Thanks to a recent fan translation of a nine-year-old PlayStation Portable game, every instalment of the Suikoden role-playing franchise is now playable in English.
Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki, or roughly Suikoden: Woven Web of the Centuries, arrived on PlayStation Portable in early 2012. It’s both the last game released in the fan-favourite role-playing series and the last Suikoden game to go untranslated from its native Japanese. And while it doesn’t look like Konami is planning a return to the franchise any time soon, English-speaking fans can finally play Suikoden: Woven Web of the Centuries in a language they understand.
The project in question is a collaboration between German translators Twisted Phoenix Game Translation, the unofficial Suikoden wiki Gensopedia, and a group of hardcore series stalwarts known as the Suikoden Revival Movement. According to the official website, Suikoden: Woven Web of the Centuries’ script added up to around 25,000 lines of dialogue, totaling 220,000 words. That includes translations of the original Japanese graphics and captions for the animated cutscenes. All told, quite an achievement.
In a nice touch, if you’ve already started playing the game in Japanese, rest assured that your save file will carry over after applying the English patch.
Suikoden first debuted on the PlayStation in 1995, setting itself apart from its role-playing contemporaries by providing a vast number of characters with which to build one’s party. This soon became the series’ core gimmick, with each new game boasting 108 potential party members (or “Stars of Destiny,” as the franchise frequently calls them) for recruiting across their lengthy, engrossing adventures.
While several games in the series — including every mainline release up to and including 2006’s Suikoden V on the PlayStation 2 — received official localisation, some required fan intervention to break the language barrier. Early aughts Game Boy Advance spin-off Genso Suikoden Card Stories, for instance, went untouched for over a decade before finally being translated into English in 2013.
Technically, there remains one more elusive Suikoden game without an English translation, the PlayStation Portable collection Genso Suikoden I & II. But seeing as the compilation is merely a re-release of the first two installments, both of which were localised by Konami on PlayStation shortly after the release of their Japanese counterparts, its untranslated status is mostly an argument of semantics.
Apart from these fan translations, the soul of Suikoden may live on in the upcoming Eiyuden Chronicle. Directed by Suikoden creator Yoshitaka Murayama and set to arrive on most major gaming platforms in 2023, the promising-looking spiritual successor recently amassed over $US4 ($5) million in donations from 46,307 backers, making it Kickstarter’s third most successful video game campaign after Shenmue III and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
Suikoden fans have long felt abandoned by Konami, but thankfully, unofficial translations like this keep the series alive. For more details on how to play Suikoden: Woven Web of the Centuries in English, visit the project’s official website.