Ernst wrote:Edit: Sorry, politically able? I'm not clued up on the inner workings of Konami, but why would there be resistance?
KC and I have been in contact with members of the Suikoden Team and Konami executives over the past year. KC with Japanese staff and myself with American execs. We have both heard that Konami -from the artists to the executives- are well aware of the failings of Teirkries and do not wish to see the loyal fanbase offended by a new title. I would much rather of had Junko Kawano helm this project than Mr. Komuta, but unfortunately that is the way it has worked out.
In terms of the "political" sides of the issue, there are several considerations. 1) Take the example of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. This is a game that was developed independently by a Spanish company, gotten a hold of by an American producer and Hideo Kojima, then released with only minor tie-ins to the original Castlvania series. This was an issue of debate within Konami, as many of the Japanese staff were offended that a traditionally Japanese game was handed over to the Spanish and American teams, to mediocre results. (Sound Familiar?) So, in response to this internal backlash, Konami promised fans (and their own staff) that the next Lords of Shadow would be more closely tied to traditional Castlevania. In addition, they released Castlevania: Harmony of Despair for PSN and XBL. (Note, Konami claimed to have sold 1 million copies of Lords, so the sequel -by all means- is inevitable.)
Also, there are conversations (i.e. Arguments) going on as to the content a modern RPG should contain. They have been watching the success of Dragon Age and other games very closely. Many are resistant to changing the basic content of the games, while some see it as necessary for Konami to become a real player in the RPG genre. We have yet to see how this will pan out. But with Komuta and Kawano involved, I doubt we will see anything beyond a Teen ESRB rating. Though, in Suikoden II, it was strongly implied that Jillia was the result of an act of sexual violence perpetrated by the people who kidnapped Luca and the Queen. In this sense, we may see these types of plot points move into the open, rather than just being implied.
The third major political issue is one of marketing. Currently, Konami is stumped as to how to market what they see as a "J-RPG" to western buyers. The people I have talked to implied that they are trying to get the Japanese staff to realize that the western market cares little for the idea of a "western" or a "Japanese" RPG so long as it is a good game, but unfortunately they are fighting some executives that want to keep the distinctions between the two clear.
But, there are several things that people in Konami both in the west and Japan agree on. First, that the Suikoden series should continue. And second, that Konami wishes to have a strong market presence in the RPG genre. So, while these basic policies remain, I am not too concerned about the series dying, yet.
There are other issues as well. Much of the development budget is centered around alternative interface games, as Konami is hungry for another hit like DDR. Also, Metal Gear Rising and other Projects that Hideo Kojima is involved in get top priority nowadays, forcing RPG projects to the back burners. Though, the promotion of Mr. Kojima himself was really a political move, not only to keep Kojima productions closely tied to Konami, but also to signal investors and staff that Konami wants to make games driven by its talented developers and artists, and not return to the mid-nineties folly of releasing tie-ins all running the same basic engine.
So, there are lots of things going on inside Konami right now. And not a whole lot of this makes it easier for a possible Suikoden VI to be released. But, I think this game is a good sign, and really just the spearhead of a larger movement by Konami to take a foothold onto the RPG genre.
Unlike KC I edit my posts! *ahem*
Anyway, AS KC said, the Japanese staff as well as American Execs keep their eyes on Suikosource, as much as their English will allow. They really do not want to make anyone mad, but Tierkreis was essentially a failed attempt at reviving the series. I think this is public knowledge, but Junko Kawano put up a lot of her own personal money to make Suikoden IV, and as a result, she is the person most responsible for keeping the series going after Mr. Murayama's departure. We can pick on SIV and Tierkreis all we want -and many of our grievences are valid- but in the end they each succeeded in bringing new fans to the series and continuing on. Bad games happen, even in the best of series. And at this point, all we can do is wait to see what happens, and make our opinions on the new title clear.