A cult hit in the late nineties, this Japanese RPG combined anime inspired artwork, compelling game play and the potential to harness an entire army of heroes in your battle across the map for supremacy has finally returned to gamers screens across the world and soon also here in Australia thanks to the dauntless efforts of its fans. We admire this sort of plucky never say die attitude, even if in the end it wasn’t a remake and more of a straight port onto existing platforms it was still a win and will hopefully inspire fans of other now defunct franchises to try and get their favourite games resurrected on their chosen gaming console!
We recently sat down with Chris and Ryan from ‘Suikoden Revival’ to talk about their journey from fandom to being major players behind one of the biggest fan generated campaigns since Star Trekkers managed to stop their favourite show from getting cancelled in the 60’s!
Hi guys, so when did this all begin?
Campaigning actually began back in late 2010. Myself and fellow fan Ryan, grew tired of the situation the Genso Suikoden series has now found itself in. We are both members of Suikoden fan website, Suikosource.com, and used to debate a lot on there about the future of the Suikoden series.
We could see that a lot of fans felt as frustrated as we did but tended to vent these frustrations rather than constructively coming up with a plan to try and resurrect the series. Also, due to the popularity of Facebook, we started to meet a lot of like minded and genuinely lovely Suikoden fans form around the world. This added to our excitement and created a new ”Suikoden buzz” in our lives!
Therefore, we started to campaign and tried to gain some sort of foothold with the various Konami branches.
We actually began contacting some big names straight away. As far back as late 2010 well before the SRM’s true conception. The responses we got ranged from awesome to polite brush off’s. Inspired by our efforts, many Suikoden fans started to follow suit. Eventually, the two of us could not sustain campaigning on our own. In July 2012, fellow Suikosource member, Matze, suggested we create a page via social media too keep all the campaigning and fans in the one place.
This is an idea we had been toying with for some time. It was the natural next step. Thus, the Suikoden Revival Movement was born with the three of us at the helm. Another member of the Suikosource forums, Dan, joined us back in December 2012 and has contributed much toward the movement.
Nice, onto the questions proper then!
1. Which forum or page generated the most hype/activity?
The initial stirrings of a ‘movement’ started on fan page Suikosource.com. This was pretty active. Aside form that, almost all our activity was via Facebook. It proved by far the best way to engage with fellow fans. We have been active all over the web. But Facebook always proved the most fruitful, which is why we set up base there before we built our own website.
2. Which Konami branch or person ended up being the most responsive/helpful in helping you reach your goal?
For a long time, Konami adopted an arms length policy with us. There were numerous employees from all branches of Konami (including the Suikoden staff members themselves!) that were glad to see a movement like us and gave us words of encouragement. However, due to NDA’s and the sensitive nature of such engagements, they could not really help us outright. Most other employees either refused to speak to us or ignored us entirely. We just had to keep growing our numbers, making our voices heard and show Konami that we were serious and that there was profit in this for them.It wasn’t until very recently that Konami US reached out to us. Yuichi Haga started doing live Suikoden streams via Twitch and really engaged with the fandom. In retrospect, it is clear to see now that the PSN releases were in the works as early as, or even before, these streams first went live. But it is really great to see Konami finally engage with their fans and Yuichi certainly does a fantastic job at it. Huge thanks must go to him and his colleagues.We are forever grateful to all branches of Konami for finally making this happen.
3. How much do you think your campaigning helped contribute to the re release of the suikoden game?
I think it simply would not have happened without it. It is possible, of course, but highly unlikely. Both the Suikoden series and fandom was practically dead outside of Japan before the SRM came along. My only regret is that we didn’t do this much earlier ourselves. It would be much easier to convince Konami to create a Suikoden VI if we had helped to revive the series years earlier.
4. What sort of changes if any were implemented in the port? Did they listen to any suggestions from the movement?
No changes were implemented. It is a Sony rule that any games re-released on the Playstation Network must be completely unchanged from the original version. I believe this is for legal reasons and contractual obligations. The complicated process of releasing an old game and getting it to run on new hardware is why many old games have not been re-released on the PSN. It may even be why it took Suikoden II so long to get a re-release in the first instance.
5. Is there a firm date for a PAL release yet?
The PAL release has been confirmed as the 25th of February!
6. Can you see a sequel or improvement on the title, something more expansive than a straight port?
It would be great to finally see another main Suikdoen installment i.e. Suikoden VI or another game set back in the main world, timeline and geography – rather than these completely unrelated spin offs that we have seen recently. Who knows, if the sales of the PSN releases go well, if people can start talking about and buying Suikoden products again …maybe we will see that.Personally, I would love to see HD remakes of all five main games and Suikoden Tactics also. I feel this would be another wonderful way to revive the series and introduce it to the modern world of gamers. Perhaps Konami can use the recent Suikoden revenue for that?
7. Now you have a dedicated fanbase and critical mass that can clearly effect change and influence gaming companies re their future releases are there any other games you have your eye on to try and bring back to life?
Honestly, I personally can not think of any. This is the reason I wanted a Suikoden revival in the fist place – it is the only game series I could not believe was not still on going. The story was incomplete and there are still so many mysteries in the plot line to be resolved. Besides that, the potential that Suikoden holds is so huge that I find it heartbreaking for the series to end with so much promise still to offer the world.I was talking to my SRM colleague Ryan about this and. we both agreed that, of all the games we grew up with and that impacted us – they all either ran their course or are still going …except Suikoden! If I had to pick something, I’d love to see a HD remake of old Mega Drive classic; Streets of Rage. Keep the game exact to the original in every way (for the love of god don’t even think of touching the awesome soundtrack!) except update all animations to exact HD upgraded duplicates.
So there we have it! I would be a big fan of another Streets of Rage installment myself so here’s hoping someone picks up the ball and runs with it.
Maybe you have been inspired to resurrect your favourite game from ages past, if so what would it be?!