The long-awaited rebirth of the beloved Sakura Wars franchise keeps adding notches to its proverbial belt. Sega's upcoming ARPG has already snagged industry luminaries like Tite Kubo (Bleach,) Humikane Shimada (Girls Und Panzer,) and Ken Sugimori (Pokemon) to do design work for the game. Now, they've added another big name to that list - Noizi Ito.
While you might not know her by name, there's no doubt that you're familiar with Ito's iconic art style. Her design work is most immediately recognizable from the smash-hit Haruhi Suzumiya novels, a mid-aughts anime juggernaut that spawned a multimedia empire. She's also known for illustrating the Shakagan no Shana series, as well as designing characters for the 2012 horror anime, Another.
Her contributions to Project Sakura Wars have been revealed in a fresh batch of screenshots, courtesy of Twinfinite. The screens show off cutscenes, gameplay, and all sorts of other odds and ends from the upcoming game. There's also a new trailer out.
Project Sakura Wars represents a rebirth of sorts for the dormant franchise. Once a staple of the Japanese gaming scene, the series faded into relative obscurity after the release of 2005's Sakura Wars V: Farewell, My Lovely. The game reviewed well, but didn't land with audiences, unable to sell what the franchise did in its Saturn and Dreamcast heyday. This entry was localized half a decade later, under the title So Long, My Love, and flopped pretty miserably in North America.
After years of fan campaigns to bring the previous titles westward, chief among them Kiss Me Sweet: The Sakura Wars Localization Project, Sega finally threw America a bone with a Western release already confirmed for this new game. Whether or not it'll do well is a different story entirely, but hopefully, the game's newfound focus on action over turn-based strategy will help it land with a broader audience. And with famed designers like Ito signing on, there's a good chance that the Western anime fanbase will latch onto it almost immediately.