Last week, the creators of the Suikoden series announced a spiritual successor in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, with plans to launch run a Kickstarter campaign this week. That campaign launched this morning, and in less than a day, it’s raised over NZD $2 million—almost triple its initial goal.
The Eiyuden Chronicle campaign has a target of USD $509,713 (NZD $763,352). At the time of writing, it’s raised roughly USD $1.4 million (NZD $2.1 million-ish)—I have to include that caveat of “roughly” because every time I tab over to the campaign to get the latest figure, it changes. It’s already got 13,500 backers, and that number is going up rapidly.
That means the campaign has already hit its first few stretch goals, which see the addition of the base-building “Fortress Town Mode”, console releases, and a cooking mini-game, and is on the cusp of reaching the New Game Plus stretch goal at USD $1.5 million. New sound effects will come at $1.6 million, a Chinese localisation at $1.65 million, and something called “Building Bonds” at $1.7 million (the details of which are currently hidden).
Eiyuden Chronicle is being developed by Rabbit & Bear Studios, and will be jointly funded by a publishing partner and Kickstarter backers. As explained in the campaign details: “We know some people will feel that if a publisher is involved that there isn’t a need to back the game but we have negotiated for IP ownership in all of our current discussions. There are a few interested publisher but even with the success of titles like Octopath Traveler, they need to see that there is genuine interest in a high-quality classic JRPG in this day and age. So make no mistake, by backing this campaign, you are giving some veteran creators a chance to own the thing they have created and prove that people do want this kind of game play experience.”
Among those veteran creators are Murayama Yoshitaka (producer, writer, and director of Suikoden and Suikoden II), Kawano Junko (writer, producer, and designer on Suikoden IV and Suikoden Tactics), Murakami Junichi, Komuta Osamu. The game’s soundtrack will also feature music from the likes of Naruke Michiko of Wild ARMs fame and longtime Tales series composer Sakuraba Motoi.
In keeping with Maruyama’s legacy, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes will tell the intertwined stories of 100 different characters from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, who find themselves caught up in a world at war. Among those characters are the likes of Nowa, an adventurer from a remote village; Marisa, a member of a clan dedicated to protecting the forest; Garr, a beastman mercenary; and Mio, a wondering swordswoman from the Far East. Apparently, there are also lots and lots of cats—”Cats as far as the eye can see. Cats meowing, cats napping, cats exploring the world. Cats, cats, cats. CATS! Meow!”
Battles are turn-based, pitting your six-person party against either an army or a single large creature. You can issue commands to your party directly, and/or make use of AI commands to let party members act on their own, with new AI commands unlocked as characters grow stronger. A combination of pixel art sprites, 3D backgrounds, and dynamic camera angles gives Eiyuden Chronicle a very “modern retro” look reminiscent of Octopath Traveler.
It’s a classic JRPG, essentially, and celebrating the genre is explicitly the developers’ goal. “As someone once said, true classics never die, and we want to recapture that era in every way possible, while taking advantage of modern technology to perfect the art form.”
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is being developed for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and “Nintendo’s next-generation console” (should such a thing get announced). It’s pencilled in for an October 2022 release, but that’s only an estimated date at this stage.
One thing that’s abundantly clear from day one of the campaign is that lots of people really want this, and who can blame them. Hopefully this will be the proof that potential publishers need of the interest that people still have in classic JRPGs, especially of the Suikoden-esque variety.
Note: Japanese names in this article use the Japanese name order—that is, family name first, followed by given name.