Map-clicking simulation Sengoku is out on September 13th and if you’ve been following its development, you already know why this is exciting. If you haven’t, allow me to summarise in a crude and reductive fashion. Sengoku is Shogun meets Crusader Kings, it’s Europa Universalis in Japan. Helpful to an extent, if you’ve played those games, but what’s more important than those comparisons is Paradox’s desire to emulate what is unique about the clans and culture of the period and place. That’s why it’s unfair to suggest Sengoku will be Crusader Kings with nothing more than a different hat and moustache. Behold the thrilling world of Feudal Japan in the video below.
I’m not being sarcastic. I find that genuinely exciting. There might not be any slowmotion deathcam shenanigans or overexcited yelling but there is a wonderful, player-controlled narrative being spun. That’s how grand strategy games impress me the most; by offering a world, real or imagined, and allowing it to develop and deviate, with my chosen nation or clan nothing more than a single actor on the stage.
It’s mostly new to me as well. The era that is. I’ve played games with samurai in, of course, and seen plenty of movies. But before I play Sengoku, I want to read books to patch up my knowledge. I genuinely think an understanding of the history makes things more interesting because this kind of storytelling only improves when the player can bring both imagination and knowledge to the table.