The new Shiren the Wanderer game contains a message from a developer worried about the future of the franchise

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2020-12-03 19:35 (JST)
Translated by. Ari Clark

On December 3, Spike Chunsoft released Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate for the Nintendo Switch/Steam. The game is based on the version that was released in 2015 for the PlayStation Vita, but adds several changes, including an item that alludes to a new release in the Shiren the Wanderer series.

Specifically, someone called “Tomie”, who says he has worked at Spike Chunsoft for many years, tells players in-game that “if each and every one of our fans makes their voices heard, the company might actually be moved to act”.

The Shiren the Wanderer series is a franchise that has been ongoing since Chunsoft released Mystery Dungeon 2: Shiren the Wanderer for the Super Famicom in 1995. Although there have been different protagonists and small changes to the system between installments in the series, they all basically focus on a wanderer called Shiren as he travels through randomly generated dungeons.

This roguelike dungeon-crawling RPGs, has earned its longstanding popularity in Japan due to its randomized elements, which provide high replay value, and its high difficulty level, which appeals to hardcore gamers.

The series has not released a new game in the main numbered sequence since Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate (referred to as Shiren the Wanderer 5 in Japan) was released for the Nintendo DS in 2010. Although fans gave rave reviews to Mystery Dungeon 2: Shiren the Wanderer, as well as Shiren the Wanderer 2: Demon Invasion! Shiren Castle! (for the Nintendo 64), released in 2000, and Shiren the Wanderer Side Story: The Swordswoman Asuka Arrives! (for the Dreamcast/PC), released in 2002, the more recent releases in the series have received a mixed reception mostly due to their newer elements.

Sales have been steadily declining since Shiren the Wanderer 3: The Clockwork Mansion and the Sleeping Princess (released as simply Shiren the Wanderer in North America), which is another possible reason why new games aren’t being released.

The message hidden in the Nintendo Switch/Steam version of  Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate suggests that a new game could be a possibility for this franchise, which hasn’t released an all-new game in a long time. In the message, someone called “Tomie” who says he has worked for Spike Chunsoft for many years refers to the finances and the state of affairs within the company, and tells the player that the company could be influenced if enough fans make their voices heard.

The message can be viewed by checking the reward for beating The Pinnacle. The Pinnacle is a dungeon that can be played from the Dungeon Center in Nekomaneki Village. If you get past the powerful monsters and travel successfully to the 10th floor, you can get a special pot which warns you not to push it. If you do push the pot, it suddenly starts to talk to you, displaying a text box from someone called “Tomie” who says he’s already getting close to retirement age.

Shin-ichiro Tomie is a member of the Spike Chunsoft team who has worked with them for many years on design and scenarios for the Shiren the Wanderer and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series. It seems fair to assume that “Tomie” refers to Shin-ichiro Tomie.

After mentioning the work of the series’ staff, “Tomie” alludes to his concerns about new games in the Shiren series. “I’m an indecisive person, but if someone would at least give me a push, I could take the plunge on making a game…” “So please, if you can…would you raise your voice…? If each and every one of our fans makes their voices heard… the company might actually be moved to act,” he says, in an appeal to the fans.

“Tomie” goes on to say that, if he gets the opportunity to make a new game, he’ll give it everything he’s got and work hard to provide fans with a game that they will agree compares favorably with beloved games like the original Shiren, Shiren 2, and Asuka Appears!

In their announcement of the smartphone version of Shiren the Wanderer, Spike Chunsoft stated on their official website, “We’re thinking about how we want to move forward as we continue to develop Shiren one step at a time, starting with this game.” If these two voices from within Spike Chunsoft can unite with the voice of the fans, a future might await in which the company moves toward new releases in the Shiren the Wanderer series.