With the release of this week's Senran Kagura: Peach Ball, Marvelous' stalwart franchise has crossed over into the world of pinball. This is far from the first time the brawler has switched genres, though. From rhythmic cooking to cutthroat water gun fights, the upstanding young women of Hanzo National Academy are truly Jills of All Trades.
However, with this most recent release, it's easy to wonder - where will the series go next? At first blush, it might seem like the games are exhausting their possibilities when it comes to genre. But have no fear! We're here with some salient ideas of how Senran Kagura can tap into the hottest industry trends to bring its unique brand of titillating action to an even broader audience! Let's strip down and get right into it.
MOBAs. Everybody loves them, everybody craves them, and everybody can agree that there definitely aren't enough of them.
That same sentiment can be applied to Senran Kagura, a series that's almost universally beloved, and completely bereft of criticism in the gaming community at large.
Naturally, combining the two would only go well. Imagine selecting your hero from the lineup of approximately 10,000 girls in the Senran Kagura series, then picking a lane and farming faceless delinquents alone while your team yells at you to actually contribute to the game. Imagine a base that isn't a towering ancient, but a giant anime girl whose clothes fly off the more damage you do to her. Imagine how many hats you could buy, except instead of giving your hero more clothing, it just disrobes them even more. It sells itself!
Marvelous would be crazy to not capitalize on the genre that birthed gargantuan hits such as Paragon, Gigantic, and Infinite Crisis.
Tactical First-Person Shooters
If there's one thing that could make hearing slurs barked into your ear a little easier to swallow, it's cute anime girls. Picture, then, a challenger to CS:GO and Siege's throne. A bouncier, brighter, and more inviting challenger - but with all the brown and bloom you've come to know and love.
Players take control of their anime teen of choice, then get dropped into 5v5 matches on a variety of claustrophobic maps. While trying to defuse bombs, rescue hostages, and secure tactical areas, the girls will hunt each other down with military-grade weaponry. Upon taking a few slugs from a Type-89 or a face full of SuperNova buckshot, your girl loses an article of clothing and becomes instantly immobilized for the rest of the round. Too many losses, and bam - your skintight clothing is gone, and you've lost the match.
Oh, and the hostage dies or the bomb detonates, too. Also bad!
The sophisticated young women of Senran Kagura already have experiences with guns, too, having cut their teeth on the high-stakes water gun matches of Peach Beach Splash. Really, replace the water and bikinis with metal and tactical vests, and it's basically the same thing.
Ryona ambles alone down a dark alley. The shadows around her begin to shift and swirl, and from behind her emerges a cacophony of otherworldly cracking, oozing, and groaning. She turns on a dime, with only a kitchen utensil to defend herself, to be greeted with what can only be described as a sentient orifice with writhing limbs haphazardly connected to its bleeding torso. It twitches and seizes like nothing in nature.
Before Ryona can scream, the creature rushes her.
But what she doesn't know is that this monster is one of her own creation. Her latent masochism has given way to these dark delusions - twisted abominations that are physical manifestations of her own innate desire to be punished by somebody, anybody.
Where do these tendencies come from?
Why is she trapped by them?
Can she escape this nightmare of her own creation, or will she succumb to her own repressed trauma? You'll have to help her survive this horror to find out.
Oh, and her clothes come off when she takes more damage. Gotta keep the fans happy!
While Code Vein might seem to have the market cornered when it comes to anime-tinged Dark Souls knockoffs, that's just not the case. People are going to keep making these things despite not really understanding why Dark Souls works so well. People are also going to keep putting cherubic anime girls in games because it prints money.
So why not just cut out the middleman and combine the two?
In this game, players will only be able to select one class - "Unclothed." This will basically be the Deprived class from Dark Souls, just with more sex appeal - if such a thing is even possible! Throughout the game, players will scavenge for new clothing as a member of Hanzo Academy, in a brutal quest to put on something both comfy and not in violation of every dress code known to man. But standing in the way are the girls of the Hebijo Clandestine Girls' Academy, ready to end your whole career with one swing of a sword. And be warned - your hard-earned clothing is completely breakable. Once it busts, you'll have to talk to some weirdo with a hammer if you want to stitch it back together again. Or buy a sewing kit!
With a franchise already intrinsically connected to girls murdering swarms of their peers, the leap between "cutting high schoolers down in the streets" and "dying ten times to get one hit in on something" is a pretty small one. Bonus points if From Software comes on board and imbues the game with the immersive, organic physics their games are known for!
These are just a few places Senran Kagura could go in the future, and if Marvelous wants to keep pumping out hits, they'd do well to take our advice to heart the next time they're strapped for ideas.
Or they could just make a fighting game already. That'd be cool, too.