Suikoden is one of the most acclaimed cult classics in gaming, and a new generation of players will be able to take this JRPG in with Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars.
The Suikoden series has long been held up among the best in the JRPG genre, but it never really got its due. Despite enjoying enormous critical acclaim, the game was released in extremely limited quantities in Western markets. Some of the games in the series eventually received a digital release on the PlayStation 3 but not until after the release of the PlayStation 4, which didn’t support them.
This resulted in the Suikoden series long flying under the radar, but things might finally change with the release of Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars. The classics are receiving a fresh coat of paint and a launch that will finally make them accessible to the masses.
What is Suikoden?
Suikoden is a Japanese RPG series published by Konami for the PlayStation and PlayStation consoles. There are five mainline games in the series alongside six spin-offs, some of which tie into the events of mainline titles and some of which are Suikoden games in name only. The series is largely known for the sheer number of playable characters involved and the ability to build out a base with recruitable characters.
A recurring theme in the mainline titles is that there are 108 Stars of Destiny, who are typically recruitable characters. These characters are either potential party members or can provide a service at the team’s base, like running a shop or offering fast traveling.
Central to each major Suikoden story are the 27 True Runes. Runes are the source of magic in the Suikoden universe and the 27 True Runes are the strongest of all, giving their holders immortality and enormous power. Most of the games have stories centered around ending a True Rune bearer’s tyranny or using a True Rune to overthrow a corrupt ruling body.
How can I play the Suikoden games?
The first two Suikoden games will be available on all modern platforms after the release of Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars. Unfortunately, gamers will have to dust off older consoles in order to play the others.
Suikoden 3 and 4 are both available on the PlayStation 3 as a PS2 classic, but are not available on PS4, PS5, or any Xbox or Nintendo platforms. Suikoden 5, Suikoden Tactics, and the other Suikoden spin-offs are only available by tracking down a physical copy of the game. These are quite rare and can carry enormous price tags.
When is Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming out?
Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars is set to be released in 2023. An exact release date has not been confirmed.
The bundle of remasters was first revealed in September 2022 during the Tokyo Game Show. The games will both enjoy an HD upgrade that includes improved backgrounds, lighting, and particle effects. Character portraits and menus will both get a significant improvement as well, with Suikoden 1’s overworld also getting a graphical overhaul.
The blocky, pixelated look of the sprites remains intact, giving the games a look similar to Square Enix’s Octopath Traveler series. It’s a proven formula that should be eye-catching for new and established fans alike.
Will there be a Suikoden 3, 4, or 5 Remaster?
Konami has not confirmed any plans to remaster any Suikoden games other than Suikoden 1 and 2. Remasters of Suikoden 3, 4, and 5 are unlikely unless Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars proves to be a major commercial success.
Konami’s game development efforts are still quite limited. The company garnered enormous criticism for its divorce from Metal Gear Solid director Hideo Kojima, reports surrounding the mistreatment of its workers from Japanese finance publications, and its pivot away from video game development. Though the company never ceased making games, its efforts have mostly been limited to arcade games, sports games, and porting major releases from its back catalog.
Remastering PS2-era Suikoden games would likely be much more challenging than doing so for the PS1 originals. Konami also has also had issues with remastering PS2 games in the past, which was seen with Silent Hill HD Collection. Suikoden 3 received a digital PS3 release alongside Suikoden 4 and unfortunately, that’s the best way to play the games.
Is Suikoden worth playing today?
Suikoden is widely regarded as one of the best Japanese RPGs of its era and remains a strong title even today.
The various Suikoden games have aged at different rates, but Suikoden 2 remains beloved by fans. Suikoden 2’s intense story and combat system hold up well even with hit games like the resurgent Persona series pushing turn-based RPGs in a new direction. Suikoden 1 is a bit more dated, but moves at a brisk pace that keeps it from dragging in the way some RPGs of that era do.
The only asterisk is that not everyone loves turn-based RPGs. Suikoden held onto that style through to the end of its lifespan and never moved in an action RPG direction like modern Final Fantasy games. JRPG fans will love this, but it could be a turn-off for some.