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Suikoden, The Tokyo Game Show, and the current state of Konami

August 18, 2015

An interesting find today. Matze, who is a colleague of mine on Facebook wrote a great article about Suikoden, the upcoming Tokyo Game Show, and the current state of Konami. The matter has been hanging over our heads for a while now as to what the future will be like for what has to be one of the greatest RPG games ever created. Suikoden has it all. Love, hate, passion, friendship, and betrayal.

All necessary elements for a great storyline of course. For those who have yet to embark on such a fantastic series, believe me when I say you can do a lot worse than to dive into the first two titles. You can get them on PSN right now for a fair price.  Now let's get straight to the article that has shed some light on a few issues.


August has always been one of my favorite months. The weather is really nice, I used to have summer holidays at this time (well, this is certainly over!) and, most importantly, Tokyo Game Show (TGS) is coming in a month. After E3 in July and gamescom in August, TGS is the highlight of the year for every lover of Japanese games. New trailers, new announcements of new games and a lot of surprises – TGS can be a hell of a week. Especially for us Suikoden fans who run a bit dry.

The last game that’s been released was in 2012 and only in Japan, the last game to see an oversea release was Suikoden Tierkreis in 2009. We desperately need a new Suikoden game. So let’s take a short look on our perspective and what we can expect of TGS and Konami for the rest of the year.

Let’s do the math!

Why could we even expect a Suikoden announcement this TGS? Let’s take a look at the announcement dates of the last five Suikoden titles:

Suikoden IV - September 2003 pre-TGS

Suikoden Tactics – August 2005

Suikoden V - September 2005 pre-TGS

Suikoden Tierkreis – August 2008

Suikoden Tsumugareshi… - September 2011 at TGS

As you can see, Suikoden titles are exclusively revealed shortly prior to (or with the latest title, even at) TGS. Also, if you look at the time between each announcement, you can see that it’s usually 2-3 years until a new game is announced. We are currently in our fourth year without a Suikoden announcement, which means we are a little “overdue”.

Announcing something Suikoden related this year would also be the perfect opportunity for Konami to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first game (which was released in December 1995 in Japan).

But of course, this is all statistics. In reality, Konami hasn’t announced anything related to the series’ anniversary this year. And even though Suikoden III was released on Japanese PSN this year (followed by a worldwide release), no news on the sequels coming to PSN as well have been heard so far.

Additionally, Konami has reportedly announced a shift towards mobile gaming and their casino business, possibly retracting from the traditional console gaming business altogether after the release of MGS V this year (with the exception of Pro Evolution Soccer which Konami will continue at least until next year as they got the license

for the UEFA European Championship). And even if they announced a new Suikoden – we cannot be sure that it will be Suikoden VI and not Suikoden Tierkreis 2 or Suikoden Strangejapanesenamethatnowesternfancanunderstand.

But how could they even develop a new Suikoden? The team’s disbanded!

So let’s now assume a new Suikoden will be announced. Who could work on it? The Suikoden team has been disbanded!

This is one of the most notorious rumours/news we hear probably every day. It’s not true. Or, yes, it is true in a sense, but most people assume that there was indeed a Suikoden team which worked solely on the Suikoden franchise. And this is not true. The news come from Shingo Mukaitoge who gave an interview to Japanese gaming portal 4gamer in 2011, saying that there hasn’t been a Suikoden team in some years, so Konami lost all its RPG know-how. Now two points to notice:

1. Mukaitoge was the producer of Frontier Gate, a PSP game developed by Konami and tri-Ace. The director of the game was Osamu Komuta – who also directed Suikoden Tierkreis. If Konami indeed disbanded their Suikoden team, Komuta should have been able to collect it again.

2. Even assuming that it’s true that there hasn’t been a Suikoden team in a while – just one month later Konami announced their latest Suikoden game on PSP which means that at some point there were people working again on the series. And this could happen again, you’d just need to get some creative talents together working on the title. You could even again corporate with another company just like Konami did in the case of Frontier Gate.

concept Suikoden game created by fan

For some reason, people always quote these news and disregard the Suikoden title that was released shortly after. Talk about selective perception. Recently, something similar to this has resurfaced again: In a report on Konami’s state, Japanese business journal Nikkei released information that all development of Suikoden has been halted (among other rumors concerning work conditions at Konami, but we won’t comment on that here).

These news quickly made the round and there was a lot of confusion – an initial translation was ambiguous on whether this means the development of a new title has been cancelled or not and it was later clarified that it meant that development of the series altogether was halted. However, it seems to us that this is just an observation by the author of the Nikkei article, not

insider news. After four years of no new announcement, the assumption that development of the series was halted is not surprising. But it’s not a fact. Keep this in mind.

That said let’s go back to our original question. Who could work on a new SUikoden? Unfortunately, we can’t say anything. It’s a fact that a lot of creative talents left Konami in the past months and years, including some Suikoden key staff (unfortunately, we cannot comment on this as this is confidential). A lot of fans want to see the return of Yoshitaka Murayama to the series as a creative director, a scenario which is at the moment very unlikely.

Conclusion

So can we expect a new Suikoden this TGS? I would give it a 5% chance. it’s certainly possible, but with a lot of “if”s connected to it. “If Konami decided to not give up console gaming and if Konami could find a creative head for the series and if… then yes, we can expect a new Suikoden.

We should not get our hopes too high, but I think it is safe to say that Suikoden fans have built a resistance towards being disappointed. And even if no Suikoden news whatsoever will be published for the rest of the year, this will not stop us from fighting our fight. Even if that means we have to overthink our methods and goals – but let’s leave this discussion for the future.


So what did you think? Some serious issues raised as it seems Konami has been going through a transition recently. Their focus might be shifting away from certain titles, while putting more attention to others. Add your comments in the comment section below. Your voice matters, so let it be heard. Also be sure to drop by our official Facebook page for the Revival Movement, as well as our webpage for news and updates. 

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