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Developer(s)Konami, Hudson Soft
Creator(s)Yoshitaka Murayama
First releaseSuikoden
December 15, 1995
Latest releaseGenso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki
February 9, 2012

Suikoden (Japanese: 幻想水滸伝, Hepburn: Gensō Suikoden, lit. "Fantasy Water Margin") is a series of role-playing video games created by Yoshitaka Murayama. The games are loosely based on the classical Chinese novel Water Margin,[1] whose title is rendered as Suikoden (水滸伝) in Japanese. Each individual game centers on themes of politics, corruption, revolution, mystical crystals known as True Runes, and the "108 Stars of Destiny"—the 108 protagonists who are loosely interpreted from the source material.

Although the events of the games are not chronological, the entire series (except for Tierkreis and Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki) takes place within the same world, among continuing and overlapping histories. In some cases, several characters appear in multiple installments.

A spiritual successor to the series titled Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes was released on April 23, 2024.[2] A high-definition remaster of the first two games under the title Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars is set to release later in 2024.[3]


Main series[edit]

Title Original release date


North America

PAL region

Suikoden December 15, 1995 December 23, 1996 April 11, 1997
Suikoden II December 17, 1998 September 29, 1999 July 28, 2000
Suikoden III July 11, 2002 October 24, 2002 June 23, 2015 (PlayStation Network)
Suikoden IV August 19, 2004 January 11, 2005 February 25, 2005
Suikoden V February 23, 2006 March 21, 2006 September 22, 2006


Title Original release date


North America

PAL region

Gensō Suikogaiden Vol. 1 – Swordsman of Harmonia September 21, 2000 none none
Gensō Suikogaiden Vol. 2 – Duel at Crystal Valley March 22, 2001 none none
Gensō Suikoden Card Stories September 13, 2001 none none
Suikoden Tactics September 22, 2005 November 8, 2005 February 23, 2006
Suikoden Tierkreis December 18, 2008 March 13, 2009 March 19, 2009
Gensō Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki February 9, 2012 none none


Title Original release date


North America

PAL region

Suikoden I & II February 23, 2006 TBA (remaster) TBA (remaster)



In the Suikoden series, the player takes control of a battle party having a maximum of six people (consisting of the protagonist and 5 other characters), Suikoden IV, however, reduces the party to four fighters and one support. The goal of the game is for the protagonist to defeat the opponents who are trying to oppose his/her team. This becomes possible as every game in the series revolves around the recruitment of the 108 Stars of Destiny; wherein the fighter characters recruited from the bunch can be used as members for the battle party; every game in the series has their respective Stars of Destiny. The series practically makes use of running around towns on different islands and into dungeons filled with monsters or enemies. A base or headquarters will also be obtained by the player which is usually abandoned, monster-infested castles which turns into bustling communities when captured.

Battle modes[edit]

The most typical form of battle in the series is the turn-based battle wherein the 6-man team faces the opponents. However, it is not the sole form of battle featured in the games. There are 3 different types of battle present which recurs and have been accustomed to every game. They are: 'Basic Battle', 'One-on-one Duel' and 'Strategic War Battle'.

  1. Basic Battle: It is the most common form of battle. It is when the protagonist's 6-man team will have to battle out. This mode allows the player to control the 6 party members with different commands such as the 'Fight' where the player designates the action he/she wants the characters to perform, 'Run' to escape, 'Bribe' to use the party's money called Potch to bribe the enemy for escape and the 'Auto' command in which the game automatically designates the 'Attack' command for every character.
  2. One-on-one Duel: A battle where only a single character fights and happens only in special events. It is a turn-based duel in which the player chooses command to attack (instead of manually controlled fighting). Duels in the series is typically not time-based except Suikoden V wherein choosing a command is timed for 3 seconds. Duels are usually accompanied by dialogue exchange between the player and the enemy, with the dialogue giving clues to what command the enemy will choose next (Essentially rock, paper scissors with the enemy commentary telling the player which they chose).
  3. Strategic War Battle: A turn-based strategic battle between the protagonist's side and the enemy. In more accurate terms, this is a battle between armies of the protagonist and the enemy. The protagonist's army is made up of many units which could be organized by the player however he/she desires. Every game in the series has different forms of war battles most notably in Suikoden IV, where the battles are done in the sea. Suikoden V however, is the first game to make use of real-time strategy.


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 I. Suikoden V was directed by Takahiro Sakiyama, a relative newcomer to RPGs.


In an interview conducted by Japanese website 4gamers.net regarding the RPG Frontier Gate, Konami developers revealed that the Suikoden development team has been disbanded with members scattered about teams within Konami and elsewhere. This led to speculation that the franchise had indeed been abandoned following disappointing sales of the latest entries in the series.[4]

Despite these rumours, Konami presented a trailer for a new Suikoden game on Tokyo Game Show 2011: Genso Suikoden: The Woven Web of a Century (Genso Suikoden Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki).[5] It came out in Japan for PSP on 12 February 2012 to generally lackluster reviews.

According to an article published by The Nikkei in 2015, development on the series has been halted.[6]

In 2020, one of Suikoden's development crew left Konami and named a new studio called Rabbit & Bear, founded by some of the key creative minds behind the classic PlayStation-era roleplaying series, including Yoshitaka Murayama, director and writer on the first two Suikoden games, and the creative team also includes Junko Kawano, the lead artist on Suikoden 1 and 4; Junichi Murakami, art director on Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow; Suikoden Tactics director Osamu Komuta; and composers Motoi Sakuraba and Michiko Naruke. Murayama directed to a Suikoden follow-up game called Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, slated to release worldwide in 2024.[7]

World, setting, and concepts[edit]

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

The 27 True Runes[edit]

The 27 True Runes are powerful sources of all magic and primal forces in the world of Suikoden. Wholly sentient and possessing their own will, the True Runes hold immeasurable power, and are the equivalents of gods in the Suikoden world. Many wars have been fought over them in the past, some instigated by the will of the runes themselves. True Runes are often sought by the powerful and influential due to their shared property of granting immortality to those who will 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.

The True Runes often attach themselves to living beings. Doing so gives the True Rune holder great power over the aspect of nature the Rune governs, as well as immortality so long as they bear the Rune. Bearing a True Rune can also have negative consequences, as in the case of the bearer of the Moon Rune being transformed into a vampire. A True Rune can also take the shape of a physical object, as is the case with the Star Dragon Sword being a manifestation of the Night Rune. They can also incarnate themselves unattached from a host, as the Beast Rune did during the Highland-Jowston conflict, self-activating and then feeding of its own will.[8]

Origin of True Runes and the Creation of the Suikoden Universe

The story of the creation of the Suikoden universe can be found in books discovered in most games. The story from "Old Book Vol.1" from Suikoden I reads:

In the beginning...there was "Darkness". "Darkness" lived for eons in a rift in time. Suffering in solitude for so long, "Darkness" finally dropped a "Tear". Two brothers were born of "Tear". "Sword" and "Shield". "Sword" said he could cut anything to pieces. "Shield" swore he could protect anything. And so, the two went to battle. The battle lasted seven days and seven nights. "Sword" cut apart "Shield", and "Shield" broke "Sword" into pieces. Fragments of "Sword" fell and became the sky. Fragments of "Shield" fell and became the earth. Sparks from the battle became the stars. The 27 jewels that adorned "Sword" and "Shield" became the "27 True Runes," and the World went into motion.

Known True Runes[9]

  • Gate Rune
    • Governs the connection between worlds
    • Split between the Front and Back halves; Front Gate Rune formerly held by Windy, the Back Gate Rune held by Leknaat (Suikoden I, II, III, IV, V)
    • The Blue/Pale Gate Rune is derived from this rune
  • Rune of Life and Death (also known as the Soul Eater)
    • Represents life and death, and grants the bearer power over them
    • Considered a cursed rune, it steers the fates of those near the rune bearer to their deaths
    • Held by Ted, Ted's grandfather, and the first Hero (Suikoden I, II, and IV)
    • The Darkness rune is derived from this rune
  • Rune of the Beginning
    • Represents the conflict between the brothers "Sword" and "Shield" at the creation of the Suikoden universe; governs war and conflict
    • Almost always exists split into two aspects: the Bright Shield Rune and Black Sword Rune, and the bearers of each rune are destined to fight each other (Suikoden II)
    • Held by Genkaku and Han Cunningham during the first Highland-Jowston conflict, later held by the second Hero and Jowy (Suikoden II)
    • The Shield rune is derived from the Bright Shield Rune
  • Rune of Punishment
    • Governs atonement and forgiveness
    • Considered a cursed rune, use of its power drains the rune bearer of life force, and bearers of the rune tend to have short lives
    • Held by the Queen of Obel, Graham Cray and his son, Rakgi's father, Steele, Brandeau, Glen Cott, and the Hero (Suikoden IV)
  • True Elemental Runes (Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Lightning)
    • Govern the five fundamental elements of the Suikoden universe; each rune grants the bearer great power over that element
    • All elemental runes are derived from these True Runes
    • True Fire Rune - held by the Flame Champion, and later either Hugo, Chris Lightfellow, or Geddoe (Suikoden III)
    • True Water Rune - held by Wyatt Lightfellow, and later either Chris Lightfellow or Hugo (Suikoden III)
    • True Earth Rune - held by Bishop Sasarai of Harmonia (Suikoden II and III)
    • True Wind Rune - held by Luc (Suikoden II and III)
    • True Lightning Rune - held by Geddoe or Hugo (Suikoden III)
  • Sun Rune
    • Governs the power of light
    • While the rune can be borne by a person, it drives its bearer insane and is typically kept sealed away
    • Two child runes, the Twilight Rune and Dawn Rune, were created from the separation of the Sun Rune and the Night Rune and govern the Sun Rune's power
    • A treasure of the Queendom of Falena, the Sun Rune was formerly held by Queen Arshtat Falenas
    • The Dawn Rune is held by the Prince, and the Twilight Rune is held by Alenia, Sialeeds, and Lyon (Suikoden V)
  • Sovereign Rune
    • Represents authority and the power to rule; grants bearer immunity from all other runes
    • Held by Emperor Barbarossa of the Scarlet Moon Empire (Suikoden I)
  • Hachifusa (Eight-Fold) Rune
    • Held by Yuber (never featured in a game; Yuber's Eight-Devil Rune in Suikoden III is assumed to be related to it)
  • Circle Rune
    • Represents order, harmony, and stagnation
    • Held by Harmonia's leader, High Priest Hikusaak (never featured in a game)
  • Rune of Change
    • Governs change
    • Speculated to be held by the leader of the ancient nomadic Sindar people (never featured in a game)
  • Moon Rune
    • Represents compassion and destruction
    • Transforms the rune bearer into a vampire
    • Held by Neclord, and then Sierra Mikain (Suikoden I, II)
  • Night Rune
    • Represents night and darkness, and is the opposite of the Sun Rune; originally born joined with the Sun Rune, it but it took the form of a sword and separated itself
    • Incarnated as the Star Dragon Sword (Zodiac Sword), which is wielded by Viktor during Suikoden I and II, and Edge in Suikoden III
    • Grants the wielder the power over "creatures of the night" such as vampires
    • Its child rune, the Star Rune, is held by Zerase (Suikoden V)
  • Beast Rune
    • Represents rage, passion, and bloodlust
    • Sealed in the capital of Highland, L'Renouille Palace (Suikoden II)
  • Dragon Rune
    • Governs dragons, and is the source of dragons in the Suikoden universe
    • Grants the bearer the ability to command dragons
    • Held by Joshua Levenheit, and later Milia, as leaders of the Dragon Knights

The 108 Stars of Destiny[edit]

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. In each main Suikoden game (excluding the Suikogaiden games and Suikoden Tactics), there are 108 notable characters, all of which are recruitable except for in Suikoden III, where several of the stars of destiny were the antagonist characters. While recruiting all of the Stars of Destiny is not a requirement to finishing the game, recruiting all of them gives certain bonuses that affect the story of the game.[citation needed]


The Suikoden series is set in a world with many countries. The political geography has changed over the series chronology; while the most recent game in the setting is Suikoden V, chronologically, Suikoden IV is the earliest game while Suikoden III occurs latest within the time span of the series.

Suikoden, Suikoden II and Suikoden III are set on the Northern Continent, a land mass composed of several regions. Suikoden takes place in the Scarlet Moon Empire, which is located on southeastern coast of the Northern Continent, and is composed primarily of the Toran region, with Lake Toran at its centre. Notable locations in this area include Gregminister, the empire's capital situated in Arlus, the Warrior's Village in the Lorimar region, and the Great Forest. At the end of Suikoden, the empire is replaced by the Toran Republic.

Suikoden II is set in the Dunan region, north-west of the Toran Republic, and initially comprises the Highland Kingdom in the east and the Jowston City-States, a confederation of politically autonomous states, in the west. Significant locations in Jowston include the cities-states of South Window, Greenhill, Muse, and Two River, and the Knightdom of Matilda. Following the Dunan Unification War, the Highland Kingdom falls and it, along with the Jowston City-States unite to form the Dunan Republic. The Tinto region lying in the west, separated from Dunan by mountains, chooses to remain politically independent and becomes the Tinto Republic.

Sharing Dunan's western border and north of Tinto are the Grasslands, which stretch from the centre of the Northern Continent to a small portion of the continent's west coast. The area is composed of the six clans: the Lizard, Duck, Karaya, Chisha, Safir, and the Alma Kinan. Directly west of the Grasslands and bordered in the east by Tinto is the Zexen Confederacy, located on the west coast of the Northern Continent and historically an offshoot of the Grasslands. Important locations include the Zexen capital Vinay del Zexay and Budehuc Castle, which lies close to the Grasslands border in northwest Zexen. The primary conflict of Suikoden III occurs in these areas. The northwestern portion of the continent, due north of the Grasslands and Zexen, is the Knightdom of Camaro and the surrounding Nameless Lands.

The largest country in the north is the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia, located in the northeastern portion of the continent. Since its establishment, it has assimilated various neighbouring countries, such as Sanadia, as well as a portion of the Grasslands – the Kanaa clan of the Grasslands became Le Buque under Harmonian rule after the First Fire Bringer War. Notably, the Scarlet Moon Empire originally formed after obtaining political autonomy from Harmonia and taking Harmonia's old capital as its own, renaming it Gregminister, resulting in Harmonia establishing a new capital at the Crystal Valley. Harmonia is also home to the Tower, a location reserved for training and housing members of the Howling Voice Guild.

Other major areas on the Northern Continent include the Kooluk region and Kanakan. The Kooluk region was originally the Kooluk Empire during the course of Suikoden IV and eventually dissolved in Suikoden Tactics to be left as a group of independent settlements. It takes up most of the southern edge of the Northern continent and directly borders the Toran Republic in the east and the Dunan Republic in the north. Off the eastern coast of Toran is the island of Kanakan.

Lying directly south of the Northern Continent is the ocean and several islands, including Obel, Middleport, and Razril. At the end of Suikoden IV, most of these islands are unified to become the Island Nations Federation. The largest island in the area, the Dukedom of Gaien, remains independent. West of Gaien is the island nation of the Kingdom of Zelant.

Due south of the Island Nations is the Southern Continent, a landmass composed primarily of three countries: the Queendom of Falena, and its neighbours, the theocracy of Nagarea in the southwest and the New Armes Kingdom in the southeast. As the setting for Suikoden V, Falena has a large network of rivers and lakes throughout the country and the Ashtwal Mountains in its northern region. Key locations include the cities of Stormfist and Doraat in the west; Rainwall, Estrise, and Sable, located on the Armes border, in the east; Lelcar, Lordlake, and Sauronix in the south; and the Falenan capital, Sol-Falena, and the holy land of Lunas, governed by the Oracle, in the north. Falena has been protected from the militant theocracy Nagarea since the mountain pass between the nations was destroyed, though Armes continues to remain a threat throughout Suikoden V.

Northeast of Falena also appears portion of a landmass of considerable size. West of the Northern and Southern Continents and the Island Nations is a landmass referred to as the Western Continent, of which few details are known. Scattered across the world are mysterious ruins attributed to the lost Sindar race, which is a recurring theme throughout the Suikoden series.

Music collections[edit]

The Suikoden games have generally been considered to have soundtracks very well liked by the gaming community, 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.

Publications, adaptations, and other material[edit]

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.


The protagonist of Suikoden I is one of the characters in this game.

The protagonist of Suikoden I is one of the selectable characters in this game.

Tir appear as supportive character.


  1. ^ Cave, Ronnie. "Hardcore Gaming 101: Suikoden". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Suikoden spiritual successor Eiyuden Chronicle looks amazing". VentureBeat. 13 June 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  3. ^ Yang, George (30 August 2023). "Suikoden I & II HD Remaster: Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars Delayed". IGN Southeast Asia. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  4. ^ "4Gamer.net ― KONAMIとトライエースが開発中のPSP「フロンティアゲート」は,マルチプレイとターン制コマンドバトルを前提としたRPGだった。その狙いを両社に聞く". Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  5. ^ "New Genso Suikoden Game Announced For PSP". Siliconera.com. 17 September 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  6. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (3 August 2015). "New article on Konami paints a bleak picture". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Suikoden spiritual successor Eiyuden Chronicle looks amazing". VentureBeat. 13 June 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  8. ^ Suikoden II game
  9. ^ "Your Source for Suikoden - Suikosource".

External links[edit]