The latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine has provided plenty of new information on Suikoden V for the PlayStation 2, both in the gameplay and character departments. The game is the latest in Konami's long-running RPG series, and this entry will take players to the Queendom of Falena.
As to the battles, Suikoden V will ditch Suikoden IV's four member battle parties, instead bringing back the six member parties which marked the first three games. The title will also restore the series' battle formations, though this time around, the structure will be a bit looser. Rather than pigeonholing the team into a formation of two three-character rows, Suikoden V will be able to lay out all six characters in an arc or create three rows of one, two, and three characters. Other battle formations also remain a possibility.
The Suikoden series has always involved characters making appearances in multiple titles, and Suikoden V will be no exception, as the magazine confirms one character from a prior title who will show up: Suikoden II's Georg Prime. Georg's appearance indicates that Suikoden V will take place in a similar timeframe as the first three games of the series.
In addition to the one confirmed returning character, quite a few new characters have been introduced as well. One prominent new character is Knight Captain Felid, who is the husband of Falena's Queen Alshtat. His daughter, Limsleia, is the sister of the game's hero. They'll be joined by Miakis, Galeon, Kyle, and the dog-man Fuwala-fuwalu, though nothing is known about these four. Additionally, there will be a powerful mage named Zerase who joins the 108 Stars of Destiny.
One other trademark of the Suikoden series is the strategists who join the Stars of Destiny to advise the hero in military matters, and Shonen Jump talks a bit about the character who will fill that role in Suikoden V. Lucredia is a woman with a cold, calculating, and logical mind, all of which is belied by her pleasant, quiet manner. She is assisted by Shius, a veteran soldier who follows the book to the letter, and Lelei, Shius' partner.
Suikoden V will be released to Japanese retailers on February 23 2006. While a North American release has been confirmed by Konami, no specific dates have been given yet. You can read RPGamer's impression of the game here.