With Dynasty Warriors 9 just around the corner, hype for the game is becoming tangible. This newest entry in the now twenty-year-old series is poised to make big changes to the traditional Dynasty Warriors formula, and big changes inspire plenty of excitement accompanied by plenty of questions. Hardcore Gamer was recently granted some hands-on time with the game and our preview should give eager fans a better idea of how the new game plays. For those looking for some behind the scenes info, we were also given the opportunity to talk with the game’s producer, Akihiro Suzuki. In our time with him, he told us a bit about game’s shift into an open-world format, its new “Hideaways” feature and what this all means for the series moving forward.
For those unaware, Suzuki-san has been involved in the Dynasty Warriors series since the beginning. He worked as a programmer on the original game, sat in the director’s chair while also wearing the lead programmer hat for Dynasty Warriors 2, continued directing through Dynasty Warriors 4 and served as a producer for Dynasty Warriors 4: Empire. He wasn’t involved in Dynasty Warriors 5 or 6, but it’s arguable that there are few individuals out there who know this series as well as he does. So if there’s anyone who can bring a big change to the Dynasty Warriors blueprint and make it work, it would have to be Akihiro Suzuki.
Knowing that, we wasted no time addressing the biggest change Dynasty Warriors 9 brings to the table: the shift from the traditional mission-based structure to that of an open world. We asked Suzuki-san what the prime motivation was for the change. He stated that they wanted to give a fresh take on the world of Dynasty Warriors. “[In particular] we wanted to give fans a new way to experience these stories,” referencing the different character’s stories. Following that, we asked how this shift affected the rest of the game and specifically how the combat needed to change in order to suit the open-world format. It turns out that it came down to putting greater emphasis on the player’s situation. “When we first took on this project, we wanted to take on new challenges and that included changing the battle system,” he said. “Originally the battle system was based around players timing their own attacks, but for Dynasty Warriors 9 we changed this to one that’s based [more] on the situations that players encounter.” When whether or not this is a permanent shift as the series moves forward, Suzuki-san stated that they haven’t decided yet.
With the most dramatic changes being introduced in Dynasty Warriors 9 out of the way, the conversation shifted focus onto the comparatively lesser, but still exciting, features of the game. There are over eighty playable characters this time around, which is…well it’s a lot. We asked Suzuki-san what sorts of developmental challenges they had to overcome in order to accomplish this and what prompted the inclusion of such a large number of characters. He said there were two main problems to solve in order to implement this. The first was finding a way to make each character feel unique, a tall order considering that players can freely equip characters with whatever weapon they desire. The second was in figuring out how to go about changing things like cut scenes depending on the character being used. As for why they included so many this time around, Suzuki-san said that there were a few reasons. “[…]It’s [because it’s] based on the Three Kingdoms story,” he said. “There are many interesting stories within that contained world. [In order] to acknowledge that past and listen to the fans’ voices, we chose to implement that into the game.” From the sound of that, it sounds like the Dynasty Warriors 9 team purposely wanted to include everyone’s favorites, so fans likely needn’t worry about their personal favorites being treated like afterthoughts.
The last major addition we discussed was the new “Hideaways” feature. When asked what their intended purpose was, Suzuki-san stated that it was about making crafting more convenient for players and giving them more chances to interact with their favorite characters. “The main purpose of Hideaways is actually to make crafting convenient for the players,” he said. “Because, generally you would need to go a town for crafting, but with hideaways you can bring crafting to your own location. Another reason is the characters themselves. In hideaways, characters will interact differently and show more of their personality.” With that cleared up, we finished up by asking Suzuki-san about what his favorite Dynasty Warriors game is, aside from Dynasty Warriors 9 of course, and who he chose as his favorite character. He replied that he likes Dynasty Warriors 7 the most and that his favorite officer is Cao Cao.
For a better idea of what playing Dynasty Warriors 9 is actually like, be sure to check out our hands-on preview.