In Japan, games like Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors are considered major system sellers. In fact, when Samurai Warriors 3 was announced for Wii, it was a big enough deal to command the appearance of Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto. In the West, however, these games occupy a significantly lower tier.
“I think it’s still difficult to make titles that take place in Asian history a huge hit in the West,” suggests SW3 producer Hisashi Koinuma. “Most Japanese can recognize Nobunaga Oda as a historical icon, as he is an actual person, but not as many Westerners know about him. One thing East and West has in common is the fun of action gaming. I would like people overseas to see Samurai Warriors 3 not as ‘a game taking place in Asian history’ but ‘an exciting action game.’
“An additional benefit, however, is when you have played through the game, you will surely know lots about Japanese history!”
To be honest, the games’ setting isn’t the biggest complaint I hear about the series, but then, since I’m a lover of the franchise anyway, I can’t say I get the pure hatred that it seems to inspire in some gamers. I don’t see much difference between the Warriors series and “classic” beat ’em ups like Golden Axe, and yet some people consider that opinion blasphemy. Maybe it really is all about the game’s setting.