Suikoden (series)

nihongo|"Suikoden"|幻想水滸伝|Gensō Suikoden is a Japanese console role-playing game series created by Konami.

Overview

The "Suikoden" series is loosely based on a classical Chinese novel, "Shui Hu Zhuan" by Shi Naian and Luo Guanzhong. "Shui Hu Zhuan" is rendered as 水滸伝 in Japanese, and read as "Suikoden". Each game centers around relative themes of politics, corruption, revolution, mystical crystals known as True Runes, and the "108 Stars of Destiny" — 108 protagonists also very loosely interpreted from the source material. Though the games follow an irregular chronological sequence, the entire series takes place within the same world among overlapping histories. In some cases, several characters appear in multiple installations.

The games, standard to most RPGs, commonly feature random over world and dungeon battles, inn-based game saves, a turn-based, menu-operated combat system, mini-games and side quests. Saved game data can be transferred from "Suikoden" to "Suikoden II", and "Suikoden II" to "Suikoden III" ("Suikogaiden Vol.1" can also receive data from "Suikoden II", and is transferable to Suikogaiden Vol.2, but only in Japan), and from "Suikoden IV" to "Suikoden Tactics" ("Rhapsodia" in Japan) and now "Suikoden V".

"Suikoden" implements many features as each title allows players, in varying degrees, to:
* Conduct strategically pitched war campaigns.
* Participate in turn based, one-on-one duels.
* Build an immensely large headquarters that grows as the story progresses (and only develops fully if all the characters are recruited).
* Recruit a colorful cast of 108 pre-determined characters, each specializing in various aspects of combat or support.

Essentially, each game follows the plot formula of a coup d'état by corrupt power holder(s), the main protagonist's exile from his/her home, the disastrous misuse of the True Runes, the hero's struggle, despite overwhelming odds, to bring peace to the land alongside his/her friends, and the climactic showdown with the corrupted True Rune.

Development

The "Suikoden" series was created, written, produced, and overseen by Yoshitaka Murayama, who left Konami near the end of "Suikoden III"'s development. Noritada Matsukawa took over as Senior Director of "Suikoden III" following Murayama's departure. "Suikoden IV" was directed by Matsukawa as well but was produced by Junko Kawano, who was the chief designer in "Suikoden 1".

Games of the series

Order of release

* "Suikoden" (PlayStation: December 15, 1995, Japan; 1996, North America; April, 1997, Europe; Sega Saturn: September 17, 1998, Japan)
* "Suikoden II" (PlayStation: December 17, 1998, Japan; August 31, 1999, North America; July 28, 2000. Europe)
* "Genso Suikogaiden Vol. 1 - Swordsman of Harmonia" (PlayStation: September 21, 2000, Japan)
* "Genso Suikogaiden Vol. 2 - Duel At Crystal Valley" (PlayStation: March 22, 2001, Japan)
* "Suikoden Card Stories" (Game Boy Advance: September 13, 2001, Japan)
* "Suikoden III" (PlayStation 2: July 11, 2002, Japan; October 24, 2002, North America)
* "Suikoden IV" (PlayStation 2: August 19, 2004, Japan; January 11, 2005, North America; February 25, 2005, Europe)
* "Suikoden Tactics" (PlayStation 2: September 22, 2005, Japan (as "Rhapsodia"); November 8, 2005, North America; February 23, 2006, Europe; February 24, 2006)
* "Genso Suikoden I&II" (PSP: February 23, 2006, Japan)
* "Suikoden V" (PlayStation 2: February 23, 2006, Japan; March 21, 2006, North America; September 22, 2006, Europe)
* "Genso Suikoden Tierkreis" (Nintendo DS: December 18 2008, Japan)

Chronological order

This is the list of the games in order according to in-universe chronology.

* "Suikoden IV" (IS 306)
* "Suikoden V" (IS 449)
* "Suikoden I" (IS 456)
* "Suikoden Card Stories" (IS 459)
* "Suikoden II" (IS 459)
* " Suikoden III" (IS 475)

"Suikoden Tactics" begins before and ends after "Suikoden IV".

World, setting, and concepts

The 27 True Runes

The backbone of the "Suikoden" world that allows the existence of the universe, True Runes are the equivalents of gods in the Suikoden world. Wholly sentient and possessing their own will, each of the True Runes holds immeasurable power, and many wars have been fought over them in the past. True Runes are often sought by the powerful and influential due to their shared property of granting immortality to those who bear them. All bearers of True Runes stop aging and become immune to disease and all other natural causes of death, though they can still die from physical trauma such as accidents or murder. All True Runes are equal in their overall power, but some have abilities that are more suited to combat than others.

Several True Runes have featured in the Suikoden games or lore so far; the entry on the 27 True Runes contains a list of their holders as well as a brief detailing of their histories and powers.

The 27 True Runes are powerful, primal forces in the world of the Suikoden video game series. The True Runes shaped the world Suikoden is set in and are the source of all that world's magic.

The True Runes often attach themselves to living beings. Doing so gives the True Rune holder great power over the force the rune represents as well as immortality so long as they wield the rune.

There have also been cases of True Runes bonding to a vampire and a sword, or in the case of the Beast Rune, not attaching to anything.

The 108 Stars of Destiny

A concept borrowed from the Chinese novel "Shui Hu Zhuan", each "Suikoden" game has featured 108 characters who band together to ward off a threat.

Geography

There are many countries in the world of Suikoden. The political geography has changed over time; currently, the most recent game in the setting is "Suikoden V".

In the far North are the Knightdom of Camaro and the Nameless Lands in the West, and Harmonia in the East. Below The Nameless Lands lay the Grasslands (Made up of 6 clans: Lizard, Duck, Karaya, Chisha, Safir, Alma Kinan). Directly west of the Grasslands is the Zexen Confederacy, which is on the Western Coast of the Continent. East of the Grasslands is lower Harmonia. The west coast curves into the mainland, going southeast. The farthest south village in the Grasslands is Milit. Directly south is the Ocean.

Southeast of the Grasslands, and below Harmonia, is the Dunan Region. This is made up of the Higheast Region (the Highland Kingdom annexed into Dunan as of 460 of the Solar Calendar), Muse, South Window, and Tinto. Highland is in the North, then Muse directly below it. East of Muse is filled with small villages. To the west lay Greenhill, Northwest the Knightdom of Matilda, South across Lake Dunan is South Window, west of that is the Two River Principality with Tinto in the Southwest (Tinto is also Southeast of the Grasslands, and they are boxed in by mountains. Tinto later left the Dunan Republic powers after the events in "Suikoden II" and formed its own independent nation.

South of the Dunan region lays the Toran Republic. South of South Window lay the Senan region and Dana region (Senan is on the left, Dana on the right, divided by a river), with the Kunan region below the Senan region. Further south is the Lorimar region, which harbours Warriors' Village. East of the Lorimar Region is the Great Forest region, which boarders the Kooluk Empire in the South. North of this region is the Goran region. North of this is the Land of Arlus, where Gregminister, the Capital of the Toran Republic, is located. In the centre of all these regions is Lake Toran (starting from Senan, and going to Arlus, in a counter clockwise motion, as seen on the map. Far south, at the southern tip of the continent, is Kanakan, and to the west of that, the former Kooluk Empire.

In the ocean to the South lay the Island Nations, with the Capital on Obel Island. Further south, on a different landmass, is the Queendom of Falena, which is explored in "Suikoden V", along with their neighbors, the New Armes Kingdom, and the Nagarea Theocracy. The Gaien Dukedom lies west of the Island Nations; even further west lies the Zelant Kingdom.

There also exists a western continent about which little to no details are known, as well with a landmass to the north east of the Queendom of Falena which appears to be of considerable size.

History

The second and third "Suikoden" games were direct sequels from the respective previous installment. With "Suikoden IV", the series has begun to delve into prequels whose events take place before the games released earlier. The sequence is as follows:

"Suikoden IV" (143 years before "Suikoden V", 150 before "Suikoden") → Suikoden V (Ends 7 years before "Suikoden") → "Suikoden" (3 years before "Suikoden II") → "Suikoden II" (15 years before "Suikoden III") → "Suikoden III".

Music collections

The "Suikoden" games have generally been considered to have soundtracks of some quality, though they have only been released in Japan as of 2007.

A series of arranged soundtracks were released from late 2001-2004. Despite the first being released slightly before "Suikoden III" and the last at around the same time as "Suikoden IV", the music was always taken from music in "Suikoden", "Suikoden II", "Suikoden III", and (rarely) the "Suikogaiden" side-stories.

* "Genso Suikoden Music Collection Produced by Hiroyuki Nanba" — a 10-track arrangement released on December 29, 2001. The production and arrangement were both done by Hiroyuki Namba, as the name indicates.
* "Genso Suikoden Music Collection Produced by Kentaro Haneda" — another 10-track arrangement released on April 24, 2002. Kentarō Haneda was only the producer; the arrangements were done by Kousuke Yamashita, Michiru Oshima, Rie Akagi, Kenji Yamamoto, and Hiroshi Takagi.
* "Genso Suikoden Vocal Collection ~La passione commuove la storia~" — a 10-track arrangement released on July 3, 2002. The first piece is an instrumental, but the other tracks all feature vocals. The arrangement was done by Kousuke Yamashita, Hiroshi Takagi, and Megumi Ohashi. Performers included Yuko Imai, Risa Oki, and Yoko Ueno.
* "Genso Suikoden Vocal Collection ~Distant Stars, Echoes of Love~" — a 10-track arrangement released on January 22, 2003. The arrangement was once more done by Kousuke Yamashita, Hiroshi Takagi, and Megumi Ohashi. Performers included Sanae Shintani, Yuko Imai, and Tomoko.
* "Genso Suikoden Piano Collection ~Avertunerio Antes Lance Mao~" — a 13-track arrangement released on December 18, 2002, arranged by Shusei Murai. Despite the name, these are not piano solos; most include orchestral backup, and some have vocals as well.
* "Genso Suikoden Celtic Collection" — a 12 track arrangement in the style of celtic music released on March 5, 2003. The arrangements were done by Yoko Ueno, Mina Kubota, Yuko Asai, Shigeyoshi Kawagoe, and "The Rain Book."
* "Genso Suikoden Celtic Collection 2" — a 12-track arrangement released on August 20, 2003. Arrangement was done by Yoko Ueno, Yuji Yoshino, Yuko Asai, and Shigeyoshi Kawagoe.
* "Genso Suikoden Music Collection ~Asian Collection~" — a 12-track arrangement released on November 27, 2003. It was arranged by Kiyoshi Yoshida, Hidenori Maezawa, Yuko Asai, and Shigeyoshi Kawagoe.
* "Genso Suikoden Piano Collection 2" — a 12 track arrangement released on January 21, 2004, arranged by Shusei Murai.
* "Genso Suikoden Celtic Collection III" — a 13 track arrangement released on April 14, 2004, arranged by Yuji Yoshino.

Publications, adaptations, and other material

Many publications, such as the "Suikoden World Guide" and "Suikoden Encyclopedia", exist for the "Suikoden" series, though the majority are only in Japanese. "Suikoden" and "Suikoden II" have light novel adaptations written by Shinjiro Hori released only in Japan. "Suikoden III" was adapted into a manga by Aki Shimizu, which was released in English markets by Tokyopop.

External links

* [http://www.konami.jp/gs/game/genso/ Official "Genso Suikoden" site] from Konami
* [http://www.duefiumi.com/ DueFiumi.com] , a Suikoden fansite
* [http://gensopedia.duefiumi.com/ Gensopedia] , a Suikoden wiki
* [http://www.suikosource.com/ Suikosource] , a Suikoden fansite
* [http://www.suikox.com/ Suikox.com] , a Suikoden fansite


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