Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening Interview – Producer Reflects on 40 Years of Nobunaga and its Future

With the western release of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening coming soon on July 20, 2023, our team recently had the opportunity to sit down with the producer, Michi Ryu, and discussed its new gameplay systems and his thoughts on the overall gameplay experience.

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Q: Given that this is the 40th anniversary of the Nobunaga’s Ambition series, were there any development meetings on how to bring all of that history into the release of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening? Also, are there any stories you can share about the overall development of this entry?

A: The goal of this series is to create a realistic experience of Warring States Japan, but other than that vision, we are not too conscious about the past that much. Although there may have been staff members who were. Even if we had created the same system as past games, ideas change as people change. As gaming platforms evolve, we can also show more, so I didn’t worry about it even if we made the same thing in the past. For this game, the concept is a living officer who thinks for himself and act accordingly, but I focused more on how we wanted to show things next, and not on doing something that has not been done before.

Q: Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening is releasing on PS4, Switch, and PC. Do you believe utilizing the power of newer hardware, such as the PS5, will affect future entries of the series?

A: Of course, we believe that the PS5 generation of development will allow for richer expressions and increased immersion. Unfortunately we are not able to release the PS5 version this time, but we would like to work on it for future series.

Pokemon Conquest

Q: Pokémon Conquest was released ten years ago and was a crossover between Pokémon and Nobunaga’s Ambition. However, we never saw another crossover like this. Are there plans to ever revive the series or maybe a crossover with another series?

A: If there are many requests, we could consider this, but there is nothing for us to say at this time.

Q: This series has plenty of deep strategy and sim systems. What new elements of gameplay do you believe stand out in Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening?

A: If I had to pick one, “Dominion” is very important when describing the concept of this title, a living officer who thinks for himself and acts. So it is fair to say “Dominion” is the root system of this title. However, all the other features are also important, such as Submission, Council Official, Direct Talks, Battles, Sieges, and so on. I think that a good strategy game should have all the features in the game work together, and we have done a great job in that way.

Q: Though the Dynasty Warriors series may be more prevalent in the West, Koei Tecmo is well-known for its historical strategy games, with Nobunaga’s Ambition and Romance of the Three Kingdoms being two pillars of Kou Shibusawa’s legacy. How do you research to ensure the titles accurately represent these historical events?

A: Various historical studies have been published, and there are always new discoveries and updated information, so I check various media such as research papers and books. Many of our staff like the Warring States Japan era, so we enjoy working on this project.

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Q: Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence requires 1500 hours of playtime to 100% it. How many hours do you feel one would take to completely obtain all achievements in Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening?

A: NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Sphere of Influence and NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Taishi takes a long time to complete. This time, we have made the game easier so that many people can easily enjoy it. If you play efficiently, I think you can complete the game in 50 hours.

Q: When it comes to civilization-type games, there are always unique approaches that players always go for. What is your go-to strategy whenever you sit down to play one of these games?

A: I play using many different clans, so it’s hard to say, but I use a lot of different systems. In particular, I enjoy the new “Council Official” feature in this title, which changes the way you play the game when you appoint a conservator. If a conservator makes strategic planning strong, you can focus on tactics, and if you hire a conservator who raises labor, you can first focus on internal affairs, so there are various ways to enjoy it.

Q: Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening launched in Japan in 2022. Since the release, players have provided some feedback, have there been updates since that launch, and do you take fan feedback into consideration when making updates?

A: Of course, the fans’ opinions are valuable and we take them into consideration. We also received a lot of valuable feedback from Japan and Asia. We introduced siege battles which we received a lot of requests for, improved usability, adjusted the balance, and many other details, big and small. The English version of the game will of course reflect all of this, so we hope everyone will be looking forward to it!

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Q: Though the West received its first iteration of Nobunaga’s Ambition in 1986, the series has since had a staggered release in the West. Are there plans to shorten the period of time between releases?

A: We apologize for the long wait for fans in Europe and North America due to the development schedule. In the future, we aim to release the game simultaneously around the world.

Q: Is there anything you like to share about Western fans awaiting the release of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening?

A: I think this title is still not well-known in the West, but it has been released in Japan for 40 years as a frontline title. We would like to bring the excellence of this game to more and more people, so we hope that those who are even slightly interested in Japanese history or who like strategy games will try this title.

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening is coming on July 20, 2023, for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.

In case you missed it, check out our preview.

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