night cycles will affect battles and decision making?

Osamu Mieda: We’ve included the ‘Passage of Time’ as a theme for this game, and we’ve shown it through the story so that as the story advances so do the character’s ages. This is also similar to battlefields where we have single battles span across different battlefields, over the respective amount of time each battle would have taken place.

The Passage of Time in battlefields is a new feature, though it is important for players to advance regardless of the time of day as enemy troops are on high alert during the day and their strength is affected by morale, but at night they are not affected by morale; instead there are ninja troops that can perform sneak attacks from the shadows. There are also items which have effects that activate during the day or the night, and it is necessary to use them when they are most effective.

Esperino:  I understand a new “Stratagems” mechanic has been added to Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada where players can receive aid in battle. Could you tell us a bit more about this mechanic?

Osamu Mieda: For SAMURAI WARRIORS: Spirit of Sanada we’ve adopted the “Multi-Stage Battles” system, where battles take place across multiple battlefields. This mechanic was brought in to strengthen the connection between each battle. The player’s actions will affect what happens in the next battlefield, and there is a strategic element where players will have to decide whether or not to activate Stratagems.

Esperino:  The menu system features a “Castle Town” style hub with accessible modes and options from the one location. Can you tell our readers a bit more about the new menu system and the reasoning for the design?

Osamu Mieda: This is the first time in the SAMURAI WARRIORS series where we have focused on a single character and we’ve placed emphasis on the storyline, whereas in previous games we have told the story through narratives and event scenes between battles. Additionally, we’ve been able to expand upon the story through the conversations between characters in the Castle Towns, allowing us to explain the historical background and show the daily lives of the characters.

We’ve also added new ways to play with the addition of various Facilities, Tasks and Exploration features where the Castle Town is the base – expanding the scope of play.

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Esperino:  Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada features a mind-boggling cast of 61 characters, including five new characters – Masayuki Sanada, Chacha, Katsuyori Takeda, Hidetada Tokugawa and Lady Muramatsu. Which of the new characters is your favourite and why?

Osamu Mieda: There are actually six new character’s included; Masayuki Sanada, ChaCha, Sasuke, Katsuyori Takeda, Hidetada Tokugawa and Lady Muramatsu!

We put a lot of detail into each of the characters, so it’s really hard to choose just one…. Masayuki is Yukimura’s Father, but is a strategist who was said to be the man that Ieyasu Tokugawa most feared and is a character who was highly requested by fans to be included in the game! Then there’s ChaCha who is a famous woman and the daughter of Nagamasa Azai and Oichi, so we’ve paid a lot of attention to their creation.

If I had to choose just one character though, it’s probably Katsuyori Takeda. He is the son of the great Shingen Takeda and goes on to protect the honour of the Takeda… the sight of Katsuyori desperately struggling makes me instinctively empathise with him.

Esperino:  Were there any concerns with how Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada would be received in the western market, given how rich in Japanese history and lore the series is?

Osamu Mieda: Yes, the SAMURAI WARRIORS series is based on Japanese history or the ‘Sengkou’ era. Though for this game, where we normally would explain the historical background through narration, we’ve added new elements such as the Castle Towns which naturally depict conversations between characters. We’ve also added the ‘Sanada Clan Chronicles’ where players can check terminology that comes up in conversations, as well as find other detailed information with ease. We think that players will be able to understand the background history and traditions in the game effortlessly.

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Esperino:  I always like the idea of incorporating recreational activities like fishing and farming to, what is in essence a hack and slash game. Is there much thought and development that goes into this aspect of the game?

Osamu Mieda: In order to enhance the gameplay outside of battle we’ve incorporated mini-games such as fishing and harvesting (hoeing). The materials earned in these mini-games can be used to gather items for use in battle, so we’ve ensured that these different gameplay elements blend together.

Esperino:  Are there any plans for more Samurai Warriors titles focused on specific clans from the Sengoku period?

Osamu Mieda: There is no information that I can share at the moment, but personally I think it was a very fulfilling game to create and I hope that this can establish a new series for the SAMURAI WARRIORS franchise.

Thanks to the Osamu Mieda from Omega Force for graciously giving up his time to answer our questions. If you’d like to see the game in action, check out the US launch trailer below:

More details about Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is also available at the official website here.

Special thanks to Reboot PR, QV Software and Koei Tecmo for making this interview possible!

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