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
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'!)
- 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)
Elemental attribute: Kan (it means a feeling or impression)
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 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
Affiliation: Kyougoku-Azai army
Elemental attribute: Wind
- 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.
- 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.