Kickstarter campaign for the “spiritual successor” of the widely popular Suikoden series, Eiyuden Chronicle, secured $1.8 million in less than 24 hours. As its full title stands, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes‘ main selling point will be the fact that you can recruit more than 100 different characters into your party. The game is currently developed by a brand new JRPG developer called Rabbit & Bear Studios.
As a short introduction to the developer team, Rabbit & Bear Studios and this project are currently being led by:
- Yoshitaka Murayama (Suikoden I, Suikoden II) as the story writer
- Junko Kawano (Suikoden I, Suikoden IV) as the character designer
- Osamu Komuta (Suikoden Tierkreis, Suikoden Tactics) as the system designer and director
- Junichi Murakami (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow) as the art director and producer
It’s been said that this project is Murayama and Kawano’s first collaboration in 25 years — ever since Suikoden I launched in 1995 in Japan. They are also collaborating with other legendary RPG composers, Motoi Sakuraba (Tales of series, Shining Force 3, Golden Sun, Baten Kaitos) and Michiko Naruke (Wild ARMs series) for the soundtrack.
The story of Eiyuden Chronicle takes place in a federation of diverse nations named Allraan that has endured many hardships surrounding magical objects known as “rune-lenses.” One of them, the Galdean Empire, has discovered a technology that can amplify the power of rune-lenses and is now invading the other League of Alraan Nations to try expanding its influence. In the middle of this turmoil a young Galdean Empire officer Seign Kesling, and Nowa, an ordinary boy from a remote village, end up meeting each other and become friends. However, fate dragged them into the Allraan conflict and force them both to reexamine everything they believe to be “right and true”.
Just like its predecessor, Eiyuden Chronicle is going to be a traditional turn-based RPG, employing beautifully hand-crafted pixel art for in-game characters. In battle, you will be able to mix-and-match six party members out of 100 characters you will meet and can recruit. You can watch the demo combat system (that looks extremely similar to PS1 Suikoden titles!) below.
Judging from the Kickstarter page description, it seems Eiyuden Chronicle is trying to make a story and gameplay system that’s reminiscent of the Suikoden series. The central conflicts will be about the war between the two nations and the fracturing relationship between two main characters in the middle of it. At some point in the story (when you start building an army of your own), you will unlock a headquarters — here it’s called Fortress Town.
Just like in Suikoden 1 and 2, Fortress Town will be your base of operations that you can upgrade by recruiting other characters; from war strategist, wolf-man mercenary, to simple baker and fisherman; and putting them to work. They can build castle walls to protect from enemy invasions, develop military equipment and recruit more troops for your militia, cultivate fields for farming, create shops like blacksmiths and restaurants to develop your town economy, and more!
Murayama had the following to say in his interview with Gematsu:
Eiyuden Chronicle is about war, or more importantly, the intention and feelings of the 100 heroes who fight that war from a variety of perspectives and for a variety of different reasons. And of course, the drama that can only occur when a group of different people from different walks of life come together and must wage a war of life and death,”
Each of those heroes you can collect is a unique character; as in, they aren’t just simple NPCs and they have their elaborate backstory to join you in this war. Murayama added that even if those characters are not suitable for combat situations, like researchers and chefs, their contribution to your town will help you win battles — or even lose them if you didn’t properly utilize or recruit them into your town. “The more people you recruit, the stronger the snowball effect.”
Concerning the customization of Fortress Town, something Rabbit & Bear Studios is adding a new feature not seen in Suikoden thanks to reaching one of its stretch goals: a Guild System.
You can open up many kinds of Guilds; from Knight Guild, Blacksmith Guild, Thieves Guild, even Cooking Guild in town. Each guild will have missions you can complete by assigning town members’ into it. When they finish their jobs, they will unlock skills for battle and better things for Fortress Town. As you level up, new trade options appear along with enemies and thieves that randomly attack your town to impede your progress. Not to mention upgrading your town will be quite crucial since enemies and bandits will try to attack it as well. “You need to make choices on whether to strengthen your walls or hasten your progress. Each choice will make every play session feel different and have its own consequences,” Murayama said.
Gematsu reported that Eiyuden Chronicle surpassed its initial $509,713 funding goal and confirming the PC release in a matter of hours. And then five hours later, the Kickstarter campaign managed to gain $1 million, securing the promise of releasing the game for consoles including PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Currently, as I write this article, these are the stretch goals for Eiyuden Chronicle Kickstarter project:
- The Journey Begins – Min. Goal Reached: $500,000 (funded)
- Good Place to Live – Fortress Town Mode: $750,000 (funded)
- A War on Many Front – Consoles Unlocked: $1,000,000 (funded)
- Culinary Skills Abound – Cooking Mini-game: $1,250,000 (funded)
- Another Chance – New Game Plus: $1,500,000 (funded)
- The Sounds of War – New Sound Effects: $1,600,000 (funded)
- Far East Promise – Chinese Localization: $1,650,000 (funded)
- Building Bonds – Guild System: $1,700,000 (funded)
- Bolstering the Ranks – Perrielle Joins: $1,800,000 (funded)
- Get Anglin’ – Fisihing Mini-game: $1,950,000
- Stay Outta the Water! – Yuferius VII Joins: $2,100,000
- Total Neat Freak – (still a secret, might be another new character): $2,200,000
While the release date is still up in the air, the Eiyuden Chronicle team has set up their own Discord server to let you talk directly with the team and other community members. Are you a Suikoden veteran that’s excited about this “sequel”? Or just an RPG newcomer that sees potential in this game? Tell us what you think about Eiyuden in the comments below.