In late 2017, when I wrote my editorial regarding the incident with NIS America and my attempts to get questions sent to Falcom’s Toshihiro Kondo, a variety of events followed in a way to turn that story into a ‘happy ending.’
NISA’s media relations associate, Robbie Agustin, reached out to me to provide an explanation of what had occurred and provided another opportunity to submit questions for an email Q&A with Kondo.
As you can tell by the headline, I accepted the offer and I can finally provide the answers to some of the questions I had been itching to ask at some point in time.
Without further ado, you can find them beneath the cut!
Please note that there are two spoilers in this article. Both of which are behind cuts, but they have images associated with them. If you use the lightbox gallery, they are not split apart from the rest of the images.
Endless History: Thank you very much for visiting us in the United States, Kondo-san. It was wonderful having the chance to meet you! Since it’s been half a year, are there any particular memories from your visit to the States that still stand out to you?
Toshihiro Kondo: Compared to Japan, it was much cooler temperature-wise. I was overwhelmed by the passion and reaction of fans from start to finish, but being able to directly meet Falcom fans in North America made the biggest impression on me.
EH: I’ve seen that Falcom has supported many fan works in the past, like the Kiseki Festa contests and so forth. Did this open support for fans come from your background working on a fan site, or was this a philosophy from within the company already? (And I bet people these days would love to see another ‘Festa’ type contest again.)
Kondo: Because one aspect of Falcom’s titles is that their success is reliant on repeat customers, our policy is to provide them with better and better fanservice1)Note: this is using the general meaning, not the ‘pervy’ meaning of the phrase.. When I participate in events, I sometimes think about when I used to run the fan site, and speak while fondly remembering those days.
EH: In a recent interview with appbank.net, you mentioned how Zwei II started as an Ys game. Was that Ys game the “Ys VII multiplatform” mentioned in a press release several years ago? If not, what happened to that Ys VII Multiplatform title?
[Editor’s Note: Though Yotaka pointed out to me, after I submitted the question, that the Ys VII Multiplatform statement came out after Zwei II’s release. There’s a point with egg on my face- however, the question still stands, and still has received a great answer!]
Kondo: We certainly did consider releasing Ys VII on various platforms at the time. We even thought about arranging the system or genre to fit the various platforms that we were considering. Unfortunately, due to our own inability and the changing environment, we were unable to realize those ideas. However, many of the things we did make for that project live on in our other works, such as Zwei II.
EH: There is an Ys vs Kiseki poster in the arcade in Tokyo Xanadu and a lot of fans have wondered if this is a hint towards something for the future – or is it a reflection of something that the staff is wanting to do?
Kondo: That poster in the game was put in half-jokingly, but the subject of making another “vs.” game often comes up in our staff meetings. It’s something that we might be able to realize in the future.
EH: To continue on the previous question, what about interest in working with a third party developer for a crossover game- for example, how Koei Tecmo has worked with other IP creators to make Musou games for them?
Kondo: We receive various proposals from different companies. We are focused on creating our own original games so none of these projects have come to fruition. However, should the right conditions present themselves, it is definitely something we would like to undertake.
EH: We learned at Anime Expo that the story of an individual Ys game is written around the gameplay, but how much do you plan ahead for the overall lore of the series, if at all? And on the topic of lore, the Perfect Data of Ys book from 2004 had a great timeline of the ancient civilizations- are there plans to release an updated version of this timeline?
Kondo: When we made Ys VI, in order to tie up the loose ends in the scenario up to that point, we used it as an opportunity to adjust and build upon the setting and timeline. After that, we decided to work out the finer details as needed. This is so that we, the staff, and you, the players, can have a fresh start with each new adventure Adol goes on, just like him. Perfect Data of Ys was something that was made by Kadokawa. Our staff actually references this book during development, so we would definitely like an updated version of this too!
EH: While you generally keep your games rated CERO B, I remember fans being surprised at the reveal that Ys Seven was CERO C. Were you expecting that rating upgrade with the game? What were your thoughts when you received word of that rating?
EH: Both the Ys and Kiseki games have pulled in references to various myths, legends, and religions from across the world, such as the Akashic Records in Memories of Celceta, as an example. Are there any particular myths or legends that you enjoy but haven’t used yet that you would like to use in a future title?
Kondo: Celtic and Norse mythology. On the other hand, many Japanese games, manga, and anime also use those themes so they’re difficult to incorporate, but I’d like to use them someday.
EH: Since I have a lot of readers who are fans of the Kiseki series, I would like to ask a couple of questions for them for obvious reasons:
In a previous interview, you’ve given a percentage for the completion of the Kiseki series- does this mean you have a general idea of the ending already? Or how far ahead have you planned out on the series?
Kondo: The ending of the Kiseki series is entirely planned out, but I can’t disclose what will happen up between now and then. Things that we decide in the planning stages can evolve or change as we proceed with the series, which is how the series has progressed. Incidentally, the Crossbell arc was not planned when we we conceived Trails in the Sky. However, we thought it best to portray that area before we moved on to the Erebonia arc, so that is how development for the Crossbell games began.
EH: Last but not least, while most sites would like to have a ‘message to their readers,’ for their final question, I feel like my readers would enjoy a silly question that you would be allowed to have as much fun answering as you want.
When is everyone’s favorite magician, Michel, going to show up in Zemuria?
Kondo: This definitely sounds like something that would happen with Michel. That said, there are several people in Zemuria that can stand toe-to-toe with him. For example, S-Ranked Bracers other than Cassius who have yet to be revealed, Anguis of the Ouroboros, and members of the Gralsritter. We really want to show you all what these people are capable of!
EH: Again, thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions. I cannot stress how much I loved the opportunity to meet you in person last summer and I hope that you will have the chance to come see us in the States again in the future!
Kondo: Thank you very much. Meeting everyone in North America was a wonderful experience for me. I’ll do my best while working on these games so that I can visit you all over there once more!
Again, I want to take the time to thank both NIS America and Robbie for reaching out to me and making things right after what happened this summer. Additionally, I have to thank Toshihiro Kondo for taking time out of his schedule to answer my questions. These answers were a great thing for me to get to read when they came back, and I hope that everyone else enjoys them as well!
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Note: this is using the general meaning, not the ‘pervy’ meaning of the phrase.|