Monday, 23 May 2016

News roundup: Catching up on the new Sanada Yukimura-den information (including preorder details)

Where do I start? I'll never forgive KobaP for releasing so much information during my business trip; he's had months to do this! Please forgive me for all of the comments I haven't responded to; I've been reading and enjoying them and can't wait to have some free time to write replies.

My previous post has been updated with the last few details from Thursday's big gameplay news reveal and it's probably best to read through that first if you haven't already, otherwise some of these gameplay details won't make much sense.

Preorder details for Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den

The preorder listings are now live and there are a few different versions, though thankfully not as many as there have been for previous games. All boxed editions of the game come with two bonuses so long as you place your order early enough.


The first is an A6 32-page Genpuku: Sanada Yukimura ('Coming Of Age: Sanada Yukimura') short story.


While the second is a DLC 'White Cross Ver.' costume code for Yukimura.


These bonuses are only available while stocks last.

If you purchase the digital edition of the game from PSN early enough, you'll receive the 'White Cross' outfit but not the book. Full details of the PlayStation store preorder schedule will be available at a later date.

Special edition

The special edition of the game is exclusive to Capcom's Japan-only online store e-Capcom (PS3, PS4). It comes with all of the limited quantity bonuses as well as an additional limited quantity 'Yukimura-kun Ver.' mascot costume for Benmaru.


The main feature of the special edition is a pair of exclusive statues from Sentinel. Benmaru is 130mm tall while Bontenmaru is 135mm, and they were modelled by artist Nagashio Kyou. You can see an article about the creation of the figures here. Only a limited quantity of the figures will ever be produced.


Play-Asia are making it easy for fans outside Japan who don't want to deal with ordering through a deputy service. If you want them to buy the special edition on your behalf, they have listings for the PS3 and PS4 special editions available. They also offer a prepaid import tax delivery service with Fedex, though it isn't cheap!

You can buy a standard edition from e-Capcom too which includes the Yukimura-kun costume without the statues. I wouldn't recommend this option unless you live in Japan; the DLC costume has been confirmed to be available later from PSN and some (as yet unannounced) other game stores anyway, so the cost of buying through e-Capcom makes it a bad deal unless you want something truly exclusive like the edition with the exclusive figures.

Standard edition (with store-exclusive bonus)

Amazon Japan (PS3, PS4) has a Masamune-kun costume for Bontenmaru, to match the Yukimura-kun version on offer elsewhere. Please be careful if you want to order from Amazon Japan. There are two sets of listings; one set includes the Masamune-kun costume and the other doesn't. This outfit will also be available separately as paid DLC later on.


Japanese-only retailer Game Tsutaya (PS3, PS4) has a special alternate 'cherry blossom flurry' cover for the novel:


While rival GEO has a 'blue skies' book cover instead:


These store-exclusive bonuses will only be offered while stocks last.

Standard edition (without store-exclusive bonus)

Import-friendly stores listing the game for preorder without any exclusive bonuses include the following:

Amazon Japan (PS3, PS4)
AmiAmi (PS3, PS4)
HMV Japan (PS3, PS4)
Play-Asia (PS3, PS4)
Yesasia Global (PS3, PS4)
Yesasia USA (PS3, PS4)

All of these stores should include the standard limited quantity bonus items (novel and 'White Cross' costume) so long as you order in time. Anyone who preorders before the game's release date should be confident that they'll receive the bonuses.

As for the bonus costumes, the Yukimura-kun and Masamune-kun costumes will be available later from PSN as paid DLC. The 'White Cross' outfit for Yukimura will not be available later, so no matter where you choose to buy the game it's a good idea to preorder if you want all of the costumes.

I'm not sure about the status of the Chinese edition, which is also scheduled for the summer. Will there still be a Japanese-language 'Asian edition'?

The second official Sanada Yukimura-den promotional video is now online

The new video went live on Thursday, giving us clips from some of the story scenes and footage of Ujimasa, Kotarou, Hideyoshi, Hanbee, Matabee, Ieyasu, Mitsunari, Nobunaga, Mitsuhide, Katsuie, Toshiie and Kojuurou.


An alternate version of the video with T.M.Revolution's theme song playing in the background can be watched on the official website. It takes ages to buffer.

A few observations:
  • That Katsuie/Toshiie introduction scene is great. Still no replacement for Matsu, however - Toshiie without Matsu isn't something I'm going to be able to get used to any time soon.
  • It looks as though Katsuyori is just a generic background character from the tiny glimpse we get of him at Tenmokuzan. Difficult to tell.
  • The obvious departures from history don't bother me since they admitted they were going to use some artistic licence in an early interview, but I was still surprised to see Hanbee. They're making it clear that this version of events is completely separate from all previous depictions of Yukimura's dealings with the Toyotomi clan. I guess Sengoku Basara's Hideyoshi and Hanbee always come as a pair (hey, like Toshiie and Matsu!)
  • The Toyotomi trio play up their role as villains quite well, from the look of the trailer. I like it.
  • Benmaru is really cute and dainty! I think they've done a great job with the contrast between him and Bontenmaru, which reflects the contrast between their adult selves rather well.
  • Hoshi's vocal range is, as always, incredible.
  • Hidara noticed that Gotou Matabee can be seen very briefly at around 1:19! The other newly-revealed characters are obvious but he was well hidden in a fight scene.
  • Where's Sasuke?
I'm not entirely serious with my consternation over the character choices (though I am serious about missing Matsu). The series has been dropping in popularity precipitously over the last couple of years with fierce competition from Touken Ranbu and other titles which have been successful with the same demographic.

They need to appeal to the devotees who invest in the merchandise and simultaneously attract new fans with solid, intense gameplay, which seems to be exactly what they're trying to do with this game in order to keep interest in the series flowing while they work on the next numbered title. It's important that Yukimura-den does well for the sake of future titles in the Retsuden Series, of course, but I think it's also critical that it keeps the core fans interested for the sake of the series overall. They will also be courting local tourism boards to try to cross-promote with the real-life versions of some of these characters. I can forgive a little pandering if that's what it takes for the series to be a success.

(Sengoku Basara 5 had better be awesome, though.)

The first Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den broadcast showed live gameplay

The broadcast took place on Thursday evening as scheduled, with Saaya joining KobaP, producer Nonaka and guest Shima. Nonaka didn't speak up much, but the main takeaway from this first broadcast is that the gameplay looks fantastic and I really want to pick it up and start playing. I placed my preorder while writing the first part of this post on Thursday night because watching the footage got me so pumped up!


I mentioned in my previous post that the usual kill counter tracks monsen coins rather than K.O.s in this game, and it seems that wasn't quite right. The live stream clearly showed that the monsen counter is something different. The game still tracks K.O.s with pop-up notifications when you get to certain numbers, but the monsen coins are separate to this and seem to be a straightforward currency. You acquire the coins by killing enemies with blue health bars and also from in-game challenges. There doesn't appear to be a persistent on-screen counter for K.O.s alone.

The video was very helpful for showing how the new Bushin ('Braveheart') system from the previous magazine update worked in action. When you're able to activate Bushin Denshin mode ('Braveheart Telepathy') to turn all of the enemy HP gauges blue, you'll see this notification indicating that you can use it:


And the L1+R1 buttons will show up in the bottom left like this. The blue ring around the number kanji indicates the time remaining in Bushin Denshin mode and when it's active it's very obvious, with a blue aura around the screen and sparkling special effects.


I tried making a list of all of the Bushin system bonuses we have seen so far, including from screenshots published in Weekly Famitsu and other sources. It's not clear whether these bonuses are stage-specific, character-specific or randomly assigned, so this list shouldn't be treated as solid information just yet - I simply recorded everything that might be relevant.

JapaneseEnglishLevelCharacterStage seenColour
見切り上手Desertion Proficiency3 (参)YukimuraTenmokuzanGreen
見切り回復Desertion Heal4 (四)YukimuraTenmokuzanYellow
見切り無敵Desertion Invincibility6 (六)YukimuraTenmokuzanYellow
武心獲得量アップBushin Acquisition Up2 (弐)YukimuraTenmokuzanGreen
武心伝心延長Extended Bushin Denshin4 (四)YukimuraTenmokuzan???
大将討伐Subdue Generals6 (六)YukimuraTenmokuzan???
武心のオマケBushin Bonus1 (壱)MasayukiTenmokuzanYellow
武心伝心延長Extended Bushin Denshin3 (参)MasayukiTenmokuzanGreen
武心伝心強化Enhanced Bushin Denshin4 (四)MasayukiTenmokuzanBlue
バサラ技攻撃力強化Enhanced Basara Skill Power2 (弐)NobuyukiTenmokuzanBlue
会心率Kindred Rate Up3 (参)NobuyukiTenmokuzanGreen
大将討伐Subdue Generals4 (四)NobuyukiTenmokuzanBlue
武心獲得量アップBushin Acquisition Up2 (弐)BenmaruOushuuGreen
武心伝心延長Extended Bushin Denshin4 (四)BenmaruOushuu???
大将討伐Subdue Generals6 (六)BenmaruOushuu???
武心獲得量アップBushin Acquisition Up2 (弐)BontenmaruOushuuGreen
武心伝心延長Extended Bushin Denshin4 (四)BontenmaruOushuu???
大将討伐Subdue Generals6 (六)BontenmaruOushuu???

Please also note that it's very hard to read the blurred text in some of the screenshots so while I've done my best to provide an accurate transcription, there might be errors.

The video offered an opportunity to see the tegata mission panel in the top right corner in action. Stages seem to have story missions like 'go for the dragon's lone cedar tree', 'head towards Takeda Katsuyori', 'beat Oda Nobunaga and Akechi Mitsuhide' or 'beat Tokugawa Ieyasu', but there are also more general objective-based missions like 'defeat 200 soldiers' which appear during gameplay.


At one point, the mission panel changed to display a 'rainbow chance' with a huge bonus reward. In this case it asked the player to pull off a 500-hit combo within the time limit shown below the box. If successful, they'd be awarded 5,000 monsen coins.


It seemed to enclose the player in a small zone while the challenge was active. The mission was a success and a pop-up message appeared advising that it was the first of three 'rainbow chance' opportunities so perhaps these come up at specific points in each stage?

Another pop-up which appears during the play is a 'six circle challenge'. There seem to be six of these representing the six coins on Yukimura's rokumonsen emblem, though it's very possible there are twelve (one for each side of the coins). The first one shown in the video was simply to defeat 500 enemies while another asked the player to defeat ten enemies using a single Basara move.


One more mystery came in the form of the boss characters' health gauges, which had extra bars above them (two for Nobunaga and Ieyasu, one for Mitsuhide). It's unclear what significance these marks have as the confrontation with Ieyasu ended when the main bar was empty.


Other miscellaneous things I recall from the broadcast:
  • KobaP was aghast when Shima accidentally called Tadakatsu a 'robot', insisting that he was a (human) warrior. Hehe.
  • They also confirmed the broadcast was being filmed live, and that they were very anxious about showing the in-game footage since it was the first time fans would get a glimpse of the game being played.
  • Shima was told to stop before the end of the Tenmokuzan stage. They didn't want to reveal too much.
  • They have actually been wanting to include the younger versions of the characters for some time, so this was a good opportunity.
  • Nobuyuki had an extra skill under his bar like Yukimura's Fuurinkazan, but the others didn't. I'm guessing these are acquired after levelling up as usual so they'll probably all have at least one eventually.
  • Waggling the controller sticks to escape from some moves is still necessary.
  • It was confirmed that the PS3 and PS4 editions are exactly the same price this time.
  • A number of the commenters were suggesting that Koyasu Takehito (Sarutobi Sasuke) might appear as a guest in the next broadcast since they didn't confirm who the guest(s) would be. People are still hoping for a big Sasuke reveal soon.
Edit: And while it's not my observation, fan OneSanitarium noticed that the layouts of the stages shown so far have shared some very distinct similarities with stages from Sengoku Basara 3 and Sengoku Basara 3 Utage!

The next live broadcast is scheduled for 23rd June 2016 at 20:00 Japan time. I'll follow up with the stream link once that's been confirmed.

The Sweets Paradise collaboration moves into its second phase

The first phase of the Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den x Sweets Paradise Sanada Cafe tie-in came to a close on Thursday, and consequently the stickers and coasters on offer to visitors have changed to a new selection.

Stickers:


Coasters:


Ashigaru-kun's second comical report on the cafe is also now available.

I think we can safely expect the next major update about the game in mid-June given the date of the next broadcast and the fact that the third (and final) update to the cafe's rewards is scheduled for 9th June 2016, with the event closing its doors on 26th June 2016. The second phase of the Sweets Paradise came on the same day the new video was released, and the cafe immediately started playing the new video to its customers when its doors opened that morning.

Is it unreasonable for me to hope for a Sasuke announcement and new video on 9th June, followed by further information during the live stream a couple of weeks later?

A new illustration of Benmaru and Bontenmaru is available through LINE

Fans who follow the official Sengoku Basara LINE account will have received a notification this week with a commemorative picture of the two youngsters playing together with traditional Tango No Sekku accessories. I'm only including a small screenshot; please follow the LINE account if you'd like the full quality version.


The service will also respond with a new picture of the game's box art for fans who send the words for 'release date' (発売日) to the official account.

Results from the fourth Basa-ranking survey

The fourth set of Basa-ranking results have now been published to list the games with the best background music according to the fans who voted.

1. Sengoku Basara 3
2. Sengoku Basara 4
3. Sengoku Basara 3 Utage
4. Sengoku Basara 2 Eiyuu Gaiden (HEROES)
5. Sengoku Basara Chronicle Heroes
6. Sengoku Basara 2
7. Sengoku Basara
8. Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes
9. Sengoku Basara X (Cross)
10. Sengoku Basara HD Collection

The special Sengoku Basara 3 smartphone wallpapers can downloaded here.

Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi is to receive a priced-down rerelease in Japan

Some stores are listing a cheaper 'best price' version of Sumeragi for release on 7th July 2016, so fans who haven't picked it up yet can save quite a lot of money if they wait just a little bit longer. Since Yukimura-den focuses on the Yukimura storyline, people who like what they see might be encouraged to try a more fully-featured game with the full set of characters. I hope it does well.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

News roundup: Weekly Famitsu magazine formally announced Benmaru and Bontenmaru for Sanada Yukimura-den

Today's Weekly Famitsu reveals more about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den

We had the preview yesterday, which mentioned a few details kindly translated by BlackKite, and now the full edition of Weekly Famitsu is out with all of the details. I'm having a lot of fun trying to translate it all from my mobile phone screen after an all-nighter so please excuse any weird mistakes.

The release date for Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den has been brought forward to 25th August 2016 in Japan (it was previously confirmed for September). It will cost ¥6,990 (¥7,549 with tax), or ¥6,472 (¥6,990 with tax) for the download version, and its CERO age rating is B (12+). Presumably the pricing is the same on PS3 and PS4 since both versions are still listed. The game's cover artwork has also been confirmed.


The are also special limited edition bonuses!

Fans who order the game through e-Capcom (Japan-only) can get special figurines of Benmaru and Bontenmaru with their purchase, along with a special 'Yukimura-kun Ver.' costume for Benmaru in the game. Yukimura-kun is the rounded mascot character we sometimes see at official events.

There will also be another limited quantity bonus in the form of a special outfit for Yukimura; the 'White Cross Ver.' is a white jinbaori like the one Masamune wears in the game. The outfit will be accompanied by a novel titled Genpuku: Sanada Yukimura ('Coming Of Age: Sanada Yukimura') which will be 32-pages in length.

There's a very important footnote which reveals that they plan to make Benmaru's Yukimura-kun costume available as paid DLC in the future, and that other game stores may well have bonuses too. More details about the novel will be available on the game's official website in a few hours.

--

The two new playable characters revealed in the article are the younger versions of Yukimura and Masamune; Benmaru and Bontenmaru, as previously leaked. They have different move sets to the older versions of the characters and are intended to provide a fresh experience.

Benmaru 弁丸
Seiyuu: Hoshi Souichirou
Weapon: A single training spear
Playable: Yes
Benmaru is described as having a direct personality and a great deal of respect for his father and older brother.

He has a form of Yukimura's new 'Heavenly Wings' mode where he darts around lunging at enemies consecutively if the player times the buttonpresses correctly,

Rokusou Tobi 六そう跳び ('Six Linked Leaps'): Benmaru flips and delivers an energetic dash attack. It can be used to launch lined-up enemies facing Benmaru all at once, or chained with other moves.

Kurenaigeri 紅蹴り ('Crimson Kick'): Benmaru starts with a surge of chained thrusts then follows up with a powerful kick. By bashing the normal attack button, the number of thrusts is increased.

A preview is also shown of his Basara move. Benmaru powefully readies his spear and unleashes a furious blazing fire. He then signals the heavens with a great swing of his spear, creating a huge explosion.

(Raindrops' note: They're only previewing two moves and a Basara for these characters, do they have fewer specials than the adults?)

Bontenmaru 梵天丸
Seiyuu: Nakai Kazuya
Weapon: One wooden sword
Playable: Yes
Even at this age Bontenmaru is conscious of his position as Oushuu's ruler, having been constantly disciplined by his retainer Katakura Kojuurou. He starts to recognise Benmaru as his 'rival' after the two of them meet as children.

When the button is held down, Bontenmaru enters Bousou ('Rampage') mode and becomes stronger and faster than usual. You need to keep playing aggressively to maintain this mode. Bontenmaru can turn his regular blows into 'tyrant' attacks by holding the button down right after they're performed. This will let you follow up with further attacks and as you chain them, a blue aura will appear which indicates 'Rampage' mode and lets you hammer your opponent with combos.

Gekirin 逆鱗 ('Wrath Of The Emperor'): A chained attack with a slide to juggle the enemy followed by a kick. As it instantly closes the distance between Bontenmaru and the enemy, it makes a useful opening attack.

Ranbi 乱尾 ('Rebellious Tail'): Attacking the enemy countless times with the wooden sword, Bontenmaru finishes by sending them flying with a rowdy kick. It doesn't work on nearby enemies and they won't be hit by the move, but when it connects the destructive force is exceptional.

His Basara move is previewed too. Bontenmaru gathers his power and unleashes a sweeping chain of attacks, causing a great amount of damage to all of the surrounding enemies.

(Raindrops' note: Hey, he looks like a Musou character. The article apologises for the lack of clear information about grown-up Masamune's move set; presumably that's coming in a future update.)

--

There are a few updates on the story, too. The main story will unfold across ten chapters, which will cover Yukimura's childhood, his time as a young man and then finally, the Osaka Summer Siege.

The two men have a fateful encounter with one another during their childhoods. After Tenmokuzan, the Sanada clan find themselves tangling with various other warriors, and thus some additional stages are confirmed.

The two youngsters have their destined meeting in Oushuu. Masayuki takes Benmaru to Oushuu for special training which has been passed down through the Sanada clan for generations. They're surrounded by enemies when suddenly, Bontenmaru barges in.

Stage: Benmaru and Bontenmaru compete on the battlefield!?
  • Many regular soldiers appear on this stage.
  • The pair are competing to prove their strength, and rushing deeper into the battlefield.
  • The player controls both characters alternately to reach the objective.
(Raindrops' note: This scenario is very similar to an event in the Bontenmaru-hen manga and I now strongly suspect Kojuurou is in the game as a result. I wasn't convinced until now, but he was also mentioned by name in Bontenmaru's character summary. There's a comment that the two youngsters make a vow together, which I'm betting is that they'll each be the one to kill the other and that will explain why Yukimura doesn't die as history describes but instead rises like a phoenix and goes on to duel his destined rival for the game's glorious climax as usual.)

The wicked hands of the Houjou clan pursue the Sanada clan. The 'Demon King' Oda Nobunaga wasn't the only one who coveted the land of Ueda. Houjou Ujiyasu suppressed the Sanada clan in an attempt to impress Nobunaga and secure the continuation of his own clan. After Tenmokuzan, the Sanada clan are in the process of returning to Ueda Castle when they're surrounded by the Houjou forces. Masayuki calmly thinks of a 'certain plan', but can the Sanada family pull it off and escape their predicament?

Stage: Gather the Houjou clan flags bathed in the mist.
  • It's a misty, mountainous stage.
  • Masayuki directs his two sons to gather up enemy flags.
  • It would seem that there are six flags to collect.
  • But there are also fake flags!
  • You control all three characters: Yukimura, Masayuki and Nobuyuki.
  • Fuuma Kotarou appears as an enemy in this stage, and he's got a flag. He's described as 'tough'.
  • Houjou Ujimasa appears too, of course.
(Raindrops' note: Kotarou appears to be using shadow doubles of himself in the promotional screenshot to torture the Sasuke fans further.)

Tokugawa Ieyasu invades Ueda Castle! Judging that the Sanada clan's power is flagging in all of the turmoil, Tokugawa Ieyasu takes his retainer Honda Tadakatsu and clamours for Masayuki and Nobuyuki to surrender Ueda Castle. Meanwhile, Yukimura senses that the castle is in danger and bears witness to a 'certain scene' as he rushes to assist. Can Masayuki and Nobuyuki protect Ueda Castle from Ieyasu's forces? Will Yukimura arrive in time to back them up?

Stage: Spur your horse on and make haste to your father and brother!
  • It's a stage where you control Yukimura and have to rush towards Ueda Castle.
  • Enemies will try to obstruct you.
  • You can pick up 'acceleration carrots' to boost your horse's speed.
System: Break through a challenging situation with 'Sanada Blood'!
  • Masayuki and Nobuyuki are defending the castle.
  • The player can freely switch between the two of them using a character swapping feature called 'Sanada Blood'.
  • There's a white L2 mark in one of the screenshots of Masayuki which switches the player so they're controlling Nobuyuki instead (and vice versa).
  • There's some kind of red-yellow gauge on the right of the screen during the Ueda Castle defense segments but it's too small to work out what's going on yet.
The Sanada Blood indicator is easy to spot as it's highlighted with a splatter of blood.


The other important new gameplay feature is powering up your characters with a new Bushin ('Braveheart') system mid-battle, which is designed to encourage you to play aggressively and rack up a lot of kills. As you play and gather Bushin, the gauge in the bottom left corner of the screen fills. Each time the gauge fills completely your Bushin Renma ('Braveheart Refinement') level will increase and strengthen your character, increasing their damage dealt, reducing their damage taken and allowing them to use additional skills.

In the example shown in the magazine, the numbered list overlapping with Yukimura's portrait in the bottom left displays the upgrades he can unlock with Bushin. The third, fourth and sixth levels all unleash skills, so by the time he's raised his Bushin Renma level from one to six he'll have activated a total of three skills.


The skills shown in the screenshots are named Desertion Proficiency, Desertion Heal and Desertion Invincibility, so I think we can assume these are upgrades which let Yukimura gain bonus effects when he performs a 'desertion' dodge. You can see the skills light up in the list when you have raised your level high enough to activate them.

To accumulate Bushin, look for enemies with a blue health bar and single them out. By defeating these enemies you'll gradually increase your gauge. In addition, you can find 'Telepathy Spheres' strewn across the stage. If you pick these up and press L1 and R1 together, you'll activate Bushin Denshin mode ('Braveheart Telepathy'). For a limited time, all enemies will give Bushin.


(Raindrops' note: I picked 'Braveheart' for this name because it literally means 'martial heart', but phonetically the word can also mean a warrior or brave. So it seemed appropriate. Feel free to disagree with my linguistic whimsy!)

--

General observations:
  • The kill counter is tracking monsen coins, not kills.
  • There's a mission pop-up panel in the top right, indicating that the stages have missions which change as you play.
  • Yukimura has a move called Fuurinkazan under his Basara gauge, where L2 moves are displayed in Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi. Is this the name of one of his unlockable moves? It's showing up even when his Braveheart gauge is at level one.
  • New move names can also be seen in that location for Masayuki and Nobuyuki except the pictures are too small to read them.
  • A lot of people are acting like Bontenmaru and Benmaru are the final playable characters, but while I know they said there won't be many they haven't ever actually confirmed that we're done with character announcements already. Or did I miss something?
--

The website's update a few hours after I translated the information above clarified some things, like the order of the chapters we know about so far:
  • Budding Azure-Crimson Souls
  • Takeda Annihilation: Battle of Tenmokuzan
  • Birth of the Rokumonsen (Six Coins)
  • The First Ueda Conflict: Tokugawa Invasion
We can safely assume that the Osaka Summer Siege is in the list too but the site only lists these four chapters at the moment. They're numbered 1-4 so I'm going to go ahead and assume they're the first four chapters of the game.

The system page on the website clarifies that each character has normal moves, unique skills and a Basara move - so nothing out of the ordinary for the Sengoku Basara series.

There are also some new Basara move descriptions:
  • Yukimura: Yukimura soars up into the sky, twirling and clad in flames like a phoenix. He releases a series of relentless thrusts, etching his six coins on the ground, then finally drifts back down to land and incinerates everything with scorching pillars of fire. (The blazing spears are supposed to resemble a phoenix's wings.)
  • Masayuki: Masayuki summons a statue of the Sanada clan's former lord Takeda Shingen. While Masayuki narrates a tale of Shingen's lifelong accomplishments, the statue uses its unusually destructive blazing fists to smash everything in sight to smithereens.
  • Nobuyuki: Living up to his title as the 'Lion of Shinano', Nobuyuki lets out a ferocious roar which shakes the ground, his hair disheveled. After that, he lunges, spinning his spear in a figure eight shape and dynamically ploughing through anything it touches.
Still nothing on grown-up Masamune's move list.

Reminder: The first Sanada Yukimura-den live stream is today!

I mentioned this last Friday but we're now just a few hours away from tonight's hour-long Nico Nico broadcast about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den. The stream can be watched here and it starts at 20:00 Japan time.

Exclusive merchandise is revealed for visitors to next Saturday's fan club event

A generous range of new merchandise items have been previewed on the official website for the upcoming Basara Club Fan Meeting 2016 Spring events on Saturday 28th May 2016.

Visitors can choose from two different t-shirts for ¥2,000 each:


A tote bag for ¥1,200:


Four different reversible uchiwa fans for ¥300 each:


Nineteen different supporter badges for ¥900 each:


Twelve different BIC ballpoint pens for ¥500 each:


Or there are randomly-packed trading badges which come in packs of two, with each pack costing ¥500:


Those badges are amazing - there are so many characters to choose from! The rest of the merchandise favours the characters whose actors are appearing at the events but the badges include everyone; it's a pity they're event-only.

The second teaser trailer from Zangeki Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi: Honnouji No Hen

To commemorate the tickets going on sale, the play's organisers released a new trailer showing Keiji, Magoichi and Kojuurou posing in costume for a photo shoot.


Glimpses of Kenshin, Rikyuu and Motochika's crewmates can be found on Twitter too, so I'm guessing we'll see them in a trailer in the near future!

--

Update 22nd May: I have updated this post with a few extra details from the subsequent website update to keep everything in one place.

Friday, 13 May 2016

News roundup: Prepare for plenty of updates next week!

Given that KobaP suggested that the next batch of Sanada Yukimura-den news was due mid-month and we had nothing this week, I have a strong suspicion that there'll be a massive update in Thursday's Weekly Famitsu release. To give advance warning, I will just have finished a work all-nighter coupled with a long, long journey when the magazine comes out - but I very much intend to translate it as usual. Please forgive any lateness or errors.

The first Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den live stream event has been announced

Another big hint that next week is going to be important is that an hour-long broadcast has been scheduled for Thursday 19th May at 20:00 (Japan time). Described as the first of what will become monthly Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den broadcasts, the stream will feature series producer Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki and the game's producer Nonaka Daizou. Internet personality Shima will be present as a guest - he participated in last year's Nico Nico Relay event to promote Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi. Additional guests have yet to be announced, and the descriptions promise that the show will include the very latest, brand new information along with anecdotes from the development team.

The link to the Nico Nico Live stream is here, and timeshifts can be reserved already.

The cover is revealed for the first of the Sengoku Basara 3 novel reprints

We now have the cover artwork for the new Sengoku Basara 3: Sanada Yukimura & Sarutobi Sasuke No Shou ('Sanada Yukimura & Sarutobi Sasuke Chapter') compilation book which collects Nozaki Masato's Sengoku Basara 3: Sanada Yukimura No Shou ('Sanada Yukimura Chapter') and Sasahara Shio's Sengoku Basara 3: Sarutobi Sasuke No Shou ('Sarutobi Sasuke Chapter') into a single volume.


They've given it a different cover to tempt people like me into buying the same stories again...


And either these are new illustrations, or they're from the Sasuke book which is the one volume I still haven't managed to pick up. Pretty sure they're new though. The artist is Tsutsumi Yoshisada as before.


It looks as though Sengoku Basara 3: Date Masamune & Katakura Kojuurou No Shou will be following in June at ¥1,260 before tax.

Power up your smartphone with Sengoku Basara mobile batteries

Capcom have teamed up with Maxell to create a range of Sengoku Basara branded battery packs for smart phones, emblazoned with various characters from the series and scheduled for release this summer. Each battery pack costs ¥5,000 before tax and there are fifteen different designs - even if Masamune somehow gets to appear on four of them.


Sadly, the batteries are exclusive to the official e-Capcom store which means they can only be shipped to Japanese addresses, so if you do decide to purchase one make sure that your deputy service checks they can handle batteries. Some postal services refuse to carry them.

Ashigaru-kun visits the Sanada Cafe

Heroic mascot Ashigaru-kun stars in an irreverent report about the Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den x Sweets Paradise Sanada Cafe collaboration which is currently running in Shibuya. There will be another report soon with pictures of the desserts!

That controversial Sanada Yukimura-den news from Machi☆Asobi

The Famitsu website posted a report from the Machi☆Asobi event a few days ago which summarised one of the key points which arose during KobaP's talk show about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den. For those who didn't see the flurry of tweets at the time, it's been stated that there will be no female characters in the game. This point apparently came up in response to fans asking about particular characters during a Q&A session rather than as part of the main presentation. KobaP blurted out that female characters wouldn't be appearing in accordance with documented history, then went on to apologetically suggest that fans should look forward to the masculine cast and their impassioned battles.

The news is obviously disappointing, especially as the girls of Sengoku Basara have often drawn the short straw when it comes to marketing and appearances throughout the history of the series despite being well-liked, beautiful and cool. KobaP has gone on record several times in the past to acknowledge the fans of the female characters, so this feels like a gigantic step backwards after seeing the efforts the team made to include the ladies in the stage plays, not to mention finally getting characters like Kasuga and Matsu polished up properly for Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi.

My personal view is that it's hard to judge the tone of what KobaP said from a handful of tweets and a write-up by a journalist, subsequently interpreted by a native English speaker across languages. I've read a huge number of KobaP interviews and heard him talk over the years, and I don't think he meant it anywhere close to as harshly as it can sound with a brusque translation. He's a fan of the female cast himself!

What seems most likely is that they've trimmed the cast list quite aggressively to keep this experimental spin-off relatively cheap and simple, and that's unfortunately meant that many of the established female fighters have been cut to make space for their more-famous male counterparts in order to maximise the series' ability to cross-promote with major regions and events. That doesn't make it suck any less, but it would have been a lot less shocking if the news had been broken gently instead of coming as a bolt from the blue.

I hope we get a more detailed interview soon so that KobaP (or the game's actual producer Nonaka) can explain the character selection process properly. Speculating about possible female characters for Yukimura to run into was fun, while it lasted, and having the chance swept away so abruptly has dampened my excitement a little. Of course, I'll still be buying Sanada Yukimura-den and enjoying it either way.

(Although the article doesn't mention much else - the Gyakuten Saiban 6 coverage rather dominates the discussion - I did like the note that Sanada Nobuyuki's outlandish hairdo evokes the image of a kabuki-style lion. I had missed that idea entirely before now; it's certainly appropriate for the 'Lion of Shinano'!)

Thursday, 28 April 2016

News roundup: A new gameplay video, plus Yukimura trains and Mitsunari pizza

There wasn't much to report about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den last week; there were no new magazine articles and the last website update only added sound clips for the playable characters - most significantly meaning we were able to hear Sanada Nobuyuki (Hosoya Yoshimasa) and Sanada Masayuki (Ootsuka Houchuu) speaking for the first time.

Then KobaP dropped a hint that there would be some news at the end of the week, so I deliberately held my news roundup back to see what it was. Rather excitingly, the very first promotions for Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den have been unveiled - and today we finally get to see the new character in action.

The second gameplay video for Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den arrives

This trailer gives us a very welcome taste of the new fighting styles used by Sanada Masayuki and Nobuyuki.


Fans in the Kansai region can soon ride on a Sanada Yukimura-den train

A major collaboration has been announced between Capcom and the Nankai Electric Railway, which operates across regions associated with the Sanada family historically. The Sengoku Basara x Nankai Electric Railway: Summer Siege ~ Sanada Yukari No Chi He Iza Shutsujin~ campaign will run from 27th May to 30th August 2016 (the official webpage is scheduled to launch in a couple of weeks).

As part of the celebration, Tenkuu sightseeing trains on the Kouya Flower Railway will be decorated with Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den artwork and the Ueda Electric Railway 'Sanada Dream Train' will be given a special Sengoku Basara Head Mark plate. The designs of the train wrappings will change on the 1st July and again on the 29th July, so fans who live nearby are encouraged to keep checking their local stations to see which characters go on display.

(Reading between the lines, perhaps this also means we'll get monthly character reveals since the way it's phrased implies the two future designs will have different characters?)


The Tenkuu trains will also offer commemorative photograph opportunities with pictures (probably standees) of the characters in the reserved seating carriage.


And travellers will be able to enter a mobile stamp rally contest using their Tenkuu tickets and QR codes located large standees in select station.


The standees are shown below. They're located in the Namba, Kudoyama, Gokurakubashi/Kouyasan (both stations have the same design) and Ueda Electric Railway Bessho Onsen stations, from left to right.


Prizes include hotel stays, cast autographs, an exclusive wallpaper and the Sanada Yukimura Sengoku Basara Carry Case which was briefly available from e-Capcom last year.


That's not all! The Kudoyama Sanada Museum is handing out exclusive train-themed clear files to the first 10,000 fans who visit and purchase a ticket between 27th May and 30th August 2016.


And there will be commemorative tickets available at Nankai Electric Railway stations, with special designs.


Lastly, seiyuu Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) will accompany series producer KobaP for a talk show as part of a special two-day sightseeing tour on 11th and 12th June 2016. The theme of the tour will naturally be the historical Sanada clan, but I'm sure there's a possibility they'll talk about the new game as well.

An exhibition (and talk show) is announced for Sanada Yukimura-den

The Sanada Juuyuushi Garden Place in Ueda will be hosting a special Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den exhibition from 23rd April through to 25th September 2016. Entry is free, and the attractions announced so far include a presentation board explaining the game, Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den promotional videos and standees of Masamune, Yukimura, Masayuki and Nobuyuki.

Most importantly, there will be a free talk show to discuss the game which will be headed up by KobaP and Hoshi Souichirou. The talk show will take place on Saturday 30th July 2016; hopefully there will be some interesting gossip shared on Twitter by those lucky enough to attend.


Sweets Paradise is to offer a limited Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den tie-in menu

A collaboration has been announced between the Sengoku Basara series and the Sweets Paradise chain of cake buffet restaurants popular with young people (especially girls). Between 28th April and 26th June 2016, visitors to the Sweets Paradise branch in Shibuya's Parco Part3 building will be able to order special Sengoku Basara items from the Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den x Sweets Paradise Sanada Cafe menu to accompany their usual fare of bottomless cakes and pasta.

There will also be themed decorations in the restaurant to make the visit more fun, and special merchandise including these ¥500 randomly-packed tin badges:


And these ¥800 acrylic keychains:


There are eight different badges and keychains (one design is secret). Fans who spend more than ¥1,500 on merchandise will be eligible to win additional Sengoku Basara goodies such as t-shirts.

The main food menu contains five dishes to choose from priced at ¥1,200 each: Sanada YukimuRamen, Date Masamune's white omrice, Setouchi-don, Ishida Mitsunari's quattro formaggio pizza or Rokumonsen takoyaki.


The drink options include mysterious ¥800 beverages named after Masamune, Yukimura, Masayuki and Nobuyuki or a Sengoku Basara bushou caffè latte, which comes decorated with one of nine possible designs.


The ¥1,000 dessert menu features Date Masamune's COOL shaved ice, Maeda Keiji's festival parfait and Tokugawa Ieyasu's bond parfait.


Discounts are available if you order combinations of menu items (for example, a meal with a drink and dessert only costs ¥2,600). If you follow the official Sengoku Basara account on the LINE messaging service, you can show the staff to receive free Haagen-Dasz ice cream during your visit as well.

Customers who order from the tie-in menu will receive bonus items from a selection of sticker and coaster designs which will change three times over the course of the campaign. There are previews of the first batch of the rewards but the next sets are currently unrevealed. First, the stickers:


And here are the coasters:


A report from the store can be found here.

(Hey, it's a Yukimura-den themed event so can we leap to conclusions about which characters they picked for the food items and act disappointed if they don't turn up in the actual game?)

The Capcom Cafe will be launching a Sengoku Basara campaign in the near future

Speaking of food, the Capcom Cafe has announced that its third batch of themed dishes and merchandise will be based on Sengoku Basara.


The cafe is located near Koshigaya Lake Town station in Saitama, and more details about the tie-in should be available soon. In the meantime, there will be a special selection of Capcom Cafe merchandise available at Tokushima's annual Machi☆Asobi pop culture event on 3rd and 4th May 2016, including early access to the Capcom Cafe x Sengoku Basara items below.

A clear file for ¥500 (the picture shows that it's printed to hide the background when you place paper inside):


Large acrylic key holders for ¥1,000 each:


A tote bag for ¥1,500:


A mini towel for ¥500:


Various tin badges for ¥300 each (they're randomly given out as gacha prizes):


That's not all that Capcom has planned for the series at Machi☆Asobi. There will also be a Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den exhibition! They're really promoting the game heavily now the new characters have been revealed at last.

Sengoku Basara teams up with mobile game SENTAMA for a competition

The latest minor gaming crossover event announced for Sengoku Basara is with DeNA's tactical combat smartphone game SENTAMA. Until 9th May 2016, SENTAMA players will be able to encounter six Sengoku Basara characters in the game: Masamune, Yukimura, Mitsunari, Ieyasu, Kojuurou and Sasuke. There will be other bonuses and incentives during the campaign, and you can see the full character artwork on the Dengeki website.


Fans will also be able to celebrate the game's first anniversary with a giveaway of six copies of the PS4 edition of Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi.


What makes the prizes special is that they have been signed by one of the series' popular voice actors: Nakai Kazuya (Masamune), Hoshi Souichirou (Yukimura), Seki Tomokazu (Mitsunari), Ookawa Tooru (Ieyasu), Morikawa Toshiyuki (Kojuurou) or Koyasu Takehito (Sasuke).


In addition, fans who follow the official SENTAMA Twitter account will be eligible to enter a retweet campaign this week to give away exclusive stickers and in-game gold.

The Sengoku Basara: DOKUGAN manga officially begins its run

This week marks the release of the first issue of Young Champion magazine to include a chapter of Sengoku Basara: DOKUGAN, which means the manga has officially begun! To celebrate, two new promotional images have been unveiled.


The 41-page first chapter is being given star billing in the magazine with a colour splash page and so far the reception from readers seems positive.


An update for the upcoming stage play's official website

July is gradually getting closer and the first teaser video for the Zangeki Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi: Honnouji No Hen play was released last week. The official website was also refreshed; they're using photographs of the actors in costume this time rather than CG artwork from the game series. It's nice.


Even though most of these updates happened a while ago they were in the news again on Friday due to another announcement: additional actors and guests!

The stage play's full cast list is now as follows (newcomers are in bold, while newly-announced cast members are in italics):

Shiono Akihisa (Date Masamune)
Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura)
Inoue Masahiro (Katakura Kojuurou)
Shiina Taizou (Sarutobi Sasuke)
Isaka Tatsuya (Maeda Keiji)
Shiramata Atsushi (Chousokabe Motochika)
Taniguchi Masashi (Akechi Mitsuhide)
AKIRA (Uesugi Kenshin)
Mamoru Asana (Saika Magoichi)
Juri (Sen No Rikyuu)
Shiozaki 'IRE' Airu (Gotou Matabee)
Karahashi Mitsuru (Oda Nobunaga)
Saitou Shuusuke (Shima Sakon)
Nakayama Yuuki (Hisahiko)
Yamaguchi Tomoya (Takezou)

Saitou Shuusuke is new to the cast and taking over from Katou Keisuke, who played Sakon in his only other appearance in the series. Nakayama Yuuki and Yamaguchi Tomoya are the two performers from boy band SOLIDEMO who appeared in the same roles as members of Aniki's crew in the previous play. It's good to have them back.

In addition, three of the series' most popular voice actors are now scheduled to appear during the brief bonus talk shows at the end of the play. Hayami Shou (Akechi Mitsuhide/Tenkai) is the special guest on 5th July, Morita Masakazu (Maeda Keiji) will appear on 6th July and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) will take to the stage on 9th July.

Last but not least, the first proper promotional video includes some nice glimpses of the fun and hard work behind the scenes.