This month saw the long awaited release of the PS1 classic Suikoden II on the PSN network.
The entry is arguably (but not much argument is needed in my opinion) the best in the series. It is, though, perhaps too dated to get a full reading of what gamers are up for buying in a larger release.
On the gamer activism side the Suikoden Revival Movement has been gaining followers over the years and assaulting Konami with fan art and letters and petitions to return the series to the console world for the much hoped-for and at one time expected, Suikoden VI . Kudos to them by the way.
We hope that PSN sales of the JRPG classic will be strong enough to get Konami to take note. It's true that unfortunate events have conspired to lower general interest in turn-based combat aside epic linear plots but isn't this new generation starting to seem all about experimentation in returning once dead gameplay? I mean the biggest Resident Evil game coming is sticking to ancient controls used in the PS1 days. Why not a strategic 6 man team fighting via command as Suikoden has given us before?
While I think the days of AAA full budgeted JRPGs are well and truly buried we can hope that Konami may decide to put a modest team with modest means on top of the project to test the latest market for a return to classic JRPGing.
How would one do that before going all in with Suikoden VI ? Why, a remaster of course! They are all the rage, they don't break the bank, and they bring in revenue from games where most of the work has already been done. It even offers the opportunity to add content so that fans who own the original games will want to rebuy the new version to experience it in glorious 1080p HD.
The best place to go for that would be the last entry. Also a contender for best in series, Suikoden V was an incredible journey with memorable characters and all the staples we love. Duels, large scale wars, custom fortress building, and 6 man parties wrapped in a plot that takes them around the world and to the edge of darkness that makes foes of friends and allies of enemies as great love stories unfold or unravel. These are the kinds of things that western RPGs with their freedom just don't do quite as well. If it were remastered I think it could receive the same kind of love as FFX-FFX-2 HD did.
Suikoden IV may have been considered the runt of the litter, having cut the number of party members to 3 and taking place on a waterworld I think it would be best to skip this one and instead consider Suikoden III for HD paradise. I'll never forget the exciting format of playing different characters with differing cultural backgrounds, intersecting their destinies, and choosing a champion. (The female knight Chris Lightfellow was such an iconic character she will never leave my memories).
So if there is a path to Suikoden VI I think it could and should include one of these popular remasters for both old fans and to introduce what this kind of gaming was to the newer generations of players who are only used to the dark worlds that straddle action gaming which we call western RPGs. If turn based colorful worlds and epic linear plot lines can prove they are still relevant then Konami may finally bring us the game we all want.
And just perhaps, others will take notice. (Hi Square-Enix!)