Wednesday 3 July 2013

News: Weekly Famitsu (4th July 2013) announces the first Sengoku Basara 4 characters

Since the news in today's issue of weekly Famitsu magazine is being hotly discussed at the Koei Warriors forum and spreading all over the internet, I thought it would make sense to record it here as well. I'm not going to invest too much time in covering Famitsu news as it will be thoroughly dissected on every gaming website around whether I translate it or not, and they are better equipped to post that kind of information more quickly than I can. I'll amend this post with links if I see any particularly noteworthy summaries; we can probably expect the official Sengoku Basara 4 homepage to update in the next few days too.

Since I won't have the ability to buy Famitsu myself until Friday, this post refers to the scans that have been circulating from Twitter (collected here). Much of the text was missing on the early scans and I'd prefer not to spread unsubstantiated rumours, so please be aware that my summary is incomplete until I add an update at the bottom of the post to say otherwise.

As we already knew from the previous interview, the Sengoku Basara 4 setting is right at the birth of the Sengoku period at the end of a (parallel world) Muromachi era. The dawn of this new era is known as the 'Sengoku Genesis' or 'Sengoku Creation'. Five characters have been confirmed, though one is to be unplayable.

First of all, the two most popular Sengoku Basara veterans will be returning: Date Masamune and Ishida Mitsunari.

Date Masamune 伊達政宗
Character image phrase: 奥州筆頭 Oushuu Hittou ('Head of Oushuu')
Seiyuu: Nakai Kazuya
Weapon: Katana (one-sword style and six-sword style)
Playable: Yes
Description: Masamune is said to introduce himself as the Dragon King as the curtain rises on the 'Sengoku Creation'. His goal is to charge around and unify the nation.

"My right eye is exactly as it became useless a long, long time ago."

Ishida Mitsunari 石田三成
Character image phrase: 君子殉凶 Kunshi Junkyou ('Virtuous Man, Martyr to Misfortune')
Seiyuu: Seki Tomokazu
Weapon: Katana
Playable: Yes
Description: Mitsunari is described as continuing to dedicate everything he has to his master, Toyotomi Hideyoshi: the man he worships like a god. Mitsunari hasn't been shown acting as Hideyoshi's retainer in the game series yet, so this is an opportunity for something new.

"My soul is one with Hideyoshi-sama...! Therefore...I don't regret a thing...!"

I was initially shocked to see that Sanada Yukimura was not included in this first round of character announcements. The only reason I can think of is that he's getting so much exposure at the moment between the Takarazuka musical, the upcoming Sengoku Basara Magazine feature and the Takeda-themed manga anthology scheduled for release soon that the staff thought it would be better to use Mitsunari for a change. Mitsunari was voted the second most popular character in the last official poll, after all. I hope that Yukimura and Ieyasu will be headlining the next announcements so their fans don't get too worried.

In addition, the two silhouetted characters in the teaser trailer have been revealed! Famitsu refers to them as a pair of young military commanders who have dropped into the Sengoku world. Their youth is remarked upon several times in the article, including a comment by director Yamamoto Makoto that they're both from a younger generation compared to Masamune and Mitsunari.

Shima Sakon 島左近
Character image phrase: 双天来舞 Soutenraibu ('Dance Of The Twin Heavens')
Seiyuu: Nakamura Yuuichi
Weapon: Twin swords, kicks
Playable: Yes
Description: A young kirikomi taichou (commander who spearheads the attack) in the Toyotomi army, following Ishida Mitsunari. A cheerful youth who enjoys nothing more than a gamble; he's as light on his feet as his looks and behaviour imply. He yearns to show his master Ishida Mitsunari his one-sided loyalty. In combat, Sakon is a warrior who can be relied on to stir up the battlefield with a constantly changing flurry of kicks and slashes.

The young, confident-looking man who seems to be dressed in gold, white and brick red. Sakon decides to follow Mitsunari after the events which triggered the game's story left him uncertain about what was ahead of him. He can switch between his two fighting styles with a button press.

In terms of his fighting style, here are somewhat literal translations of the text over the preview pictures in the magazine.

Swooping at the enemy soldiers with a flying kick like a meteor!
Sakon's weapon is more than the two swords in his hands. He's able to attack the enemy with a range of kick techniques.
Issuing kicks with blinding speed.
It looks like the "Hyakuretsukyaku" move from a certain fighting game?!
The two swords tear through the enemies in front of him!
Score a hit on the enemy with the attacks of the twin swords, which are primarily multi-stage attacks! He fights by switching stances between slashing and kicking.
Even manipulate the enemy soldiers with splendid agility!
Huh, he's able to ride on the enemy's shoulders and manipulate them! What kind of techniques might result from that acrobatic position?

"If the die is cast it'll be either odd or even! Once it's shown, we fight!"

Shibata Katsuie 柴田勝家
Character image phrase: 破願一望 Hagan Ichibou ('A Vow Destroyed In A Single Sweep') 
Seiyuu: Okamoto Nobuhiko
Weapon: Sakabanagi (Reverse-bladed naginata with blades at both ends)
Playable: Yes
Description: A young soldier in the vanguard of the Oda army. After a rebellion which ended in failure, the skilled Katsuie was left in a weak position. Now, it's as though he's given up and lives for nothing more than following orders from his aloof master Oda Nobunaga. However, once he's on the battlefield he plays an active role, using the full reach of his reverse-bladed naginata and many extravagant techniques.

His dark green and gold design looked a little weak from the tiny picture we had at first; I liked the armour but struggled to see much personality coming through from his face and stance. Another picture shows him without his helmet and reveals that he has a blunt bob-style haircut. After seeing him up close I've come to like his severe expression.

Producer Kobayashi Hiroyuki (KobaP) notes that Katsuie is the polar opposite of Sakon. Even the real life Katsuie was known for being unfortunate. In the game, he's lost all of his feelings to despair and become the kind of person who only does as he has been ordered. Will he be able to clear a path to a future for himself in the 'Sengoku Creation'?

Fans of Nagamasa are already very worried about how similar Katsuie seems to be and whether this means Nagamasa won't appear in the game; the historical Katsuie even married Oichi too, leading to more complexity in the plot if the game decides to go down that route.

The magazine's text for his combat pictures:

By rotating his weapon, Katsuie can temporarily enhance his speed and attack.
Power up normal and special attacks!!
The strength boost from rotating the weapon is proportional and depends on the number of rotations.
An enhanced 'shear plane' mercilessly strikes the enemy soldiers.
Taking full advantage of his reverse-bladed naginata, a guy with no blind spots!
He has a special move which attacks in all directions. As he gets stronger, the range of the 'shear plane' greatly increases.

"If I close my eyes in this way I remember it, whether I want to or not... the error made by my former self, shaped like a mandala..."


Both of the new seiyuu are rather popular at the moment (especially with female fans) so this aspect bodes well.

Lastly, the mysterious voiceover from the teaser trailer has been confirmed as the game's unplayable boss character...

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 katana, spear, bow etc. The action of spinning the weapon to transform it is known as 'roulette'.
Playable: No

Yoshiteru was the former ruler of the Muromachi shogunate, blessed with all kinds of abilities. Having become the 13th in the Ashikaga line, he was unhappy that the vitality had been lost from the land of the rising sun and wanted to see people breathing with passion again.

He sets his sights on making a world where everyone will gamble on fate and try to seize the nation, consequently returning his shogun title to the heavens - the Restoration of Heavenly Rule. Reverting everything back to zero, he's the one who triggered the 'Sengoku Creation'. The warriors who decide to take the country will have to defeat him first; however, Yoshiteru was also known as the 'Kengou Shougun' ('Sword Saint Shogun'). It won't be possible to overcome him half-heartedly!

Combat picture text:

Yoshiteru's weapon is a shaku. Constructed from two separate plates joined together, blades seem to spring out of it like a Swiss Army knife. What kind of techniques might it lend itself to?
He countered Masamune's six-sword style with one hand!?
To match Masamune's katana, blades spring out of the shaku and the tips of the weapons collide. Is there a way to counter Yoshiteru if he can stop Masamune striking at full power...!?

According to KobaP, if you think of the dawn of the Sengoku era as a casino Yoshiteru would be the dealer; there's a sense that he's saying "Do your best!" to the warriors of Japan. It sounds as though his role will be quite different to that of previous bosses in the games, occupying a position above that of Nobunaga or Hideyoshi.

"I've carried out the 'restoration of heavenly rule'! My friends - what happens next depends on you!"


There are a few more snippets of information buried in the interview and around the images.

A pair of monotone pictures show Masamune and Mitsunari posing as they would just before a boss fight, as well as a screenshot showing a dragon and an eagle in sumi-e (ink painting) style with the text "Dragon King, Western Misfortune Basara-e". The magazine teases that it's necessary to wait for more details to uncover the meaning of this while confirming the screenshot isn't simply a scene from the opening movie.

The dragon is obviously Masamune and likewise the 'Western Misfortune' references Mitsunari. I'm not entirely sure how to read the other part; it is probably a reference to 'Basara-e' (婆娑羅絵), a word for the fantastic illustrations found on traditional Japanese fans and shrine ema. That kind of 'Basara-e' means a 'Basara picture', whereas the way it's written in the screenshot (婆裟羅図) uses a different Japanese character which can be pronounced the same. It could imply more of a 'Basara scene'. Is this a new way to represent special encounters in the story?

Some of the pictures show that enemies will be capable of special formations this time; the examples in the magazine are gunners stacked up on one another's shoulders in a pyramid and spear-wielders forming a big wall of shields. There's also a shot of a mysterious ring of light around one of the enemy soldiers, and another showing Mitsunari and Sakon guarding one another's blind spots, back to back.

In the short interview, which I am summarising rather than quoting directly, YamamotoD and KobaP took the opportunity to remind fans that they can enjoy 100% of Sengoku Basara 4 even if they haven't had any previous experience with the series. Sengoku Basara 4 won't be making younger versions of the established characters to fit the earlier setting, and any inconsistencies in canon can be explained by viewing the game as taking place in a parallel world, just as with previous games in the series. Similarly, the staff aren't too worried about details like certain warriors not having being born at the dawn of the Sengoku period in the real world: they're all thrown together because doing it that way is more interesting!

KobaP also specifically mentioned that next week's Busho Matsuri event will be revealing the newest information and showing unseen footage from the game, so we shouldn't have long to wait for more news!

Update 04/07/2013 (morning): The official website has now been updated with the new information so I added some small pictures. At first, the website had Masamune's name spelt incorrectly (it was corrected shortly afterwards, but not before fans had turned it into a running gag).
Update 04/07/2013 (evening): Added some more details from the magazine. I'll make one more update tomorrow.
Update 05/07/2013: This post is now complete. Fans at the Koei Warriors forums have already translated the extracts from the game's dialogue used in the article so please take a look over there if you need those.
Update 08/07/2013: Famitsu has now posted some of the content from the article on their website, including pictures and text from the interview.


  1. wow that is quite the news!!!! Now I want to know more characters!!! I assume Oda would be there as well. I'm a Nagamasa fan and I want him in there, he is alive so come on! The one I play is Kojuro but I doubt he will be there, so sad. New characters sounds good so far, no joke/stupid...but they will add them im sure!

    anyway thanks a lot for posting this was waiting so much!!

    1. Thank you for commenting! I hope they take the opportunity to bring everyone back, from Nagamasa to Hideyoshi, as well as including all of the characters who were in Sengoku Basara 3 Utage. It's about time we had a game with all of the old favourites together ^^

      I can't wait until we get more news, whether it comes with an official website update or in next week's Dengeki Playstation magazine!

    2. It would be so nice ! :) Love Nohime, ranmaru and the old style of oichi!

      Cant wait either for more news, Basara is the best ever!
      But the release date is far from here, I would so have play today to this new sengoku basara!
      Dont like much Mitsunari through... Was surprise he was in there.

    3. I miss Ranmaru's fighting style and would love to see him make a return. It felt so violent and fun, even though I don't usually like bow users.

      I'm hoping that Katsuie (or someone else) will cover some of Oichi's old style because I love her Sengoku Basara 3 moveset too much to let them remove it, hehe. If they allow her to use both types of weapons or put one as a mode like War Dance then that would be a good compromise, so long as there was a special item to let you choose to use the 'dark hands' all the time :)

      I love this series!

  2. I gotta say, I rather like the way the new characters look. Katsuie in particular stands out for me, cause Nagamasa is one of my fav characters from the original trilogy of games, so seeing someone who is like an almost successor to him is pretty cool. Nakamura's character has potential to be pretty damn awesome, so I'm gonna be watching any info about him like a hawk, cause he has to live up to being Date/Yukimura level awesome as the "new face".

    I also like how they are like "Yeah we are taking places several centuries before the actual Sengoku period, but this is SenBasa, when have we ever tried to make sense or be consistent?" :p. I don't mean that in a mean way at all either, it's part of the franchise's charm to just do whatthefuckever it wants with whoever, so at the very least this ensures that the franchise will live on, though god knows if we can go past 3/Sekigahara in the future, but that's getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

    1. Katsuie has really grown on me since I saw the shot of him without his helmet. The original scan was just to small for me to see any detail in his face, especially when viewing it on a mobile phone. He's definitely got a huge amount of story potential, though I think my heart will shatter if he reaches out to Oichi only for it to end in tragedy again. Sakon looks like he'll be a blast to play as already.

      After months of relatively low interest in the series in the west, it's weird seeing it all exploding again; several people seem to be looking in from outside and making smug observations about how anachronistic the new reveals are for the Muromachi era. I agree with you, the series is strongest when it's just concentrating on whatever would be the coolest thing to do. There are plenty of games out there for people who prefer realism already! :D

    2. Strange is the right word for it, yeah, especially since we know and don't care too much that Capcom is not gonna release it over in the west. Importing Special Edition first chance I can get! That being said, I have a faint wish that they would try again here with this entry, but Sengoku Basara is Sengoku Basara, so those who actually care will just import (or keep playing Sangoku Musou. Not a knock, I like that series too).

      I already want to know who else could possibly be here, seeing as we are gonna need a big cast of playable characters to make this feel like a proper "prequel", plus I wanna see what sort of crazy designs we can get (and seiyuu. That's always important :p ). Anyone in particular you think would be suited to hotbloodedly shouting at people while kicking ass? And it can't be Hiyama Nobuyuki, as that's everyone's wish :p.

    3. Other seiyuu I'd like to see? I'm on a huge Yusa Kouji kick right now so seeing him in Sengoku Basara would be amazing for purely selfish reasons; he could be some kind of slimy, conceited warrior, a little older than Masamune and Yukimura. Sugita Tomokazu's deep voice would be fantastic for a new character too and I'd love to see him messing around at Basara Matsuri with everyone else.

      But I think we're owed a new female character first to avoid being overrun by guys! Kobayashi Yuu would be my first choice for a really over-the-top female warrior of some kind. She's popular at the moment and I bet she could yell across the battlefield without breaking a sweat.

  3. so raindrops im very interested in animals incorporated in BASARA so that basara-e ink art of a dragon and eagle (is the eagle suppose to be mitsunari cause I thought he was a fox or crow) is very intriguing and cant wait to see more.

    and about that shot of a light ring around enemy soldier and mitsunari and sakon guarding eachother, where is it? cant find any scans of it.

    1. You can get a glimpse of the ink picture here, along with the other shots:

      It looks as though there's a cup below the eagle too. It's not stated that the eagle specifically refers to Mitsunari but when it comes to someone with the title 'Western Misfortune' it seems obvious that it involves him.

      Note: I'm not 100% sure that the reading is meant to be "Basara-e" for the ink pictures. It's a word they made up for the game so I'm just assuming that's how it's read, but it's not impossible that I'm wrong.


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