Legendary Japanese Game Developer Returns After Two Decades

An anonymous reader shares a report: In the late 1990s, Yoshitaka Murayama made a name for himself among a subset of video game fans by creating and directing Suikoden, a series of Japanese roleplaying games (RPGs) that became beloved for their scope and depth. A catchy way to think of them is "Game of Thrones" meets Pokemon. But in 2002, as the third Suikoden game was finishing development, Murayama quit his job at the game publisher Konami Holdings and went off on his own. In the two decades that followed, he didn't work on many games of note, leaving fans to wonder what had become of him. Eventually Konami abandoned the Suikoden franchise, perhaps believing that RPGs weren't lucrative enough. In the early 2010s, players started asking Murayama: why not fund a new RPG on Kickstarter? In the summer of 2020, Murayama finally answered fans' wishes. He raised 481.6 million yen (around $4.5 million at the time) from more than 46,000 backers, with a Kickstarter for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, a spiritual successor to the Suikoden series. It became the No. 1 video game on Kickstarter that year. Getting to that point was a long journey, Murayama told me in a recent interview. He said he only started seriously considering a Kickstarter after meeting up with some of his old collaborators, such as artist Junko Kawano, at a concert for Suikoden music. Murayama was also driven by the success of Nintendo's Octopath Traveler, which has sold more than 2.5 million copies since its release in 2018. The audience for turn-based RPGs had been "shrinking," Murayama said, but Octopath Traveler proved that âoethere is a promising marketâ for games like his.

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