“Dramatic adventure” series Sakura Wars is rebooting—slightly. The long-running Sega series that began on the Saturn back in the ‘90s is noted for its interesting blend of elements from strategy RPGs and visual novels. Aesthetically, the game is also a hodgepodge of influences, being influenced heavily by the all-female musical theatre group Takarazuka Revue (you can see their influence in anything from Sailor Moon to Revolutionary Girl Utena), as well as mecha anime and steampunk. To date, the series’ only Western release is 2005’s Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, localized in 2010 once the game received a Wii port. Even in Japan, the Sakura Wars series has been pretty stagnant since this port, having no releases since.
Sakura Wars, the series’ sixth mainline entry, began development back in 2016 at the Sega Fes convention. The game attempts to breathe new life into the franchise, trading tactics for beat-’em-up gameplay. It’ll also feature exploration, something fans have often found lacking and detrimental to the series’ overall world-building. It’s the first game in the series not to be developed by Red Entertainment, instead being fully worked on by Sega’s in-house team Sega CS2 R&D, who are known for developing many of the recent Sonic games. The game also jumps time from the previous games, now taking place in (a decidedly alternate version of) the 1940s, about 20 years after the first set of games.
The game is set for a worldwide, PlayStation 4-exclusive release on April 28, the same month an anime adaptation is set to premiere. Sakura Wars received a Japanese release back in December. Check out the trailer below.