Director and Producer Talk Sakura Taisen V
07.06.05 - 12:03 AM

As part of its fifth anniversary special, Japanese website Dengeki Online is offering a major scope on Sega and Red Entertainment's upcoming Sakura Taisen V: Saraba Itoshiki Hito yo. Among others, the scope also features interviews with series mastermind Ouji Hiroi and director Takaharu Terada.

Hiroi explained that Kou Kujou would be comparable to Leni Milchstrasse, who appeared in Sakura Taisen 2 and 4. Unconsciously Leni was a perfectionist, whereas Kou would consciously aim for perfection. When staff first discussed what kind of character Kou should be, some staffers wanted a female, some staffers a male character and some wanted both. Hence, the team settled on creating a character resembling a 10-year old kid, since at the age of 10 it was still hard to tell a boy from a girl.

Originally he also wanted to include events in Las Vegas and other parts of the US, as opposed to limiting the scenario to New York City. While the producer still has many ideas for the New York Kagekidan, he was still thinking what to do next. He however confirmed that he would make an anime featuring the new group of characters in the future.

Asked about the future of the Sakura Taisen series, Hiroi mentioned that he wanted to focus more on character that do not appear in the games. Since, as highlighted by Sakura Taisen V's subtitle (Farewell, My Lovely), he himself likes Raymond Chandler's works very much, he would like to create one more work inspired by Chandler.

Terada said that as a reaction to fans complaining about the lack of freedom of movement in Sakura Taisen 3, Sakura Taisen V will offer a greater amount of freedom in this particular aspect. Together with the heroines players will be able to get a complete look at the city's various areas, such as Central Park and the Bay Area. Bath events featuring the various heroines will also be implemented into the game.

Sakura Taisen V would also shed more light on the character and motivations of the female lead Gemini Sunrise. Upon her arrival in New York City, the cowgirl from Texas will undergo a slow but steady change and eventually even wear beautiful clothes in the end.

While Terada confirmed that the amount of trust the heroines have in protagonist Shinjirou Taiga will affect their stats during battle in a more significant way than in previous installments, he also said that the development team still wanted fans to enjoy the game. Hence, it will still be possible to enjoy the adventure part without having to stress oneself into constantly worrying about giving right answers.

Sub-character Ratchet Altair will also have a trust level and if certain conditions are met, can become a heroine with specific event and ending sequences.

Save data from the other two series installments available for PlayStation 2 (Sakura Taisen: Atsuki Chishio ni and Sakura Taisen 3) can be used to obtain various bromides in Sakura Taisen V. After completing the game once, the stats from this playthrough will be carried over to the second playthrough. Since battles will become easier with raising stats, it will be possible to clear the game in a shorter amount of time, and spend more time enjoying the adventure part.

Sakura Taisen V: Saraba Itoshiki Hito yo will be released in Japan on July 7th. The standard version will retail for 7,800 yen ($69.89 US), while the limited edition Showtime Box will cost 14,000 yen ($125.44 US).

Chris Winkler