We're only on the cusp of summer, but if you're anything like me, you're already over this heat. You can always go to a pool to cool off, but I've always thought that water gun battles were more fun. It seems like XSEED Games is thinking along those same lines, as it's bringing a new Senran Kagura game to the West this summer.
Entitled Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash, the game features a cast of 33 of the Senran Kagura girls as they team up in a 5-on-5 "third person splasher." Using a variety of water guns and abilities, you and your team must take your aim to squirt your competition with water, all the while staying dry yourself. Do enough damage to your enemies and they'll fall to the ground, at which point you can pull out a rubber duck and fire on them with precision aim. Target a specific area enough and their swimsuit might even fall off (this is a Senran Kagura game, after all).
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with series producer Kenichiro Takaki at E3 to discuss the Senran Kagura franchise, Peach Beach Splash, and more:
For our readers, would you mind introducing yourself?
"My name is [Kenichiro] Takaki. I'm a producer at Marvelous. I made various series from Senran Kagura to Valkyrie Drive. I've also done Half Minute Hero as well."
Talking about Senran Kagura, the franchise as a whole is known for its busty female characters and copious amounts of fanservice, which tends to be a sensitive subject for a lot of people. What led you to design a game around this idea?
"I always love games that have a lot of fanservice and there are a ton of games that are pervy, but I also wanted a game that's fun to play. That's why I wanted to create a game like Senran Kagura."
Have you faced any specific challenges over the years as a result of having this content in the Kagura franchise?
"Japan wasn't that much of an issue but as it progressed out of Japan, there are some that say 'This might be a little too much,' or 'You can't do that.' At first, we were wondering if we should keep going, but thanks to the Kagura fans overseas, I think they might have saved us."
Often games will have a specific aspect to them that makes them special and helps them stand out. For instance, Call of Duty is known for its multiplayer, Persona has really strong, relatable characters, etc. Do you think it's the fanservice of Senran Kagura that keeps fan coming back, or is there something else in there that really makes it unique?
"For every character, there's also fanservice, but we try to make every character charming. We make sure that we take care of that, that we don't break that. Also, we want to make a game that's not hard to play and that's as easy as possible to understand."
About your upcoming game, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash, it's a massive shift for the series in terms of genre. Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to do something different, and why did you choose to go with a shooter over something else?
"I always wanted to make a game that involved girls shooting each other with water guns. Since we shifted from the Vita to the PS4, I decided to do so. Also, the market is increasing; the overseas market for Senran Kagura has increased, the fans have increased... so I decided on a shooter because it's such a popular genre—the TPS [third-person shooter] genre—overseas."
When I first saw Peach Beach Splash, and when I was playing on the show floor, I personally got a major Splatoon vibe from it. Were there any particular games you had in mind when designing it?
"Splatoon is more about painting the ground and the walls, not each other, so I would say I was drawing from Star Wars Battlefront. I also enjoy playing Overwatch."
We talked a little earlier about the differing markets and how the sexual content of these games could turn people off. Were there any particular difficulties in localizing Peach Beach Splash?
"When it comes to localizing, we try to be careful about cleavage and other sexual content because it's getting more strict overseas. I'm only doing the translation and I'm not super into the marketing part, so I can't really say too much about it. I write the script and my editors will fix the content to fit the Western market as much as possible."
Switching gears here a little bit, a few months ago, you announced Shinobi Refle for the Nintendo Switch. What has it been like working with Nintendo again to create this project?
"Nintendo of Japan actually came to me and said that they wanted something like my title to be on there and also, I wanted to put something on Switch as well, so we both agreed to do it. I'm also curious about the HD Rumble feature, so I'm happily making it."
How are you taking advantage of the features of the Switch? You mentioned HD Rumble, and I know that was a large part of the presentation. Are there any other features that you're really trying to take full advantage of?
"I can't say too much as it's a secret, but I wanted to showcase the softness with the HD Rumble as well as some of the other things that can be done within the Senran Kagura series."
What ideas do you have for the future of the series that you haven't been able to incorporate into the games yet? What can we expect from you in the next few years?
"One concept is when you're running and sometimes your underwear gets creased, I'd like to showcase that in a game one day. [Outside of Senran Kagura,] I would like to make more titles that aren't all fanservice, that are more serious."
Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans?
"Even though it [Peach Beach Splash] is a different genre, I'd like everyone to play it. Even if you know Senran Kagura, but never played it, it's a third-person shooter, so at least give it a try. My team tried to make a game that's polished and fun to play, so if you can give it a try and get a hold of it, we'd be greatly grateful."
I also got a chance to play Peach Beach Splash on the show floor and I had a blast with it, silly as it is. It's fun and fast-paced with a touch of strategy and a ton of customization. I certainly can't wait to cool off with Peach Beach Splash when it launches for the PlayStation 4 later this summer.