Sega’s Sakura Wars series has been running for more than 20 years, but of the six main games in the series, only one has been officially released in North America, 2005’s Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. In April, the sixth main Sakura Wars game — a soft reboot of the series simply titled Sakura Wars — will become the second.
Sakura Wars will be released on April 28 for PlayStation 4, Sega confirmed on Thursday. The game combines action-role-playing elements with dating sim and visual novel gameplay. In an alternate-history, steampunk version of 1940s Imperial Tokyo, players take on the role of Seijuro Kamiyama, the captain of a squad of struggling theater performers who also happen to serve as Japan’s defense force. Those five performers pilot steam-powered mechs called Spiricle Striker and protect Tokyo from demons.
Sakura Wars is partly an adventure game, during which Kamiyama explores his city and talks to his team, in an effort to strengthen their relationships through dialogue choices. Each performer-pilot’s relationship with Kamiyama affects their performance in battle.
Sega tapped famous manga and character design talent to contribute designs for the new Sakura Wars, including Tite Kubo (Bleach), Yukiko Horiguchi (K-On!), BUNBUN (Sword Art Online), Fumikane Shimada (Strike Witches), Ken Sugimori (Pokémon), Noizi Ito (Haruhi Suzumiya), and Shigenori Soejima (Persona).
Sega announced its new Sakura Wars in March 2019. It was released in Japan (as New Sakura Wars) in December, but the once-popular franchise underperformed for Sega alongside Persona 5 Royal and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, according to a recent financial report.