Nihon Falcom Corp. - Interview

HiddenX

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Gamespot interviewed Toshihiro Kondo, the president of Nihon Falcom:

What's Next After A 20-Year-Old RPG Series Ends? Ys And Trails Director Toshihiro Kondo Talks Falcom's Future

Kondo sat down with GameSpot to discuss Falcom's future, the studio's localization efforts, and how he sees studios like From Software and Atlus as allies in the quest to keep JRPGs thriving.

As a long-time fan of linear, turn-based RPGs, I've spent my fair share of time lamenting the fact that the Golden Age of this genre--which I'd define as the '90s through early 2000s--is well behind us. However, after years of both the genre and the gaming industry as a whole evolving and expanding, time has finally come to admit it: There's never been a better time to be a fan of JRPGs. Between the influx of remakes, remasters, and spiritual successors, and the plethora of new titles from both indie and larger-scale studios, the hardest part of being a fan nowadays is simply finding the time to play them all.

Toshihiro Kondo, the president of Nihon Falcom and one of the key developers behind the Ys and Trails series, feels similarly. The term JRPGs was previously used somewhat degradingly in Western countries, and those who played them were smaller in number and a bit more isolated from the rest of the gaming community at large. Kondo is one of the developers who is proud of what the genre has come to stand for and now embraces the term--as well as his various peers who he sees as allies in the quest to keep the genre that's come to define his career alive and thriving.

As Falcom fans are surely well aware, Kondo and his team have been more than doing their part to ensure this is the case. Just this past week, Falcom released The Legend of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak in Europe and North America to critical acclaim. The studio also announced its sequel--Trails Through Daybreak 2--is already in the process of being translated into English and is headed our way early next year. Additionally, the tenth entry in the Ys series, Ys X: Nordics, is slated for release this October. And yet, this is just a small look at what Falcom is up to.

Kondo sat down with GameSpot for an exclusive interview on what's next for the studio, particularly as it begins to wrap up the Trails series--which began in 2004--for good. With a team of now-veteran developers full of ideas (and a bit worn down from working on long-running series), the team is ready to showcase new ideas, new IPs, and their new business model, which leverages the studio's reputation and smaller-scale to create unique projects and expand the JRPG genre. Regardless of if you're a longtime fan of the studio--or a newcomer who's been a bit overwhelmed by its vast catalog of games--there's never been a better time to turn your eyes towards the company.

GameSpot: It was mentioned in the press release that Trails Through Daybreak was a good starting point for newcomers in the series. How, in the midst of a fairly large series, do you ensure that? And what do you think makes that arc so special?

Toshihiro Kondo: Trails is, like you said, incredibly interconnected and features many recurring characters across its various entries. And so the way we handle that is twofold; Firstly, we create ample in-game materials so that players can reference characters or events that came out before to get themselves up to speed. And second, you'll notice that, in conversations, if a character hasn't come out in a while they will kind of reintroduce themselves. Either that or other characters will introduce them, talk about them, or reference things that they've done in the past, so that players don't feel too lost in terms of what had come before.

[As for Trails Through Daybreak,] up until now, the main characters have been allies of justice, if you will. But the main character in this game's a little bit different. I guess you could say he's in the cracks, between all of these different elements of society.

And you've got the government, you've got criminal organizations, and you also have these people from the Far East--this is the first time in the series we really see a lot of people from the Far East all in one place. So it's a really multifaceted game with lots of different factions and parties and things working against each other. It's interesting finding a way to align yourself with these different things.

[...]
Thanks Couchpotato!

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An excellent interview and these blokes will always have me as a fan simply for making these games available to the computer audience.
Agreed. PC should be the standard platform for all games as it is the only one that has proven to have staying power. Be it emulators, backwards compatability, remasters, remakes or just plain running the original executables - the humble PC is miles ahead of all other platforms. All published games deserve to be preserved for historical purposes at the very least.
 
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