Tributes to Yoshitaka Murayama

On February 6, 2024, RPGamers woke up to the news that Suikoden creator Yoshitaka Murayama had died at the age of 55 due to complications with an ongoing illness. This news sent shockwaves of sadness throughout the Suikoden fanbase and larger RPG community alike, especially given that Murayama’s latest project, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, is releasing very soon. As a writer, Murayama wanted to tell realistic stories that focused on emotional depth. He wanted his characters, particularly the supporting ones, to be full of life and personality, which Suikoden as a series has always had in spades.

Murayama’s loss to the RPG community leaves such a large hole. A few of the RPGamer staff needed time to compress their feelings about his passing, and these are their tributes.


My sustained appreciation for RPGs and growth as a person is undoubtedly connected with Suikoden and more importantly Yoshitaka Murayama’s vivid interpretation of world-building and character creation. I have made lifelong friends due to our shared admiration for Murayama’s work. Who knows how my life would be different without the influence of what would become my favorite RPG series of all time? 

It all happened randomly, in my teenage years. I used to go to bookstores and sift through all the strategy guides for any things RPG-related. A slick black book with a name I was unfamiliar with — Suikoden — caught my eye. After perusing this book for all the information I could collect, I had to find out more about this game. I became addicted to Suikoden and devoured the first game. I did the same with Suikoden II, and eventually Suikoden III. I would venture to the deepest darkest crevices of the internet to find small tidbits of information from the Japanese exclusive games.

I consumed all things related to the series up until Suikoden IV’s release, and then it became apparent, the magic had faded. Little did I know then that Murayama, the force behind the first three Suikoden games had been let go by Konami. Suikoden IV felt different, and then I realized that with Murayama’s departure, the series would never be the same. 

There was a void left by Suikoden that most RPGs couldn’t fill. Murayama would collaborate and work on a few RPGs since, but it wasn’t until the announcement of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes that the spark reignited. The man whose stories filled my life with joy was back and he was creating a game that was everything I loved in those old Suikoden games. I was instantly hooked and was an early backer of the Kickstarter project. 

I waited patiently for Eiyuden. I knew with Murayama as the lead director behind the project, there was little doubt I would love this game. Then we got the tragic news of his passing, and I couldn’t process it at first. I was devastated. There was some selflessness behind my sadness because I knew Suikoden was truly dead. I have played a bit of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and the Murayama magic is evident. This may be the last game he gets to enchant with his splendor, but the memories he created will be cherished forever. — Ryan Radcliff

Yoshitaka Murayama is one of the first video game writers I knew by name. Many scenario writers go unsung, but the unique medium allows so many moments to stand out. Yoshitaka Murayama had the skill of weaving heartfelt moments of joy, anger, surprise, and fear together with a sprawling cast in ways that I hadn’t seen before.  These are best shown through the interconnected world of Suikoden and Suikoden II.

Long before I knew of the sprawling history of Nihon Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes series and the Social Linking of Persona games there was Suikoden. Suikoden accomplishes a lot with less; these are sprawling stories with 108 recruitable characters and more limited dialogue than modern titles have. Every character has at least one moment to shine, whether it is through a world-building sidequest or an underlying part of the main quest there’s something contributed to the story.

Suikoden and Suikoden II stand out to me because of the sheer amount of characters that have growth and importance to the story. Side characters feel more important because the main character is silent, this is done stylistically to show how the driving force and beating heart of a great story don’t have to lie within one character or a select few. The level of connection and care that a cast of over 108 characters can have is staggering and has stuck with me. Bringing out heartfelt emotions from a cast of dozens and weaving them so deftly together is often only seen in novels or TV shows, Yoshitaka Murayama solidified that it can also happen in video games. — Ryan Costa  

I felt immense sadness with Yoshitaka Murayama’s passing. Suikoden as a series holds a special place in my heart, as it helped me forge friendships, find community, and taught me a lot as a pre-teen about the power of empathy and finding courage during hardship. While I wrote a longer piece about Murayama and the power of community, on a personal level, there is something about his loss that leaves such a hole in the RPG community. Perhaps it was because he told stories that empowered the downtrodden, or maybe it was because he created worlds that were so easy to fall into.

There is a beauty in the Suikoden universe, and something that for me, the later games struggled to capture. There was a genuineness in the game’s storytelling, it’s humor, and characterization. Suikoden is a series that provided me with a lot of comfort, especially in times when my life was changing, and it allowed me to create my own stories through bad clipart and PowerPoint. The joy that the series brought to my friends and me is unparalleled, and we often reminisced, whether it was writing in our play-by-email / forum / LiveJournal fiction games, cosplay, or even homemade doujinshi. His work is a huge part of my life, and I hope that Murayama-san is smiling down on everyone, especially as Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes draws near. — Sam Wachter

We hope you enjoyed our tributes to Yoshitaka Murayama, and we wish his friends and family all the best given their loss. Murayama’s genuineness is a loss to the RPG and gaming community as a whole. May he rest in peace.

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