While you may not know him by name, Hisashi Koinuma is the Koei developer in charge of the company’s Warriors (or Musou, if you prefer) series of games. One of Koinuma’s recent projects is Samurai Warriors: Chronicles on the Nintendo 3DS, thanks to which he got to chat with Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, to talk up the title.
During the conversation, Koinuma revealed an interesting statistic: just under 40% of Samurai Warriors players are female. Koinuma believes that this is because, when Warriors games are created, the development teams don’t make a distinction between good and evil.
The Samurai Warriors characters are based on real historical Japanese figures, but Koinuma feels that history is often written only by “winners.” For this reason, he prefers to empathize with warlords that were depicted as both good and evil in Japanese history, and portray them both positively, taking into account their motivations.
The other reason women are drawn to the Warriors series, he says, is that the games can be played entirely by mashing on a single button, so the series is accessible even to those that don’t play action games.
Amusingly, Koinuma also reveals that every year, Koei receive Valentine’s Day chocolates from female players, addressed to the various feudal warlords featured (all based on real figures in Japanese history) in the Samurai Warriors games. He says the developers gladly eat the chocolates themselves, since the warlords can’t.
The 40% female players statistic is interesting, and is by no means a stretch. Capcom have made very similar comments about their own Sengoku Basara series, which is similar in nature to the Samurai Warriors games. You can read up on possible theories on why Japanese women seem to like these games in this post.