Falcom presented an opportunity over the weekend to hear from Japan’s “number one” White Witch fan! That would be president Toshihiro Kondo himself. A small group from the jdk Band also assembled to perform an acoustic concert that was focused entirely on White Witch, as well, since it had its 20th anniversary last week.
This is the second event of its kind this year. At the previous, they spent a lot of time talking about the new untitled game as well as Sen no Kiseki II and the Kiseki series as a whole, since it, too, celebrates a milestone 10th anniversary this year.
The event was divided into three sections- the first featured the acoustic performance, the second focused on White Witch, and the third focused on Sen no Kiseki II and Ao no Kiseki Evolution- but it somehow managed to still have some minor deviations back to White Witch.
The setlist from the performance is below:
1. Once More, the Legend of Heroes (Mou Hitotsu no Eiyuutachi no Densetsu)
2. Mountain Path
3. Afternoon at the Beach (Hamabe no Gogo)
4. Forest of Doubt (Mayoi no Mori)
5. Strong Enemy!! (Kyouteki!!)
6. Those Eyes, That Bravery, and That Kindness (Sono Hitomi, Sono Yuuki, Sono Yasashiisa de)
7. The Little Heroes – The Great Adventure of Jurio and Chris (Chiisana Eiyuu – Jurio to Chris no Daibouken)
In attendance were Toshiharu Okajima (Okaji) on the drums, Atsushi Enomoto (Bass Ouji) on bass, Daisuke Miyazaki on guitar, and Mizuki Mizutani for vocals and violin. Okaji also got to play the “MC” role, a role he wasn’t quite prepared for, so it caused some amusing rambling from him, but it was a great, if not short, but that wasn’t the only focus of the show.
There were many songs performed by the band for the first time, and the biggest surprise was the lack of Kanako Kotera. Instead, during the sixth song, they had Mizuki sing it- and her voice was beautiful.
During the second section, Kondo brought out a folder of early development materials for White Witch and he and Okaji discussed them. This included the early proposal with the original ideas for the game, and many character design sketches from the Sega Saturn version.
When it came time for the two of them to take a break from the second section, Kondo and Okaji actually remained on stage and kept chatting. It was a lot of fun to watch this, because it was very clear to see how much of a fan of this series Kondo is- it’s clear that his love for White Witch has not faded since he began working at Falcom.
During the break, Okaji asked Kondo about the writing in Falcom’s games, and he went on to talk about writing in the games- how it sometimes ends up being ‘pyramid shaped.’ Writing starts out short, but it gets lengthier as it goes on. A big deal with it is that they try to make it easy to read- that it never seems like you’re reading that much text.
The second section was on the development state of Sen no Kiseki II and Okaji trying to find out the game’s release date.
One of the things brought for this was a comparison sample of the animation from Sen no Kiseki to Sen no Kiseki II. The video shown had Alisa running the same path on the map, then one of Laura doing the same. The enhancements to the character animation are clear: there’s more animation to the character’s hair, for example- and Laura and Alisa both seem to have a different ‘weight’ to their own steps, which would not be surprising, considering the differences in characters.
You can see the examples in the video below, along with video of Rean riding a motorcycle, as well.
Regarding the state of development, the system has mostly been implemented, the script has been inserted into the game, and the assembly of event scenes is currently on-going. Kondo emphasizes that the massive scripts of the Kiseki games are one of the big draws to the series; as a result, not only does much of the development work on a Kiseki title involve the script itself, but work on it usually goes through to the end. At this time, the whole company is focused on Sen no Kiseki II, even.
Kondo also brought some images from the storyboard of Sen no Kiseki II’s opening, and they had the opportunity to display new images of Rean and Alisa from it.
The PV for Ao no Kiseki Evolution:
They continue on to talk about Ao no Kiseki Evolution, and Okaji starts bringing in some samples of the new arrangements. He would start with playing the original version, then play the new Evolution version as well. There was an emphasis that somehow live recordings tend to have a better feel to them, and they tried to keep in that area. They took the time to play through the game and see what was particularly strong of the pieces in each of the scenes and utilize them. The sample tracks that were played were varied- but when they got to the final track that Okaji would show off, Concentrate All Firepower!!, Okaji mentioned that it became the basis of the new theme song, Azure Wish.
You can hear the OP version of the piece below:
First surprise about Azure Wish is that its lead vocals are not Kanako Kotera- though she is present in the song’s chorus. The song is also performed by the jdk Band as well.
After the topic of music, they brought the conversation back around to Sen no Kiseki II. When he was asked about when Sen II will take place, Kondo answered saying that it will focus on the civil war within Erebonia intensifying and tell the story about that. Sen no Kiseki II will have a relationship with Ao no Kiseki, as there will be things going on at the same time- and some questions from Ao no Kiseki may even be addressed.
Of course, Okaji asked the big question then: when will Sen no Kiseki II be released. “That’s still a secret,” answered Kondo. Okaji asked if it would be in September, and Kondo answered that he should wait for the upcoming announcement on the release date.
The date of next Falcom Acoustic Live and Talk Show has been decided on already- it will be on 6/8/2014, a few days before the release of Ao no Kiseki Evolution. While they still don’t know the theme for the next show, attendees were shouting for things like Sora no Kiseki (Trails in the Sky), A Tear of Vermillion, Gurumin and the Dragon Slayer 30th Anniversary. Kondo also said that he would like to talk about Cagesong of the Ocean, as well.
I will keep reporting on what I hear about the new event as information is revealed, as it will be posted on Falcom’s website most likely. With this, the event drew to a close with a raffle for the attendees. If you are in Japan during the time period for that event, please take into account that the tickets for it sell out very quickly. You will want to be prepared to purchase them when they go live.
Many images and details came from the Famitsu.com article as well.