Many thanks to Jason Liu for translating this article from Chinese!
There are some Kiseki series spoilers in this article- primarily on the identity of one influencial character in Sen, Ao’s ending, and some various organizational information.
About Toshihiro Kondo
Mr. Kondo liked video games ever since he was a child, and the first time he’s had the idea of making a game was back in the second grade of elementary school. Even though he graduated university with a bachelors degree in economics, he still wanted to work in a video game company. Mr. Kondo has been a great fan of Falcom since his university days. When internet first became accessible to the general population, Mr. Kondo created a fansite of the third entry in the Legend of Heroes series, White Witch. Through the fansite, Mr. Kondo communicated with fans like himself, started meeting each other in real life, and sometimes held events at rented locations, all of which created a chance for him to enter Nihon Falcom later on. Mr. Kondo recalls about when he first got a job at Falcom, he thought his job would only be financial management. However, one day the company suddenly asked him to write an extra scenario for White Witch. Back then, he didn’t understand how to write scenarios or stories, but he had previous interactions with the fans of the game, which helped him greatly in writing the scenario. A week later, he miraculously completed this seemingly impossible task. This would provide him with further experiences down the road, and eventually, he became what he is today.
From ‘fan’ to ‘president’, Kondo’s journey to such a prestigious position may seem to be easy. He himself believes that hard work and determination is what got him here, and while not all efforts will be repaid success, nobody should stop chasing their dreams just because they don’t understand and/or aren’t willing try.
Those who brought about the success in this cooperative effort are the fans who constantly sent Falcom their wishes to have the games localized. The players’ enthusiasm for a localization is heart warming, to the point of offering to help with the Chinese localization for free. Even though Falcom wanted to answer to the players’ expectations, the company does not have the resources to do so due to constantly being in development. As such, every time such requests are received, there would be hesitation. Coincidentally, Sony Computer Entertainment Asia was planning to localize games in order to influence the Chinese game market, so during the Taipei Game Show, talks were held between Falcom and SCE and both sides agreed to a localization project, leading to the current situation.
Many players have asked if the Ys series is going to receive an Asian localization. This would all depend on sales, so please support the Asian releases of Sen no Kiseki.
Here is some other information that addresses concerns that gamers have regarding the localization of Sen no Kiseki:
* The Chinese and Japanese versions share the same save file and trophies
* Regarding the DLC costumes purchased for Sen no Kiseki. It is currently unconfirmed whether they will be usable in Sen no Kiseki II. There are discussions going on inside the company with the hopes that they will carry over to the sequel.
* Concerning the bugs and the loading time problems faced by the Playstation Vita version of the game: these have been fixed through various patches and the Chinese versions will have a few other optimizations compared to the Japanese version.
* The limited edition is the same as the Japanese version with the drama CD included.
* The translation is already complete at the writing of this article. They are currently engaged in QC process.
From Sora to Sen
Falcom is currently not considering on remaking the original Sora no Kiseki trilogy at this time. During the development of Sora no Kiseki, the story itself had been changed many times. When Falcom first started on it, it felt like it was a bit forced to use a female protagonist. However, they decided that they wanted do something new and revolutionary since we all have just left the world of the Gagharv Trilogy and entered the Zemuria Continent with a new graphics engine- this is why they decided on a female protagonist. There was also some consideration on abandoning the idea midway through development and change to a male protagonist, but that meant changing Joshua into a female assassin sent by the Ouroboros. After many discussions between the employees, Falcom decided to keep with the original plan, which gave us the classic we have today. Joshua cross dressing is also a nod back to the original plan- and it turned out to be surprisingly popular.
As we saw an OVA series for Sora no Kiseki, will we have a chance to see more animated projects for it in the future? Falcom can’t make this decision alone, but also with other animation studios, and more importantly, if the players want to see another animated release.
Regarding Zero and Ao no Kiseki Evolution, as they’re sold by Kadokawa Shoten, we’re not able to answer questions about the two games. However, we’ve accidentally learned from Falcom that in the setting of Zero and Ao no Kiseki, Crossbell is actually stemmed from the Japanese view of Hong Kong. There shouldn’t be another need for gaiden game like Sora no Kiseki the 3rd after Ao no Kiseki, since there is some overlap with the timelines for Zero and Ao no Kiseki. Not to mention that in Ao no Kiseki’s ending, Crossbell is shown as having been invaded by the empire. What happens to Crossbell after Ao? We should be finding out soon.
While Sen no Kiseki II isn’t the end of the series, there will be a shocking conclusion waiting for the players. Falcom has been successively announcing new information on Sen no Kiseki II, such as new characters and maps. Whether we’ll see the previous protagonists of the Kiseki series, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we announced it now, so please wait for more information on the story.
Q and A
Q: How do you feel about the Kiseki series?
A: Even though we don’t have a clear idea of how the ending is going to play out, we are working towards a general direction. Everyone at Falcom, including [Toshihiro Kondo], don’t want to end this too quickly. However, in order to make preparations for the grand finale, there are a lot of other ‘blanks’ to fill as through these other experiences.
Due to the size of the setting, there are a lot of new players being pulled in along the way. The average age of the Sora no Kiseki players are between 25 and 30 years old. However, the players that were brought into the series at Sen no Kiseki are about 15 to 19 years old. They love discussing the games and they feel like they can related more since the main characters are all students.
Many of the players that started with Sen have been going back to revisit the earlier games in the series as well. No matter which direction this series takes in the future, we will keep the unique nature of the series while trying to attract new users at the same time.
Q: How do you feel about the Ys series?
A: The Ys series is Falcom’s older ‘specialty’ series. The Kiseki series catching up is something that was completely unexpected for us, but we’re planning for it to be more challenging than the Kiseki series, and we’ll work hard towards that!
Q: How do you feel about the PS4?
A: For the sake of keeping the Kiseki series accessible to all of its players, there are no plans to go to the PS4 at this time. Not only that, but switching to a new platform will take more time as well. Please be patient, since it will come along some day.
Q: What about the Calvard Republic?
A: There has been a lot of interest expressed by the players in seeing a chapter set in the Republic. From the very beginning, characters from there have made appearances in the games- like Zin [Zane] and Kirika in Sora no Kiseki, and the super popular Rixia from Zero and Ao. These characters have been popular with the players, so we feel that we need to tell this country’s story. The only problem is that while we’re interested in this, we currently have no plans drafted for Calvard. The Republic is an eastern influenced nation, so it is very similar in terms of its setting, so… Oops, I almost said too much there. [Note: The translator noted that the ‘no plans’ for Calvard is probably a lie- which has been pointed out in the article, as well.]
Q: Speaking of Kirika, is she Angelica’s mentor?
A: Hmm, who knows? Probably?
Q: What about Alteria?
A: Even after 3rd, Zero, and Ao, both the City-State and the Grals Ritter remain a mystery. Do we have a story planned for Alteria? The people related to Class VII are all connected to some major organization or group, so would there be anyone there that is connected to the Grals Ritter?
As we solidify the tale of the Zemurian continent, the influence of each organization is an absolute must. A member of the Grals Ritter did mention the Empire back in Ao no Kiseki, so stay tuned for more information on it.
Q: How come Prince Olivert doesn’t possess the right to succeed the throne? The right lies with Cedric who’s much younger than him. Is it because there is nobody else to succeed the throne?
A: The main reason is because Olivert’s mother was a commoner. Everyone should have some knowledge on Erebonian society after playing Sen. Of course, Olivert is an important character who’s been in the series since the beginning, and we will definitely flesh out his character in the future, so please keep your eyes peeled.
Q: Who is the [Kondo’s] favorite character? Will this character get more screen time in the future?
A: My favorite character comes from the four great noble families of the Empire. To be honest, when we first started designing this character, nobody liked him. However, when the story began to come together and character was more fleshed out, we finally realized how attractive this character is, especially when taking his secret into consideration. Of course, as a member of Class VII in Sen II, he will have a lot of scenes, but I won’t give him any special treatment *laugh*. [Note: Easily assumed that it’s Jusis at this point!]
Q: Will Sen II finally conclude the Phantom Blaze project? Will there be a Sen III after Sen II?
A: At the moment, we are not planning a Sen III, but the ending of Sen II will be a shocking one. Not to mention Sen II will also be continuing where Ao left off. In terms of the story, it is definitely going to draw the attention of the players. “What in the world happened?”, so please look forward to it.
[ Interview on A9vg.com (Chinese) ] (This interview has since been removed, unfortunately.)