Nearly fifteen years have passed since a mainstream Suikoden title hit the UK’s shelves. Despite being heralded as one of the greatest roleplaying series of all time, Konami have shown few signs of reviving the cult-classic from the ashes, much to the chagrin of Suikoden’s die-hard fans. Still, not all hope is lost, as JRPG fans have plenty to be excited about.
Last Monday, Japan-based Rabbit & Bear Studios announced the launch of their own JRPG on Twitter. The name of the project? Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
Suikoden fans were won over by the allure. On the project’s official launch day, fans across the world rushed to pledge money to the cause. Within just two hours, an astonishing $500,000 USD (£388,525) was raised. Impressively, the traffic alone from these fans was enough to cause the Kickstarter website to crash three times in one day, prompting a day’s extension to make up for lost time.
At this current time of writing, funding for Eiyuden Chronicle stands at a mighty $2,645,421 USD (£2,024,134). The RPG was slated to be released on PC but will now arrive for current and next-gen consoles as well, such as PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
So, why the excitement?
It’s worth remembering, Eiyuden Chronicle isn’t Suikoden VI . After all, Konami still owns the license to the series. Still, the similarities are uncanny. With Suikoden and Suikoden II‘s writer and director Yoshitaka Murayama running the helm, alongside scores of original development team members and musicians, there’s plenty of nostalgia for JRPG fans to tuck into.
Big names within the JRPG industry are teaming up to weave this classic tale. These include big name composers such as Michiko Maruke (Wild ARMs) and Motoi Sakuraba (Tales of, Star Ocean). The artistic vision and 2.5D sprite work is also coming along nicely, with Junichi Murakami (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Suikoden V) taking charge of both the art direction and production.
Story-wise, there’s plenty to unwrap. The saga transports you to the continent of Allraan, where the lives of Seign Kesling, a young and gifted Imperial officer, and Nowa, a boy from a remote village, intertwine. For fans of the series, it’s Riou and Jowy all over again.
According to a statement on Rabbit & Bear Studios’ kickstarter page, Murayama is eager to craft a landscape “shaped by the alliances and aggressions of the humans, beastmen, elves and desert people who live there.” Screenshots promise a delightful 2.5D affair, filled with power-hungry empires, magic-amplifying technology, mystical artefacts, and of course, runes.
The lavish environments are strangely reminiscent of Octopath Traveler, where players can explore the world around them. However, there are modern twists. Just like every other JRPG you will soon be launched into the throes of battle, but on the recruitment side of things, you’ll pick up about one-hundred allies. To prevail, you’ll need to win them over to your cause, and expand your fortress town by putting your new mates to work. In time, you will bolster the fortress with walls, craft bespoke weapons, and rear your own farms. There’s cooking, too, with recipes to learn, dishes to create, and even the opportunity to create your own franchised cafeteria across Allraan.
Of course, all this is down to whether or not the project launches. After all, not all project revivals are successful, and given the risk associated with crowdfunding big-budget games, players are not always inclined to give projects the benefit of the doubt. It’s true that Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes has hit its first goal several times over. Nevertheless, there is every chance development will face the same teething issues as any other game: time, budget, and scope, amongst other things.
Still, any project popular enough to bring down Kickstarter clearly has something interesting going on. The Suikoden series is often revered as the JRPG genre’s diamond in the rough. Here’s to hoping Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes can revive that magic.
You can check out the Eiyuden Chronicle kickstarter here.
Words by April Ryan