In a recent interview with EGM, Suikoden character designer and producer Junko Kawano shed some more light on the series' fourth installment. Development on Suikoden IV actually began already prior to the completion of Suikoden III. While Kawano commented she was not involved in the story of the third game, she was paying close attention to its development, as she is aiming to take the series into a new direction. As previously reported, a key element of Suikoden IV's story will be the Rune of Punishment (which is being carried by the protagonist). Punishment, forgiveness and atonement for past sins will be the game's main themes. Since the game's stage will be the ocean, there will be a lot of ships. In the beginning players will be able to steer those vessels manually, but later in the game there might be a more automatic mechanism.
Fighting will be more reminiscent of the series' first two entries this time, even though the development team aims to add some unique features as well. Regarding the issue of voice acting, Kawano mentioned she wanted players to immerse themselves entirely into the world of Suikoden and voice acting would definitely add passion to the story's presentation. Nonetheless, the team at Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo will rather rely on in-game visuals rather than CG movies to power the game's cut scenes. Asked about the 108 Stars of Destiny, Kawano conceded that she did not create all of them herself, rather approved the works of a team of designers. Her favorite characters are the cat people. Regarding a sequel to the PlayStation 2 adventure title Shadow of Memories (Shadow of Destiny in the US), the producer mentioned she would like to do one, if Konami let her.
Suikoden IV will be available in Japan this summer.