SENRAN KAGURA can be its own worst enemy. Considering the effort put into its breast physics, the Tamsoft developed series immediately draws a line between those who are put off by the title, and those who are willing to give it a chance. Neither camp is wrong in their feelings, but I want to do my part to better explain why these games are so enjoyable. SENRAN KAGURA Burst for the 3DS won me over last year, proving that the series is more than fan service, and with SHINOVI VERSUS‘ release for the Vita, I’m expecting yet another terrific brawler.
I took the opportunity to speak with XSEED Games’ Ken Berry and Brittany Avery about the process of bringing SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI VERSUS to North American Vita owners, and what makes the game so much fun.
What makes the SENRAN KAGURA series a perfect fit for XSEED Games?
Ken Berry, Executive VP, XSEED Games (KB): I wouldn’t quite call it a “perfect fit” since we were very hesitant to touch the series at first, for obvious reasons, but now that we’re part of the worldwide Marvelous umbrella of companies rather than just licensing titles from an unrelated Japanese IP holder, we have to make an extra effort to bring over as many Marvelous titles as possible.
After seeing the continuing success of the series in Japan, our intention was to release the original SENRAN KAGURA as an eShop-exclusive title and then publish the enhanced Burst physically on 3DS if that succeeded, but the producer Takaki-san was adamant that since Burst was the superior product, that should be the first one released in North America. Some people that were wanting a physical release of Burst may be bummed to hear this, but you have to respect a producer that is so adamant about quality that he wants to make sure people’s first impressions of his product are the best possible. Burst ended up being a success on eShop and we didn’t get as much backlash from mainstream media as we had feared, so we decided to go all in with a physical release of SHINOVI VERSUS.
What appears to be the biggest change from Burst to SHINOVI VERSUS is the step away from side-scrolling brawler into a more arena based one. What does this new approach do to improve upon the 3DS game?
Brittany Avery, Production Coordinator (BA): I feel it helped immerse me into the environment more. I enjoyed the side-scrolling aspect of Burst, but the way it’s set up makes you approach battles from a fixed distance. In SHINOVI VERSUS, you’re the center of the action and can move freely, so there’s a stronger sense of control and varied movement. It adds a whole new level of strategy to battle, too; with twenty playable characters in an environment like this, you now have to take the direction and range of your and your enemies’ attacks into account more often.