Thursday, 29 January 2015

News roundup: Dengeki PlayStation vol. 583 features Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi

This week's edition of Weekly Famitsu didn't have any substantial Sengoku Basara coverage even though series producer Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki participated in a joint interview with Tales producer Baba Hideo.

Instead, it was Dengeki PlayStation's turn for a little exclusive content. The 12th February 2015 edition (released on 29th January 2015) had a full-colour eight-page feature devoted to previewing the new game.

Most of its article recapped the information from the previous Weekly Famitsu to bring readers up to date with the Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi announcement.

However, there also seemed to be a few new screenshots I wasn't sure that I had seen before (even though the official website updated today with another batch) and a short interview with KobaP and director Yamamoto Makoto. I think it's worth a summary.

Firstly, information from the character profiles.
  • Ashikaga Yoshiteru's roulette technique will make him glow like it does in Sengoku Basara 4. A red glow means a speed increase, black boosts his attack power and gold - which is said to be rare - stops time around him.
  • There's a small picture of Yoshiteru standing in front of Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin right below the previously-published screenshot of him in front of the four main characters. Shingen seems to be down on one knee with his weapon in one hand - I can't tell what Kenshin is doing from the angle but the two of them look reasonably relaxed.
  • A new picture of Maria shows that the red curtain in the background of one of her early screenshots is related to the Xavist show, as several people suspected. A group of excited Xavist soldiers can be seen in the audience.
  • Another new picture shows Naotora carrying Maria like a princess. Naotora looks a little bothered by the situation, even though Maria is clearly enjoying herself.
  • There's a new screenshot of Sabisuke (Sen No Rikyuu's 'wilder' personality) sitting on the battlefield with Matsunaga Hisahide standing right in front of him.
Next, summarised information from the interview with KobaP and YamamotoD.
  • When asked why they opted to make the new game Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi rather than Sengoku Basara 5, KobaP explained that they've had the series' tenth anniversary in July 2015 in mind for a while. However the real reason is that there was still more they wanted to do with the Sengoku Basara 4 setting, so that's why this game is an expansion instead of the next title in the series. Since it's coming out during the tenth anniversary they want to pack it full of content.
  • YamamotoD added that this will actually be the eleventh game in the series, so they've effectively released more than one game per year!
  • They're aiming for the game to have a lively, fun atmosphere. Sengoku Basara 4 was about creating the Sengoku era, while this time around the theme is 'seeing how much you can play in this Sengoku era'. It's being made with a 'party game feel' in mind.
  • It's the definitive version of Sengoku Basara 4 which surpasses the original (note: the way he said it didn't specifically suggest that this would include any of the story content from Sengoku Basara 4 - it was a lighthearted remark and probably means it will have more replay value than the original).
  • Yoshiteru, Maria and Rikyuu are the three main characters this time.
  • Yoshiteru is powerful right from the beginning. KobaP thinks that action game fans will really enjoy using him.
  • Yoshiteru's new 'quake' element means he's capable of effects like being able to split the earth for short-range attacks, and causing the ground to shake in order to affect a wide area.
  • YamamotoD said that Rikyuu's 'macho' build was unexpected when the interviewer remarked that he was surprisingly muscular for a tea master. His clothing was influenced by the idea of making tea with a chasen (tea whisk) and making it suitable for his two personalities.
  • His hairstyle looks as though it's from the Joumon period, and it's supposed to give the impression of austerity.
  • Maria moves as though she's playing around rather than fighting, treating the enemy soldiers like animals.
  • KobaP told the readers that they have to wait a little longer to find out who the other playable characters are going to be.
  • They have made quite a few story encounters. There's a strong sense of variety in the stories this time around; they've tried to show different sides to the characters and there will be both serious and comical content.
  • The battle roulette system will make the Sengoku Basara 4 stages feel different and change the difficulty.
  • There will be medal rewards of skill upgrades and costumes for all forty playable characters.
  • You can choose to play the stages without battle roulette in Free Battle mode if you prefer.
  • Aside from the roulette system, they are continually trying to improve the characters' moves; for example, making HELL DRAGON usable in midair.
  • The anime screenshots that have been shown so far are from the game's animated opening movie. While not every character will get them, the game's story modes will also include 'more anime scenes than there were in Sengoku Basara 4'.
  • KobaP still can't confirm whether 'that person' (obviously T.M.Revolution) will be performing the game's theme song. However, he said there would be an announcement about it very soon.
  • Sengoku Basara 4 was the first time they tried adding downloadable content to the games. They'll be incorporating DLC again this time. It was implied that all five of the next collaborations they have planned (following on from the Tales Of Zestiria outfits) will be DLC too.
Finally, observations which might be irrelevant and interesting notes from other fans...
  • The magazine doesn't mention the number of players anywhere (not even with an 'unconfirmed' label like in Weekly Famitsu). This might mean that the information was something Famitsu added on its own rather than a hint.
  • Here's a nice observation about Sen No Rikyuu's flowers from fan Error256. I hadn't made the connection but you can read about the original story here.
  • Correcting my error from before, crocus29 and striga-galanthus figured out that Ieyasu's alternate colour scheme is probably a roulette reference rather than a Toyotomi tribute. Aww...
  • Several Japanese fans have spotted early preorder listings for the PS3 and PS4 editions of the game at Animate. Perhaps it won't be too long until the game is formally solicited for preorder.
  • It's just a couple of days now until Basara Matsuri! I'm convinced that they'll be showing some video footage at the event, so it will probably appear online on Sunday night or Monday morning based on the last two live shows. There's a big 'coming soon' in the video section on the official website which needs to disappear, right?
That's all the magazine coverage for this week, but there are a few other news stories to mention as well.

Japanese drivers fight crime with Sengoku Basara 4

Yukimura, Kanbee and Keiji will be expanding their previous campaign to prevent vehicle crime across Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo again this year; a collaboration so significant that it received another English-translated news bulletin on Capcom's investor relations website.


A ceremony will be held in front of the Shirayukihime clock at Osaka's Tennouji Zoo on 31st January 2015 to mark the commencement of the campaign. The mascot character 'Yuru-Tenha Zessou Yukimura-kun' is scheduled to attend - his name seems to have been upgraded since the last time he made an appearance!


An official Capcom store returns to Shinjuku for a limited time

Just like last year, there's going to be a Capcom presence in the Marui Annexe building in Shinjuku, Tokyo as part of the 'Shinjuku Marui Annexe Characters Fair ~Gyakuten Saiban, Monster Hunter, Sengoku Basara~'. Visitors will be able to purchase goods relating to Sengoku Basara, Monster Hunter and Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney) between 13th February and 15th March 2015. There will also be prize draws where fans can win special merchandise.

Looking for Sengoku Basara 4 dialogue translations?

Moemine's Sengoku Basara 4 translation page on Tumblr has had a big upgrade recently and it's easier than ever to find translated dialogue for your favourite character. Moemine deserves a lot of respect for all of the fantastic translation work; I though it was worth mentioning again since not everyone checks Tumblr regularly. There's even more new content!

Friday, 23 January 2015

News roundup: Previews of even more Basara Matsuri merchandise

Another day, another news post! The series is certainly full of life this week - I hope they're saving some news for Basara Matsuri!

Speaking of Basara Matsuri, the next batch of event merchandise has been announced today over on the official website.

A set of Sengoku Basara 4 trading 'twin' tin badges. They come in sets of two randomly-packed badges for ¥500. The site suggests using them to customise the blankets you can buy. They've put Motochika with Ieyasu and left Motonari out (and the same for Hideyoshi being paired up with Keiji instead of Hanbee). It's an interesting choice - I thought it was because of the guests who were attending but Sasuke isn't being represented at the event at all.


A selection of four Sengoku Basara 4 fleece blankets for ¥2,000 each. Each of them has the same picture of all four leads so you can theoretically choose which of the colours you like best. I bet the purple one still sells out first.


A 'one size fits all' commemorative Basara Matsuri 2015 ~Fuyu No Jin~ zip-up hooded sweater for ¥4,800.


A Basara Matsuri 2015 ~Fuyu No Jin~ bath set, which includes a hand towel and 'Masamune's care' bath salts for ¥1,500. Let's bath time!!


Finally, there's a set of Basara Matsuri 2015 ~Fuyu No Jin~ opera glasses for ¥1,500. These will probably be popular as many attendees bring their own opera glasses to events to see the actors more closely. The design is pretty ridiculous (in a good way).

Thursday, 22 January 2015

News roundup: Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi tidbits and a new Gakuen Basara

A few additional notes about Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi

As many people will already have seen, the official Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi website is now live and there are a few new pictures to be found!

There's also more press coverage with the same new information presented in a variety of ways: 4Gamer, Dengeki, Famitsu, Gamer, Inside Games, Moca

I've made a few notes since it's fun to chronicle the flow of information.
  • Yoshiteru's basara-e ink artwork shows a peacock, which seems like a good match for him. The official website jokingly describes him as the 'violet comet' who moves at triple speed and manipulates time.
  • The 'most sadistic, wicked beauty in history' Maria seems to have a sexy dancing woman as her illustration.
  • (Edit: the-masked-m0g has pointed out that the woman resembles a celestial maiden - more details here!)
  • Sen No Rikyuu's basara-e image looks like two infants surrounded by plants (tea leaves?). I guess it represents his duality.
  • There's one interesting piece of information on the website which was missing from the magazine: "Number of players: Unconfirmed". I don't see why they'd say that if they're only planning to include the usual two player modes...
  • Some fans are guessing that the anime scenes shown so far might be from the game's opening sequence, since they appear to show the Tenka Medals you can collect and everything looks very flashy.
  • Speaking of Tenka Medals, I didn't explain this yesterday but the reason I'm leaving their name in Japanese when there's a perfectly good translation that could be used is that it's a pun. The characters used to write 'Tenka' simply mean 'Heavenly Coins', but in the main game storyline everyone is always battling to try to seize the land for themselves - and the word they always use for the 'land' in this context is also pronounced 'Tenka', and literally means 'everything under the heavens'. So in the main games, you're trying to obtain the land, and in this expansion you're trying to obtain medals.
  • Although I clarified this elsewhere, in case anyone was uncertain the new skills mentioned in Weekly Famitsu are regular moves, not super (R2) moves. Balder at Koei Warriors suggested a way that they might be implemented and I think that it's a strong possibility.
  • It was hinted in the magazine article but the website's layout pretty much confirms that the Tales Of Zestiria crossover will be limited to the costumes we've already seen, and the next five collaboration announcements will be completely different.
  • Hmm, if the Tales Of Zestiria crossover outfits came from KobaP's personal relationship with producer Baba Hideo, I wonder whether the next five collaboration announcements will relate to other things he likes? Perhaps there'll be an official Mobile Suit Gundam crossover and some kind of in-game zarusoba tie-in (I'm kidding - I hope).
  • Sen No Rikyuu's name has been trending on the Japanese side of Twitter for much of the last day, with @yukimurabo spotting 'psychic' and the 'wabi' of wabi-sabi joining it at one point. Whether you love or hate his design, it's undeniable that it's got a lot of people talking and creating comical parodies.

A new Gakuen Basara manga anthology is on the way

I was checking Manga-Oh earlier and stumbled upon some great news: there's a brand new listing for a Sengoku Basara Series Official Anthology Comic: Gakuen Basara: Gakusai Rantou-hen ('School Festival Brawl') - in other words, Gakuen Basara 8! It's scheduled for release on 27th March 2015 under the Dengeki Comics EX label. No further details are available yet.

The next Basara Magazine CD will be released soon

Also due for release on 27th March 2015 is the next compilation CD from Sengoku Basara Magazine. Titled Sengoku Basara Magazine CD: Showgeki Basara Talk! Vol. 4: Chousokabe & Mouri No Maki Special-ban, it will cost ¥2,700 and collect the comical audio content from the latest issues of Sengoku Basara Magazine along with some new material.

Seiyuu Okiayu Ryoutarou (Toyotomi Hideyoshi) will join Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika) and Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari) on one of the bonus tracks to make things even crazier. The 'Basara Challenge' skits are about looking after children, an interrogation and a brand new episode: television shopping. What on earth would an infomercial hosted by Motochika and Motonari be like...?

Listings are already available on Amazon Japan and AmiAmi.


The description warns that the jacket artwork is a placeholder but I think it's likely to stay since it matches the others in the series.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

News: Weekly Famitsu (5th February 2015) formally confirms Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi

It seems as though half the Internet received their copy of this week's Weekly Famitsu magazine early from the sheer quality of the detailed leaks we've been hearing ever since Tuesday's announcement about the new game, Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi.


Sadly, I had to wait until I finished work on release day to see the magazine for myself which made me very impatient! Please find a summary of all of the information I managed to extract from its pages below.

--

The magazine separates the announcements into eight distinct sections so I'll do the same. There are comments from series producer Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki and series director Yamamoto 'YamamotoD' Makoto scattered throughout the feature.

1. A new game which depicts the lifestyles of an overwhelming number of warriors.

The article opens with a bold new CG illustration showing Yoshiteru, Maria and both versions of Rikyuu arranged in a group shot. The text promises that there will be a vast amount of varied content in the game.

Title: Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi
Genre: Action
Platform: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4
Release date: Summer 2015
Price: To be confirmed
CERO rating: To be confirmed

As previously reported, the PS4 version will run at 1080p/60fps.

A screenshot at the bottom of the page has Yoshiteru standing in the ruins of Ounin in front of Masamune, Yukimura, Ieyasu and Mitsunari.

2. Animation handled by Production I.G.

Director Nomura Kazuya and chief animation director Ookubo Tooru both worked together on the movie Sengoku Basara -The Last Party-, and now they're teaming up again to invigorate the game's stories. The magazine suggests looking out for the fluid motion of the new playable characters.

There are screenshots of Yoshiteru standing in what looks like a roulette wheel made of fire (?) and a close-up of Sen No Rikyuu's 'sparkling' debut. I thought his eyes were blue before, but they're actually green.

3. Newly-playable: Ashikaga Yoshiteru

Ashikaga Yoshiteru 足利義輝
Character image phrase: 天政奉還 Tensei Houkan ('Restoration Of Heavenly Rule')
Seiyuu: Ikeda Shuuichi
Weapon: A transforming baton (shaku) which can become a sword, spear or bow. The action of spinning the weapon to transform it is known as 'roulette'.
Affiliation: Ashikaga army
Elemental attribute: Shin (it means quake - please note that this is not the same as 'earthquake'!)
Playable: Yes
  • He'll use his shaku as his weapon and switch between his sword, spear and bow depending on the attack.
  • He has a technique which will involve a roulette to determine his fighting style. When the roulette lands on red, his speed will increase significantly.
  • There is an amazing screenshot showing Yoshiteru wielding ten spears at once, which is apparently part of his Basara attack.

4: New character: Sen No Rikyuu

Sen No Rikyuu 千利休
Character image phrase: 侘美寂美 Wabi Sabi ('Sombre, Rustic Beauty')
Seiyuu: Sakurai Takahiro
Weapon: Folding fan (sensu)
Affiliation: Senke-shuu
Elemental attribute: Kan (it means a feeling or impression)
Playable: Yes

Description: He was the tea master in charge of performing the tea ceremony for the Toyotomi forces but now he's being pursued by them, suspected of a failed attempt to assassinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Gifted with the special ability to read other people's minds, he has two personalities which struggle for control: Wabisuke, who hates conflict, and Sabisuke, who loves to fight. The two personalities switch automatically when he unleashes a move, giving each personality's techniques a particular feel.
  • The peace-loving personality 'Wabisuke' is the one with tied hair. The one who wears his hair loose is Sabisuke.
  • Wabisuke uses elegant-looking moves while Sabisuke's are more aggressive.
  • It's hard to see in the scans, but Rikyuu has a mole under his left eye as a distinguishing feature.
  • Both of his faces are present in his in-game character portrait at once; his dual nature is definitely an important part of his character.
The interviewer was surprised they picked a tea master as the latest newcomer. YamamotoD said that of course they considered more traditional warriors as well, but when it came to historical figures who had greatly influenced the Sengoku period they thought Rikyuu would be an interesting choice. He's extremely famous and they could use his links to Hideyoshi as part of the story.

The idea of making him into a 'psychic' with a split personality came from the word 'wabi-sabi' itself (a Japanese aesthetic which strongly influenced the tea ceremony that Rikyuu is associated with in real life).

As for his fighting style, they already have a character with multiple stances (Sakon), but with Rikyuu his entire personality changes with each move he unleashes. There are many moves where mild Wabisuke keeps enemies at range while Sabisuke draws them in using Rikyuu's mysterious 'psychic' powers. His blond hair is because the real historical figure was associated with 'gold' so often.

5. Newly-playable: Kyougoku Maria

Kyougoku Maria 京極マリア
Character image phrase: 愛染艶花 Aizen Enka ('Bewitching Flower Of Passion')
Seiyuu: Sawashiro Miyuki
Weapon: Cloth
Affiliation: Kyougoku-Azai army
Elemental attribute: Wind
Playable: Yes
  • She specialises in 'queenlike' moves such as binding her opponents with her cloth, and using the cloth like a whip.
  • A caption describes one of her moves as 'moving as if on a sleigh, using the enemy soldiers in place of a horse'.

6. The battlefield changes according to the outcome of 'Battle Roulette'!

When you attack a 'roulette camp', a roulette wheel appears at the top of the screen which can have various effects. For example, your character could transform into a bomber or even Motochika's Akatsukimaru for a short time, or soldiers carrying medals on their back might appear.

This roulette system is how you obtain the 'Tenka Medals' which you need to purchase rewards. Picking up 1,000 medals puts you in 'super fever' status.

The picture shows that the wheel has a large number of red/black slots, one gold slot and two purple skulls. It really does look a lot like the base camp lottery in Sengoku Basara 3 Utage. The smaller screenshots show Akatsukimaru rampaging and doing an extreme amount of damage.

KobaP commented that landing on black generally means a transformation while landing on red makes the medals appear.

7. Trade the 'Tenka Medals' you collect for magnificent rewards.

There will be 167 items in total which you can purchase with the medals. A screenshot of the shop interface shows that there are four different categories (the first just says 'All'):
  • Costumes (purple)
  • Weapons (orange)
  • Techniques (blue)
  • Speech (yellow)

The rewards shown are:

Costume: Ashikaga Yoshiteru's third costume "Golden Armour Ver."
Cost: 1,000 medals

Weapon: Ashikaga Yoshiteru's personal inscription "Tranquility"
Cost: 5,000 medals

Weapon: Ashikaga Yoshiteru's domain-crushing inscription "Unlock"
Cost: 2,000 medals

Technique: Ashikaga Yoshiteru's skill revision
Cost: 800 medals

Costume: Sen No Rikyuu's third costume
Cost: 1,000 medals

Weapon: Sen No Rikyuu's personal inscription "Vessel Strength"
Cost: 5,000 medals

Weapon: Sen No Rikyuu's domain-crushing inscription "Unlock"
Cost: 2,000 medals

Technique: Sen No Rikyuu's skill revision
Cost: 800 medals

The reward list below seems to be numbered so I'l preserve that information in case it's useful later...

1 of 167: A gold costume for Ashikaga Yoshiteru.
2 of 167: A black/white costume for Sen No Rikyuu.
3 of 167: A purple/silver costume for Kyougoku Maria.
4 of 167: A red/white costume for Sanada Yukimura.
5 of 167: A (Toyotomi-style) red/black costume for Tokugawa Ieyasu.
6 of 167: A new skill for Tokugawa Ieyasu.
7 of 167: A new skill for Sanada Yukimura.

Every character will have a new technique available to learn through this system, irrespective of their level.

8. Six great collaborations.

The Tales Of Zestiria DLC costumes announced so far are Sorey (Masamune), Mikleo (Mitsunari), Edna (Tsuruhime) and Alisha (Naotora).

KobaP explained that the reason this tie-in happened was that he is friends with Baba Hideo (the producer of the Tales series) and they'd been talking about teaming up for a while. It wasn't possible with Sengoku Basara 4 because of the timing, but this time they decided to go for it.

Bandai-Namco Games suggested which characters should be used then YamamotoD was in charge of selecting which Sengoku Basara characters would suit the costumes. The characters' fighting styles don't change (even though Naotora has switched from using a massive sword to a spear).

The interviewer joked that Naotora looked like a completely different person, and KobaP agreed that it was difficult to recognise her at first glance. The Tales series uses a less realistic art style than Sengoku Basara so he was pleased they were able to satisfy Bandai-Namco when they adapted the designs.

This is actually the first of six rounds of various collaborations they have planned, with the possibility of even more.

--

The name of the game is because they wanted Yoshiteru to be the main character. They chose the word ou ('emperor') but decided to use the reading sumeragi instead, for a more Japanese feel.

Yoshiteru was described as the 'strongest enemy warrior in the series'. KobaP thinks he has a lot of fans.

In response to the question of how many warriors will appear, KobaP answered "The number of playable characters will be 40, the most in the series to date. Further details will come later!" (the emphasis is mine, but that's how he phrased it).

KobaP commented that this time, tag mode will be available right from the start.

The game is currently 70% of the way through development.

You can retain much of your data from the previous game but KobaP urged fans to wait for further details.

They want to make this the most content-filled game in the series.

--

Some other miscellaneous notes and observations:
  • I don't know why two of the characters have brand new 'elements' either.
  • As a few people noticed, 'Sumeragi' also happens to be the pen name of the artist responsible for the popular Mini Sengoku Basara Two and Mame Sengoku Basara manga adaptations. This tweet captures a startled Sumeragi reacting to the name of the new game - and lightheartedly assuring fans that it definitely isn't a Mame Sengoku Basara game.
  • Fellow manga artist Yoshihara Motoki also celebrated the announcement, this time with a drawing ("Aah!? Sen No Rikyuu...!?").
  • Logically speaking, if there are 40 playable characters and there were 32 playable in Sengoku Basara 4, it seems safe to assume the roster will be those 32, plus Maria, Yoshiteru, Rikyuu and five of the game's six non-playable characters (Mitsuhide can easily be turned into an alternate costume for Tenkai again).
  • Some websites are saying there are only four slots for NPCs, but that's because they miscounted and thought there were 33 playable characters in Sengoku Basara 4. There were only 32 so there is enough space for Kenshin, Kasuga, Toshiie, Matsu and Shingen if they're chosen.
  • The leaked images can be viewed here if you haven't seen them yet, and the full article has been leaked here courtesy of BlackKite. I assume that the website will be launched in the next few days so we can see them in higher resolution somewhere more official.
And my opinions on things:
  • It's nice to see some love for the ladies in the DLC costumes, especially Tsuruhime since she looks very cute in that outfit and she's often overlooked. I wasn't too sure about the outfits at first since I don't play Tales, but I've decided they look good now.
  • Some of the other Zestiria outfits look appropriate for crossover costumes too (for the girls at least - there might be a fight over who gets to be Zaveid).
  • I wish they had new character artwork instead of reusing the exact same renders from Sengoku Basara 4, especially as several of them aren't that good. Perhaps the returning characters will be luckier, or there will be more anime-style artwork incorporated to keep things fresh.
  • It would be nice if they'd add extra NPCs (like some of the older characters) to make this fit the '10th anniversary' theme and make it seem as though they're still working towards bringing them back...
  • On that note, it would be nice if they could add more 'special' NPCs like the Miyoshi Sannin-shuu and those who never made it to Sengoku Basara 3 Utage.
  • I'm looking forward to seeing how Sen No Rikyuu interacts with Yoshiteru, Hideyoshi and especially Hisahide, given the content of his storylines in Sengoku Basara 4.
  • I hope there are lots of surprises to come now that the more obvious inclusions have been revealed. Especially new game modes and stages.
--

Unrelatedly, there are a few more news updates to share which I may as well include in this post.
  • Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 8 is now available for preorder at Amazon Japan. Expect other import stores to list it in the next few days.
  • Moemine has resumed updating with Sengoku Basara 4 translations, such as this compilation of Kasuga dialogues.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi is announced

KobaP hinted this morning that some news was coming but I don't think anyone was expecting quite such a major announcement! Famitsu.com has posted details of an exclusive scoop they'll be running in this Thursday's magazine and it turns out they'll be announcing the latest title in the Sengoku Basara series.

The new game will be titled Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi and it's due for release in 'summer 2015' on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.


The word 'sumeragi' indicates the emperor so I'm guessing that Yoshiteru will be playing a major part once again. It's a majestic name which matches the atmosphere Sengoku Basara 4 had.

The article also teases that a 'new character' will make an appearance (due to the nature of Japanese it's difficult to be sure about whether this means that there will be one newcomer or several). The magazine will include an interview with series producer Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki and series director Yamamoto Makoto, so hopefully they'll provide lots of details.

It's good timing; the article is due almost exactly one year after Sengoku Basara 4 was released and the summer date means the game will come out around the series' tenth anniversary.

I'm going to make my Weekly Famitsu acquisition arrangements as soon as I get home, so hopefully there'll be some solid information this Thursday (or Wednesday night, depending on your time zone and the amount of content I need to translate). How exciting!

--

Edit: BlackKite has supplied more information over at Koei Warriors courtesy of early Japanese leaks. Summarising the same source material here for my records - please bear in mind it's based on leaks so might not be 100% accurate (even though it probably is).
  • The PlayStation 4 version will run in 1080p at 60fps.
  • There will be forty playable characters in total, the highest number in the series so far.
  • Ashikaga Yoshiteru will be playable. He'll use his shaku weapon and switch between his sword, spear and bow depending on the attack. He has a technique which will involve a roulette; the outcome of this affects his fighting style.
  • Kyougoku Maria will be playable. Her weapon is cloth, which she controls like a whip.
  • There will be a new character: Sen No Rikyuu. He'll be voiced by Sakurai Takahiro and his weapon will be a sensu (folding fan). He has a split personality and it changes according to the move he's using.
  • There will be a new 'battle roulette' system which makes a roulette wheel appear onscreen and gives you medals depending on the result. The medals can be traded for a total of 167 special items (this sounds like an advanced version of the camp roulette from Sengoku Basara 3 Utage to me).
  • To accompany the Tales Of Zestiria collaboration, there will be DLC costumes including Sorey and Mikleo.
Ehh, another character with a fan? It doesn't look good for Yoshimoto (or indeed, for Ujimasa, given the character count). I guess there won't be any other completely new playable characters unless they remove some from the roster...

Perhaps we'll get the first video at Basara Matsuri on the 1st February, which usually means they'll release it online for everyone to see one day later. It's quite a long time until summer so I hope there will be plenty of updates to keep the excitement high.

Edit 2: The wonderful BlackKite has delivered another batch of leaks here. I'm at work and don't have time to say anything more; I'll save my further comments for tomorrow when the full article is out and all of the details can be confirmed!

Monday, 19 January 2015

News roundup: Fan club events scheduled for April and a new art book

A new book is due for release next month: Sengoku Basara Art Works

Listings for a mysterious new art book based on Sengoku Basara have surfaced recently at Amazon Japan, AmiAmi and CD Japan. Sengoku Basara Art Works is scheduled for release on 25th February 2015 priced at ¥2,138 courtesy of Takarajimasha, and Amazon has placed it in their game strategy guide category for some reason. According to the brief description, it will include illustrations and descriptions of the characters appearing in the games up to Sengoku Basara 4 as part of a big push for the series this year following Basara Matsuri.

It's likely that other import-friendly bookstores will list this very soon as well.

Fan club members are invited to attend a series of events in April 2015

Members of the official fan club received a notification on Friday detailing a new series of Basara Club Fan Meeting 2015 Spring events to be held in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. These fan meetings are small, intimate stage events with a small number of special guests (who were confirmed today). The schedule is as follows:

Tokyo
Venue: Yomiuri Hall
Date: Saturday 4th April 2015
Afternoon show (13:30) guests: Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika), Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari), Yamaguchi Daichi (Date Masamune in the stage play), Taniguchi Masashi (Tenkai/Akechi Mitsuhide in the stage play)
Evening show (18:00) guests: Sugiyama Noriaki (Ootomo Sourin), Inada Tetsu (Tachibana Muneshige), Yamaguchi Daichi (Date Masamune in the stage play), Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura in the stage play)

Osaka
Venue: Oval Hall
Date: Saturday 11th April 2015
Afternoon show (13:30) guests: Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari), Okiayu Ryoutarou (Toyotomi Hideyoshi), Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura in the stage play), Kotani Yoshikazu (Mouri Motonari in the stage play)
Evening show (18:00) guests: Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari), Okiayu Ryoutarou (Toyotomi Hideyoshi), Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura in the stage play), Kotani Yoshikazu (Mouri Motonari in the stage play)

Nagoya
Venue: Higashi Betsuin Hall
Date: Saturday 18th April 2015
Afternoon show (13:30) guests: Miki Shinichirou (Gotou Matabee), Hayami Shou (Tenkai/Akechi Mitsuhide), Kubodera Akira (Oda Nobunaga in the stage play), Amano Kousei (Ashikaga Yoshiteru in the stage play)
Evening show (18:00) guests: Miki Shinichirou (Gotou Matabee), Hayami Shou (Tenkai/Akechi Mitsuhide), Kubodera Akira (Oda Nobunaga in the stage play), Amano Kousei (Ashikaga Yoshiteru in the stage play)

Series producer KobaP will be present at each of the fan meetings.

Fan club members can apply for their ¥4,700 tickets from next Friday. The tickets include a special tin badge as a bonus.

More limited edition Basara Matsuri 2015 merchandise is unveiled

Additional items have been added to the page of special Basara Matsuri merchandise for visitors to next month's event in Tokyo.

A Sengoku Basara 4 thermo bottle (Thermos) covered in all forty characters' image phrases for ¥2,000:


A 20x115cm muffler towel for ¥2,000:


A sixteen-page Sengoku Basara 4 postcard book for ¥1,000:


A Sengoku Basara 4 tote bag featuring the silhouettes of all forty characters for ¥3,000:


Eight different oversized 'big uchiwa' fans for ¥700 each (there are different designs on the front and back):


Hmm, there are fan designs for Motonari, Sasuke, Hanbee and Shikanosuke even though their actors aren't scheduled to appear at the event. Shikanosuke is a particularly weird choice. Surely it would have made more sense to use Gyoubu or make an Azai couple uchiwa for the stage play fans to wave?

The goods will be sold at the Nippon Budoukan's Northwest Special Goods Tent starting from 10:30 to the end of the final performance on the day of the event (1st February 2015). Fans who don't have a ticket to Basara Matsuri are still welcome to turn up and buy goods, though quantities will be limited.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Streaming: Winter 2015 anime first impressions

Another season, another round of frustrating region locks which shouldn't exist as companies license anime for streaming in the UK then... don't stream it in the UK. FUNimation is the number one enemy of everyone in the English-speaking world outside North America these days, and for the time being that's still the case. However, a few promising tweets have indicated that this might soon be changing. I'm pleased to see that a lot of news websites have been highlighting this story as it will make it harder for FUNimation to pretend it never happened once expectations have been set.

As usual, Crunchyroll provides the best value for UK fans with speedy announcements and plenty of information. They haven't managed to pick up as many titles as I'd have liked this season due to FUNimation's meddling, but they have a reasonable selection. Daisuki has more on offer than usual with three interesting streams running at once and their multilingual subtitles are always appreciated.

None of the other streaming services had even announced any brand new streams by the time all of the new titles for the season had started their broadcasts, so anything that will be handled by Animax UK, Viewster or Wakanim will have to wait for my final impressions at the end of the season. Animax UK seems to be in its death throes with the usual lack of communication; as I type this, Gundam: Reconguista In G is more than five weeks late and the last website update was twelve days ago despite having three winter simulcasts which haven't been finished. Wakanim has been out of action for a while, making Viewster is the only one of the three likely to provide anything worth watching.

A generous number of autumn titles are continuing into the winter season, so my schedule is already half full. The titles I've decided to keep following are Akatsuki No Yona, Bonjour♪ Koiaji Pâtisserie, Gundam: Reconguista In G, Parasyte -The Maxim-, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal and SHIROBAKO. I have a feeling it's going to be a busy winter.

LOVE!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Thoughts about Sengoku Basara 4

I wasn't originally planning on reviewing Sengoku Basara 4 since I'm not really qualified to describe the technical achievements or provide impartial commentary about the intricacies of its design. Most game reviews seem to focus on mechanics and high level play, whereas I'm nothing more than a weird fanatic who loves the series a little too much.

However, it seems that a few crazy people wanted to know what I thought about it after all the months of hype. I decided to gather my impressions some time ago and the imminent anniversary of the game's release seemed like a good excuse to finally post them. As usual, I haven't structured this post as a review so much as a jumbled stream of consciousness.

One other thing that I should mention is that I mostly play in two-player co-op mode for the first few months of a Sengoku Basara game release; my partner's interest tends to wane more quickly than mine and it's fun to experience the new stories together for the first time. In that respect my opinions on some gameplay decisions might be unusual since two-player mode makes some parts of the game much easier, and others rather more challenging.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

News roundup: Ichiban Kuji preview pictures and a suitcase to hold all of your Sengoku Basara loot

Final details for next months Ichiban Kuji merchandise lottery

The Ichiban Kuji Sengoku Basara ~Sengoku Sousei~ lottery commences on 21st February 2015 in Japan, and the gaming media has been posting pictures and descriptions showing off the prizes fans can win. The ¥620 entry tickets will be available in bookstores, amusement arcades, hobby shops and branches of TSUTAYA and Animate across Japan.

Since the pictures are much higher quality than the fan photographs taken at last month's event, I decided to make a little gallery.

A rank prize: Date Masamune 'real' figure:


B rank prize: Date Masamune 'Kyun-Chara' figure:


Now that we have high quality pictures I can see that this Masamune is different to the 'Kyun-Chara' figures released last year. His helmet is still removable.

C rank prize: Ishida Mitsunari 'Kyun-Chara' figure:


Like Masamune, this Mitsunari figure is posed slightly differently to the one which featured in last year's Ichiban Kuji. Fans will probably want to try to collect both!

D rank prize: Shima Sakon 'Kyun-Chara' figure:


E rank prize: Shibata Katsuie 'Kyun-Chara' figure:


It doesn't mention whether Katsuie's hat is removable. It looks as though it might be.

F rank prize: Hand towel (four different designs):


G rank prize: Notelets (four different sets):


There are eight designs which come in packs of two: Masamune/Mitsunari, Yukimura/Ieyasu, Sakon/Katsuie and Motochika/Motonari.

H rank prize: 'Stylish' rubber strap (seven different designs):


I rank prize: 'Extreme' rubber strap (seven different designs):


Last One prize: Date Masamune 'real' figure (Last One version):


The Last One version is exactly like the A rank prize figure, except that it's white. To win the Last One version, all you have to do is buy the very last ticket in a batch of prizes - no matter which prize you win, you'll automatically receive the white version of Masamune too.

Double Chance Campaign prize: Ishida Mitsunari & Shima Sakon 'Kyun-Chara' figures (Special Colour version):


These are just like the regular versions except with unique metallic paint instead of the normal colouring. The Double Chance prizes are awarded to one hundred customers who enter the special codes from their used tickets into an extra prize draw on the Ichiban Kuji website. Winners will receive both of the rare figures as a set.

There's also going to be a Twitter campaign between 30th January and 3rd March 2015, where five people who follow the official @ichibanKUJI account on Twitter and tweet about the lottery using the #一番くじ戦国BASARA創世 hashtag will be selected to win sets of all four basic 'Kyun-Chara' figures. I believe that a Japanese address and mobile email address will be required to claim the prizes.

An official Sengoku Basara suitcase will be released in March

Capcom announced a collection of special 31L carry cases themed around Monster Hunter, Gyakuten Saiban and Sengoku Basara today, and the latter is incredible. It's scheduled for release on 26th March 2015 and costs a hefty ¥30,000 before taxes.


I'm trying to think of some justification for saving up and buying this when I already own a perfectly good suitcase and have bills to pay. It's so cool.

Friday, 9 January 2015

News roundup: Live Viewing events and additional guests are announced for Basara Matsuri

Capcom has been quiet about Sengoku Basara for the last few days aside from posting official confirmations of the Tales of Zestiria and Capcom Challenge Park collaborations. There's also been a special video showing off the Tales of Zestiria attachments:



As a result of the quietness, I haven't had the chance to post anything seasonal. I hope all of the Sengoku Basara fans out there are safe and well, even if this time of year isn't a festive period everywhere in the world. Happy New Year!

The latest news for next month's Basara Matsuri event

Perhaps the most exciting of the new Basara Matsuri information is that there will be two additional stage play actors attending the event: Fujita Ray (Shibata Katsuie) and Takahashi Hikaru (Fuuma Kotarou). They're both very popular and Fujita may even treat fans to some of his hilarious backstage coverage on Twitter, if we're lucky...

The other update is an announcement that fans in Japan who can't travel to Tokyo to see Basara Matsuri live can still watch the evening performance in real time in a selection of nineteen cinemas as part of a Live Viewing stream. These are frequently arranged for the stage plays but still quite rare for live events. Tickets cost ¥3,500 and they'll start to become available tomorrow.

The event is certainly accommodating a huge amount of fans this time!

Sengoku Basara Magazine blanket information

Remember the Sengoku Basara Magazine blanket design vote back in Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 7? Fans were offered the chance to vote for their favourite out of five different designs.


The results have since been announced as promised. The winning design jumped into the lead right from the beginning and ended up receiving 1,546 votes out of a total of 3,941!


Fans who want to get their hands on the finished blankets can preorder them now for ¥5,940 ready for their anticipated release on 27th February 2014.

Thank you to Tatzel for spotting that Otaku Republic had preorder listings available very early: Masamune, Mitsunari, Motochika, Motonari. AmiAmi has since listed the blankets too (Masamune, Mitsunari, Motochika, Motonari).

Update 19:30: Visit the Sengoku Basara 4 x Capcom Challenge Park event to buy limited edition goods

Well, it seems that I posted before Capcom had finished making announcements this morning. Visitors to the Sengoku Basara 4 x Capcom Challenge Park event running between 7th January and 30th April 2015 in Aichi's Aeon Mall Okazaki will be given the opportunity to purchase limited edition items not found elsewhere. According to this tweet, there will be capsule machines with souvenir tin badge straps for all forty warriors (plus one hidden design):


A commemorative mug:


And a 'heroes provisions tin' containing Sengoku Basara 4 bread with chocolate chips, which sounds amazing:


I'm not sure how much things will cost; the badges are priced at 'one zenny' which doesn't help much! The event itself has an entry fee of ¥500.

As well as spending money, visitors will be able to enjoy a 'Giga Basara photo spot', see some kind of exhibition and meet the amazing mounted Date Masamune statue from Tokyo Game Show 2013.

(Reusing one of my old pictures)
I wish I could go...