New Sengoku Musou details from Koei

Koei pres outlines upcoming PS2 medieval fighter in press conference; reveals characters, fighting system, environments.

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TOKYO-- Koei held a press conference today, revealing details to its upcoming PS2 action game, Sengoku Musou. The game, which takes place in medieval Japan, is being developed by Koei's Omega-Force project team (Destrega, Dynasty Warriors).

The game is slated for release next February in Japan. Koei then plans to release the game one month later in a number of overseas markets in order to capture sales revenues in time for the tally to be counted in the current fiscal year accounts. The company has stated it hopes to sell 1 million copies in both the local (Japan) and overseas markets.

The presentation of Sengoku Musou began with a word from Koei CEO and president Keiko Erikawa. She explained the background behind this 25th anniversary title. "When we asked fans of Shin Sangoku Musou what they wanted, they told us that they wanted a Musou based on the Sengoku [Japanese war] period" said Erikawa. She then showed a brief trailer of the game that introduced the games's characters. "We hope to release this title as a reply to the passionate requests by fans".

Unlike the Sangoku Musou series that has based its scenarios on events in China, the storyline in Sengoku Musou will be based on historical characters in Japan's 16th century. The scenarios will have split points of view and multiple endings for each of the game's characters. There are over 500 different missions which will constantly challenge the player during gameplay. Whether to follow the original mission or go on a different path is entirely up to the player.

The player's characters in Sengoku Musou range from historical warlords to ninjas; five of the characters were announced during the presentation. The following is a quick introduction to each of them with some short historical background information.

Sanada Yukimura (1567-1615). The leader of the Sanada clan, which declared independence from the Tokugawa forces and fought against them.

Akechi Mitsuhide (1528-1582). A general who served under Oda Nobunaga. Mitsuhide is famous for killing Nobunaga, attacking him unexpectedly at the Honnouji temple in 1582.

Maeda Keiji (1543-1612). Originally born under the Takigawa family, Maeda changed his name after being adopted by the Maeda clan. He is known for leading the Uesugi family towards victory during the battle of Sekigahara in 1600.

Hattori Hanzo (1542-1596). An Iga ninja who served under Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hanzo is known as the master of spears. His importance under the Tokugawa regime can be seen from his elaborate grave located in Tokyo, which was rare for ninjas at the time.

Kunoichi. An original character created by Koei. Kunoichi refers to a female ninja.

Sengoku Musou will also inherit the Shin Bushou character editing system where the players can create their own fighters.

Each of the characters in Sengoku Musou fights with different weapons. In the first demo shown at the presentation, Sanada was seen fighting in open fields with a long spear. An extra health meter appeared on the bottom of the screen when Sanada rode on a horse, indicating the amount of damage he can sustain from enemies before being knocked from the horse. The horse itself was also seen attacking enemies. During the ten minute demo, the time period on the game went from midday to sunset. While it was not demonstrated at the presentation, Sengoku Musou’s stages will also have different seasons (as well as distinct changes in the weather).

In a second demo, Hanzo was seen fighting with a chained sword inside a castle, swinging it around and slashing ninjas that suddenly leapt out from the ceiling. It was mentioned that the each of the player characters have different special abilities: in Hanzo's case, a double jump that comes in handy when leaping across booby traps set on the floor. Unlike the field, the castle stages in Sengoku Musou are randomly generated--the passages will not be mapped until the player goes through them. The enemies in the game are also Japanese style fighters, including foot soldiers, rifle soldiers, ninjas, and shoguns.

The development of Sengoku Musou has been underway for the past one and a half years, utilizing a budget of about 700 million yen. Erikawa mentioned that the company was considering upgrading all music in the game, which would add even more costs to the game's development.

The J-pop group BoA will be singing the ending theme to Sengoku Musou, and the game will be compliant to Dolby Pro Logic 2 specs. Each stage in the game will take about the same time to play as Sangoku Musou, said to be about 30 minutes to 1 hour. But getting through the full game would likely take at least 70 hours, considering the number of missions--and even more time will be needed to find all the collectables. Although details were not announced, the game will also include a new game mode.

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