SUIKODEN II SCRAPPED SECRET DUNGEON DETAILS
Write-up by Omnigamer
Special thanks to ne_ya and Pyriel on suikosource for digging into the details
I mentioned in a tweet a few weeks ago that dialog and some maps were discovered buried in the code for Suikoden II. New information on that front has been coming out, but it looks like we've reached the end of what was left behind in the game files. So, I decided it would be good to give a brief summary of what has been found and some inferences about how it was intended to be used in-game. Full details are in the thread here: http://suikosource.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13984
-In Sajah Village, the last accessible location in the game, there is a conspicuous rock behind one of the fields. Using some sprite and background magicry, a cave/opening was discovered behind this rock. It has no usable functionality in the final game, though.
-Pyriel long ago stumbled upon what he first considered a "testing dungeon" used by the developers for debugging purposes. It was composed of relatively few rooms and some simple art assets, but caused crashes when trying to progress at certain points.
-Just a few weeks ago, ne_ya found unused portions of the Japanese script left in code files tied to Sajah Village. Translating these lines revealed a dialog between the Hero and a special Rune that is otherwise not in the game. Parsing out the lines turns into a sequence of questions relating to "taking a different path," "leaving a last record," and "lose all allies and friends that joined you."
-Parsing out the expected flow of the dialog, it is pretty clear that the rune is asking the hero whether or not he wants to start over, ie a new path. This, and the fact that it asks you to "leave a record" (save) are pretty strong indications that this was meant to lead into a new game+ of sorts.
-The assets for the dungeon itself are incomplete, but enough is available to piece together its intended construction. The Hero would have had to navigate 8 "arms" of the dungeon to activate an orb at the end of each. This would have allowed for opening a special door.
-Some of the dialog indicates either a boss battle, or just a reference to the challenge itself in order to get the option for the NG+ mode.
-There are a number of oddities with the current epilogue of the game as-is. A number of items are only obtainable in this epilogue, but you are barred from changing your party for its duration. This makes the items useless for reasonable purposes. Having a NG+ would give them significance, as well as some of the other end-game items such as the Champion Rune.
-Suikoden II is relatively short by PS1 RPG standards (20-30 hours for a blind playthrough). However, it has a number of significant story decisions and blocks. These include things like Clive's Quest, which has time requirements, windows in the story for getting specific recruits, and even your own choices as to who to recruit (large beasts, for example). In addition, the best ending can only be achieved by getting all recruits and meeting a few other circumstances. Providing a second opportunity to pursue these would fit really well with the idea that you could play multiple times in succession, a la new game+.
-The "new path" wording is also somewhat ambiguous. It may strictly refer to going through the game's events again, but it also opens up the possibilities for other changes in the overall story direction, for example Riou receiving the Black Sword rune instead of the Bright Shield rune. No further indicators exist that this was intended, but it's a consideration.
That about sums it up. It's a shame this never made it into the final version; it would have made an amazing game all the better. There are a few scant other clues about the dungeon and design choices behind it, but right now there just isn't enough available to fully realize what could have been. In any case, the fact that this was found at all is a testament to the devotion of the community and the legacy of the game itself.