Video game producer Hisashi Koinuma began work on the first game in the Samurai Warriors series 18 years ago. Little knew at the time that his game would become one of the cornerstones of the Koei Tecmo catalog, and in 2021 he would not only be working on the franchise, but also developing the game while working in his dual role as Producer and company president. We spoke to Koinuma-san to find out more about his upcoming title, favorite character, and what the new reinvented experience will bring when the game hits the US on Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S (about backwards compatibility) will be released July 27, 2021.
Koei Tecmo: It’s the 17th anniversary of the Samurai Warriors franchise. Why do you think this is the right time to bring the series back?
Hisashi Koinuma: Samurai Warriors has always been a passion project for me. I started working on the first game 18 years ago and I’m still at it here. Fans of the franchise kept asking me: when are you going to build new samurai warriors? And it’s difficult to keep such things a secret. I want to tell everyone what I’m working on, but it was obviously a secret [laughs]. Creating a new game is all about timing. If you can combine a great story with compelling art and action to accompany that story, you know the time is right for a new game to be released. It was finally time when all of these elements came together.
Koei Tecmo: What is the plot of the new game?
Hisashi Koinuma: This time, Samurai warrior 5 will be a revision of the first title of Samurai Warriors, including elements from the beginning of the Sengoku period (1467) that began immediately after the thenin war ended and that we were initially unable to fully absorb. The Samurai warrior 5 The story tells the story of two of the most outstanding military commanders of the time – Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi. We thought exploring Nobunaga’s younger years when he was known as “Owari’s Big Fool” is fascinating in terms of both action and storytelling as we lead fans through a time of turmoil and upheaval that leads to the infamous Honnō-ji incident.
Koei Tecmo: What makes the Sengoku period interesting to transport players into this period?
Hisashi Koinuma: When we as developers talk about Samurai Warriors from the beginning, our high-level concept, our concept remains the same from 18 years ago until today: we want to deliver Japanese story with exciting characters portrayed in a cool, unique way. For me, the Sengoku period, with all of its history, is just the place for samurai warriors and the kind of exciting action fans of the series they crave.
Koei Tecmo: The game has a new style of Ink Art. Why the reinvented look?
Hisashi Koinuma: We really try to reimagine everything about what we deliver with the franchise and in order to do that it is important that from the first time you see the game, from the first pictures, the first Video know that you are seeing something unique, something that stands out. We wanted to bring a more Japanese style of art into play, we wanted to freshen up the look of every sword disk and every musou attack. This Japanese ink look helps capture the characters like you’ve never seen them in a Samurai Warriors game.
Koei Tecmo:: Tell us about the new character in the game, Mitsuki, who is a Kōga ninja.
Hisashi Koinuma: This is a young ninja woman with an interesting backstory. She grew up believing that Nobunaga Oda was her father and she adores him. How will your story play out in the end? All you have to do is play and see if your loyalty stands the test of time.
Koei Tecmo: Who is your favorite character that you play like in the series over the years? Why? Do you have a quote that you still follow today?
Hisashi Koinuma: The main idea behind our Musou games has always been this 1 against 1,000 exciting action. So it’s important that the 1 in 1 versus 1,000 is someone you really connect with, someone you really want to play as. One character that I always notice is Nō. I like the English version of the nō quote from Warrior Orochi 2: “There is not much that you cannot do when you give it up.” Good quote about video game life and evolution.
Koei Tecmo: You are not only the producer of the game, but also the president of the company. What is it like to juggle these two roles? Which role do you like better? Why?
Hisashi Koinuma: I’m a gamer, I’ve always been a gamer and I will always love video games. Inspiring games and working as a producer on titles like Samurai Warriors continues to inspire me, of course. When I can make business decisions, attract new partners, and grow our business, I and others like me can continue to create the games we love. I think it’s about finding the right balance.
Koei Tecmo: This is the first Samurai Warriors game to hit Xbox since then Samurai warrior 2. Why come back to Xbox after such a long hiatus?
Hisashi Koinuma: Our plan as a company is to have our titles published on multiple platforms. We originally wanted to release previous titles on Xbox, but we couldn’t for various reasons. The concept for this title is to start a remastered Samurai Warriors series. So we’d like to challenge ourselves to bring this title to Xbox platforms as well. We hope all Xbox fans have fun Samurai warrior 5.
Koei Tecmo: What can fans expect when they finally get their hands on them? Samurai warrior 5?
Hisashi Koinuma: A deep plot that has invaded Japanese history but has a funny twist. We strive to harness these authentic historical events for players with more guns and enemies to bring fans the kind of action and strategy that drew them to the Samurai Warriors franchise in the first place. I think this reinvented look at Samurai Warriors is exactly what fans have been waiting for. I can’t wait for them to play!