PROJECT Sakura Wars, known as Shin Sakura Taisen in Japan, is the upcoming revival project for the Sakura Wars franchise which is a series of hybrid games published by Sega that blends adventure segments where the player can build a relationship with one of several heroines and mech combat, with this entry replacing the franchise's signature strategy RPG gameplay with action combat. The title is meant to reboot the Sakura Wars series after the franchise had been dormant for many years and is planned to be released in Japan for the PlayStation 4 on December 12, 2019, with a Spring 2020 release for Western markets. This will mark the very first time that Sega themselves have ever localized a Sakura Wars title.
PROJECT Sakura Wars once again sets the series in Tokyo, Japan during the 29th year of the franchise's fictional Taisho Era (equivalent to 1940 in our real-world calendar) which is 12 years after the events of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. During that time a great conflict took place known as the “Great Kouma War” where the Combat Revues from the previous games (Tokyo, Paris and New York) saved the world from a great threat but were wiped out in the process. Because of the war, the “World Combat Revue Federation" was created which established new Combat Revues around the world to protect the people from future threats. At the same time an Olympic-style competition also began called the “Combat Revue Competition” where the Combat Revues from around the world compete every two years in tournaments to sharpen their skills and honor the sacrifices made by the heroes and heroines in the Kouma War. This year the tournament is being held in Tokyo and Seijuurou Kamiyama, a former special service navy captain, has recently been given the responsibility of leading the city's new Combat Revue. They hope to win the competition, despite their inexperience as a team, and recapture the glory the division once had when Ichiro Ogami and Sakura Shinguji lead the group before the war. However, the kouma suddenly reappear during the Combat Revue Competition and the team must now face a new enemy that threatens the world once again.
The start of Project Sakura Wars' development was motivated by the fact that the franchise won a fan poll in 2016 that gauged which Sega franchises fans wanted to see revived, the results of which were revealed during a stream at the company's Sega FES event. Sakura Wars won the poll by a large margin, receiving almost a thousand more votes than the second place winner, which helped jump start the development of a new game.
Spearheaded by Sega's CEO Haruki Satomi, the new project would be a "completely new work inheriting the DNA of Sakura Wars" that was formerly announced to the public at Sega FES 2018 as "Shin Sakura Taisen" (Project Sakura Wars in the West) and received its first trailer the following year at Sega FES 2019. The game is being created internally at Sega and will not be co-developed by Red Entertainment, a first for the franchise. The development team consists of many people who are new to the franchise including Bleach's Tite Kubo, who will be designing the main characters, and Jiro Ishii, who will be penning the game's story. However there are also many returning developers from the franchise's past including Takaharu Terada, who was in charge of planning for the combat sections in earlier entries, mech designer Mika Akitaka and composer Kohei Tanaka. The title's development director, Tetsuya Ohtsubo, had also previously worked as a planner on Sakura Taisen 3. In terms of technology, while Project Sakura Wars takes a lot of inspiration from the Yakuza series for its world exploration and dialogue systems the game actually runs on a modified version of Sega's Hedgehog Engine.
Similar to past entries in the Sakura Wars franchise, several adaptations of Shin Sakura Taisen are also in development alongside the game itself. Released in September 2019, a manga adaptation began serializing in Weekly Young Jump which tells the story through the perspective of the main heroine, Sakura Amamiya, and is being drawn by Noguchi Koyuri and penned by the game's scenario writer Jiro Ishii. A CG animated television series is also planned to air in 2020 and will be produced by Sanzigen, the same studio that created the animated cut-scenes for the game. Furthermore, a series of live theater performances, called "Shin Sakura Taisen the Stage", are also in the works with Yuuna Sekine announced to play the part of Amamiya.