13 years after the start of the Sakura Wars franchise, one of the games is finally set to see a North American release. The 5th game in the series, “Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love” is scheduled to come out in fall of this year from NIS America. Interestingly, the press release also says that the game wll be released for Nintendo Wii, as well as PlayStation 2. Currently in Japan, there is only a PS2 release.
Known as Sakura Taisen V ~Saraba Itoshiki Hito yo~ (サクラ大戦V 〜さらば愛しき人よ〜) in Japan, this takes place in an alternate universe’s late 1920’s New York City. Like the other four games in the series, the difference between this setting and the real world is the advanced development of steam-powered technology. The story focuses on the New York Fighting Troupe, a group of six girls/women, their captain and protagonist Shinjirou Taiga, and the troupe’s commander. The group was established after the successes of similar fighting teams in the first four games of the series. They battle using Star units, an upgraded version of the steam and spirit powered ground-based mecha from the earlier games that can now fly as well. In addition to their fighting duties, they operate and perform at the fictional Little Lip Theater in Manhattan.
Gameplay mostly follows the style of visual novels with lots of text and choices, but also includes SRPG-style battles. The characters’ effectiveness in battle is partially controlled by your choices in the visual novel parts. The game is partially voiced and features many animated cutscenes.
Although this game takes place after the first four Sakura Wars games, it can be enjoyed without playing the rest of the series.
The press release is available from NIS America (pdf).