The scheduled Konami event at next week's Tokyo Game Show has become a kind of video game Rorschach test. Everyone looking at it sees something different: surely it's going to be about Metal Gear remasters, or Silent Hill remakes, or maybe they'll just dedicate the entire thing to announcing they're finally porting Symphony Of The Night to PC (it won't be this, but it should be)?
But a slowly growing collection of circumstantial evidence has one neglected community excited that they might finally get a new entry in a series that's been silent for a decade. Suikoden hasn't seen a new game since Suikoden: Woven Web Of The Centuries released on PSP in 2012, but fans are daring to dream that the "world-loved series" that will get a new game at TGS might actually be the fondly remembered JRPG cult classic.
The reasons are several. First, the Konami show is set to be hosted by Yuki Kaji, a prolific voice actor who Konami "invited as a guest to represent the fans of a series which is loved all over the world". Kaji has only starred in three Konami titles, two of which were Suikoden games (and the third of which is not "well-loved around the world"). Second, VGC reports that its sources say the announcement will be about a "smaller project" than the revivals of games like Metal Gear and Silent Hill.
The phenomenal success of Eiyuden Chronicle's Kickstarter campaign, a spiritual successor to Suikoden made by original team members, might also have prompted Konami to remember it still holds the game's licence. Eiyuden Chronicle eventually pulled in $4.5 million in funding, nine times its original $500,000 goal. It's expected to release some time next year.
None of it is a smoking gun. Just because rumours say the announcement won't be about Metal Gear doesn't mean that it will be about Suikoden. The Eiyuden Kickstarter was successful in large part because of the presence of original team members like Yoshitaka Murayama and Junko Kawano. Yuki Kaji is there to "represent fans," which could mean he has nothing to do with the game being announced. Recent reports that the series has had its trademark renewed don't really tell us much either, and only pertain to very specific merchandising in Mexico.
But it's the brightest spark of hope the Suikoden community has had for some time, and the subreddits are already abuzz with arguments about what this could mean. I hope they're right to be excited, both because I've wanted to play Suikoden for years and because the potential for heartbreak at this point is too much to bear. Remakes and remasters of Konami's most famous franchises seem like a matter of time, but more niche classics like Suikoden feel like they run a risk of being left in the dustbin of history if they don't get some love. Let's just hope a finger on the monkey's paw doesn't curl and deliver us a microtransaction-filled and enormously lucrative new Suikoden game for iOS and Android next week.
We'll find out soon enough. Tokyo Game Show will run from September 15 to 18, and Konami's announcement is expected on the 16th.
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One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.