During the PlayStation Festa event held on March 9 in Korea, Nihon Falcom’s president Toshihiro Kondo participated in a Q&A session, sharing development updates on the upcoming Ys IX: Monstrum Nox and the next games of the Kiseki/Trails series. Here’s a summary of what he said:
Multiple developers at Falcom wish to make a new crossover title, with most of them wanting to make a spiritual successor to Ys Vs Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga, which released on PSP in 2010. Nothing is set in stone yet, however.
Ys: Memories of Celceta is coming to PS4 in Japan, and Falcom is thinking of bringing other older Ys games to newer consoles like PS4 as well. Kondo said that fans should tell them which Ys games they’d like to play again.
As he previously stated, Kondo once again repeated that they’re working on the next main Kiseki series game, but that they also wish to make another new game linked to Trails of Cold Steel, to cover events that weren’t shown in the four Trails of Cold Steel games. The Kiseki series reaches its 15th anniversary this June, and we’ll learn more before then.
Kondo also mentioned they already decided in which region the next Kiseki main game will be set in: it’s the region where the Calvard Republic is based, in the east of the Zemuria continent. Stories about the eastern part of the continent were mentioned through the Kiseki games, and we’ll soon be able to see it ourselves.
Falcom is already hard at work on the next main Kiseki game, and seeing it’s a big game that will take a while, they decided to split the Kiseki development team in two, so fans won’t wait too long for another game. The second team is working on another game which should release sooner. This second team will basically handle side stories-like games, showing us elements in the Kiseki series we’ve always wanted to know, or letting us do things we’ve always wanted to do.
As usual in these kinds of events or interviews, Kondo also spoke about how Falcom is a relatively small company but full of talented people. He stated that he’s aware of how graphics aren’t Falcom’s strongest point, especially when they show their games at events, which makes them easily comparable with other studios’ works. He added that Trails of Cold Steel 3 was the first Kiseki game made specifically for PlayStation 4, without a Vita version, and so they tried to improve the graphics at that point. With Ys IX, they’ll try to improve the graphics even further, most notably through the use of motion capture, which they’re using to a certain extent. Falcom will keep trying to improve their games’ graphics over time, as together with 2D illustrations, graphics are the first things players notice.
At the same time, Kondo praised his team and mentioned how there aren’t many Japanese development studios nowadays who can release one 50-80 hours long RPG per year, a pace they’ve been keeping for at least 10 years now. He mentioned how Falcom usually takes one year to make a new RPG, and up to three if it’s really big.
Kondo mentioned how each Kiseki game usually has at least 20 hours of cutscenes. Spending two years of development on CG cutscenes and the like will make them look much better, but they don’t have that luxury. If they wanted to increase their quality, the time gap between each Kiseki game’s release would be much longer. So it’s a compromise they decided on. Kondo joked that if they decided to work longer on the games to increase the cutscenes’ graphics quality, they probably wouldn’t finish the Kiseki series before his death.
Besides this, Kondo also spoke about his personal history, and some development details on Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana:
Kondo spoke about how in the past he particularly liked The Legend of Heroes III: The Moonlight Witch. Playing the game moved him to tears and made him think about making a game with a similar story. He appreciated how the game has the characters following the footsteps of the White Witch, learning more about her deeds during their journey, and finally finding out what happened to her. Kondo used to take care of a fan site about the game, and Falcom back then noticed the site, and decided to hire him.
Kondo’s current favorite character is Dana from Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. Feena and Reah from Ys 1 and 2 still leave a strong impression on players to this day, and the initial idea behind Dana’s concept was how to make a strong female character that would leave as much as an impression if not bigger. As Feena and Reah weren’t playable, they thought that playing as Dana could have a stronger effect. At the same time, Falcom thought some fans wouldn’t like it if Ys VIII had parts where Adol wasn’t the protagonist. That’s why they went with the dream mechanic.
We should learn more about the next Kiseki game, along with the first trailer of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox. at Dengeki Game Festival 2019 on March 24.
Falcom also published on Twitter a higher resolution of the screenshot showing the playable character with the red scarf in Ys IX. You can find it below. There are seven playable characters confirmed so far: Adol, that red-scarf person, and the five Monstrum. You can read more details in our previous story. Ys IX is scheduled to launch for PS4 in Fall in Japan.
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