From time to time we receive very sad news from this small environment that is the video game press. The interview with Nihon Falcom President Toshihiro Kondo was originally supposed to appear in a good old print magazine, but fate decided otherwise. So, with the approval of the author and the organizer of the meeting, we’re releasing it today while we hopefully wait for better news.
“The release of Ys VIII in France is very good news in itself”
iGamesNews: Are you satisfied with the success of Ys VIII in the West and especially in France?
Toshihiro Kondo: I understand that J-RPGs like Ys weren’t the most represented in France. So that one release is good news in and of itself, and we are grateful to NIS America for making this possible. We hope to continue creating titles as entertaining as Ys VIII for the French public.
You already knew about adaptations in Manga and Anime: Are you planning further projects of this kind?
I am personally very involved in the development of the games, but if a trustworthy partner comes to us with a suggestion in this direction, I would be happy!
Why did you choose the city of Balduc for Ys IX as the theater after Seyron Island in Ys VIII?
Ys IX is a thoughtful evolution of Ys VIII: at one of the first pre-meetings, a member of the team suggested making a game that really makes use of three-dimensional actions. So we thought about this idea and thought that a city would be the best place to respond to this problem. Ys VIII’s landscape manager had a lot to do with lush nature, and the team wanted to tackle something different that was man-made and supported that change of scenery.
What inspired the concept of monsters in Ys IX?
The idea came immediately after choosing the environment: after choosing a city, we thought that this decor could allow the hero to move using the parkour method, which would give him freedom of movement. In Japan this technique is often related to ninjas, but unfortunately it doesn’t exist in the world of Ys! That is why we decided on the term “Kaijin”, which refers to the phantom of Op.ra, or the famous 21-faced monster (a group of people who participated in the extortion in the Glico Morinaga affair): mysterious and strange characters. We started from this idea in order to transform this concept and adapt it to the universe of the series.
You’re working on improving the production of your next titles. Why don’t you use external engines like Unreal Engine 4?
For the Trails of Cold Steel series we used an external motor and it must be said that it has come in handy in many ways. At the same time, we couldn’t do everything we wanted! I think there are good and bad in both cases. As for Ys, the development team always hopes to make a game that comes as close as possible to its original vision, and that’s why we always rely on an internal engine.
Is the distribution in your studio balanced between Ys and The Legend of Heroes? How do you work together on the two series?
The main members of the two series don’t work together, but sometimes they help each other depending on the situation. For example, if the team responsible for The Legend of Heroes is tackling a new episode and needs help laying the foundation stone, a designer from Ys will temporarily come and lend a hand. In general, we ensure that neither series is released at the same time to facilitate this exchange.