Interview: Cubed3 Interviews President of Nihon Falcom, Toshihiro Kondo

By Renan Fontes 15.08.2019 1

Interview: Cubed3 Interviews President of Nihon Falcom, Toshihiro Kondo on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
In light of Nihon Falcom's continued partnership with Nippon Ichi Software, NIS America flew Toshihiro Kondo to San Francisco, California, to talk Trails of Cold Steel III's upcoming Autumn localisation. Cubed3 not only had the opportunity to play Cold Steel III's demo, but to talk The Legend of Heroes's accessibility to newcomers, the prospect of porting older entries to home console, the franchise's future, and even a little bit of Ys with Toshihiro Kondo himself.

Cubed3: Considering how story heavy Trails is, does Falcom have any plans to port Trails in the Sky over to home consoles?
Toshihiro Kondo: Yeah, definitely. And not only Sky, but also Blue and Zero as well. None of those have had the chance to really come out on home consoles yet.
Well, with the exception of Trails in the Sky which actually had HD ports for PlayStation 3 which never came out here. There's no definitive thing we can announce right now, but it's something we'd like to do and consider. Given the lineage of the series, we would definitely like to do that in the future.
(Laughs) Plus, the series itself isn't actually finished yet so we kind of have to focus on that first.
Cubed3: On that note - on the continuation of the series - any chance for Cold Steel III on Switch, or previous entries on Switch?
Toshihiro Kondo: Kind of the same answer, but to go into more detail as to why it's not immediately possible, Falcom's a very small studio, and so we need to focus our attention on the next game that we're working on to be released in Japan.
If one of our partners, like NIS America, would like to attempt to do it, they're more than welcome to and we would love it to happen, it's just right now there are no plans to port any of the previous games to Switch.
Cubed3: What are the difficulties in marketing such a continuity-heavy franchise to prospective new fans?
Toshihiro Kondo: As mentioned, it can be difficult to think about how to attract new people. Particularly when the series has been going on for as long as Trails has. I'm often asked "why do you struggle with that" and, actually, not to the degree you might think.
And that's because, the way the series itself is structured, is that, for example, you have the three Sora games, then you have Blue and Zero, then you have Cold Steel. Each of those represents, first of all, they have their own main character and characters, and then they all kind of tell one complete story within each arc they have.
We as a company have noticed that many times new people will come in once that new sub-series starts. So, when we started with Blue, a lot of people hopped in there. A lot of people hopped in with Cold Steel. So when we make the games, there's a conscious effort to make sure that we think about people who might be joining for the first time and so we try to structure the games as such so you can join at those points and still be comfortable with what's happening.
Actually, even within Japan, we've noticed that many people have started with Cold Steel. And, even though they've done that, and obviously there's characters that carry over from way back to Sky, rather than being something that's off putting, it's something that the users have found curious, and they want to know more, so they actually go back and play those games first or they go back to Zero and play those too. So, it's not been a trouble to have the stories linked this way over time.
Cubed3: How much longer does Falcom predict the Trails series to continue in terms of the narrative it's telling?
Toshihiro Kondo: (Laughs) Hmmm. This is a question I get quite often, and, as you may know, Trails of Cold Steel IV actually came out in Japan last year, which ends the Cold Steel part of the overall story. With that, that represents a little bit more than 60% of the entire tale for the Trails series.
So you'd think that, okay, well if there's 40% remaining left to tell, that's, what, three or four games - but, we probably won't be able to wrap things up in three or four games so it might end up being five or six (laughs.) That said, it's important that we do wrap things up while we're still healthy and vibrant.
Cubed3: How did Ys VIII perform on Switch sales wise?
Toshihiro Kondo: In terms of Japanese sales, it was maybe a little slower than we expected, but looking at the global picture, it performed right where we thought it would so I'm satisfied.
Cubed3: With that in mind, are localisation efforts already in mind at least with Ys IX?
Toshihiro Kondo: So, as a company policy, we actually don't begin localisation talks, or localisation until the game is complete and released. The reason for that is because we actually have a tendency to change text to fine-tune things right up until the very, very limit when it comes to mastering up the game. And so we like to make sure that everything is complete.
So, at the moment, there is no localisation ongoing. That said, of course I want fans in North American and Europe to play the games so we're doing our best to finish up the game and then move forward to those stages of the talks.
Cubed3: To close out, what's your favorite game of all time on any platform?
Toshihiro Kondo: It's a game that literally led to my place in life, it's the reason I joined the company. It's a game that has a direct impact on the entire Trails of series, and that would be The Legend of Heroes III: The Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch.

​Be sure to regularly check in on Cubed3 for more reviews, previews, and news covering not only NIS America's Summer Showcase, but their future titles along with Nihon Falcom's.

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Cool interview!
The continunity issue is actually why I have not gotten into the series, despite actually buying the first two games.

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