Dynasty Warriors is one of those franchises that has an incredibly loyal Western fanbase, but will likely never replicate the success it enjoys in its native Japan overseas. As such, it's not often that we hear from the people behind the long running hack-and-slash series, but we've been fortunate enough to track down the property's producer, Akihiro Suzuki. The result is an interview about the games, their future, crossovers, fans, and cultural differences.
Push Square: Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires is the next Warriors release here in the UK. How would you describe the Empires series to someone who may have only played the main Dynasty Warriors games?
Akihiro Suzuki: DW8: Empires is more strategically led, and gives the players more freedom in-game, with aspects like the selective, varying storyline, to name just one of the key features. Also, the Edit Mode is more detailed compared to other previous DW titles, which adds to the depth that the players can go into for this instalment.
Dynasty Warriors now has such a long history. What do you see in the series' future? How do you think that it will change and continue to grow?
The importance in maintaining a long running franchise will be to make sure that when adding new instalments, or expanding into a new area of business, we need to keep the market both lively and excited. For the gaming side of DW, we do plan to bring some changes and a fresh feel in terms of gameplay in the future, although the basis will remain unchanged as far as the concept of one against one thousand goes. No details at this point, but hopefully something can be shared soon.
Personally speaking, what has it been like to work on the Dynasty Warriors franchise for so long? How have your goals changed over time?
DW is special for me since I have been on the project since the early start up stage, working my way up in becoming a producer. My desire and will for the franchise remains as active as ever, and as mentioned earlier on, the current plan will be to bring a fresh feel to the franchise, so we will see more success for the brand in the long run, as well.
Omega Force has applied the Dynasty Warriors template to many different franchises, such as Gundam and One Piece. Why do you think that the crossovers work so well?
Obviously, being able to expand and broaden our audience by having those franchises and characters appear on top of our engine has been a great boost for the Omega Force brand, and it's become more well known within the market. Also, being able to work with different intellectual properties works well for the game system of DW, and has been the winning formula for us, making it a win-win relationship for all parties involved.
If possible, can you tell us what crossovers you'd like to work on? Are you a fan of anything that you'd perhaps enjoy turning into a Warriors title?
Obviously we can't give out any information at this point, but what we can say is that we are always actively looking out for potential partners for future collaborations, so please look forward for any future announcements which will be made when such a time comes.
Do you think that the crossover titles are an important part of introducing more people to Warriors-style games?
Definitely a yes. Taking Hyrule Warriors, for example, from last year, it definitely did a great job in introducing our Warriors style gaming to a market which we would have never been able to reach if going out alone.
Warriors games are very popular in Japan, but they also have very loyal fans here in the West. Do you think that it's important to maintain a Western fanbase?
Again, a definite yes. Our audience will always be the worldwide market, and we hope to increase our presence in all regions in the long run as well. When talking as a producer for Omega Force, Bladestorm will be a great example for us as a title which was created with the Western audience in mind, due to the strategically led gameplay and the familiar [European] historical background that we selected.
A lot of Warriors games are released in relatively short amounts of time. Is it difficult at all to stay motivated when working on similar games? Do you ever take inspiration from other games?
No to both questions, since I've always been motivated for the franchise since working from the start up stage, and I feel that DW as a franchise has reached a stage where it's used as a source of inspiration for other games, since it has been going on for such a long period.
Warriors games are generally very well received in Japan, but the Western media tends to be a little more critical of them. Why do you think that the games are often viewed so differently?
The cultural background plays a role here, where the Asian players tend to love their characters and the plot, as well as the gameplay, since they are more familiar with the historical side of the DW games. For the Western audience, the historical side is more new to them, so they tend to hold game control, or the game mechanics in higher regard, leading to them not seeing the plot and characters as being as important, when compared to the Asian side.
Are you a Warriors fan? Are there any future crossovers that you'd love to see? Join our ranks and storm the comments section below.
[ Special thanks to Marilena Papacosta ]