Honey’s Anime was thrilled to get the chance to interview several people responsible for the amazing JRPG title Sakura Wars. We interviewed Tetsuya Ootsubo—the director of Sakura Wars—as well as producer Tetsu Katano and the localization producer, Andrew Davis! Armed with questions, we were truly surprised by some of the responses we got and we hope you all enjoy this fun interview!
While creating this new Sakura Wars title, what themes did you want to retain/change from the previous entries in the franchise?
How does this newest Sakura Wars entry make it easier for newcomers to enter? and, were there any challenges in making the title more accessible?
Did you face any challenges—aside from the pandemic which has clearly been a challenge for all developers/creators—that made Sakura Wars even harder to create?
As with most giant JRPGs, did localizing Sakura Wars prove harder than expected? Or did you anticipate the challenge from the get-go?
To be perfectly honest, this project wound up going a lot more smoothly than other JRPG-size titles I've seen, even though our teams were handling four languages! A lot of it comes down to the great support we got from SEGA in Japan; they were testing our localized scripts on their side and flagging all sorts of formatting issues, so by the time the game was served up to our QA team, it was in a very clean state. Because there weren't any major issues, our QA pros were able to get to the polishing phase a lot earlier than they can usually afford.
The biggest challenge might simply have come from localizing a moving target. When a game is already finished in Japan, the text is 100% final and locked by the time you start localization, but if it's still in ongoing development, scripts can be a lot more fluid. Entire scenes may be cut, rewritten, or even re-recorded—which is a normal part of game development! But if that happens to sections you've already localized, it becomes wasted work. With Sakura Wars, there was enough going on on the development side at one point that we actually paused localization and pushed back our schedule a bit to wait for things to settle.
While making Sakura Wars, did the team debate which direction the game should go in? or did you already have an idea of where the game would end up being from the start?
Who is your favorite girl from this latest Sakura Wars title and why?
If I'm putting myself in Captain Kamiyama's shoes, I wouldn't be able to choose! But personally I do enjoy Hakushu's ridiculous puns.
We noticed the music has stayed similar to the original Sakura Wars anime/game. Did you feel the music needed to be kept this way?
Was it your goal to make sure Sakura Wars came out in the West or was it decided after the game’s release in Japan?
Did any other franchises inspire the development of this latest Sakura Wars game?
When the game finished and was ready to ship out, what element of the finalized title stood out the most?
Was there a reason you decided on a newer cast for this latest Sakura Wars title?
Will there be plans to port Sakura Wars to other consoles aside from the PS4?
What real-world elements inspired this newest Sakura Wars game?
Did any anime series inspire the team in the development of character modes/art style or did you solely look towards the original franchise for inspiration/ideas?
If you could add anything else into this already huge title, what would it be?
What are your aspirations for the franchise now? Plan on making even more Sakura Wars titles?
Last question, what inspired the team the most during the development of Sakura Wars?
It was a real honor to have the opportunity to interview some of the bigger members of the team behind Sakura Wars. We wish to thank SEGA and director Tetsuya Ootsubo as well as Tetsu Katano and Andrew Davis for their time! If you readers out there haven’t checked out Sakura Wars we were blessed enough to be able to play it and review it so check our thoughts on this wonderful game! Be sure to keep stuck to our hive for even more amazing interviews done by us here at Honey’s Anime!