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How Suikoden Influenced Deus Ex And Epic Mickey


Deus Ex and Epic Mickey creator, Warren Spector, has been influenced over the years by a Japanese RPG series whose name doesn’t come up all that often anymore—Suikoden. Speaking with Pixelitis, Spector recently shared that the Suikoden series’ influence on him goes as far back as the very first Deus Ex game.


“Without going into too much geeky detail, there are two moments in Suikoden where you are confronted with a choice,” Spector recalls. “You are in the game world, and then a little box shows up in the corner that gives you a Yes/No choice. It’s ‘Do you leave your friend here to die or do you help him?’ And then at the end there is a ‘Do you fight your father? Yes/No.’ And, the thing was, in both cases it was a false choice.”


“But I remember how powerful it was,” Spector continues. “I remember playing Suikoden, putting the controller down and going ‘Holy Cow, this has nothing to do with what the character would do, or the story, it’s who am I as a human being? Me? If that was a real choice, it would be the most amazing moment in the history of videogames, and I said ‘I’m going to make a game that has the most amazing moment in the history of videogames!’”


Spector is an outspoken advocate of player choice in videogames, which is something he constantly says he wants to express through the Epic Mickey games as well. In fact, the Suikoden influence carries over into the upcoming Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion on the Nintendo 3DS as well, although in a different way.


“There’s also a fortress mode [in Power of Illusion],” Spector shared. “I’ve wanted to do this in every game I’ve done since I’ve played—there’s a game called Suikoden many years ago on the PS1, and I have written a customizable fortress into every design document I’ve worked on since then, and I’ve [had to] cut it from [each one] I’ve written since then. This time, it didn’t get cut.”


In the Suikoden games, you’re usually housed within a castle of some sort. Over the course of the game, as you recruit more of the game’s characters to join you, your army grows along with the activity in your castle.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.