I've never had a single iota of interest in Suikoden. The villain of the second installment is routinely held up by Suikoden's boosters as one of the greatest characters in video games, and their rationale rests on one of two arguments: a) there's a scene where he guts a helpless civilian while calling them a pig that gets a lot of people hard, and b) he kills a lot of people. Any franchise where those are the best arguments in its favor is not one I'm compelled to know.

There are many reasons to like villains. They might have style. They might be interesting characterwise, allowing the story to explore neglected parts of the psyche. They might be grappling with challenges and injustices to which a more-naive hero might be blind. (This is particularly true in video games, a medium where adolescents are frequently the target audience and the models for the heroes, who consequently are caught up in adolescent goals like proving their worth and might be oblivious to concerns outside that narrow focus.) They even might actually be right.

Sheer death toll is not among these reasons. Now, with the announcement of a Suikoden remaster, we'll again be regaled with what a storytelling and/or erotic masterstroke it is to tell someone to die like a pig. I look forward to this like getting teeth drilled.

Besides, if sheer murder is the sole metric for great villainy, then I ask you: has Suikoden II's villain ever punched a man's head clear off his shoulders? I submit not.

(That extraordinarily valiant last stand by the deceased deserves more respect than any idea presented by Camp Pig Stick.)

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