Suikoden’s Southern Expansion Policy or: The Kooluk Conundrum

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Normally I use this blog to talk meta about the Suikoden series as a whole but I’m going to shake things up slightly with a look at the introduction and resolution to a self-inflicted problem: Kooluk.

When Suikoden IV was announced and it was revealed that the antagonist force would be something called the Kooluk Empire, a northern continent nation located to the immediate south of the Scarlet Moon Empire, some lore enthusiast fans had questions. Actually, they really only had one question. Where was Kooluk in the first Suikoden?

The idea that there was this large, militaristic nation, one stated to have an antagonistic relationship with its northern neighbour, that was not even mentioned in the first game seemed ludicrous to some fans. It would appear that at least some people involved in the creative end of the series agreed as Suikoden Tactics (Rhapsodia in Japan) would be dedicated to tying up the Kooluk loose-end.

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10 Years and 20,000 Leagues – The Suikoden IV Retrospective

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In August of 2004, Gensosuikoden IV was released in Japan. Since that day, it has been held up as the Anti-Christ of the series, the game that shattered the ethos of the Suikoden series and left fans and Konami alike to try and pick up the pieces. It has also been championed by a minority who feel it is a hidden gem; a game that wasn’t exactly what people imagined it would be and was damned regardless of its positive features. Whatever opinion you hold, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that for the series as a whole, Suikoden IV was one of the most important titles.

It came out in a time of, what could be retrospectively be called, naive optimism for the fandom. With the success and high critical regard given to Suikoden III, it would appear that Suikoden IV would continue to lead the charge for the series as it approached its tenth year.
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