KOEI’s Hisashi Koinuma has said that around 40 percent of players of the Sengoku-era action series Samurai Warriors are women.
Koinuma revealed the figure during an Iwata Asks session, and the Nintendo boss’s exclamation suggests the figure is an unusually high proportion for a Japanese action game.
Koinuma offered three possible or contributing explanations, the first being the comparative accessibility of the hack-and-slashers on lower difficulty settings.
“The games in the Samurai Warriors series can be played by pure button-mashing,” he said. “We check to make sure you can beat them just by punching a single button.
“Even people who don’t play action games at all can enjoy playing them as long as they keep pressing buttons, so I hope even people who aren’t very good at action games won’t hesitate to play it. In part for that reason, just under 40% of Samurai Warriors players are female.”
Before we storm the KOEI offices with pitchforks and torches, let’s charitably assume Koinuma fails to credit women with elite gaming skills due to male dominance of the action genre in Japan.
The director also cited the potential for emotional engagement inherent in the series larger-than-life characters and historical treatment.
“When we portray the warlords, we don’t distinguish between one who is on the side of justice and one who is villainous. Rather, we make it so they’re all heroes. We portray positively even someone who has been portrayed negatively in history. Whichever character you choose, you can finish the game with a good feeling,” he said.
“I think players sympathize with that, so women also pick it up.”
Finally, there’s the fact that a good majority of the cast take direction straight from the bishonen or “beautiful man” design school of design.
“They send in all kinds of chocolates on Valentine’s Day,” Koinuma said, referring to a common practice among Japanese fans.
The latest game in the series, Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, is a launch title for the 3DS.