We’re in a very unique situation! A Musou based on a niche game actually made it outside Japan. Koei Tecmo took a shot and localized Touken Ranbu Warriors. Now it is out worldwide on the Nintendo Switch and PC. To learn more about Touken Ranbu Warriors and its characters, SIliconera spoke with Ruby Party Producer Mei Erikawa and Omega Force Producer Tomohiko Sho about their experiences working on the game.
Jenni Lada, Siliconera: How did Touken Ranbu Warriors come to be? Also, how did the COVID-19 pandemic affect its
Tomohiko Sho, Omega Force: Well, it began with Ruby Party approaching Nitroplus and DMM GAMES about releasing a home console adventure game for Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-. As discussions continued, Nitroplus made the suggestion that “if it’s a console game, then what about a collaboration with the Warriors series?” And it just happened that around that time one of the game magazines in Japan held a reader survey asking what work they’d like to see collaborate with the Warriors series and Touken Ranbu -ONLINE- was the top pick, so that also encouraged the collaboration.
In terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was an issue faced not only for this title but for the entire company, so the shift to a hybrid workstyle had a big effect on development. But we figured out ways of working on development during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result we were able to overcome it without any incidents and were able to release the game.
Touken Ranbu isn’t well known outside of Japan. How did you handle that when preparing Touken Ranbu Warriors’ worldwide release?
Mei Erikawa, Ruby Party: We have put a lot of energy into making sure that that the allure of Touken Ranbu Warriors would be conveyed through its beautiful illustrations and impactful videos, and also made sure to showcase the gorgeous yet dynamic actions and the varied and rich story so that many new players can learn about the Touken Ranbu IP and this game and become interested in it.
Touken Ranbu Warriors has an entirely original story. How did it come together during development?
Sho: It started with the natural decision of setting it in the Sengoku era of Japan, which Koei Tecmo is an expert in, and we came up with a number of different plots and considered the content.
Usually when there is a collaboration with the Warriors series, a lot of the time the scenarios follow and are based on the original IP, but as we debated the many ideas numerous times, the idea of creating an original of a certain honmaru that was in a particular situation where it didn’t have a Saniwa (master).
With Nitroplus, beginning with the backbone of the story of the situation this honmaru is faced with, we worked out the setting with them, ranging from why a particular Touken Danshi appears to very specific settings during the course of working on the game. Not everything is explained in the game, so I hope players will imagine the possibilities surrounding these aspects as they enjoy the game.
Touken Ranbu is essentially the “sword boys” game, so how did the team work on its roster to ensure there would be a diverse selection of characters and weapons represented?
Mei Erikawa: To begin with, we started with a list of the Touken Danshi that have a connection with the Sengoku era, as that is when the game is set, and then as we worked on the story and plot, characters that were a good match for it appeared. Also, we also thought about having a good balance of sword types appear, so we contemplated this many times before coming with the final roster.
Given how many characters appear in Touken Ranbu proper, what led to the team only including 15 playable ones here?
Erikawa: At first we thought about having many more characters appear in the game. But with a greater number of characters, it would become more difficult to build out each of their individual actions and stories. In some Warriors games, there are instances where several characters may have similar motions, but for Touken Ranbu Warriors we thought it is important to carefully create each character so we limited the number of characters appearing in the game. For the story as well, in order to show the appeal of each Touken Danshi on a deeper level, I think this is the best number of characters.
There is no multiplayer in Touken Ranbu Warriors. What led to this decision? Was there ever a point at which multiplayer was considered?
Sho: We thought that there would be many people playing an action game for the first time, so in order to not make it complex, we made the decision to focus on it being a really enjoyable single player game. Also, the original game Touken Ranbu -ONLINE- is also a single player game, so I think for the fans of the original game this would be a very familiar style of game to them.