Nostalgia takes the spotlight once again, as the much-beloved classic JPRG Suikoden series will be getting a new lease of life…well, not exactly. Rather than a remake or remaster, the title is set to receive a spiritual successor in the form of Kickstarter campaign Eiyuden Chronicle.
Kicking off on 27 July 2020, the project calls for a US$500,000 crowdfunding goal by 28 August, and will be helmed by a new team called Rabbit & Bear Studios, which includes several key creators of the franchise. Eiyuden Chronicle is described to be an “ode to the classic JRPG genre from the PlayStation era that will feature classic JRPG exploration and battles in high-resolution 2.5D graphics”, and seeks to explore “a story of war and friendship and a diverse cast of 100 unique heroes.”
It’s a familiar premise for fans of the Suikoden series, which has remained dormant over the years since its debut in 1995. Should the Kickstarter goes through successfully, Eiyuden Chronicle is expected to launch in 2022 on PC, with other platform releases depending on the stretch goals.
As per the studio, a brief synopsis of the game reads:
Our story begins in one corner of Allraan, a tapestry of nations with diverse cultures and values. By dint of sword, and by way of magical objects known as ”rune-lenses,” the land’s history has been shaped by the alliances and aggressions of the humans, beastmen, elves, and desert people who live there. The Galdean Empire has edged out other nations and discovered a technology that amplifies the rune-lenses’ magic. Now, the Empire is scouring the continent for an artifact that will expand their power even further. It is on one such expedition that Seign Kesling, a young and gifted imperial officer, and Nowa, a boy from a remote village, meet each other and become friends. However, a twist of fate will soon drag them into the fires of war, and force them both to reexamine everything they believe to be right and true.
Some notable features of the title include a guild system that allows players to change their fortress attributes based on the guild they join, turn-based battles of up to six party members, and dynamic boss battles with changing and rotating camera angles.
Suikoden 1 and 2 veteran writer Yoshitaka Murayama will pen the story, with Junko Kawano (Suikoden 1, 4, Arca Last) taking charge of character design. Osamu Komuta (Suikoden Tierkreis, Suikoden Tactics, Arca Last) will oversee system design and direction, while Junichi Murakami (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, OZ) assumes the role of art director and producer. Famed RPG composers like Michiko Naruke (Wild Arms series) and Motoi Sakuraba (Tales series), among others, have been roped in to create soundtracks as well.
As with every crowdfunding project, there’s always the risk of failure. The creators of PaRappa the Rapper failed to realise a spiritual successor on Kickstarter back in 2017, with other projects citing funding and delay issues. Still, Murayama remains undeterred, as he and the team continues to rally support from the gaming community.
“While people have their valid complaints about crowdfunding, it still provides one of the only ways to connect to your core fans,” he said. “Anyone who is passionate enough to invest in a project 2-3 years in advance and have that hope and belief in something is the type of fan that you want to collaborate with. They in turn motive you and can help us get to our dream of making that game we really want to make. It’s hard to say whether people will choose to believe or to just doubt in this day and age, but every person who chooses to have faith in this project, I see as a hero. They are certainly the hero of my personal story.”
Considering how there’s no backup plan in the pipeline, we can only hope that Eiyuden Chronicle will eventually become a reality.