Recently pulling itself out of a several-year decline with the emergence of Dynasty Warriors 7, we crank out the crystal balls in an attempt to predict the future of a popular Japanese franchise which has also been a guilty pleasure for many western gamers over the past decade.
For fans of the series, Dynasty Warriors 7 has been somewhat of a turning point. Omega Force pulled a U-turn, ditching the new gameplay formula established in Dynasty Warriors 6 for something more traditional and refined. Sure, it still feels very similar to Dynasty Warriors 2 which launched more than a decade ago, but saying that the series has made little progress is quite frankly ignorant. The main reason so many were drawn to the original DW games was the mindless yet empowering hack and slash gameplay which has been fully restored in this latest iteration.[drop]Omega tried to innovate on the foundations of the series in Dynasty Warriors 6, they were immediately met with a barrage of fan criticism which divided its fanbase. Since, it appears that the developer have taken a step back, preserving yet updating the aged formula, refining every other aspect too. For someone who has played every mainstream title in the franchise, someone who has revelled in the peaks and wallowed in the lows, to me as a fan, I feel that Omega are committed to their audience as opposed to being self-satisfied and unambitious.
The game’s reception, among critics and consumers, has been sporadic to say the least. Dynasty Warriors 7 currently stands at a 57 Metacritic average, though the scores stretch between Metro’s 3/10 and 8/10, awarded not only by TheSixthAxis, but Destructoid too. The game also managed to climb into the top 10 UK sales charts; quite baffling really, beings most outlets brand the series as a strictly Japanese affair. So, that was Dynasty Warriors 7, but what’s next for the series?
We expect sometime this year, either at TGS or maybe even E3 2011, that Tecmo KOEI will announce a substantial expansion for Dynasty Warriors 7. Since DW3 through until DW5, Omega have followed up each game with an “Xtreme Legends” add-on. These would typically contain a number of brand-new quests and modes to enhance the experience, and though the first couple were admittedly thin on the ground, Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends proved a worthwhile addition. With DW7’s gameplay being more cinematic and streamlined, coupled with today’s methods of digital distribution, Xtreme Legends could make a terrific comeback.
Gamers may also remember Dynasty Warrior’s other expansion series, Empires. Debuting soon after Dynasty Warriors 4, the add-on allowed players to construct their own kingdoms, either attacking or allying with other factions in the pursuit for ultimate victory. Again, if Omega were to chuck in a few added incentives such as weapons and characters, Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires could keep players coming back well after the original game’s release.
Though Dynasty Warriors has witnessed a rebirth, its sister series, Samurai Warriors, is hopefully about to go into hibernation. Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, though not a bad game, felt almost obsolete in the wake of Dynasty Warriors 7, driving the final nail in the aging formula’s coffin. We predict, like Dynasty Warriors, the series will take moderate vacation, returning with not just a polished aesthetic, but also the cinematic vibe and fluid gameplay which made Dynasty Warriors 7 a hands-down winner.
Lastly we have Warriors: Legends of Troy. Though we thought the game was good fun, it failed to make headlines, especially in America. KOEI established its Canadian studio in hopes that they could produce a Warriors title which would draw in western audiences. However, for reasons unknown, the American Xbox 360 version of the game was canned and not even a month after release, Legends of Troy is already lining bargain bins across the country.
Despite there being a blatant nod to a sequel, due to its reception among consumers, things are looking bleak for W:LOT2. We predict that KOEI Canada will dodge the gallows, TK giving them a second shot at making the Warriors series more appealing to English-speaking gamers.