Back when Korean company Snowpipe announced their new “Sakura Wars M” mobile game, I was surprised to find that the copyright section no longer referenced the company that developed the past Sakura Wars games, Red Entertainment. Back in 2005, Red Entertainment had separated from their parent company SEGA by buying back a major portion of their SEGA-owned stock, a move that allowed them to regain their independent status. Nonetheless, they still retained part of the Sakura Wars IP, as any copyright mention related to Sakura Wars games noted “©SEGA ©RED”. Puzzled by seeing Red Entertainment not mentioned on the new Sakura Wars M game, I went and verified Red Entertainment’s website, but it was still listing their company as a Sakura Wars copyright owner. So I couldn’t be sure if Red Entertainment had indeed lost control over the Sakura Wars IP.
But one month later, things have changed. In a recent interview with Snowpipe, they reveal that the closure of the previous mobile game was largely due to licensing issues. It turns out that SEGA had indeed acquired control over the Sakura Wars IP, but for legal reasons this meant that Snowpipe couldn’t continue the service for the old mobile game. As a result they ended up shutting the service down and started working on the new mobile game. Learning this information, I went back to check Red Entertainment’s website and sure enough, they now changed the copyright notice on their page referencing their work on Sakura Wars, which now only mentions “©SEGA”.
While it’s not really a surprise to see that Red Entertainment is no longer involved with Sakura Wars, this appears to make it official. What this means for potential re-released of the old games is less clear, but it’s reasonable to assume that Sakura Wars 6 will be developed in-house by SEGA, much like Valkyria Chronicles 4. Meanwhile, Snowpipe has released their new Sakura Wars mobile game, an improved version of the old mobile game that avoids the licensing issues.