FreshRSS

πŸ”’
❌ About FreshRSS
There are new available articles, click to refresh the page.
Before yesterday06 - News : Kiseki

01

↑New↓Old Acrylic kerying  /  Acrylic standee / Enamel pin / Cup / Compact mirror Post Card / Sticker / Can button / Tin box / Masking tape / Bookmarker    

02

↑New ↓Old

Trails to Azure: Now Available to Purchase Via PayPal on Joyoland’s Website!

Hello! I’m Addaberry, one of the editors on Trails to Azure. Today, I’m happy to explain all the details on how you will be able to purchase the base version of Trails to Azure for use with our eventual patch. The journey to this point in time has been long and arduous, so I’m going to give a brief history lesson on versions of this game, and few general notes about the game before explaining our recommended method of acquiring the game.

After Zero no Kiseki’s PSP release in 2010, Falcom contracted the Chinese company Joyoland to port and localize the game over to PC in Chinese. Falcom then took the Chinese port and released it in Japanese. This is the version of Zero you all are likely familiar with. So, when Ao no Kiseki was released, it went through a similar process of being ported from PSP to PC in China. However, it did not make it back to PC for Japan this time. Falcom saw dwindling sales in the Japanese PC market and decided it wasn’t worth bringing back over. To this day, the only PC version of Ao no Kiseki has been locked behind Chinese payment platforms. Until now!

The base version of Azure functions as two separate pieces. First, the game’s files, which are free to download directly from Joyoland’s site at this link. Secondly, the activation license. This has been the source of most of the trouble, and the methods listed below are instructions on how to get a hold of activation keys. For now, we do not recommend you install or attempt to activate the game once you’ve purchased it. The game comes with aggressive DRM that may trip any anti-virus software you have installed.

1. Joyoland’s Website Via Paypal

Yes, you read that correctly. After years of being totally inaccessible to Western fans who don’t have Alipay and a passport, we were able to have our Chinese contact—Pockle7, who is an avid Falcom fan, like us—speak with Joyoland and convince them to implement PayPal support. While I realize that not everyone will be able to use this method due to regional restrictions and whatnot, if you have someone you trust in the community, Joyoland does allow users to gift codes. 

You will need to set up an account on Joyoland’s site. If you have reservations about giving out your email, you can get a burner account here. You can navigate through Joyoland’s website to the checkout page, or simply click this link to go straight there. The game currently sells for 60 Yuan, about $8.50 or ‎€7.50. Do keep in mind this price is subject to change, and is entirely Joyoland’s decision. As stated above, we do not recommend installing or activating the game at this time. For additional help purchasing the game, you can follow this visual guide I made.

If you insist on installing the game to confirm your ownership, then you will also have to download the Joyoland platform patch here. Simply unpack this file and drop it into the main game’s directory and overwrite all files Windows asks you to. This updates the game so that it’s compatible with your Joyoland account. When you boot ED_AO.exe, you will be prompted to put in your Joyoland.com login info to verify the game is on your profile. Once you do, the game will start, confirming that you have legally purchased Joyoland’s version of Ao no Kiseki.

This is the only method that the vast majority of you all will be able to use to officially purchase the PC version. From here on I will cover the other methods I uncovered during my research. Consider the rest of this article to be a bonus history lesson/tour through my madness. You may also want to jump down to the very bottom of the article for how else you can support Falcom if you cannot use PayPal or know someone that can.


The studious among you might be thinking, “Well, what about key seller site X or Y?” In my nearly 50 hours of researching all this, only one place other than Joyoland actually has game codes in stock:

2. Tencent’s WeGame

This is a Chinese Steam-like platform. I, as someone who can’t read a word of Chinese, have been able to purchase a copy of Azure from here. That said, there are two major barriers that prevent me from wholeheartedly recommending this. First, to even log in, you need access to one of two Chinese social media platforms, QQ or WeChat. I found QQ to be totally inaccessible, requiring a valid Chinese phone number. WeChat was much easier to get into, however, it has the strange requirement of you needing to have your account verified by another member who is already on the platform. So after hunting down someone to verify me—the verifier must also meet a list of requirements, such as having been one for at least one month—I was finally able to get into the store proper. 

I chose to do this on their standalone client rather than their website. Payment is also done through whichever method you used to log in, so, in my case, WeChat. After trying to buy the game with three different credit cards over close to ten different occasions, I was finally able to use a burner card with the Privacy App to actually buy the game. Out of excitement, I tried to buy Zero with it as well, and it didn’t work. I have not been able to buy anything on WeGame since. 

So, now, I finally have the game. Unfortunately, this leads to the second barrier I alluded to earlier: DRM. The game is launched through the WeGame client, which is a lot like Steam. So aside from the usual DRM like having to have the client open to play your game, WeGame also does integrity checks of the game files. Modifying the game’s files leads to crashing, or the client refusing to play the game. Since the goal of this from the outset was to find a version to patch, this was the final nail in the coffin of this being a viable way of getting the game into peoples’ hands.

Last is the method many probably thought would end up higher on this list:

3. Physical Copies

There are many versions of Ao no Kiseki box sets floating around on Chinese second-hand sites. You can get a detailed breakdown of those at this link. In the time I spent searching around, I found Taobao to be the most accessible site to buy through, but I don’t doubt there are others that are accessible or are easier to work with. For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into all the gritty details of the purchasing process. If you really want to do this method, then googling some Taobao guides will do you well, and will guide you through the process of setting up an Alipay account. In my case, the shipping costs from mainland China to the central United States ended up over $50. So between limited stock and outrageous prices, I would only recommend this to the superfans among you.


So ends our journey for today. For those who read this whole thing, thank you for humoring me. I had to leave out quite a bit, but I think you all probably had more than enough of this for one day. For those who jumped down here from the earlier section, if you can’t purchase the game from Joyoland’s website or have someone who can gift you a key, there are a few ways to still support Falcom directly. Although these versions won’t be compatible with our patch, you can purchase a PSP copy from Amazon or PS4 copy from Falcom’s shop, or digitally on Japanese PSN. You could also gift a friend a Falcom game on Steam or buy the digital version of Ao no Kiseki’s official soundtrack from Amazon. That said, I highly recommend buying the game through Joyoland if you are able. Doing so shows Falcom the demand for this game on PC, and rewards Joyoland for being kind enough to work with us to bring you all this experience. That’s all from me for today. I look forward to talking to you again when it’s time to get over the barrier once more!

The post Trails to Azure: Now Available to Purchase Via PayPal on Joyoland’s Website! appeared first on The Geofront.

From Zero to Azure: Announcing Trails to Azure!

Greetings, fellow detectives! This is Zerker from the Geofront’s C Sector, and today has been a long time coming. While it has only been three months since we released Trails from Zero to the world, that short span of time has felt like an eternity to those of us on the team. As you can tell by this post, there is a clear reason for that. With great excitement, the Geofront is formally announcing its upcoming localization of Nihon Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki. Or, as we like to call it, The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure!

Yes, that’s correct—editing has reached 75%. Trails to Azure was always something that the team wanted to do, and we felt that the community deserves this entire, wonderful duology in all the glory it deserves. We intend on giving you an Azure that meets the quality that you saw in Trails from Zero; one that surpasses it would be even better, though. I, for one, have no doubt that this team is capable of doing just that.

I know that, for the most part, I was considered the Trails from Zero guy. That project brought so much happiness and so many opportunities to me, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Without the Geofront, I probably wouldn’t have switched majors in college to English or ended up going to law school this Fall. I can’t thank Gu4n enough for taking a chance on me and allowing me to join the project. Because of all these new opportunities in my life—graduating college, getting married, going to law school—I decided that it would be best for me to take a more minor role in Trails to Azure. Instead of Lead Editor, I handed that role to Scott and took it upon myself to focus on Azure’s main scenario as a humble editor. I have the utmost faith that Scott, Arvin, and everyone on the team will surpass your expectations. To elaborate, Scott wants to lay out our plan for you all. Take it away!

Commencing Phase 2 of the Azure-Zero Project

Logo by Marco Ruggiero

There is so much to address—more than we can today. However, I think first and foremost we need to outline what this project’s base is and what exactly we are doing with it.

Just as with Zero, the Geofront’s localization of Azure is based on the tireless work of an original team that spawned from heroesoflegend.org. The game’s translation comes from the same lead translator as Zero’s, Guren no Heya Kara, with some additional translation work being done by an individual known as KOL, Flamethrower—the original project’s lead programmer—and the Trails community’s premier Tio Plato connoisseur, Kitsune.

To the original translators: Thank you. The Geofront’s hard work on Azure would never have been possible without you, and we will preserve your credit and legacy in every step of the project, just like we did with Trails from Zero.

As you may know, over the last two years, the fan translation of Ao no Kiseki has gone through many revisions. In 2018, Flamethrower released what is commonly referred to by fans as the ‘Flame edit’, which is the script that is currently on trailsinthedatabase.com. There has also been work done by other parties to alter the game’s scenario and provide further modifications to Azure.

Before saying anything else, we want to make it clear that the Geofront’s release of Trails to Azure is based solely on the original team’s unedited translation. In no way does it borrow from any third party community projects, nor is it a further revision of the Flame edit.

For the sake of accuracy and consistency, we chose to work with the least-altered version of the translation that Guren led, just as we did with Zero. After months of working with the game, we feel very confident in our decision. Additionally, the Geofront is taking steps to assure the highest possible translation accuracy—which includes retranslating entire sections when necessary.

Also, I think it’s necessary to address the elephant in the room and speak briefly about how to purchase the base game. All I can say right now is that we have found methods of purchasing the game, but we are still exploring our options to find the easiest method for the average consumer. As such, this is a topic that will be covered in more depth and clarity as we get closer to the release of the patch.

The C Sector (which you have likely deduced stands for ‘Crossbell Sector’) is made up of several talented and dedicated individuals. If I may say so, you would be hard-pressed to assemble a more qualified team to undertake a project of this scale. The team consists of the following:

  • Lead Programmer: JoseJL
  • Programmer: Ribose
  • Lead Translator: Catasplurge
  • Translator: Gu4n
  • Translator: Shawn Cox
  • Translator: Ravan
  • Lead Editor: KillScottKill
  • Editor: Arvin
  • Editor: Zerker
  • Editor: Addaberry
  • Graphics: Sorcerian
  • Video: Choojermelon

So, with that in mind, I want to conclude by saying I first met Zerker and Ribose two long years ago with the express intent of what we are announcing today. It is, quite literally, a dream come true to be bringing all of you not just my favorite Trails game, but my favorite game period. Please look forward to the Geofront’s release of Trails to Azure.

The post From Zero to Azure: Announcing Trails to Azure! appeared first on The Geofront.

The Long Trail to a Localized Alternative Saga

By: eLTeh

It’s good to see you again, Warriors of Xanadu! LT here. Just yesterday, we announced that editing for our project is at 100% completion! Our editors have zoomed through the script at an astounding rate, the graphics are mostly done, and it won’t be long before testing starts. Ain’t that wonderful.

To whet your appetites a little, I present to you this article – a short history lesson by our translator, Shawnji. If you’re interested in how this project came to be, buckle up, because we’re going to delve straight into the details! I’ll pass it over to him, now.


Hello again, True Believers!

Wow. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a few months since this was announced, and yet here we stand, with a completely edited first pass of the script. As the lead translator, I want to convey my deepest gratitude to every single person who has worked so hard to get us here. To be honest, it’s been a much longer road than I expected. I wonder if you’d allow me to wax nostalgic for a bit, dear reader?

The road to getting Ys vs. Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga out in English has been a long and storied one; especially when trying to live up to the long history of incredible localizations that have come before it.

When work first started, I wasn’t involved at all, actually. In fact, to my knowledge, a version of this has been in the works from as far back as 2015, when Zeromonkey first dumped the text from the game. With the text available for translation, Flamethrower began working on the hacking side of things.

Despite having the text available, the story itself was mostly stuck in limbo — waiting for someone to come along and translate it. Flamethrower would ultimately translate much of the system text himself, and eventually published a “Menu Only” patch for those who just wanted to play the game and weren’t too concerned with the plot. Meanwhile, the main script was made available online to anyone who wanted to work on it, but outside of a few random people coming in and translating a small chunk here and there, it would lie dormant for the better part of the following year.

(LT: Look at the glow up these menus got! Being able to edit the in-game graphics is wonderful, because “Klose” is now “Kloe”. I’d say that’s a huge victory right there. Other ‘engrishy’ bits have also been changed – look forward to Loewe and Cruxie, instead of Lowe and Crshe!)

Come late 2017, I happened to stumble upon it, and I thought it was a real shame that it had barely been touched. Even the tiny fraction of the story that was done was lacking a bit from a translation perspective; with a few obvious errors here and there. So, I decided that I would sit down and retranslate the entirety of Estelle’s scenario before eventually moving on to the rest. From there, I initiated a discussion with Flamethrower about it, and he was more than happy to help reinsert said text as my work progressed. While there were still bugs with the first version of the patch that he shared with me privately; seeing my work in the game gave me a great sense of satisfaction, and I immediately jumped back into translating the other scenarios.

At the time, I was only about three years or so into my career as an automotive interpreter, and this provided a wonderful opportunity for me to translate a very different kind of content. Here were characters that would quip, jab, and joke with one another. Here was dialogue that (while certainly not Shakespeare) had at least some semblance of drama to it. It really helped break up the monotony of my day-to-day routine, and gave me a good chance to flex my writing abilities beyond what I was comfortable with up to that point.

Gradually, a few other people came on to the team wanting to help out with some of the menu and scenario editing. There was a lot of passion about the project, but as is the case with so many fan works like this, life circumstances would make it very difficult for any of us to get much accomplished. The bulk of the translation was completely finished by early 2018, but before we knew it a few years had passed, and we simply hadn’t made the kind of progress in terms of editing that we initially hoped for. We would talk about it every now and again; but we were all very busy living our lives and — like it or not — life always takes priority.

Fast-forward to earlier this year and Ribose and I were discussing my work on the script. He and the other Geofront members had already connected with LT, Livi, Hido, and Davio regarding their newly announced work on localizing Ys vs. Trails from Chinese. Naturally, we began to look at how we could merge the two projects together. I sat down with our old team to explain the idea, and everyone gave their blessing to hand over our work; including the toolset that Flamethrower had developed for inserting everything. At last, we were off to the races again!

After the transition, I continued to contribute to the project by providing additional translations for all the character bios and tutorial graphics in the game; but by and large, my main role has simply been to provide info about the translation and additional insight into the Japanese text whenever it was needed.

And here we are…over two years from when I first got involved. I can’t tell you how excited I am for everyone to finally be able to play this game — fully realized in English — for the first time. I am so incredibly lucky to have been able to be a part of this, and so grateful to the teams (both new and old) and everyone at the Geofront for making this possible.

Lest we forget; a big shout out to you as well, dear reader! It’s the passion of fans like you that keeps us all motivated! This will likely be the last time you hear from me on the blog, since I’ll be leaving any remaining posts to the rest of the team, but I just want to thank all of you so much for your support! See you around!

-Shawnji


Thanks, Shawnji! It’s really amazing to see how far this project has come. For the rest of the V Sector, we weren’t involved in Ys vs. Trails’ early years. In fact, our “version” of the project found its beginnings in a humble spreadsheet translation. I’d finally gotten my hands on the game’s Chinese patch, and was intrigued by its premise. It’s a crossover game, and all sorts of weird character combinations come together – what’s not to love? My friends expressed interest in the plot, but they couldn’t read Chinese or Japanese. So before I knew it, I was (painfully) transcribing the Chinese script onto an Excel sheet, then translating it line for line. It was far from perfect, but Shawnji’s story translations weren’t available to us, and for all we knew this game was completely untouched outside of an abandoned translation on romhacking.net. Thankfully, through the connections in the Falcom community, we managed to get in contact with Shawnji and the Geofront, so here we are.

After so many years, the end goal is finally in sight. The progress on Ys vs. Trails has sped up considerably in the previous months, and all we need is one last sprint before the finish line. Soon, you’ll be able to get your hands on this game, and we’ll be interested to see your opinions on it.

That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed this mini-update. We’ll have even more to share next time, so I’ll see you then!

The post The Long Trail to a Localized Alternative Saga appeared first on The Geofront.

Editing for Ys vs. Trails in the Sky Reaches 100%

By: Livi

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while since our last update. We’ve been fairly quiet these last few weeks, but that’s only because we decided to focus on the localization’s development. However, since we just hit a major milestone, we decided to peek our heads out of the trenches to deliver some exciting news!

V Sector would like to announce that we have officially hit 100% on our first editing pass for scenario and non-scenario text! All five of the main stories have been fully edited by both Livi and Sly, Davio has finished editing the non-scenario text, and LT has made significant progress on the game’s graphics! Slowly but surely, it all has been coming together.

Some of you might think that the sudden jump from 40% to 100% is a little strange, but part of the reason for that is due to Ys vs. Trails in the Sky being a much shorter game compared to Falcom’s other titles. Our editors have been working tirelessly on the script this past month, and they managed to split the remaining work amongst themselves. As a result, the project has progressed at a much faster rate than during its first few months of development when Livi was the only editor. You’d be surprised at the wonders that having a second pair of hands on deck can bring.

So, what now? We release the patch, right?

Weeeeell, no… As much as the team would like to get it out to you guys right now, there are still things that need to be addressed. You didn’t think this post was going to just be the 100% announcement, right? Right?

Anyway, we intend to follow C Sector’s example with our project. That includes, of course, a full second editing pass and extensive testing of the game before release. (Though, rest easy when we say that this process should have a shorter turnaround than Trails from Zero’s testing phase.) The second pass should take a fraction of the time it took to complete the first pass because of the relatively small script. The added time spent on polishing everything should also help streamline the testing process, since testers will not have to spend as much time catching menial errors. Simply put: The team would like to spend more time with this project before we are ready to release, but we are confident that the wait will be worth it.

That being said, we are not yet certain when the patch will be ready for release, so we are not comfortable making any commitments as of now. When the project is further along, we will be able to provide more specific release information.

And that’s all we have to say! We would like to offer our thanks to everyone for all the support. You all have definitely kept us motivated. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you!

P.S. Tomorrow, we will post a bonus blog written by our translator Shawnji, who will be detailing the project’s humble beginnings in 2018 and eventual transition to the Geofront. We hope to see you there!

The post Editing for Ys vs. Trails in the Sky Reaches 100% appeared first on The Geofront.

The Geofront V Sector Opens! Introducing Ys vs. Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga!

By: eLTeh
Illustrated by eLTeh

Hello, detectives-turned-Xanadu’s-warriors! Welcome back to the Geofront! What’s that? You don’t know what Xanadu is? Of course, It must be Galsis’ influence!

…Corny joke aside, hello there, everyone! You must be awfully confused as to what this is, right? V Sector? The heck even is that? Where’s Azure? Well, to answer that last question…!

…No plans at this time.


Sorry for being a tease, folks. But no, this post is not an announcement for Trails to Azure or other projects from the Zero team. We’ll address those possibilities later on in the post. But don’t click away just yet! We still got another important announcement for you all! Let’s talk about what the heck the V Sector is! 

A few months ago, a team of dedicated Falcom fans assembled to try and bring you all a fan localization of the now called Ys vs Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga. You may have heard of us already, but if you didn’t…uh, hi! We’re that team! At the beginning, we were working independently, but everything changed when the Geofront nation attacked. We got in contact with the Geofront team, and they decided to take us under their wing. So now we’re a part of the Geofront!

You know what that means? Well, Ys vs Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga is now the second official Geofront project! Hooray!

Now before we talk a little bit about ourselves, we want to address other potential concerns and questions you might have. 

“Why are you joining the Geofront?”

Well, it provides us with opportunities to collaborate with the members of the Trails from Zero team. We’ve received a lot of guidance from them, and they provided us with technical assistance and other resources, such as the style guide that they used. Several members on the Zero team have even expressed interest in helping test the game and offering suggestions to polish the script to a mirror shine! 

We also share a common goal with the Zero team: We want to provide you all with high quality fan localizations for Falcom’s unreleased titles in the west. This arrangement helps us to collaborate more effectively to carry out the mission of the Geofront. They have also allowed us to use their platform to share our project with you all, and we are humbled that they have given us this opportunity. The Zero team has been assisting us every step of the way, and we want to thank them for all of the help they are giving us.

“When will this come out?” 

Well, uhh…we’re not gonna make any promises right now. It’ll be done when it’s done! We are currently 40% of the way through our first editing pass. But don’t worry, Ys vs Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga is a much shorter game than Trails from Zero, and we’re chugging along at a reasonable pace. We still have plenty of work to finish before we’re done, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted. 

Before we continue, we’ll pass the mic to Scott to address a few things that need to be…addressed! Take it away!

A Message from Scott

Greetings, all. My name is Scott, or as you may know me from Twitter or YouTube, KillScottKill. I represent what we at the Geofront refer to as the C Sector: the team responsible for bringing you Trails from Zero. I’m sure this announcement has left you with questions. Did Ys vs. Trails in the Sky impact Zero’s development? Does this mean Geofront isn’t doing Azure or another Falcom game? Let me answer those.

No, Ys vs. had no adverse effect on Zero’s development. Quite the opposite, in fact. Many members of the V Sector went on to become late-stage testers of Zero and helped that game release in the best possible state it could back on March 14th.

As for any other potential projects, no, they’re not affected by Ys vs. Trails in the Sky at all. As you can see from the composition of the V Sector’s team, the two of us are separate–two different sides of the same coin. The Zero team has been providing feedback along the way, and will be returning the favor with testing.

I know you all will continue to have questions about the Geofront doing Trails to Azure someday. The timing of Zero and Ao Kai’s releases in Japan have certainly complicated things, just as Ao PC’s elusive history has. Unfortunately, just as it was leading up to Zero’s release, the answer is that there are no plans at this time and we have nothing to announce regarding Azure or any other project…yet. I can promise you that in the coming months, the Geofront will have something to say about the next project the C Sector is working on after Ys vs. Trails in the Sky. I hope you’ll look forward to it. 


Thanks, Scott! That helped clear things up. Now, I say we take the chance to introduce the V Sector properly!

 

The Team


   Hey, I’m LT, and I’m the team lead and graphic editor for this project. I do graphic editing for the menus, tutorials, character bios, and a few other miscellaneous images. This project has grown a lot since its humble beginnings, and I hope we’ll be able to put out a great fan localization!


   Hello, true believers! I’m Shawnji, the lead translator for the project, and I’ll keep my introduction brief for now. I’ll be working hard to get the remaining text translated and into the hands of our capable editors. See you soon!


  Hello there, dear readers. Livi here! My position on the team is that of Lead Editor, and it has been like that since the project’s very messy inception. I want to provide you all with the highest quality localization I can offer, especially when both Ys and Trails are very beloved series I hold close to my heart.


  Hi everyone! My name’s Sly, and I’m a co-editor for this project. I’ve edited the game’s victory quotes, and I’m poring through the game’s scenario script. And uhh, I’m kinda locked in my closet right now. And Livi swallowed the key! Guess I can’t really do much else other than edit–oh wait we had a character limit for these, shi


  Hello! My name is EnDavio, and I’m one of the two programmers for this project. I’m mainly working on the menu text. I’m putting my heart in this translation to deliver the best fan localization we can. I hope you all have fun with our Ys Vs. Trails in the Sky project!


  Hey folks, HidoranBlaze here, and I’m part of the programming team for this project.  I’ve generally been working on graphics insertion and script insertion. I’ll do my best to put out a quality fan localization that people will enjoy. Please look forward to our project!


  Hi there! I’m Chuji, and I joined the project just recently! I’ve been working on video editing tasks, such as getting the new logo to display in the intro movie. My friends all know me as the biggest Falcom shill who ever lived, and the Western Falcom community wouldn’t be the same without its localization projects, so I’m thrilled to be a part of one!


 


Well that about covers it! Please look forward to Ys vs Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga! We provided a few screenshots for you below so we can flex our current build a little (Though if there’s any mistakes, blame Sly because it’s probably his fault~). 

We also uploaded the game’s opening to the Geofront channel, courtesy of Chuji. It even has our fancy new logo! Check it out here: 

Aaaaand that’s all we got. See you soon!

The post The Geofront V Sector Opens! Introducing Ys vs. Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga! appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from Zero Patch 1.0.2

By: Ribose5

Hello again! So, we’d hoped to have a smooth release. And, for the most part, it was pretty good! But, as you know, there were several typos and a range of technical issues. This patch should address the most major of issues: a memory leak that affects players after hours of play; certain subsets of players with certain configurations with flashing, freezing, and crashing; and cleaning up a couple unpolished features.

Have no fear! It’s the age of day one and continuous patching, so we’ve put together a patch to our patch to patch your lives up in this patchless time.

Update Details

This update should fix a lot of major technical issues that have been reported over the last month. It also includes fixes to a bunch of typos, as they always slip through. Click here for the downloads page, or at the top of any page.

For those of you with frequent crashing issues, please try disabling “Controller” > “Update on device change” in this new build. It is known that this doesn’t fix it for everyone, especially if your crashes seem specific to battle, but hopefully this helps some players.

For those of you who had issues installing the game on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Linux (under Wine), please try this updated build.

For Linux players especially, try running the installer and unchecking all dependency components after being sure DirectX 9, LAV Filters, .NET 4.7.2, and Visual C++ Runtime 2017 (x86 and x64) are available for the program.

To install the patch, download the installer again and run setup once more.

Minimum Requirements

Based on the game’s minimum requirements (listed in the Japanese manual) and the overhead of the mod, here are what we believe to be the minimum requirements of the patched game.

  • Operating System: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 1607+ (64-bit operating systems only!)
  • While 32-bit OSes may run the modified game, LAA (large address aware) is enabled on the EXE to better support 1440p and 4K display. The installer is 64-bit only. While the original game supported Windows Vista (it did not list support for Windows XP), we don’t have plans to test and determine what would be needed to keep that support.
  • CPU: As per the original: minimum: Pentium 4 1.3 GHz and up; recommended: Core 2 Duo 2 GHz and up
  • The mod shouldn’t require much more of a powerful CPU than those olden days.
  • RAM: 4 GB or more. While the original game required 1 GB or more, the overhead of the mod is around 400 MB, and Windows 7 and later started recommending 4 GB for basic operation.
  • Hard drive: 3.0 GB of space required.
  • 1.3 GB for the base game’ 650 MB for our English assets; and 900 MB for any “additional” features.
  • Display: 800×600 (32-bit color) and higher.
  • All the way up to 4K is supported with the mod, but it must be a 16:9 ratio (narrower adds letterboxing).
  • GPU: 512 MB of VRAM, supporting DirectX 9.0c and up.
  • Note that some players seem to be encountering frequent crashing with Intel GPUs and GPUs with a low amount of VRAM. The current suggestion is to be certain your computer meets these minimum requirements.
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

Full Changelog

Mod/Functionality

  • Fixed an issue where the mod was allocating extra resources on every PNG load, eventually leading to a memory leak characterized by white textures and a non-functional save menu (JoseJL).
  • Fixed an issue where the save menu would not function without the savefile game data folder (Ribose).
  • Fixed a crash if the message log is empty when opened (JoseJL).
  • Implemented the “auto-advance delay” setting into the UI and corrected its behavior. Now it properly delays the auto-advance by the given milliseconds, and it does not double advance (Ribose).
  • Fixed an issue where the targeting would get stuck in battle when playing with keyboard or controller. Previously, this was caused by the location of the mouse cursor over the units, and was thus mitigated by the player changing the battle rotation or moving the mouse (JoseJL).
  • Fixed 59 Hz display settings being stepped down to 30 FPS mode (Ribose).
  • The selection cursor animation is now affected by turbo in the save menu and message log (Ribose).
  • Improved rendering performance, especially for certain Intel GPUs (JoseJL).
  • Adjusted window render size failsafe to occur earlier, fixing ultrawide displays that would otherwise crash on first launch (5120×1440 has a dimension above 4096, the highest supported). Also fixes the rare potentiality of settings inconsistency on the first launch (Ribose).
  • Removed Tinyformat and use STB sprintf in most places instead, which should address a certain potential crash (Ribose).
  • Fixed the message log storing 501 items instead of 500, and more strictly remove items from it on load and adding items. Fixes a buffer overrun that was causing many items to appear to have a voice to play when they didn’t (Ribose).
  • Implemented a new setting under “Controller” called “Update on device change”. For players with wireless Xbox controllers and certain other controllers that are experiencing frequent brief freezes or crashes, try disabling this setting and only manually updating your controllers using the “Update” button (Ribose).
  • Fixed an instance of Lloyd being voiced in both “included” and “additional” voice acting when both are enabled during the first scene in Central Square (Ribose).
  • Fixed the movie_evo support not scaling the video or subtitles properly (Ribose).
  • Fixed and simplified the Dpad and analog stick input code. Controller field movement should now be actually 360 degrees like mouse movement is (Ribose).
  • Stripped out the Tinyformat library. The mod now uses STB sprintf() everywhere it can. This may fix crashes for some players when they try to open the Options menu (Ribose).
  • Fixed a resource leak that leads to crashing after a shimmer effect (JoseJL).
  • Minor adjustments to improve save menu performance on non-solid state drives (Ribose).

English Files

  • Subtitle timing has been adjusted on the movie_evo ending video to match where Cerulean Blue Romance actually plays (Ribose).
  • Ending movie has been updated to the latest version (Sorcerian).
  • A number of typos, grammatical issues, translation issues, and text errors have been corrected (KillScottKill, Catasplurge, Ribose).
  • An unimplemented Japanese string in the scenario and another in the monster unit files has been corrected (Catasplurge, Ribose).
  • Missing translated textures were added for the EXTRA character menu and Camp Menu (Sorcerian).

ZeroLauncher

  • The installer should now update its visual state when it completes, and should not freeze while copying large files.
  • The installer now sets the correct uninstall registry key for the original FSetup5 program to still attempt an uninstall.
  • Fixed a cryptic error that can occur if the ED_ZERO.exe isn’t in the default location and an upgrade is attempted.
  • Implemented an uninstall option to the installer itself. The intended procedure to uninstall the modified game is to: (1) Click File > Uninstall. (2) Follow the prompts. (3) Go to Add/Remove Programs, and uninstall the ZeroLauncher program.
  • The installer should now gracefully handle invalid registry values.
  • The installer should warn and prevent installation in the root of the filesystem, or without a FALCOM outer folder. This is required for the FSetup5 uninstall program.
  • The installer should now detect giving it the zero_w8/ED_ZERO/ED_ZERO executable and switch to the zero_w8/FSetup5 install-from-media procedure (should work for physical Zero as well).
  • The installer should accept Visual C++ Runtime status codes 3010 (“restart required”) and 1638 (“newer version present”) as success. After all, these mean VC++ is already installed in some form, which is enough for the mod.
  • Updated a lot of strings on the installer for consistency.
  • Corrected the positioning of various graphics and labels on the installer, and the scaling of graphics on high DPI displays.
  • Added a component selection for players to skip reinstalling components that they know they already have. This should be particularly useful for Linux players.
  • Added Visual C++ Runtime (x64) for the xdelta3.dll install step to function.
  • The installer is now targeting .NET 4.7.2, as this is the lowest I would take it to keep DPI support, native ZIP decompression support, and C# tuple support.
  • The installer is now 64-bit only since the xdelta3.dll install step requires it.
  • The installer may be run from the Application Files folder without modifying file extensions. The install step is intended to be a lightweight method to make sure the .NET Framework is installed for the program, and to add it to the start menu for convenience. It can function on its own without those conveniences, as long as the .NET Framework is installed.

The post Trails from Zero Patch 1.0.2 appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from the Broken Server

Hello, internet! It’s good to be back.

omgfloofy here to give you a quick status report on what’s going on in this neck of the woods. If you didn’t guess, the activity to the server took it down as it got a pretty hefty ‘hug of death’ last night with the release of the Geofront patch.

Last night, this site had an unprecedented number of visitors and activity, where it basically took the site down much harder than expected. There was a comment to ask about the SQL server and the like, but it looks like the entire PHP function of the site ended up cutting out to a degree. I spoke with my server host this morning, and he made a few changes and updates on that side of things, and this should make things run a little better.

Another action that I’ve taken was to take the primary server download of the patch offline and make the file on the Ashburn mirror the primary download. Please use this for the time being. It will take an additional load off of the server in the process.

Now that I have access to this, I can start getting through comments and questions and start updating the FAQ that I wasn’t able to put onto the top menu. So you will want to keep an eye on that, as I’ll be updating it periodically through the day based on issues and other things that are uncovered.

As a reminder, if the server goes down again (which I don’t think it will at this point), the mirror link that I’m now using as the primary has been posted on my twitter account here.

The post Trails from the Broken Server appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from Zero Out Now!

Greetings, detectives! The day has come! After three years, we have finally completed the Trails from Zero patch to allow you to play the game in English with a fully edited script and modernized features.

You can find the installer on our downloads page. But allow us to help clarify what you will need to install the patch. Additionally, there have been some technical problems that may delay your opportunity to experience the game, but we will be working to update the patch as soon as possible. But please read further down for more details on that subject.

Be sure to verify that the link you’re provided is one of the Geofront links. These are the only links that we can vouch for as not being modified or updated outside of our control. With the way the downloader on the site is setup, all links, both local and mirrors, can be found tagged with the Geofront subdomain before pulling the file.

If this site does go down during the process, many of us on twitter will help provide the mirror links for you.

The Installer

To help with updating the game, we have built an installer to make it as easy as possible for you to install the patch and its contents, and be able to play the game as a launcher with it. This launcher will detect which version of the Geofront patch you’re running, which can help confirm if you’re using the most updated version.

There are other options that may be faster, but these are the normal steps taken by the testers when testing the build of the launcher.

Step 1: Run the setup.exe from the patch files

This will first setup Microsoft .NET framework. Once it is complete, and you have accepted it, the application will be installed. If you are running Windows 10, you will get a security warning that this software can’t be verified due to being from an unknown publisher. This is okay. Once this is complete, you can move on to step 2.

Step 2: Perform the launcher installation

If you have not installed the Japanese game for Trails from Zero, you can actually install it through this launcher, as well.

To install the game through the launcher, if you select ‘install,’ you can target the files for the game. If you have the digital version from DLSite, this is pointed to VJ009178.part1.exe. If you are using the physical version, you point this to FSetup5.exe. This will allow the launcher to install the original game as well.

If you have already installed the game, you point the launcher at ED_ZERO.exe, and the launcher will begin the process of applying the patch to your game.

Afterwards, you will see a summary of what’s going to be installed, including the Geofront build (our assets and DLL modifications), movie files, subtitle files, character texture fix, and so forth.

PLEASE NOTE: the patcher performs a Microsoft C++ Redistributable installation. This may require a reboot.

Issue Reporting

As this is 1.0.1, there will probably be some bugs and issues that we didn’t run across during our testing. As a result, we have an issue reporting page on the site now! This is where you can report anything you run across so that we can throw said reports into our github repo for the game. This way, we can incorporate them in any (inevitable) fixes in the future.

You can find the issue reporting page here.

Known Issues

We have run into some unexpected issues with this installer/launcher. We are in the process of investigating and testing to resolve these and will be calling out the update on here and on twitter once it is released.

Known Issue #1: Uninstallation

When attempting to go through the uninstallation of the patch, it will load up the installer window for the Japanese version of the game, but Windows will not see it to uninstall it. A known workaround is to install the game itself first, outside of the launcher, then install the patch through the launcher.

Known Issue #2: Windows 7

We have had different issues with testers running Windows 7 and the launcher. We are currently investigating the cause of these issues or a workaround for Windows 7 users.

Conclusion

I want to give some love to everyone who’s been patient and supportive of us as we worked through this, dealt with real life, and a various number of issues. We are going to continue with support over the release and may even have additional posts about the game, the patch, and even potentially some bloopers and bugs that we encountered.

We can’t wait to share these kinds of moments with you, and we all absolutely hope that you enjoy Trails from Zero.

The post Trails from Zero Out Now! appeared first on The Geofront.

The Release Date of Trails from Zero

You heard us right. Very soon, you’ll finally be able to put on your police badges and experience the world of Crossbell. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re satisfied with the current state of the localization and ready for a public release!

Prepare to Get Over the Barrier!

The patch will be available to download on March 14th, so it’s time to prepare! Make sure to purchase a Japanese PC copy of Zero no Kiseki from dlsite.com, falcom.shop, or amazon.co.jp. Then, you will be able to use the installer found on the Geofront. We will provide step-by-step details on obtaining, patching, and configuring the patch.

This patch is for the existing PC version of the game, improving performance, fixing numerous bugs, and adding new features such as turbo mode, a message log, and autosaving. That being said, we have no plans to release a PSP patch at this time. If it does happen, it would be Ribose working a miracle with the less-than-ideal tools that we have to work with. Instead, we strongly encourage you to purchase a Japanese PC version of Zero no Kiseki to support Falcom, and to get the best experience possible.

Trails from Zero: Trailer Time!

To tide you over, KillScottKill took it unto himself to prepare something very special. We present: a trailer for the upcoming launch of our translation! Give it a watch or ten, eh?

Keen eyes among you may recognize that as a recreation of Falcom’s trailer for this game, nine years ago. Credit to it, of course. Please look forward to the patch on March 14th. We hope it will be worth it.

EDIT – 7:03pm CDT:
If you are interested in seeing the press release PDF that was made graciously by Scott, please check it out here.

The post The Release Date of Trails from Zero appeared first on The Geofront.

Prepare Yourself for Trails from Zero with Ring of Judgment

Hello, everyone! I’m quite sure that everyone is every bit as hyped for Trails from Zero to be released — which is happening sooner than you all may expect… but if you have not had the opportunity to read it yet, allow me to point you in the direction of what Falcom released as the official pre-story to Trails from Zero before it originally released in Japan back in 2010.

The short comic known as Ring of Judgment was released successively over a series of months in the manga magazine known as Dengeki Maoh. The final chapter of Ring of Judgment was even released in an issue that came out mere days before the actual release of the game.

Since then, Ring of Judgment has seen a drama CD and has even had new artwork by Kitsutsuki, to be part of one of the Kai releases many preorder bonuses.

If you would like to read this short story, it has already been fully translated on Endless History, and you can find it for download here.

This particular comic is a fun way to remember Falcom’s tradition of leading up to their games or setting up bonus information before the start of a game in the form of a different medium.

The post Prepare Yourself for Trails from Zero with Ring of Judgment appeared first on The Geofront.

[Translation Tuesday] Ys IX Prequel Novel Summary (Guest Submission)

This started with Shawnji writing up summaries of the prequel novel that was packaged with the limited edition releases of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox on Discord. I had approached him at one point to ask if he wanted a place to host his summaries that wasn’t in a Discord server’s backlog.

In the beginning notes, Shawnji states that there may be more complete translations of parts of this- as this happens, I will see about updating them here, as well.

With this, I present to you the collection of Shawnji’s summaries of the Ys IX Prequel Novel. Enjoy!


Ys IX Prequel -A Dragon Sword Lost-

Please note that this is a non-profit work by a well-meaning fan, that is in no way authorized or endorsed by Nihon Falcom, nor any related license holders.

Acts I-V are currently only presented here as summaries; but the Prologue, VI, VII, VIII, and the Epilogue are fully translated (for the most part). With any luck, the earlier Acts will gradually be fully translated over time as the opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, I hope this provides fans that don’t read Japanese with a decent picture of Adol’s mini-adventure. Enjoy!

– Shawnji, October 13th, 2019

  1. Prologue
  2. Act I
  3. Act II
  4. Act III
  5. Act IV
  6. Act V
  7. Act VI
  8. Act VII
  9. Act VIII
  10. Epilogue

~Prologue~

Yet another day of travel through the lands of Ispani has ended for Adol and Dogi, who have set up camp for the night as usual.  Fresh meat, provided by the wild beasts they hunted down earlier in the evening sits stewing over the fire. In order to remove the gamey flavor, they add a few herbs and some spices they have on hand to provide the dish with a bit of flavoring, and the two sit down to enjoy a meal full of raw, outdoorsy flavor.

Bellies now full, Dogi opts to lay down for a bit, while Adol takes a moment to write in his journal.  He pulls his sword from its scabbard and the moon reflects off the blade’s surface, shimmering a whitish-silvery hue.  A pale light pours out from the jewel in the center of the hilt. The sight is even more profoundly beautiful when the blade is bathed in moonlight as it is now.

This is Adol’s beloved sword – Caliocerion. It had seen him through numerous travails ever since he obtained it during his time in Altago.  The blade is characterized by the special type of synthesis used to manufacture it, along with the moon gem embedded within; which lends it a mysterious power.  Not only is it well-tuned for attacking, but also for penetrating defenses, and dealing broad-sided blows as well. It is a rare specimen of a sword.

He gently polishes it with a whetstone, oils it, and then wipes it clean with wool.  One could likely get away with simply wiping the blood from the blade after a battle, but that would not do for Adol.  No, he was far too meticulous for that.

“You seem really invested in that,” Dogi notes, seemingly just as invested himself.

“Yeah, I suppose I am.”

A typical short response from Adol who, having now finished polishing, waves the sword gently through the air with a satisfied look on his face.  Though he had never shirked taking care of his weapons, it was a fact that he had recently become much more intense about it than he ever had been before.  The truth is that this is but one of many legendary swords that Adol has found during the course of his adventures. However, it’s as if some irresistible force always intervenes to snatch away not only the sword but all of his other equipment as well.  He’s well aware that being an adventurer involves incurring a certain amount of risk and accidents will happen, but for this kind of thing to happen every single time? At this point, even Adol himself has begun to wonder if maybe he’s cursed.

And so tonight, he makes himself a vow:
“That’s why I’m not gonna’ lose it!  Not this time!”

~Act I~

Adol and Dogi are walking along through the wilderness when Adol suddenly hears the howling of a pack of wolves and what sounds like a frightened human voice.  He races off in that direction, with Dogi following right behind. Once there, he finds a girl surrounded by the wolves, but he swiftly dispatches several of them.  The rest run off; intimidated by his battle prowess.

Adol tries to offer to help the girl up, but instead of being grateful, she’s upset with him for interrupting her.  Turns out she’s a blacksmith by the name of Cecilica Kensia, and she was testing out a new suit of armor. Dogi and Adol both remark on how strange it is that she would literally throw herself to the wolves to do so, at which point she mentions that she’s been in a bit of a slump lately and feels like she’s lost her touch as a blacksmith, so she’s been pushing herself harder lately.

At any rate, they clear the air over Adol’s interference (he apologizes profusely), and slowly warm up to each other as they continue to talk.  She offers to look at their weapons, and Adol pulls out his Caliocerion. She goes completely nuts over it and starts thoroughly inspecting it, becoming particularly entranced by the pulsating jewel in the center.

She tries to offer Adol increasingly larger amounts of money for it, and each time he refuses. He informs her that money isn’t the issue, which she takes entirely the wrong way and decides it’s her body he’s after…  She goes on to literally offer herself to him right then and there because she’s just that dedicated to her blacksmithing.

The misunderstanding only gets worse, as she asks for Dogi to go somewhere else while they ‘do the deed’ to which Dogi agrees to immediately.  Adol calls out for him to wait, which then leads to her thinking that his goal was for both of them to have their way with her at the same time.  She begins to cry because she’s still a virgin and she doesn’t want her first time to be with two men at once, but Dogi steps back in to say that he’s good, and the two of them should go at it alone.  She thanks him and they spark up a weird friendship through this.

Adol, finally having had enough, tells him to stop joking around, and Dogi admits that he was just enjoying seeing how she’d react if he played into it.  The whole matter gets cleared up and Cecilica, now realizing her mistake, blushes up a storm while naturally blaming Adol for the whole thing.

After she cools down, she asks him why he won’t sell her the sword, to which he explains that it saw him through a lot of difficult situations when he was in Altago, and therefore is basically like a comrade to him.  She seems to have finally given up, so Adol and Dogi start to pack up and head on their way. However, after hiking along for a bit, they realize that she’s basically stalking them. She makes it clear that she has no intention of giving up on the sword, so Dogi welcomes her to join them.  Adol tries to warn her that he has no intention of ever giving it up, but she states very boldly that eventually his adventuring will lead him to an early grave and she’ll be right there to pluck the sword from his dead body. With that, they set off together towards the next town along their way.

~Act II~

Night has fallen and the trio is sitting around the campfire eating dinner.  Cecilica is waxing poetic over the food. Dogi comments on the fact that she seems to have a pretty big appetite, and she replies that a growing blacksmith needs fuel for all the hammer swinging she’s going to be doing.  She mentions that she’s impressed with how many fish he was able to wrangle up for them; but he corrects her, noting that the only thing he actually managed to catch was a single runt of a fish.  Adol was the one who caught all the other fish. Not only that, but he was the one who prepared the soup she liked so well.  She’s impressed at his versatility, but he shrugs it off as something that just comes from all of his experiences adventuring, while also referencing a particular case where he was castaway on an island for several months that helped him develop his cooking skills. (I should note that the author enjoys pointing out how often Cecilica is stuffing her face throughout this scene.)

They spend three days on the road together like this, with Cecilica always looking forward to Adol allowing her to clean and polish Caliocerion after meals; before eventually making it to town.  They spend the night at the inn, sell off what they found from hunting and gathering, and wander around doing their own thing for a while.

One night, the three of them are having dinner together at a bar.  Cecilica turns out to be a real food critic, and slyly notes that Adol’s cooking was better than what they’re currently having.  Dogi asks her what’s up with the new get-up she has on. Up until this point, she’d been wearing a hefty set of armor, but now she’s dressed a lot more elegantly and is apparently lookin’ pretty hot (according to our narrator).  She says that this is how she normally dresses, and the armor was just business; admitting that she already sold it off. This leads the others to believe that she used the money she got from that to buy this nice new outfit she has, but she shocks the two of them by stating that she made it herself and often makes clothes as a hobby of sorts.  Adol makes the observation that this is why her armor designs aren’t just about function, but form too. Clearly thrilled at Adol’s observation, she continues to regale the boys with her feelings on the artistry of blacksmithing well into the evening.

One of the guys mentions that they’re going to be leaving town tomorrow, and Cecilica asks them where they’re headed to.  Dogi lets her know that they don’t really have a particular destination in mind, but the general plan is to eventually get through Ispani and make it to Gllia.  Cecilica seems taken aback a bit at hearing that. Dogi notices her reaction to the name and asks if she’s been there before, to which she says, “Yes, before it became a province of the Romun Empire.”  They talk a bit about how the Romun Empire has it out for Adol, although he notes that he never set out to make enemies. Cecilica states that she heard a rumor about Gllia as well. Apparently, there’s a city named Balduq in the Eltlingen area that has a massive prison within the city limits.  She continues to list off the things she’s heard about it: “Vendors who’ve traveled there say there are monsters in the city,” “There are dangerous ruins buried deep within the prison walls,” and “Once you go in, you never come out again.” Naturally, all of this piques Adol’s interest greatly. Dogi tries to talk him out of it, while Adol tries to make out like he’d never want to go there; but, of course, he clearly does.  Dogi then decides to bring up some rumors that he heard about an island where there’s a monstrous bird that can lift a whole cow in its talons, and fly above the clouds with a single flap of its wings.  Cecilica laughs at this, thinking there’s no way something like that could be real, but Adol on the other hand takes it very seriously, bringing up their encounters with “Ancient Species”.  Cecilica is like, “What the heck is that?” Dogi simply calls them fearsome creatures, but he and Adol make it clear to her that they’ll likely never show up in her neck of the woods, and they drop the subject after that.

Cecilica asks Adol if he brought back any rumors to share from town, but the best he can come up with is something about mountain bandits and she’s not impressed with either the topic or the dryness of his delivery.  He lets out a sigh, and then changes the subject; asking her where she’s planning to go after this. She states that she doesn’t really have a goal in mind either, and Dogi posits the idea that maybe she’s planning to be a wandering blacksmith, hoping to be renowned by future generations by leaving pieces of her work here and there on her travels.  She makes it clear that she wants to train all over the world because each country offers different types of materials and ways of forging them that she wouldn’t be able to study anywhere else, and her real goal is to learn all of it so that she can one day become the greatest blacksmith of all time. Dogi is quite impressed and wants to celebrate with more beer, but she’s less than enthused, going on to say that it’s no big deal and she’s just carrying on the legacy of her father.  Turns out the Kensia name is quite famous among blacksmiths. Her father was blessed with great talent, and considered a master of his trade. Cecilica doesn’t seem terribly happy when discussing all this, though.

At this point, Adol starts to get a little more talkative.  He says that she reminds him of himself, in that his father was a traveling author, who would go to distant lands and write about the things he saw there, while also collecting various literary works along the way.  He says that he taught him everything he knew about the outside world, and even goes so far as to say that becoming an adventurer is likely due to his father’s influence. Adol then says that, “Children have a natural tendency to look up to and want to emulate their fathers.”  (The book at this point states, “Adol purposefully left out the part about, ‘until they start to get rebellious.”) With this, Cecilica seems to loosen up a bit again and demands that Adol drink more, but he refuses. Meanwhile, Dogi keeps right on pouring for himself; paying no mind to the two of them.

~Act III~

Adol escorts his drunken friend, Dogi, back to the inn; and although he’d like to drop into bed himself, he doesn’t want to leave Cecilica to fend for herself back at the bar.  When he gets back, he finds her slumped over a table, looking totally plastered. He starts to suggest that she’s been drinking too much, but then she reminds him that she doesn’t drink (albeit through very slurred speech).  He remembers that Dogi drank all the booze they had and wonders how she could have gotten this way but then realizes that the appetizers she’d been eating all night were soaked in a local cider. Each region has a different type that’s made from popular fruits in that area, and Dogi always looks forward to finding out how the local dishes prepared in it will taste.  This is the first time that Adol’s ever seen someone get hammered just from eating said dishes, though…

He asks the bartender for a glass of water and sits down next to Cecilica, who begins to demand that he give her his sword.  He refuses, so she says, “Well, at least let me polish it if you’re not gonna’ give it to me.” And he’s like, “Nope, you’re not in any condition to be handling sharp objects.”  She assumes that this is because he’s treating her like a kid (instead of her obvious drunkenness) and starts railing into him about it. He swiftly swaps her tray of cider-soaked beans for the glass of water.  She emphasizes to him that she’s an adult, citing the fact that she was “accosted” by a certain red-haired bastard as proof of her womanhood. “Are you referring to me?” Adol states, his expression turning sheepish.  Ignoring him, she continues on, “I’ll have you know that I’m a proficient blacksmith. In fact, I already sold all my wares in the market today.”

“Yeah, I suppose you did.”

“Sold… ‘em all…”

“Yup, that’s great.”

This continues for a bit with Adol giving half-hearted replies to her comments, until suddenly she starts to wail out loudly, bursting into tears.  The whole place stares at Adol, and few people can be heard accusing him of doing something to make her cry. The narrator notes that even the great adventurer, Adol Christin, is helpless in the face of a crying woman.  He makes his best effort to calm her down and finally they’re able to start conversing, albeit through choked-back tears.

Cecilica reveals to Adol that when she was selling her wares, she wasn’t really getting any takers, but as soon as she revealed to them that she was heir to the Kensia family legacy, they bought everything she had.  Adol tries to reassure her that it’s not just because of her family name that they sold so well, but because they were so well made. However, she says that if that were really the case, they would have wanted to buy them before she ever mentioned her family name.  Adol, believing (quite rightly so) that he has developed a very keen eye for weapons and armor, reassures her that she should have confidence in her work. She calms down a bit, but still shakes her head in dismissal of his claim, saying that she’s nowhere near the level of someone like her father or whoever it was that forged Adol’s Caliocerion.  Internally, he realizes that she’s right, but believes she’s being too hard on herself; however, he chooses to stay quiet and waits for her to continue. She gets more and more depressed, not knowing how she can ever live up to the high bar she’s set for herself or how she should proceed; mentioning that she’ll never be able to see her father again until she can achieve that level.

Adol, now finally piecing together the source of her troubles, asks her if something happened between her and her father.  She had stated earlier in their conversation that he traveled around the world at one point in his life, but now she lets Adol know that he actually left home a second time after that.  The day before he left, he told her that he had taught her everything she needed to know about blacksmithing; and that was the last she ever saw of him. Adol audibly wonders if maybe he lost his life on the journey, but since she’s seen his wares for sale at various auctions, she doesn’t believe that to be the case.  She thinks that part of the reason she can’t catch up with him is because he doesn’t want to meet her, and she assumes this is because she’s not good enough for him to accept her. This feeling became the catalyst that led to her wanting to become the greatest blacksmith in the world because she thinks this is the only way to get his attention and force him to seek her out instead of her always chasing after him.  However, she still can’t seem to attain that hidden something that would lead to her being able to craft a truly remarkable weapon like Adol’s, even after all the time she’s spent honing her craft. He reflects back on how she mentioned that she was in a “slump” the first time they met and realizes that this is what she was referring to. Talking only to herself now, she reiterates how she’s not good enough and will never see her father again.

Adol, being the type of man that he is, states that he’ll help her find her father.  She asks him why he’d offer to do such a thing, to which he states that he doesn’t really have a good reason other than the fact that he doesn’t feel like he can leave her be to face this task on her own when he knows how hard she’s been trying.  She starts to cry again, getting upset at herself for confessing her situation and simultaneously flustered by Adol’s words to the point that she’s getting very red in the face and has to turn the other way to keep him from seeing. She tries to act tough.  “Why are you always acting so kind to people you barely know? Don’t you have any sense?”

“Yeah, I get that a lot…” he retorts.

She double-checks with him to make sure he’s serious about his offer, but even though Adol’s reassurance is comforting, she states that she doesn’t actually want him to help her find her father.  She meant what she said about trying to become a better blacksmith in order to get his attention. He smiles and says that he’ll be cheering her on all the way if that’s what she really wants to do, which gets her all flustered again for a moment.  After that, she says she wants him to help her with her training. Confused, he asks her how he can do that considering he doesn’t know the first thing about blacksmithing. Cecilica then stands up, points a finger at Adol, and proclaims that he’s going to be the one testing out her new hardware for her.

~Act IV~

Adol, Dogi, and Cecilica leave the town a day later than they’d originally planned since she wanted to spend another day there making some new weapons and armor for Adol to test out.  Our red-haired leader apologizes to Dogi for changing their plans up, but Dogi is totally on board with helping Cecilica out. As part of Adol’s promise to help her, they’ve elected to wander through the mountains rather than follow the mountain path they were originally going to take.

Cecilica is extremely excited to have someone as skilled as Adol testing out her equipment since she knows that he’ll be able to put it through its paces better than she could herself.  She runs ahead of Adol and Dogi, who are only trailing behind by virtue of all of the new equipment she made that they’re carrying around for her. She herself is wearing a very thin armor made of leather, which she feels very confident is more durable than most metal armor.  Dogi and Adol warn her not to run too far ahead since there will likely be beasts on the prowl.

They arrive at an area that a local hunter advised would be suitable for what they were planning, and they begin getting set up.  Dogi and Cecilica hide in some bushes so that they can observe Adol’s performance. They agreed beforehand to pop out and intervene if things get too crazy, but Dogi assured Cecilica that it more than likely wouldn’t be necessary.

Adol stands out in an open area and sets fire to some special herbs that are supposed to draw in his opponents with the smell they produce while burning.  It works, and a bear more than three melye tall leaps out in front of him. Adol can immediately tell that this particular bear is an Ere-Gali Bear, which is only native to the central part of Eresia.  They’re omnivorous, but typically won’t attack humans unless they are carrying some type of prey with them, or they catch wind of a particular smell; in which case they become ferociously predatory. The bear proceeds to knock down a thick tree with almost no effort.  This is all according to plan, though. They crafted this scenario specifically because this bear is supposed to be so powerful that its blows can break through solid rock, making it perfect for testing Cecilica’s armor for durability. It’s also not a particularly agile bear, so if things go awry, it shouldn’t be too difficult for Adol to remove himself from harm’s way.

Unexpectedly, another dark shadow emerges from their surroundings, revealing itself to be yet another Ere-Gali Bear.  Cecilica almost lets out a scream, but Dogi is quick enough to cover her mouth before she can alert the bears to their presence.  They hadn’t counted on two bears. The whole point of using this bear for the test was because of how poorly it maneuvers, but two of them at the same time would be another story.  Cecilica asks Dogi if they should intervene or call the whole thing off and run, but Dogi seems to think nothing of it. At that moment, she gets yet another shock, as a third, towering bear comes lumbering toward Adol while he’s still busy maintaining his distance from the first two.  She suspects that this must be their leader, and starts to yell out that they should retreat; but before she can Adol loudly declares that it’s no problem and he’s going for it. Cecilica thinks this situation is far beyond what they needed to test for, but his confidence relaxes her a bit and she hunkers down with Dogi to observe the battle.

The bears have Adol in a pincer attack, almost like they’d planned it that way, and even though our three protagonists agreed that he would only use his shield rather than attacking, the size of these things is intimidating even for him.  The first bear lashes out in a flash, but Adol is able to redirect the bear’s attack past him with the shield rather than try to hold his ground head-on. The next bear moves in to attack, but Adol nimbly backsteps and evades it. The third bear approaches much like the first one did, but Adol parries the attack perfectly.  Cecilica is extremely impressed and it doesn’t go unnoticed by Adol, despite being pretty busily locked in battle at the moment. Adol eventually pulls back and checks the condition of the shield. It stood up really well in the face of all that, so now he decides that rather than redirect the attacks, he’s going to take them at full force.

He blocks the first bear’s attack with ease, although it knocks him back a few feet.  The second one attacks from above. This time, Adol realizes he can’t change his stance in time to block it, and elects to evade instead.  The blow hits the ground with such force that it leaves a huge gaping hole, proving that the rumors about these bears were true. That isn’t the end, however, as the third and largest bear was waiting for this opportunity to strike while Adol was off-balance.  He swings, and Adol swaps the shield to his other hand to block it. The block was successful, but the impact sends him flying backwards about 10 melye. He checks the shield for damage, and beyond a few dents here and there it’s neither warped nor broken. Cecilica and Dogi, having heard the massive clang, look towards Adol to see him holding the shield aloft; indicating that the first part of the test is finished.  Cecilica uses a mirror to flash some light back towards him to let him know they got the message without alerting the bears.

The next part of the test was actually happening at the same time as the first.  Adol had on a set of armor as well, and they wanted to test its range of movement.  Cecilica seems to think that, based on how effortlessly he flitted around the battlefield, there was no issue at all; however, Adol signals that it was a slightly rough around the edges.  She seems frustrated with the result, but determines to figure out the problem once this is all over. She signals back to him again and Adol proceeds to prep for the third phase of the test by taking off the parts of the armor that were getting in his way.  He then draws out the new sword that she made for him. She was loath to make something that she knew couldn’t live up to Caliocerion, but realized it was necessary for the final part of the test.

In order to test the weapon’s endurance, Adol would finally engage the bears in full combat.  Cecilica now begins to realize that this is the first time that she’s ever really seen Adol fight.  The previous times, she was either in peril and not really fully cognizant of what was happening, or he was mostly using defensive tactics.  The narrator describes it from her point of view as being, in a word, beautiful. They go on to reference sword dancing, which interweaves swordplay with traditional dance; only to then abruptly state that Adol’s fighting style is nothing like this.  The motions aren’t meant to be elegant; but they are calculated, methodical, and controlled. There is no wasted movement. All of this is in service of one thing: winning the fight. Cecilica realizes why her armor would only get in his way at this point, but what really surprises her is how well he seems to “understand” the sword that she gave him.  He knows it better than even she does. He knows what timing, distance, angle, and positioning will be most effective. Its like the sword is an extension of his body; as natural as moving an arm or a leg for him.

As a blacksmith, Cecilica can appreciate the grandeur of what she’s seeing.  This isn’t a fighting style developed by some great line of swordsmen, this is Adol’s own style, developed from years of traveling from place to place, seeking out adventure… and finding it.  There is no greater performance she could have asked for. Words escape her, and all she can do now is look on in wonderment.

~Act V~

Adol, Dogi, and Cecilica are sitting around the campfire reflecting on his fight with the three Ere-Gali Bears earlier in the day.  The first two bears had been eliminated almost instantaneously, and despite the virtually inexhaustible strength of the third bear that they suspected was the pack leader, a well-placed blow to the neck brought him down just like the others.  Having to field dress the huge beast after the fact might actually have been more strenuous than the fight itself.

The narrator takes a little time here to discuss how valuable every part of a bear is.  This is particularly true of Ere-Gali bears, since the lustrous quality and pattern of their coat makes it highly sought after.  Their claws and teeth can be used for various types of equipment and as raw materials for forging. Their liver and gall bladder are often used for medicinal purposes, but apparently it took our trio quite a long time to remove them properly without damaging them.  Having spent so much time on it, they decided to just set up camp for the night and have bear meat for dinner. However, preparing bear can be a bit complex, as it involves steaming it rather than frying it, since it has a very powerful odor that needs to be dealt with.  A good number of spices are typically employed as well to help cover up said smell and the meat is then brought to a simmer. After that, the lid is removed and several wild vegetables are added to the mix.

The fragrance has caught Cecilica’s nose, and she’s starting to get impatient.  Thankfully, it’s almost ready. Surprisingly, she struggles for a minute to find the words to describe the dish, before finally settling on “explosive.”  Dogi heartily agrees, before adding that it goes beyond explosive to “eruptive” (i.e. like a volcano). Adol audibly wonders what they’re on about, but then Cecilica starts up into a long-winded speech about how explosive the flavor is, how the spices seem almost diametrically opposed to the flavor of the meat, yet somehow the whole thing comes together perfectly, and so on and so forth.  At the end of this diatribe, she chastises Adol for not understanding how good the food is (even though he’s the one that made it). She and Dogi go whole hog on the stew, and Adol adds some more meat to the pot while reminding them that they don’t have to gorge themselves. They have way more than enough meat, after all.

After the meal, Adol and Cecilica sit down to review their findings from earlier.  The shield didn’t seem to be a problem, but the armor still needed some work. Adol tells her that he was impressed with how sturdy it was in spite of its light weight, but the joints felt so stiff that it encumbered his movements.  She admits that she based her design on observations she made while watching soldiers training, and while it would probably work great in that capacity, she acknowledges that it wouldn’t give someone like Adol the freedom of movement he needs.  He goes on to mention that the sword was actually extremely light and easy to use; but almost too easy. He thinks she can afford to make it a little heavier in the center so that the blows it delivers will carry more weight. She notes that she hadn’t really considered that angle, and the two of them continue this discussion while Dogi snores away in the background.

It’s getting late and Cecilica is trying to get to sleep, but she just can’t seem to for some reason.  She looks over at Adol, who is keeping watch at the moment, and thinks back to what she saw earlier in his fight with the bears.  She had suspected that he was something of a talented swordsman, but she never guessed that he was at such an incredibly high level; especially when he seems like the kind of person who’s so polite and obliging that he would get trampled over in day-to-day life.  However, when he’s in a fight, it’s the total opposite, and she’s impressed with his bravery and intensity.

She starts to think about how impressive he looked when he was fighting, but quickly buries any feelings for him that might be brewing.  Instead, she focuses on how watching him might have given her a glimpse of that “something” that she’s been missing, and decides that she finally knows what she has to do.  She closes her eyes again and drifts off to sleep.

As the days go on, they continue to perform the same cycle over and over again:  The group sets course for the next town over, Cecilica rents a place to perform her blacksmithing, and then they set back out again to let Adol test her equipment.  Eventually, a month has passed since Adol and Dogi first met Cecilica, and one morning she greets them with something unexpected.

“Thank you two for everything you’ve done for me, but I’m afraid this is where we part ways.”

Naturally, Adol and Dogi are a bit bewildered by her announcement.  She tells them that she’s done pretty much all the testing she can, and figured this was the best time for them to split up.  Adol states that it’s all a bit too sudden, and a pained expression crosses her face for a moment at hearing him say this. She meekly states that spending time with them has just been too fun and distracting for her, and she won’t have the resolve to do what she needs to do unless she goes it on her own.   The two of them quickly come around and understand her feelings. Dogi smiles and jokes that her confession was uncharacteristically cute, while Adol simply lets her know how much she’ll be missed. She turns her head the other way and tries to act tough, telling them not to misunderstand and that her only regret is that she won’t have a “test subject” for her work anymore.  Adol sees right through her, but keeps it to himself. They all sit in sad silence for a minute before she finally speaks, telling them how grateful she is for everything they’ve done for her, and how she wishes she could have made them something that lives up to those feelings of appreciation. Dogi quickly rebukes her, saying that she did plenty to help them along the way and that it wasn’t all about them helping her.  Adol also chimes in to tell her that no thanks are necessary, and that he was just doing what any good traveling partner would do. Still, she gives them a few small pieces of her work, while insisting that it’s only a partial payment. She stands upright with both feet planted shoulder-width apart, pointing her finger directly at them, and proclaiming, “I, Cecilica Kensia, swear that I’m going to make you something incredible someday!!  Make sure you remember my name!!”

“Actually, it might be harder for us to forget it.”

“We would never forget you.”

With that, the trio becomes a duo again, and Cecilica starts out on the opposing path from where the boys are headed.  As she walks, she reflects on how hard it was for her to leave them behind, but she feels strongly that it was necessary.  Turns out that she also wasn’t entirely truthful earlier. She had plenty more tests that she would have liked to continued doing, and it would have helped her identify and correct a lot of minor engineering problems with her work.  However, as time went on, she realized that Adol was being far kinder to her with his feedback than he needed to be. She knew that she wasn’t capable of making something that would meet up with his standards and he just didn’t want to disappoint her.

As she continues down the mountain path ahead of her, she vows to herself to find that “something’ she’s been missing and become a master blacksmith by the time she sees him again.

~Act VI~

Cecilica awakes suddenly; finding herself in a very unfamiliar environment.  The room is lined with stone walls and there are wooden boxes and boards strewn about.  She tries her best to remember what circumstances led to her ending up in such a place.


She had said her goodbyes to Adol and Dogi and was on her way down the mountain path.  However, not very far into the journey, she heard someone call out to her.

“Well hey there, girlie!”

For a half-second, she thought it might be Dogi, but quickly realized the voice lacked his upbeat and genial tone.  This sounded much more irritable and malicious.

“May I help you?”

She didn’t really want to engage with whoever this was, but something felt off, and she decided that she had no choice but to respond.

“You’re in our territory now!  If you want get past… Actually, if you want to get out of here at all, you’d better fork over all the money you have!”

As if prompted by this statement, several figures revealed themselves from the surrounding tree lines.  There were roughly ten of them – all carrying weapons. Cecilica’s first impulse, being a blacksmith, was utter disgust at the poor quality of their equipment; however she quickly snapped out of it and realized that these were the mountain bandits Adol had heard rumors about.

“And if I pay you, you’ll let me through?”

She clearly understood the danger she was in, but managed to keep her cool in the moment without letting any fear show on her face.

“You’re better off handing it over without a fuss, miss; assuming you care about your safety, that is.”

She took a moment to evaluate the situation, and realized that as long as she gave them the money, she probably wasn’t in any real danger.  From their cheap weapons to the way they carried themselves, they practically oozed “small-fry.” Still, she wasn’t in a position to fight or run from them, so she decided it was best to follow their orders.  She had started to pull out the money when suddenly one of the bandits piped up:

“Hold on a sec, boss!”

“Yeah, I think this girlie here’s from noble blood!”

The one they referred to as “boss” looked surprised; almost as surprised as Cecilica was mortified.

“I suppose it’d be a right waste to let this one go for just a few pieces of gold then, wouldn’t it?  Not when we can put a ransom on her pretty little head and be set for life!”

Even as the other bandits called out in agreement, Cecilica knew how misguided their enthusiasm was.  While her father was certainly renowned, they had never been nobles; and besides that, how would they contact him when she didn’t even know where he was herself?

“No, wait, this is a misunderstand—”

“Hold your tongue, girl!  Ya’ think you can fool me?!  Jus’ look at that fancy outfit you’ve got on!”

She looked down to see the regal-looking coat lined with Ele-Gali bear fur.  She had taken so much pride in how she was able to repurpose its fur into such a magnificent piece.  She had even offered to make coats for Adol and Dogi, but they had refused, telling her that fancy clothing like that wasn’t really their style.  She very quickly realized that, even though to her it was just something she threw together, it made her look far wealthier than she was. She began to stammer out an explanation, but knew they would never believe her.


Having recalled everything she could, Cecilica’s focus returns to the present where she is locked up in a room that’s one-part jail cell and one-part storage shed.  She lets out a heavy sigh at how little fortune seems to favor her. It would have been bad enough for them to have simply taken all of her money, but then to be dragged back to their base on top of it?  While one would normally be thinking about how they got here, or what they should be doing next to get out this situation; Cecilica can’t seem to think about anything other than how much time she’s wasting by being detained here, how much she needs her father’s validation, and all the work she still needs to put into honing her craft.  It’s as though she’s doing all she can to avoid the reality of the situation.

Out of nowhere, she remembers something her father had said to her once when she was in training:

“That piece you made is way too ‘by-the-book.’”

She still doesn’t really know what he meant by that, but she had vowed to drag the answer out of him the next time they met.

“…But now I might never get the chance.”

Her own unconsciously uttered words startle her, and she averts her eyes to the floor in an effort to push these needless thoughts out of her head; but in that moment she’s also reminded of the stark reality of her situation.  The bandits will undoubtedly realize their mistake in time, but she knows how unlikely it is that they’ll simply let her go once they find out.

She takes a moment to assess the cavernous room she’s being held in.  The door is made from several wooden logs and bound loosely with chains.  It looks like it was a rush job. If she had her mallet, she could probably break it down in one fell swoop, but the bandits had taken all of her personal belongings, so that wouldn’t be an option.  She begins to wonder if she’ll ever even get to hold that mallet again. Once the bandits realize they won’t be getting their ransom money, what will they do? Will they attack her in a blind rage? Kill her?  Do other unsavory things?

Cecilica begins to lose hope.  Never again will she forge a sword, shield, or suit of armor; nor have the opportunity to see her father again.  She falls to her knees and trembles as she becomes more and more overwhelmed by her own thoughts. Before she knows it, the tears have started to flow like raindrops; and there is no stopping them.  If only Adol were here… He’d save her from this place. But no matter how sweet the fantasy, she knows that reality would never be so kind to her.

Suddenly, a clamor rings out near the center of the hideout.  Cecilica can hear yelling, thunderous footsteps, and the clanging of metal.  It’s almost as if… as if someone were storming the base!

“Could it really be him?!” she wonders aloud, “Of course, there’s no way that would–,”

The wall behind her suddenly collapses into rubble; and a large, imposing figure gradually comes into view.

“Hey there, girl!  How you holdin’ up?”

“Dogi!?!?”

Cecilica’s eyes go white with shock.

“Wishing it were Adol, huh?”

“N-No, I just… Wait a minute!  What are you doing here?! Like, literally, how did you physically DO it?!  That wall just…. exploded!”

“Haha!!  They don’t call me “The Wall-Crusher” for nothin’!  That measly thing was like punching through a sheet of paper!”

He holds his fist up proudly.  Cecilica, finding herself totally at a loss for words, tries her hardest to figure out what the hell his body is made out of to be capable of such a feat, but quickly realizes this isn’t the time or place to ask such hard-hitting questions.

“If you’re wondering about Adol, don’t fret, he’s here too.  He decided his job was to create a distraction by charging in right through the front gate.”

“Oh, Adol…”

She looks towards the door, eyes still moist from the tears as she imagines Adol fighting his way through their ranks.

“Which is all the more reason why we need to hurry up and get the hell outta’ here!”

“Right.”

The two of them dash off into the cavern exposed by the newly uncovered hole in the wall.

“Dogi, how did you know that I’d been captured?”

“Funny thing is, after we split up, Adol just burst out of nowhere yelling, ‘I forgot!!  I wanted to ask her something!!’ and then dashed off after you.”

“He forgot to ask me something?”

“He said he wanted to know your dad’s name.”

“Now that you mention it, I guess I never did tell him.”

Their conversation continues as they run hurriedly through the dark corridors of the cavern.

“After a while, he eventually stumbled upon some of your blacksmithing tools.  They’d been thrown off to the side of the road.”

“THEY THREW MY TOOLS AWAY!?!?”

“No worries.  We nabbed ‘em all for ya’!”

Dogi hands Ceciica her things, and she wraps her arms tightly around them in a warm embrace.

“My babies!!  Mama missed you soooo much!  Those filthy bandits wouldn’t know real value if it bit them!  These tools would sell for more than the best weapons and armor in the region!”

“Um, anyway… Adol and I decided to search the area, stumbled on a bunch of tracks, and that ended up leading us to this cave.”

“I see.  Sounds like you two are really handy at reconnaissance.”

“I dunno’ about that, but at the very least I can tell you that Adol has a knack for getting to the bottom of things.  We’ve been through all kinds of ruins and mazes, yet he blows through them like they’re nothing.”

“Wow…”

They’d been running through the caverns for a while now, turning the occasional corner here and there, but the exit was still nowhere in sight.

“What’s the deal with this cave?”

“Based on what he’d heard back in town, Adol figures that the bandits set up camp here in these caverns pretty recently.”

“Recently?”

“Yeah.  I mean, you can tell it was swarming with beasts at one point just by looking at some of the markings on the walls.”

“And just how big would you say these beasts were?”

“Bigger than an Ere-Gali bear, most likely.”

“Whoa…”

Cecilica is totally drawn in by the conversation.

“Does that mean the bandits cleared them all out?”

“Nah, those markings are several years old by now.  They just got lucky and stumbled on it when it was already empty.”

“Not that I have any business saying this after being captured, but… what a bunch of small-fry.”

Dogi and Cecilica continued to chit-chat like this for a long time, until finally at long-last, they arrived at the exit.

~Act VII~

After making it outside of the cave, they find themselves on a small hillside.  Interestingly enough, the cave must have wrapped around itself, because they can see the entrance to just below them.  They also happen to spot a lone red-haired figure fighting a swarm of bandits.

“There’s so many of them.”

The bandits seem to be literally pouring out of the entrance to the cave, looking to number at least twice that of the group that had captured Cecilica.  Yet, here was Adol, fending the lot of them off by himself.

“These guys may be small-fry, but there sure are a lot of ‘em.”

“They’re like a bunch of cockroaches.”

Dogi and Cecilica don’t mince words when it comes to their lot.

“Yo, Adol!  I got her out!  Think it’s about time we make a run for it!”

Adol looks up and upon seeing that Cecilica is safe, his expression lightens for a split-second before quickly turning his attention back to the bandits that are steadily swarming him.

“There are too many of them!  You two go on ahead!”

Adol’s words prompt them to look at each other in hesitation.

“Dogi, get down there and help him!”

“I mean… If I do that, you’ll be totally defenseless up here by yourself.”

He seems very troubled about what to do, but Cecilica decides to speak up.

“I’ll be fine.  There’s no way any of them will try and scale their way up here.”

She was right of course.  Going down the hillside would be one thing; but given how steep it is, getting back up would be a wholly different matter altogether.

“I hear ya’.  Just be careful, alright?  And yell for me if anybody gets close!”

She nods, and Dogi immediately bounds down the slope, his notable heft making his descent a speedy one, and the force of his impact hitting like a tank, sending bandits flying in all directions.  Cecilica can’t help but admire him a little.

“He’s so tough and burly.  What exactly is he made of, anyway?”

She returns her gaze to Adol.  It’s at this point when she realizes a grave error on her part.  She must have spent roughly 20 days having him run tests for her, but every time she had asked him to use a sword that she made for him.  Never once had she asked him to use his own sword – Caliocerion. This would be her first time to really see him make use of it in a real fight, and she found herself again overwhelmed by the spectacle.

The bandits fall one by one with a flash of his blade.  Regardless of whether his attackers come from the front, behind, or even both sides; Adol nimbly evades their blows as if he already knew they were coming.  His sword finds its mark numerous times in a matter of seconds, and in spite of how dire a situation like this might normally seem; neither Adol, nor those observing him, have any doubts about how this fight will end.  Indeed, it seems as though it was meant to play out like this from the start; his god-like movement ability clearly illustrating the vast gap between him and his opponents.

However, what is also clear is that every one of the bandits is still breathing.  In spite of how difficult it must be making the battle for him, Adol is deliberately handicapping himself so that he can avoid taking lives.  The level of skill on display is not lost on Cecilica.

“He must have only been able to use a fraction of his true abilities with the swords I made for him.”

Realizing the gap between Caliocerion and her own work, an unwitting smile begins to form on Cecilica’s face.  In spite of how frustrating the situation should be for her, it’s oddly impossible for her to subdue it.

When she had watched Adol fight before, she knew he had a deep understanding of any sword he wielded; and observing him fight like this had helped her make more progress in her blacksmithing than she had in a long time.  However, it hadn’t been enough to help her find that missing “something” she was lacking. But at last, seeing him like this, she has reached the last step of her journey. It’s not just that he understands the sword – it’s that the sword understands him.

She realizes there is an inherent ridiculousness to such a statement, but Cecilica can think of no better way to put it into words.  It goes right where he wants it to. It moves at the speed he wants it to. It cuts through his target with the exact amount of resistance he wants it to.  It’s like the sword itself is responding to Adol’s needs.

Thinking back to the first time she ever saw Caliocerion, she was clearly impressed with it; and assumed that no normal swordsman would be able to wield it.  She was convinced of that now more than ever, in fact. This sword, Caliocerion… belongs with Adol.  Naturally, using such a remarkable weapon requires a great degree of prowess, but it fits him in a way that it never would someone else.  It matches his personality, his abilities, and his habits. Even if there were another swordsman out there who was just as skilled as he is, they wouldn’t be able to use it as effortlessly as he does.

Cecilica finally understood what her father had said all those years ago.

“This is what he meant about being too ‘by-the-book.’”

Every weapon or piece of armor she’d crafted up until now, she had done with the mindset that it should look and feel exactly the same no matter who bought it.  She believed that if she put her all into it, then she could produce something that anyone could use. To put it another way, she was trying to make something that she could mass produce.  She had never considered that perhaps it was better to make each piece specific to the individual. At most, she might try to match the customer’s build or size; but nothing beyond that. If selling a lot of weapons and armor was the end goal, then one might even consider that the right approach.  That would be “by-the-book,” after all.

A weapon’s functionality is important, but it’s more than that.  You have to envision the person who’s going to wield it. Will they be able to handle it to its full potential?  Will it be able to draw out their own potential? Are they a good fit for each other? If that’s the case, then it doesn’t matter how many you can sell.  Sure, maybe there’ll be someone out there that can use a mass-produced weapon to great effect, but there also might be someone who simply sees it as a defective product.  This must be it. This must be the key to reaching that high level she’s been yearning for.

Cecilica is thrilled to no end at having finally found her answer, however—

“The first thing I have to worry about is getting out of this mess.”

She looks back down at the ongoing battle, and just as Dogi had noted earlier, the bandits aren’t particularly strong.  Clearly none of them are a match for the combined strength of Dogi and Adol together. However, what they lack in strength they make up for in numbers; the plan being to eventually overwhelm them.  Capable though the duo may be, they aren’t inexhaustible. She needed to come up with a way to get them out of there.

“These guys really are like cockroaches.”

After scoping out the area, Cecilica suddenly remembers something and pulls her mallet out of her bag.   She starts to tap on the ground beneath her, finds another spot, taps again, and so on for a few minutes until eventually—

“This is it!”

Raising the mallet over her head, she smiles from ear to ear before bringing it down with the all the force that her years of training as a blacksmith can muster.  A moment later, a crack begins to run from the spot she hit and several seconds after that, a large portion of the nearby rock-facing breaks away and begins to tumble down the hill.

Cecilica was a full-fledged blacksmith, and had never been able to simply rely on metals and ores that she had in stock; often going out and harvesting them herself.  This was particularly true when she was in need of rare materials, and the experience helped her develop a lot of knowledge and skill when it came to mining. For her, it was easy to tell the difference between a sturdy foundation and a fragile one.  This is why it was such a simple task for her to find a brittle layer of bedrock, apply a heavy shock to it, and thereby cause a full-on collapse.

“Adol!  Dogi! You might want to get out of the way!”

The bandits suddenly find themselves being assaulted by falling rocks and debris.  It wasn’t on a large enough scale to reduce their numbers, but that had never been her goal.  As the debris falls, the bandits are forced to give up some ground, creating a path through which Dogi and Adol can escape; and the abundance of rocks makes the hillside much more scalable than it was previously.  Cecilica waves her arms furiously in the air.

“Now’s your chance!  Hurry and get up here!”

All they would have to do now is climb up to her and the three of them could escape.  There was no need to stay and fight the rest. They wave back to her and begin making their way up the rocks.  Just then, a strange look comes over Adol’s face. A moment later, that same look is now on Dogi’s face as well.  It wasn’t just the two of them either; the entire swarm of bandits is now completely fixated on Cecilica. Or, it might be more accurate to say, on what’s directly above her.

“Cecilica!”

“Huh?”

A large, dark shadow begins to fall on her location; as though a large swath of clouds were blotting out the sun.  In an instant, an enormous presence passes over her with incredible speed; and that combined with its huge mass creates a burst of wind so powerful that it completely topples her over.

“W-What the…?!”

Shocked at what just happened, Cecilica manages to get back on her feet; but the image that awaits her upon standing is far and away more shocking still.

“It’s a… bird?”

It was a fitting word to use based purely on the creature’s general appearance, but the sheer mass of the thing made it seem like a far less than adequate description.  Its wingspan was at least 10 merai, and its beak was larger than any greatsword or lance. Suddenly she remembers the rumor that Dogi had relayed to them back at the bar about the “Monstrous bird that can lift a whole cow in its talons, and fly above the clouds with a single flap of its wings.”

“It can’t be…  It actually exists?”

“Screeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!”

The beast lets out an ear-piercing cry, flies back toward the hill, and drops to the ground with such force that several bandits are blown in all directions from the impact.  But it doesn’t stop there, the giant bird continues to assault them by stabbing at them with its beak, clawing at them with its talons, and occasionally blowing them around with fierce gusts of wind from its powerful wings.  The bandits find themselves completely unable to fight back, and they fall one by one. Adol and Dogi aren’t spared from the monster’s fury either, but being quite accustomed to this sort of thing, they are able to evade its attacks.

“W-What… Why is this happening…?”

Cecilica, standing stunned atop the hillside, seems at a loss for words in the face of the terrifying spectacle before her.  Unfortunately, the situation is about to take an even worse turn than she expects. Having caused its fair share of havoc, the bird spreads its wings and flies up into the sky.  However, as soon as they assume it’s going to leave, it turns around and appears to be aiming itself specifically towards the top of the hill where Cecilica is.

“Huh?”

Having realized that she’s being targeted, Cecilica suddenly goes stiff with fear.

“Cecilica!!  Run!!”

She can hear Adol, but the confusion keeps her from processing what he’s saying.   Her legs seize up. With this beast’s eyes glaring at her as though she were its next meal, her body is running entirely on instinct.

“I’ve got to get out of here!” she thinks to herself, but her legs simply won’t listen.  While true that she doesn’t have the strength of Adol or Dogi, and any attempts to flee might certainly be futile in the end; she doesn’t even have the wherewithal to process that much right now, and things are only about to progress from bad to worse.

“Screeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!”

There was that shrill cry again.  Cecilica, head aching, and off-balance realizes that it sounds a lot closer than it did the last time.  A moment later, she looks up to see the monster directly before her.

“Is it going to kill me?”

It was still too early to say.  She finds herself clutched in its giant talons as the beast maintains its altitude high above the ground, attempting to fly off.  This was in spite of the fact that the bandits had unthinkingly begun to launch an assault on it. She realizes very quickly that if it manages to escape with her, it’s only a matter of time before she’ll meet her untimely end.

“I really do have the worst luck.  I finally figured out what I need to do, and now I’m going to die without ever getting the chance to attempt it.”

She turns her eyes to the ground, and sees a tiny person-like shape far below, with hair red as fire – Adol.  He is desperately chasing after the giant bird, but Cecilica knows it’s to no avail. It’s obvious that even he wouldn’t be able to land a blow on the creature from so far away.

“Come to think of it, I never got to pay Adol back for all that he did for me.  I suppose that’s just one final thing for me to regret.”

He slowly shrinks out of view as they get farther and farther away.  Adol, perhaps having finally realized how impossible it would be for him to catch up, stops sprinting after them.  He clenches his hand around the hilt of his sword, Caliocerion, and draws it from the scabbard. His stance is different this time, holding the blade up higher than usual.  Attacking the monster from this distance is not an option, and at this rate, Cecilica will be lost forever if he doesn’t do something. In the face of such a hopeless situation, Adol does the only thing he can do…

…he throws the sword.

This is not a weapon meant for throwing, but Adol treats it like he would a lance or any other thrown weapon, and it hurtles towards his target.  In true mystical-blade fashion, it flows through the air in a near-perfect straight line before sinking deep into the bird’s wing near the joint.

“Screeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!”

The blade cuts deep, and the giant beast begins to severely lose its balance, although not enough to cause it to fall from the sky completely.  The shock and pain is just enough for it to loosen its grip on what it was holding, which now comes tumbling down from the sky.

“Aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!”

Not having time to celebrate her sudden release from captivity, Cecilica lets out a wail as she finds herself careening toward the ground at high-speed.  Just before she lands, Adol snatches her out of the air, cradling her in his arms. He then carries her behind a nearby rock facing where they’ll both be out of sight.  The beast searches around for its foe, circling the area several times; but unable to find anything, it spreads its wings and flies off far into the distance.

Around this time, Cecilica is finally starting to regain her senses; however, rather than relief, her expression is one of anger.

“Adol, how could you!?”

She points towards the giant bird that is slowly fading away in the distance as tears form in the corners of her eyes.

“There was nothing else I could do.”

“But… But… That was Caliocerion!”

Adol throwing his sword had succeeded as a last resort, and Cecilica had been saved, but the blade was now stuck in the monster’s body and would disappear along with it.

“I can’t believe it happened again…”

A sad expression falls over Adol’s face for a moment.  However, he looks at Cecilica and quickly sparks a smile again.

“Well, all that really matters is that you’re safe.”

“It’s not okay!!  It was so important to you!  It fit you so perfectly! It was your partner that saw you through thick and thin!  You even said you would never give it up…”

Unable to hold back any longer, Cecilica begins crying softly.

“Swords are made for battle, but they’re more than that.  They’re also for protecting what’s most important to us. If a sword becomes more valuable to you than something that precious, then it was never a sword worth having.”

As Adol spoke these words of comfort to her, his smile seemed as bright as the sun.  Where did this man come from? A man that would throw away his blade, the very essence of life to a swordsman, without a second thought just to save the life of someone he barely knew?  No… She knows it’s precisely because of the kind of man he is that the sword will always be a part of him. The blade had probably chosen him in the first place because of that.

Happiness, sadness, regret, frustration… Unable to put the multitude of feelings into words, all Cecilica could do was let her emotions flow; crying even louder than before.

Dogi, who had only now arrived on the scene, was amazed to find that Adol had once again managed to bring yet another girl to tears.

~Act VIII~

The sun hasn’t risen yet, but Adol, Dogi, and Cecilica are sitting around a table at the local pub.  Dogi takes a swig of whatever he’s drinking and starts to speak.

“I heard the mountain bandits disbanded.”

After their numbers being devastated by the run-in with Adol and the bird-monster, it had become impossible for them to keep their band of thieves together.  Cecilica, seemingly unaffected by her experience, responds with indifference.

“Well, you reap what you sow.”

It appears that she’s already gotten over the whole thing.

“I actually read up on that giant bird afterwards, and what I found was pretty interesting.”

“Oh?”

“Do tell.”

The topic piques Dogi and Cecilica’s interest.

“Well, the first thing is its name; which is ancient in and of itself.  They call it, ‘Eral-Groll.’”

“That’s a mouthful.”

“Can’t we just stick with ‘monster-bird’?”

“Yeah, that’s fine.”

The three of them have apparently decided to settle on “monster-bird.”

“Anyway, as you probably already figured out, the cave that the bandits made their hideout in was originally a nest.”

“That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense though, does it?  That’s not the kind of creature that lives in a cave. I mean, this a bird we’re talking about!  Not only was it huge, but how was it supposed to fly in a space that tight?”

“Turns out that their young aren’t able to fly, and because their wings take so long to grow, most of their early life is spent walking around on two legs.  In that sense, the tunnels were probably a perfect fit for them.”

“That makes sense.”

“Although I bet their young are still bigger than most bears.”

Adol continues on following Dogi’s supposition.

“Once they get older and their wings begin to grow enough, they finally leave the cave and migrate somewhere else.”

“Which is what gave the bandits the opportunity to convert the cave into their base.”

“But if that’s the case, then why did it come back?”

“I can’t say for sure, but maybe it needed to return in order to lay its eggs?  Regardless, after years of being away, seeing its nest being violently destroyed probably sent it into a rage and that’s why it wanted to wipe them out.”

“Does that mean the whole reason it grabbed me is because I was the one who caused the rockfall and it wanted revenge?”

“That’s possible, but I kind of think there was another reason.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it probably has more to do with the fact that their main food source is Ere-Gali bears.”

“Y-You mean that–!?”

“—Yeah.  Because you were wearing that fur coat, it probably thought you were food.”

“I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS THING DID IT TO ME TWICE!!”

“Calm down, will ‘ya?”

“I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere along the line I think I learned how to make cursed clothing…”

The three of them continued to chatter like this for a long while, just as they always had; and before they knew it, the sun had finally risen.

“Alright then, I guess it’s time I got going.”

Cecilica stands up from her seat and begins to gather her things.

“Leaving already, huh?”

“Cecilica, I—”

“—Don’t you say another word!”

Adol’s mouth quickly snaps shut as Cecilica lets out a sigh.

“We just got done saying our goodbyes the other day, so no matter what you say, I don’t really think I’ll really get a sense of closure.”

“Makes sense…”

The three of them stand in awkward silence for a moment.

“However, I will say this…”

She strikes a familiar pose for the third time since they met; her left hand on her hip, her right hand outstretched, and her finger pointing directly at Adol.

“Be prepared, Adol Christin!  The next time we meet, I’m going to make you a sword that outshines even Caliocerion!”

Cecilica, filled with pride and determination, smiles bigger than Adol and Dogi had ever seen her smile before.

“I’ll be looking forward to it.”

And with that, the blacksmith Cecilica Kensia, now with a newfound purpose in her heart and her sights set higher than ever before, begins her journey anew.

~Epilogue~

Dogi heads into the weapon shop to find Adol holding a new sword that he just purchased for himself.

“C’mon, Adol… The short sword again?”

“That’s all they had.”

“Would it have killed you to get the lady to make you one before she left?”

“Nah, it doesn’t bother me.  I’m used to it.”

Indeed.  Adol was very accustomed to setting out armed with nothing but a short sword; and with it, the feeling that he was on the precipice of starting another grand new adventure.

However, this particular short sword would not remain long in his possession, for even he was unaware of the fate that would shortly befall him…

Trails of Zeroing in on Zero: Imminent Release is All But Azured

By: Ribose5

Hello, soon-to-be detectives! Ribose here. It’s time for an update! It’s been a while, but things have NOT calmed down here. In fact, they have ramped up as we ready for a release, soon.

On My Way, Listen You Have to Obey, Magic Is Mine to Command, I’m The…

Now that it’s time for a new update, it’s time for us to say what has happened since the last one. The first reveal is that our friend, Sorcerian, is the one editing graphics for us! While omgfloofy did some graphics such as the location intro text, chapter title cards, and quartz/arts notebook pages, Sorcerian has filled in to give us the rest!

This includes a long checklist of notebook help pages, battle status and AT icon redraws, and 40+ textures of signs that needed to be adjusted for one reason or another. Addaberry, who provided the cursors, also edited a few sign textures.

Here are a few of the beautiful notebook help pages that Sorcerian has made for us.

And here are a few shots of various parts of the game. If you’re familiar with the game, see if you can spot all of the small adjustments.

Advancing Bravery

In past installments, we have revealed our Options replacement menu and Save List replacement menu, I’d like to show off how they look now with a bit of polish and iteration.

A shout out is due, once again, to the almighty Dear ImGui library powering these user interfaces. By simulating the game’s behavior with text shadow and a background made out of the game engine’s window backgrounds, it should convincingly feel like part of the game! Mouse, keyboard, and controller support is, of course, still present, and should be better than before.

Now, it’s time to show off three core features of our patch that I may or may not have said were impossible in the past. These all rely on the incredible Dear ImGui library in some part.

#1: Individualizing Your Soundtrack

The first feature is one that was brewing for probably years now. We used a little-known (and not very great) UI library for a short time before finding and switching to ImGui for our UI needs. This “OST switch” existed as a (non-functioning) dropdown menu on THAT interface. So that pins it down to at least a year and a half ago.

With my work on replacing SOUNDARC with an emulation thread (a story for another day…) and JoseJL’s continuing work disassembling and finding out more about the game’s systems, and specifically its “t_bgm” table, JoseJL was able to complete this feature. I provided some much-needed UI work to make the selector easy to use and work with our Options overlay.

I also gave it one last touch: each item can be played on the fly! So, with that addition, this became more of a combination Sound Test and OST selection popup. The game will return to the track for the area you are in when the popup is closed.

I also edited the English translations of the song titles to align with our edited project. For song titles that were already in English, such as the famous Get Over the Barrier!, no change was made. If you want the original song titles (the mix of Japanese and English titles found on the official track list), then please check out our release in Japanese display mode.

#2: Button Prompt Icons For Everyone

If you look back at the notebook help pages I posted first, you may notice something. In fact, early experiments of this idea have been going on for at least a year. Old updates posted to this website contained button prompt icons hidden in them.

Now, this feature could require an explanation that could hog one or a few full-length blog posts! So for now, I’ll just state what it is, and leave the how it works for another day…

Button prompt icons are the icons that appear in the top left of the screen during battle and certain menus, as well as the “L” and “R” icons displayed on tabs, and, unique to our release, embedded in the scenario, non-scenario text, and on top of notebook help pages that need them.

Why are they so special? Well, on PSP, PS Vita, PS4, and practically any console out there, button prompts are hardcoded (technically, PS Vita and PS4 let you remap at the OS level, but games frequently do not even change to accommodate this remapping). By hardcoded, I mean that you only have one set of icons and their meaning is exactly what it shows. For example, the Circle button on the PSP was hardcoded to always mean “Accept” and this is irrefutable in that version of this game. It also always would use the Circle glyph and that was fine.

Then, Joyoland ported Zero no Kiseki to the PC platform and did absolutely the bare minimum to work with the platform. They changed the icons to generic DirectInput icons, but the icons did not change when rebound.

We can finally unveil that in this patch, we have fully-rebindable button prompt icons! Under Options > Display, you can choose an icon set (Xbox, DualShock, Switch Pro, and Default). Then you can rebind to your heart’s content! By default, the patch is configured to expect the default layout for each of the three controllers listed.

The other part to this feature is keyboard button prompt icons.

This feature will be expanded upon in a future deep-dive blog post. For now, know that you can select your icon set in the Display tab, and select your binding preset (or set your own) in the Controller, Keyboard, and Mouse tabs, and the game should display sane icons for most regular configurations. This should also provide parity with the existing Trails of Cold Steel PC ports!

#3: The Message Log

And for the final big feature reveal, let’s compare this game to the newest English release in the series, Trails of Cold Steel III. One day while that release was hot on our minds, Arvin asked the impossible question: I had an idea. How about a backlog for text? JoseJL looked into it, and ended up making it possible! He came up with the proof-of-concept, and then we refined it. I provided some UI programming work and improved the scenario parsing to include everything from color to embedded icons. Now introducing: the message log.

This message log of course saves text far into the past just as the game displays it, supports Japanese or English text (depending on your display mode), and displays text with full color and any icons. It also lets you replay scenario voices, if they are installed, and shows the speaker title and speaker portrait if present. It is also saved and loaded with the save file (in a JSON file stored in the save’s folder).

Is That All?

Of course not! There’s always more to this amazing project and it has been an absolute blast to work with the other Geofront team members as we continually make the impossible possible on this game that has become so important to us.

So what’s more? Well, a few shout outs first.

Shout out to all of our amazing testers! They are the real heroes, finding typos, finding strange bugs with the default input sensitivity of the Switch Pro controller in DirectInput mode, finding connections to things we missed from Trails in the Sky FC through Trails of Cold Steel III that they’ll never let us live down for missing, and just generally being collectively comprehensive and thorough like our limited number of eyes could never be. They will be fully listed in our credits on the project’s release day.

Shout out to the previous team’s translation work (that is, translators Guren and Yangxu and others). While we can say with absolute certainty that this project needed an editing pass, and we can also say that we have probably checked the original Japanese on literally thousands of lines, terms, and names, we wouldn’t be here without their first step.

And obligatory shout out to Nihon Falcom for such an incredible game. The story told in this game must be told to you guys. It’s worth the wait to see the humor, the intensity, the characters, the machinations…

Please, just wait about one month longer, for we hope to get this patch in your hands soon. Remember, it’s done when it’s done. We have a few bugs to sort out, but at the rate things are being completed, testing is progressing, and issues are being resolved, I don’t expect it to take much longer. We’ll have you know, we will probably be hard at work on this until that very last moment. There are so many parts to the project, it’s kind of unbelievable that a finish line is in sight.

Supplemental Material

We would like to remind you once more of the treasure chest messages form. Since that will be implemented into the game last, I expect to close that form in a couple weeks. Do get your submissions in!

We will be opening a channel on the Falcom Discord specifically for the discussion of our patch called #trails-from-zero-geofront.

We have a few other supplemental projects to detail and provide related to the game. Please look forward to them!

Now I would like to hand this over to Arvin.

Hello!

Hey guys, Arvin here. I haven’t had the opportunity to write in one of these yet, so I wanted to start by saying hello. So… Hello…

Cool. It’s been about five months since I first started working on this project, and I have to say, whew, it’s been a heck of a ride. I dove into the game with almost no experience in any form of editing, so it was a bit of a struggle at first. However, I’m pleased to say that I’m in my comfort zone at this point, and any of my older, awkward writing was completely banished during the second pass.

On the topic of passes: The first pass essentially served as a means of rearranging the original script into more legible English. The second pass was initially meant to be our proofreading phase, but I felt that all of the writing could have used a bit of an upgrade. I spent a solid two months giving every single NPC a voice, so that they sounded like an actual ‘character,’ as opposed to just a translation. There were a few NPCs I had a ton of fun with, especially in Neinvalli Exchange, Guillaume Factory, and the Fisherman’s Guild. Part of me thinks I was actually born to write fishermen dialog. I also spent time getting down the voices of all the SSS characters, and I think I’ve done a great job of matching Zerker’s writing style to help give everyone a seamless experience. I am especially fond of Randy, if my avatar hadn’t already made it obvious.

P.S. Give me full credit for all of the funny lines, and blame Zerk for any bad lines!

P.P.S. Ouch! I’m funny sometimes! – Zerker

Beta Testing Phase

As you may have seen on Twitter or Discord a few times, we are now more than a month into the beta testing phase! What does that entail, exactly? Well, KillScottKill, Addabery, Zerker, Cata, and myself have been hard at work cleaning up the script. Scott and Adda are currently playing the game and combing through every single piece of dialog to find any spelling mistake, punctuation error, poorly written line, or anything that reeks of a mistranslation and/or inconsistency. Zerk and myself are correcting any mistakes, or rewriting any lines that call for it, while Cata retranslates any lines that seem off. It’d be safe to say the game’s script wouldn’t be nearly as good without Scott and Adda’s efforts, so thank you!

Often times, our discussions can revolve around a single snippet of text, sending us down a massive rabbit hole to confirm its accuracy. One of our more recent examples includes this line:

Could there really be just one Bracer Guild branch in all of Remiferia? Scott found that hard to believe, so we dove into every available script on trailsinthedatabase.com, as well as tried to reference Akatsuki (we know it’s not canon, don’t worry!) After painstaking research, we were able to determine that there are, in fact, at least two branches in Remiferia. Given that Arios is in contact with the Prince of Remiferia fairly often, it was safe to make the assumption that the Ardent branch of Remiferia was contacting them, as it is their capital city. Ardent is also mentioned by name later in Azure. The line now reads: “You see, I was just contacted by the Ardent branch in Remiferia.” You can imagine how easily this can become a time sink when it happens on multiple occasions.

So again, thank you to our testers and the rest of the team for putting in so much work to ensure this localization becomes one worthy of comparison to the official releases. I see measurable improvements to the script every single day, and I have full confidence it will be spectacular by the end. 

I plan to play the game in its entirety once Scott and Adda have finished their current playthrough. I probably won’t adjust much, but I hope to add better quips. I’ve actually gone back and added in a few these last couple of weeks.

And Sign Off

Zerker here. It’s been a hell of a ride, but one I’ll never forget. We’re all extremely proud of the work we’ve done, and we hope you enjoy playing it as much as we’ve enjoyed working on it. You don’t have too much longer to go. Thank you for sticking with us. Thank you for everything.

The post Trails of Zeroing in on Zero: Imminent Release is All But Azured appeared first on The Geofront.

Falcom’s 2019 End of Year Financial Sheet – Record Profits Earned!

On November 7, 2019, Falcom posted their balance sheet reporting on the end of year results for their most recent fiscal year. For those who are unaware, Falcom’s fiscal year runs slight off of the norm, starting from October 1st and ending on September 30th. (The norm in Japan is April ~ March.)

This is all leading up to the shareholder meeting, which is taking place on December 18th, 2019 at the Palace Hotel Tachikawa at 1:30 pm Japan standard time. (11:30 pm eastern standard time on December 17th for people in the United States.)

Per Falcom’s supplemental document, the primary game titles that impacted the 2018-2019 fiscal year are:

  • The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki IV -The End of Saga- (JP) (PS4)
  • Ys VIII -Lacrimosa of Dana- (International) (Switch)
  • Ys VIII -Lacrimosa of Dana- Christmas Gift Package (JP) (PS4)
  • The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki Entry Pack (Sen 1 + 2 Set) (CN / KR) (PS4)
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel -Thors Academy 1204- (EN) (PS4)
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II -The Erebonian Civil War- (EN) (PS4)
  • The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki III (CN) (PS4)
  • The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki III (KR) (PS4)
  • The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki IV (CN) (PS4)
  • The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki IV (KR) (PS4)
  • Ys: Memories of Celceta Kai (JP) (PS4)
  • Ys VIII -Lacrimosa of Dana- Super Price (JP) (PS4)
  • Ys IX -Monstrum Nox- (JP) (PS4)

Editors Note on all JPY > USD Conversions: All amounts are an approximation, and as of 12/26/2019, utilizing google’s currency conversion. This data is provided by Morningstar for Currency. Additional rounding may have been performed for concise numbers. The financial tables will not see number conversions- all conversions are in the summary information.


The numbers are listed in the table below:

In one million yen increments.

Total Sales Operating Profit Operating Income EOY Net Income
FY 2019 2,454 4.1% 1,470 13.9% 1,472 13.7% 1,006 20.2%
FY 2018 2,357 14.7% 1,290 33.0% 1,294 33.7% 836 30.2%

Date: 11/7/2019
Listed Company Name: Nihon Falcom
Company Code Number: 3723
URL: http://www.falcom.co.jp
TEL: 042-527-0555
Delegate: Board Selected President Toshihiro Kondo
Contact Representative: Board Member Takashi Nakano
Scheduled Shareholder Meeting Date: 12/18/2019
Scheduled Dividend Payout Date: 12/19/2019
Scheduled Securities and Bonds Reporting Date: 12/19/2019
Do Supplemental Documents Exist? No
Is A Meeting to Explain Documents Planned? No

Table of Contents

  1. Analysis of Operational Results
    1. Analysis of this Term’s Operational Results
    2. Analysis of Current Term’s Financial Condition
    3. Current Term’s Cash Flow Analysis
    4. Forecast for the Future Term
    5. Policies Regarding Profit Distribution and Dividends for Current and Upcoming Terms
  2. Fundamentals on the Selection of Accounting Standards
  3. Financial Statements and Important Annotations
    1. Balance Sheet
    2. Profit and Loss Statement
    3. Document Regarding Fluctuations in Capital Stock
    4. Cash Flow Statement
    5. Annotations Related to Financial Statements

EDITOR’S NOTE

  1. Relevant Information

Analysis of Operational Results

( 1 ) Analysis of This Term’s Operational Results

During this fiscal year, the Sony PlayStation 4 console has become the fastest console to reach 100 million units sold worldwide and the Nintendo Switch broke through 15 million units sold in North America alone. Even while these numbers are continuously growing, trends on the next generation of consoles, including the PlayStation 5 and Google Stadia are being observed. As competition in the video game industry is fierce, excellent contents are being developed at a steady pace.

Regarding this company, we will continue to push forward with development of game software that will be enjoyed by many users.

As a result, for the PlayStation 4, we have re-released Ys: Memories of Celceta and launched Ys IX -Monstrum Nox-.

As the market remains strong for smartphone and browser games, we will continue to provide downloadable content utilizing our IPs. As long with this, we will be collaborating with various comics and other media. Additionally, we will continue to push forward with the planning of special live events, such as live musical performances, the Kiseki Series 15th Anniversary event that we held earlier this year.

As a result, total sales came out to 2,454 million yen ($22,399,710) (an increase of 4.1% from the previous term), the operating profit was 1,470 million yen ($13,417,920) (an increase of 13.9%), operating income was 1,472 million yen ($13,436,170) (an increase of 13.7%), and the net income was 1,006 million yen ($9,182,600) (an increase of 20.2%).

The divisional outlooks are below.

Manufactured Products Division

This fiscal year saw the releases of Ys VIII -Lacrimosa of Dana- Christmas Gift Package in December 2018, Ys Memories of Celceta Kai in May 2019, and Ys VIII -Lacrimosa of Dana- Super Price in June 2019 – all of which were for PlayStation 4.

September 2019 saw the release of Ys IX -Monstrum Nox-, the new title in the beloved landmark Ys series that has been having titles published since 1987.

As a result, for this fiscal year, the total sales for the manufactured products division was 811 million yen. ($7,402,670) (A reduction of 27.8% from the previous year.)

Licensing Division

The licensing division of this company has assisted in granting consent for licenses to help expand the IP contents and characters developed within the company. One such example was the releases of Sen no Kiseki for the PlayStation 4 in traditional Chinese and Korean in November 2018 This was followed up in January 2019 with a traditional Chinese and Korean release of Sen no Kiseki II for PlayStation 4, as well as a ‘Sen no Kiseki Entry Pack,’ which contained both games.

In March 2019, not only was Sen no Kiseki IV -The End of Saga- was released in both traditional Chinese and Korean, but Sen no Kiseki Kai (Trails of Cold Steel) was also released in English. In June 2019, Sen no Kiseki II (Trails of Cold Steel II) also saw an English language release.

In July 2019, the smartphone story RPG Hoshi no Kiseki was released in China, and in September 2019, the MMORPG version of Sora no Kiseki began its service.

Additionally, Lineking Entertainment Technology (located in Beijing) has executed a contract, giving them the rights for worldwide distribution of a smartphone version of Ys VIII -Lacrimosa of Dana- and other new licensing contracts are advancing.

Furthermore, Falcom’s userbase continues to grow, as older titles from Falcom’s library are being released in English, the online story RPG Akatsuki no Kiseki continues its service, Ys VIII -Lacrimosa of Dana- is released on Switch and the development of a collaboration event in Langrisser Mobile.

As the Kiseki series breaks past 4.3 million units sold, this year is its 15th anniversary, and many shops have had collaborative events and goods developed for sale.

As a result, for this fiscal year, the total sales for the licensing division was 1,642 million yen. ($14,987,900) (An increase of 33.1%)

( 2 ) Analysis of Current Term’s Financial Condition

( Total Assets )
The assets for this fiscal year saw a 582 million yen ($5,312,400) increase, to 6,592 million yen ($60,170,690). The primary cause of this is an increase to 1,028 million yen ($9,383,410) of cash in banks and a reduction to accounts receivable to 426 million yen ($3,888,460).

( Liabilities )
For liabilities, this fiscal year saw a decrease of 320 million yen ($2,290,900), coming to a total of 523 million yen ($4,773,860). The primary factors for this were an accounts payable decrease to 121 million yen ($1,104,470), and a decrease to 187 million yen ($1,706,900) in unpaid taxes.

( Net Worth )
This company’s network saw a 903 million ($8,242,440) increase this fiscal year, totaling out to 6,068 million yen ($55,387,700). The primary cause for this is the surplus of 102 million yen ($931,040), in regards to the 1,006 million yen ($9,182,600) operating income for this fiscal term.

( 3 ) Current Term’s Cash Flow Analysis

For this term, cash and cash equal assets (hereon referred to as ‘capital’) saw an increase of 1,028 million yen, totaling out to 5,586 million yen.

The next information is regarding this term’s cash flow.

( Cash Flow Through Business Activities )
Capital from business activities has increased to 1,131 million yen. This is primarily due to 620 million yen paid in corporate tax, sales credit decreasing to 426 million yen, and stock liabilities decreasing to 121 million yen. This lead to a pre-tax, current net income of 1,463 million yen.

( Cash Flow Through Investments )
Investment activities have resulted in a decrease of 1 million yen. This is due to expenses in obtaining tangible fixed assets.

( Cash Flow Through Financial Activities )
Financial activities have resulted in a decrease in capital to 101 million yen. Dividend payments are the primary cause of this with expenditures coming out to 101 million yen.

  2015 Term 2016 Term 2017 Term 2018 Term 2019 Term
Capital-to-Asset Ratio 91.4 92.4 87.8 86.0 92.1
Capital-to-Asset Ratio of
Market Value Base
265.7 154.6 206.9 222.4 213.8
Ratio of Interest Bearing Debt
Against Cash Flow
Interest Coverage Ratio

( 4 ) Forecast for the Future Term

The next fiscal year will see the release of Trails of Cold Steel III in English for the PlayStation 4 and the Chinese and Korean releases of both Zero and Ao no Kiseki Evolution for PlayStation Vita. Ys IX -Monstrum Nox- will be seeing a PlayStation 4 release in Traditional Chinese and Korean. After the successful releases of the Kai versions of Sen no Kiseki and Memories of Celceta, multiple ‘Kai’ versions of other games are being developed for PlayStation 4.

This is content that has been translated for use on Endless History – http://www.esterior.net/

With a focus on the Ys and Kiseki series, developments for Japan, North America, Europe, and Asia are in progress, as well as continued promotions on previously released titles.

Additionally, a new work for the Kiseki series is planned for release. The Kiseki series has won many awards, such as the Japan Game First Prize of Excellence, Japan Game Future Award, Famitsu Award, PlayStation Award Users Choice, and others, and has broken 4.3 million units sold.

Again, for the next term, we intend to continue with development plans for various titles on other platforms and smartphones, and collaborative works with other game developers utilizing our IPs and other multiplatform developments. As recent years have seen strong growth in download sales, a stronger effort for the development of downloadable content will also be made.

Now, including both the Ys and Kiseki series, we have the opportunity to push for new challenges with console games and continue with new titles. From here on out, we intend to offer attractive game software and other content.

For the term that ends in September 2020, we have made a forecast of 2,100 million yen in total sales (a reduction of 14.4%), an operating profit of 1,000 million yen (a reduction of 32.0%), an operating income of 1,000 million yen (a reduction of 32.1%), and a net income of 680 million yen (a reduction of 32.4%).

Now, a distinction of this company during development is the tendency for the total sales to be focused on the months of the release of new products. We expect the next term to follow this trend, and much of the percentage comes from the second half of the year. As such, through the second quarter, the year will appear very low when compared to the earnings forecast.

Regarding the forecast in this document, this judgment has been made based on information that is currently available at this present time. Actual results may be greatly different from the forecast once more information has become available.

( 5 ) Policies Regarding Profit Distribution and Dividends for Current and Upcoming Terms

The management of profit return is an important topic for all of the shareholders of this company. While in line with profit gains, it is necessary to secure capital from internal funds to strengthen business operations. It is the company’s basic policy to determine the appropriate dividends based on the term’s performance.

The dividends for this fiscal year will be 6 yen per 1 share (general dividend), as well as a commemorative 6 (due to the Kiseki series 15th anniversary, and the 15th anniversary of the public listing), totaling to 12 yen per share.

For next term, there are plans for a commemorative bonus to the 6 yen per share dividend as well.

Fundamentals on the Selection of Accounting Standards

As this firm does not prepare consolidated financial statements, there has been consideration on using international standards for drawing up said statements, but they were instead prepared using Japanese standards.

Financial Statements and Important Annotations

( 1 ) Balance Sheet

In thousand yen increments.
  Prev. Year (2018) Current Year (2019)
Property Division    
Current Assets    
Cash on Hand 4,554,444 5,586,537
Accounts Receivable 1,154,166 728,053
Products 2,276 2,926
Raw Materials 1,387 1,083
Prepaid Expenses 5,612 4,693
Misc. 1,396 11,684
Current Assets Sum 5,723,284 6,334,979
Fixed Assets    
Tangible Property    
Facilities Related Installations 16,281 16,281
Total Depreciation Amount ▲ 15,465 ▲ 15,628
Facilities Related Installations
(Net Amount)
815 652
Tools, Equipment, and Furnishings 33,625 34,717
Total Depreciation Amount ▲ 30,576 ▲ 31,929
Tools, Equipment, and Furnishings
(Net Amount)
3,049 2,788
Fixed Assets Sum 3,865 3,440
Intangible Fixed Assets    
Software 346 170
Telephone Procurement 757 757
Intangible Fixed Assets Sum 1,103 927
Assets from Additional Investments    
Security Investments 116,578 116,578
Deferred Tax Assets 134,735 106,969
Securities and Deposits 30,015 29,683
Sum of Assets from Additional Investments 281,329 253,230
Sum of Fixed Assets 286,297 257,598
Total Assets 6,009,582 6,592,557
 
Debt Division    
Current Liabilities    
Accounts Payable 229,802 107,828
Arrears 85,514 79,692
Accrued Expenses 17,049 20,992
Unpaid Corporate Taxes 406,054 218,569
Unpaid Consumption Taxes 67,228 54,235
Advances Received 33 108
Deposits 12,154 12,403
Reward Provisions 26,250 30,000
Sum of Current Liabilities 884,087 523,829
Total Debts 884,087 523,829
 
Net Worth Division    
Shareholder Equity    
Capital Stock 164,130 164,130
Capital Surplus    
Capital Reserve Fund 319,363 319,363
Sum of Capital Surplus 319,363 319,363
Profit Surplus    
Miscellaneous Profit Surplus    
Contingent Reserve 710,000 710,000
Transferred Profit Surplus 3,972,191 4,875,556
Sum of Profit Surplus 4,682,191 5,585,556
Treasury Stock ▲ 189 ▲ 300
Sum of Shareholder Equity 5,165,494 6,068,748
Total Net Worth 5,165,494 6,068,748
Net Worth Minus Debts 6,009,582 6,592,557

this is content that has been translated for use on Endless History – http://www.esterior.net/

( 2 ) Profit and Loss Statement

In thousand yen increments
  Prev. Year (2018) Current Year (2019)
Sales    
Sales of Manufactured Goods 1,123,648 881,511
Royalty Income 1,234,342 1,642,617
Total Sales 2,357,991 2,454,128
Cost of Sales    
Cost of Sales for Manufactured Goods *1 347,263 *1 220,176
Cost of Sales for Royalty Income 3,000
Total Cost of Sales 350,263 220,176
Total of All Sales 2,007,727 2,233,951
 
Sales and Administrative Costs    
Shipping and Freight Costs 21,710 9,435
Advertising Expenses 58,697 58,763
Promotional Costs 24,542 14,889
Executive Salary 53,434 55,484
Employee Salary and Wages 26,443 27,642
Bonuses 2,764 5,333
Sums Transferred into Bonus Reserves 2,763 2,899
Legal Costs 13,415 14,095
Hiring Costs 12,349 11,833
Utility Costs 1,011 1,071
Payment Handling 40,802 36,267
Supply Expenses 1,827 3,024
Travel Expenses 1,583 1,571
Communication Expenses (Postage) 628 546
Depreciation Costs 957 537
Research and Development *2 414,476 *2 479,202
Miscellaneous 39,687 41,019
Sum of Sales and Administrative Costs 717,095 763,618
 
Operating Profit 1,290,632 1,470,333
Earnings from Outside the Business    
Interest Receipts 42 51
Dividend Receipts 1,738 2,321
Profit on Currency Exchange 1,268
Excluded Profits from Unpaid Dividends 966 710
Sum of Earnings from Outside the Business 4,016 3,082
Costs from Outside the Business    
Losses from Foreign Exchange 1,084
Sum of Costs from Outside the Business 1,084
Current Profits 1,294,648 1,472,367
Special Costs    
Costs from Eliminating Fixed Assets 0 0
Sum of Special Costs 0 0
Current Income Before Taxes 1,294,648 1,472,637
Corporation, Municipal, and Enterprise Taxes 547,554 438,437
Sum of Adjustments from Corporation Tax ▲ 89,783 27,766
Sum of Taxes 457,770 466,203
Current Net Income 836,877 1,006,163

Detailed Statement of the Cost of Sales of Manufactured Goods

Operation Section Previous Year (2018) Current Year (2019)
Division Amount Ratio (%) Amount Ratio (%)
I. Material Cost 310,738 89.7 204,409 92.6
II. Outsourcing Cost 35,639 10.3 16,416 7.4
SUBTOTAL 346,486 100.0 220,826 100.0
III. Inventory Count of Goods
at Beginning of Term
3,053 2,276
SUM TOTAL 349,540 223,102
IV. Inventory Count of Goods
at End of Term
2,276 2,926
Difference in Costs
of Goods
347,263 220,176

Document Regarding Fluctuations in Capital Stock

Previous Term (Oct 1, 2017, thru Sept 30, 2018)

In thousand yen increments
Shareholder Equity Sum of
Net Worth
Capital
Stock
Capital Surplus Profit Surplus Treasury
Stock
Sum of
Capital
Stock
Capital Reserve Misc. Profit Surplus
Special Reserve Transferred Profit Surplus
Current Term Balance 164,130 319,363 710,000 3,217,553 ▲ 117 4,410,929 4,410,929
Change of Sums in Current Term
Surplus Shares ▲82,239 ▲82,239 ▲82,239
Current Net
Income
836,877 836,877 836,877
Treasury
Stock Profit
▲72 ▲72 ▲72
Sum of Fluctuations
For the Current
Period
754,638 ▲72 754,565 754,565
Remainder at
the end of this
Period
164,130 319,363 710,000 3,972,191 ▲189 5,165,494 5,165,494

Previous Term (Oct 1, 2018, thru Sept 30, 2019)

In thousand yen increments
Shareholder Equity Sum of
Net Worth
Capital
Stock
Capital Surplus Profit Surplus Treasury
Stock
Sum of
Capital
Stock
Capital Reserve Misc. Profit Surplus
Special Reserve Transferred Profit Surplus
Current Term Balance 164,130 319,363 710,000 3,972,191 ▲ 189 5,165,494 5,165,494
Change of Sums in Current Term
Surplus Shares ▲102,798 ▲102,798 ▲102,798
Current Net
Income
1,006,163 1,006,163 1,006,163
Treasury
Stock Profit
▲111 ▲111 ▲111
Sum of Fluctuations
For the Current
Period
903,365 ▲111 903,254 903,254
Remainder at
the end of this
Period
164,130 319,363 710,000 4,875,556 ▲300 6,068,748 6,068,748

Cash Flow Statement

In thousand yen increments.
  Prev. Year (2018) Current Year (2019)
Cash Flow from Business Activities    
Current Net Income Before Taxes 1,294,648 1,472,367
Depreciation Costs 3,605 2,162
Reduction of Fluctuations of Reward Reserves
(▲ is decrease)
2,250 3,750
Interest and Dividend Receipts ▲1,780 ▲2,372
Loss from Elimination of Fixed Assets 0 0
Reduction of Fluctuations in Sales Credit
(▲ is increase)
▲192,164 426,188
Reduction of Fluctuations in Inventory Assets
(▲ is increase)
2,701 ▲301
Fluctuation Amounts of Other Assets
(▲ is increase)
702 ▲9,036
Reduction of Fluctuations in Purchased Debts
(▲ is decrease)
84,746 ▲121,973
Reduction of Fluctuations of Arrears
(▲ is decrease)
27,031 ▲121,973
Fluctuation Amounts of Unpaid Taxes
(▲ is decrease)
6,031 ▲12,993
Fluctuation Amounts of Other Debts
(▲ is decrease)
8,652 ▲1,517
Subtotal 1,236,426 1,749,978
Amounts Received via Interests and Dividends 1,780 2,372
Amount Paid for Corporation Tax ▲445,478 ▲620,923
Cash Flow from Business Activities 792,728 1,131,427
Cash Flow from Investment Activities    
Expenses from the Value of Tangible Assets ▲1,562
Cash Flow from Investment Activities ▲1,562
Cash Flow from Financial Activities    
Expenses from the Value of Treasury Stock ▲72 ▲111
Dividend Payments ▲81,713 ▲101,660
Cash Flow from Financial Activities ▲81,785 ▲101,771
Increased Reduction in Cash and Cash Value Articles
(▲ is decrease)
710,942 1,028,093
Balance of Cash and Cash Value Articles at Start of Term 3,847,502 4,558,444
Balance of Cash and Cash Value Articles at End of Term * 4,558,444 * 5,586,537

Annotations Related to Financial Statements

(Annotations Concerning Business Condition Continued)
No applicable information.

(Important Accounting Policies)

1. Appraisal Standards and Evaluation Policies for Marketable Securities
Other Marketable Securities
There are no market value items.
Moving average is calculated via cost price.

2. Appraisal Standards and Evaluation Policies for Inventory Assets
Manufactured goods and raw services.
Utilizing the previously mentioned cost price ( calculations based on the declining book value of profitability) principles.

3. Depreciation Estimates Process for Fixed Assets
( 1 ) Tangible fixed assets
Using a fixed rate. (based on building installation value laws instated on 4/1/2016)

Below is the average service life.

Building Installations: 10 ~ 15 years
Tools, Devices, and Furnishings: 4 ~ 8 years

( 2 ) Intangible fixed assets
Based on the in-house availability (5 years) of software used in the corporation.

4. Appropriation Standards for Reserves
( 1 ) Irrecoverable debt reserves
Prepared to have ready for losses caused by irrecoverable debt from credits. There is a considered ratio for irrecoverable debt to go along with the general credit, as such this is a sum of money to maintain for the times when it’s impossible to claim a debt.

( 2 ) Bonus reserves
Provisioned expenditures set aside to give to employees as a reward.

5. Scope Regarding Funds in the Cash Flow Statement
Cash on hand is made up of money that can be quickly withdrawn, and items that can be easily liquidated, moreover the company takes responsibility for small risks from value fluctuations that can be paid off anywhere between three days to three months.

6. Important Notes Involving the Standards for Drawing up Other Financial Statements
Accounting of consumption tax: based on formulas that include tax amounts.

( Changes to Account Objectives )
No applicable information.

Editor's Note

In case you didn’t know, this is a monster document. In the Japanese document, we are currently on page 14 of 19, even. At this point, the document is going into a list of why certain changes are happening to the document, based on new standards in corporate tax accounting and so forth, and it is very dry.

To get this to you faster, and before the financial report that is happening tonight, I am omitting these tables and annotations towards the end except for two of them, seeing as I know that they would hold interest to a lot of my readers.

If you are interested in seeing these notes and numbers, you can find the article here, on Falcom’s IR page.

Additionally, if you want the supplementary report that gives you a broader sample of information from the end of the year, you can find that here.

Relevant Information

Prev. Term (Oct 1, 2017 ~ Sept 30, 2018)

( 1 ) Information on Manufactured Goods and Other Services

In thousand yen increments.
  Manufactured Goods Div. Licensed Goods Div. Total
Total Sales of External Clients 1,123,648 1,234,342 2,357,991

( 2 ) Regional Information
→ Total Sales

In thousand yen increments.
Japan Asia North America / Europe Total
2,033,602 144,422 173,966 2,357,991

Note: The information is based on client sales, sorted by region.

→ Tangible Fixed Assets

( 3 ) Major Client Information

In thousand yen increments.
Major Client Name Total Sales Related Segment Name
Konami Digital Entertainment 991,587 Game Development / Sales
Sony Interactive Entertainment 683,489 Game Development / Sales

Current Term (Oct 1, 2018 ~ Sept 30, 2019)

( 1 ) Information on Manufactured Goods and Other Services

In thousand yen increments.
  Manufactured Goods Div. Licensed Goods Div. Total
Total Sales of External Clients 811,511 1,642,617 2,454,128

( 2 ) Regional Information
→ Total Sales

In thousand yen increments.
Japan Asia North America / Europe Total
1,856,004 198,628 399,495 2,454,128

Note: The information is based on client sales, sorted by region.

→ Tangible Fixed Assets

( 3 ) Major Client Information

In thousand yen increments.
Major Client Name Total Sales Related Segment Name
Konami Digital Entertainment 830,925 Game Development / Sales
Sony Interactive Entertainment 718,682 Game Development / Sales

Sources:
Falcom IR Information – Summary of Accounts for Term ending in Sept 2019

Ys IX Monstrum Nox OST Set for Nov 22 Release

This morning, Falcom has announced that they will be releasing the original soundtrack for Ys IX: Monstrum Nox on November 22, 2019.

This soundtrack set will include 3 CDs, containing 62 tracks that were used in the game, including boss battle themes like ‘MONSTRUM SPECTRUM,’ impressionable field themes such as ‘NORSE WIND,’ and the trailer song, ‘GLESSING WAY!’

The soundtrack will have two different versions, both a standard release for 3500 yen, and a first press limited release for 3800 yen. The first release set includes a tall case, a shadow sleeve that will block out the monstrum to only show their silhouettes, reversible jacket, and cards featuring the illustrations from the game’s ending.

You can find the standard release for sale here on Falcom’s shop, and the first press release here.

The soundtrack will also be available digitally in both standard and hi-res versions. The standard digital release is 2917 yen, or 139 yen per track. The hi-res version is 3148 yen, or 231 yen per track.

You can find more information on the album here on Falcom’s Hot Information page.

[Anime Expo 2019] An Interview with Toshihiro Kondo

Toshihiro Kondo with the crocheted pom trio.
Toshihiro Kondo with the crocheted pom trio.

Just before Anime Expo, I had the opportunity to join NIS America at a press event held in San Francisco. There, I got to play part of their English build of Trails of Cold Steel III, as well as meet with Toshihiro Kondo for an interview.

If you are interested in reading about my impressions of the build, I have that posted here.

Not all of the questions and answers that I heard asked to Kondo during the week are included in this- this is primarily my own interview with him. Also, as I did with the previous interview, I opted to take a more ‘fan-based perspective’ from the start, knowing that most press outlets would end up asking many of the other major questions about the company at this point in time.

This interview was graciously interpreted by Alan Costa.


Endless History: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me. This has been a very exciting opportunity.

What kind of advantages have you seen from working with multiple publishers to localize your games? And have there been any particular difficulties as well?

Toshihiro Kondo: To talk about the merits first, of using multiple publisher partners, is that the size of our company, since we’re not a very large company… A larger company would be, for example, able to do all of the localization and publishing themselves, but as you can imagine, that requires quite a bit of manpower. Therefore, for a company of our size, it is very difficult to devote people to that. So we need help on that front. Allowing other companies to do that allows us to do what we want to do, which is focus on game development and game creation.

And honestly, I can’t think of any demerits. For us, just being able to work with some outside party to publish the games for us for localization frees us up for development. So there’s really no demerit that comes to mind.

EH: Have there been any differences or changes in any English localizations that surprised you or that you really liked?

TK: One thing is that characters in our games have a lot of Germanic-sounding names. So I’m always kind of impressed when I see how the Germanic names end up actually looking in English.

For us, as Japanese people, we don’t really have this impression of German names being something specific. They’re kind of mixed into the idea of ‘the West.’ When we did see them, I always find it interesting to see just how different it actually is.

On the other hand, I know that it may cause some confusion or surprise, maybe, for people in the West. So recently, we’ve been trying a little harder to make sure that the names are a bit more accurate.

EH: Are there any other older titles that you would like to see released here in the West?

TK: I get this question a lot when I’m over here. What I would definitely like to see brought over here is Zero and Ao no Kiseki. Honestly, these games aren’t in a position to be played on consoles anymore and first of all, we’d like to address that issue and get them onto consoles that can be played. I would love for, once that happens, publishers in the West to raise their hand to take the games and bring them out here.

EH: That would be awesome.

TK: We’ll do our best.

EH: This ties into that, then. Are there any plans to keep the older Kiseki titles available as current platforms go into their end of production cycle?

TK: This is something we’ve really thought about. It’s a shame to think about all of the hard work that went into the creation of these games that will be lost once the hardware changes and it’s no longer able to be played. As you can remember recently, we’ve released a PS4 version of Memories of Celceta. So what we’d like to do, in that same way, is continue to update the games and bring them out so that they’re able to still be played.

EH: I recall that you have talked about some development issues with the original Trails of Cold Steel. Are you able to go into detail of any of the issues you encountered?

TK: To go into more depth of that, as you can probably remember, up until that time we never used full 3D for these games- in particular for the character models. What would be done is they would be rendered in 3D, then turned into a 2D image. In Trails of Cold Steel, this was the first time we attempted to [do it with] full 3D. As you know, there are tons of characters, which means we had to create a lot of different models for them. We ran into trouble in particular with creating those models, then creating their animations. So that’s something that we had to just work through trial and error over the years to get used to it to make it look good. And finally starting with Trails of Cold Steel III, we finally reached what we were going for in terms of the models and animations.

EH: I think you succeeded with it with Trails of Cold Steel III.

TK: Then on the story side of things, what made this one really difficult was that- obviously- the setting for Cold Steel is the Erebonian Empire, which is something we’ve been dropping hints to, talking about, and pointing towards since Trails in the Sky through Zero and Ao. So the difficulty here became- now that we’ve built this place up so much- how exactly do we tell this story? If we were to kind of throw in everything we were thinking of, or that we had hinted at, in the main story, it wouldn’t come together and gel well as an actual story. So the way we kind of got around this was we put different information in quests in the game, we had different NPCs talk about different things to give supplementary information to things we had talked about before. So that was another area where we really struggled, which was to make sure the story blended well.

The first view of Valflame Palace in Trails of Cold Steel, upon arriving in Heimdallr.
The first view of Valflame Palace in Trails of Cold Steel, upon arriving in Heimdallr.

EH: I’m glad you guys took the 3D approach, because seeing Heimdallr for the first time in Trails of Cold Steel was amazing, I don’t think it would have as much of an impact without being in 3D.

TK: It sounds like our efforts paid off.

EH: I think they did. I’ve been playing these since the first game came out in 2004, and after all the talk about Erebonia, that pan that goes down in Heimdallr, showing the castle, I had to stop and take a breather.

Clare from Brandish 4
Clare from Brandish 4

TK: Trails is a series we want to continue making in Japan. We think it’s very important that we reflect on the game’s user feedback and user desires so going forward we would like to improve these games and make improvements for people.

EH: Do you foresee an opportunity in the future to revisit some old titles like Sorcerian or Brandish?

TK: Yes, as you know, we have this rule now that we do a Trails game, then an Ys game, but that’s not the only thing we want to do. A few years back, we released Tokyo Xanadu, and it was a good thing that we did it on the development side, but we also got a lot of positive user feedback as well. It often comes up in our development meetings for what we want to make and the younger staff want to try their hand at things outside of the two games we just mentioned. Going forward, we want to continue to try our hand at older series that we’ve worked on before. We definitely want to put it into our view and make games both from the past and continue the series that we [currently] have.

And in order to accomplish that goal of being able to make more games we have been gradually increasing the amount of staff.

EH: What does JDK stand for?

TK: They won’t tell me. The name was actually bestowed to the sound team by Mr. Kato, the founder of the company, who is now the chairman. When I asked him about it, he said that there are some things you’re better off not knowing. I have to have investor meetings quarterly and I’ve actually been asked about that. I don’t know the answer, and it’s kind of embarrassing. One of the staff jokes is ‘Just Directed (by) Kato.’

EH: With the large music library that you have available, have you ever considered a rhythm game?

TK: This actually comes up every now and then and we want to do that. So I think that if we have the opportunity to do another game like Trails in the Sky the 3rd, we might throw that in as a mini-game or something. We have the song library for the entire Falcom catalog that is over 4,000 tracks. It would be a shame to not put those to use.

The cover for the Ys VIII Super Ultimate album.
The cover for the Ys VIII Super Ultimate album.

EH: With the recent release of the Ys VIII Super Ultimate Arrange album, there haven’t been a lot of arrange albums to this point. Is there any particular reason, and can we expect more of them in the future?

TK: There isn’t any particular reason as to why we haven’t released any arrange albums recently, but when it comes to this one that just came out for Ys VIII, the music for Ys VIII was highly evaluated by everyone. Given the positive reception for the soundtrack, we thought it would be a good time to revisit an arrange album.

I have a funny anecdote to tell you about Ys VIII and the music specifically. Early in the development, Mr. Kato- back in the day he used to give me and the development teams a lot of advice, but recently he’s been quite quiet and lets us do what we want. However, when we decided to make Ys VIII, he called me and the Sound Team into his office, and he said, “I want you to make the best Ys soundtrack in history.” This was a really vague command, yet at the same time it was a very difficult one to fulfill. So, we worked really hard with the Sound Team and, maybe more than usual, we gave specific directions on how we wanted things to sound. Obviously, we focused very much on the melody of the songs, so I think that hard work paid off in terms of what actually came out.

EH: On the topic of music, is there anything that Trails fans should be listening for in the lyrics of [choral] songs like Azure Arbitrator?

TK: I don’t necessarily think that, in terms of the lyrics, that we try and put any kind of deep hints in them or anything and there’s certainly nothing that would constitute as a spoiler. But that said, obviously the lyrics are related to the game and what’s happening in the game- particularly where they’re used. So I would like it for fans, once they’ve actually played the game and seen the scenes where the songs are played, to maybe listen again and see how it relates.

EH: Are there any chances of the lyrics being released in the future?

TK: We haven’t? I did not know that. We should probably get those out at some point. I’ll take that home with me as homework.

EH: Still on the topic of soundtracks, there’s a song in 3rd called ‘Phantasmal Blue Flower.’ I was wondering if there was a coincidence in its relation to the pleroma in [the Crossbell games.]

TK: Unfortunately, when we were making the 3rd, we hadn’t thought about what the blue flower signified yet and whether or not it would be there. This is just a coincidence.

If my memory serves correctly, after we made Zero and we moved on to Ao, there was a piece of key art that used this blueish-yellow… I’m fairly certain we decided to base the flower color on that image that we made.

In Japanese, the character that we used for Ao is normally translated blue, but that character actually refers to a blue that’s kind of between a blue and a green.

EH: I remember… I think it was on the Falcom twitter, at one point, where it was said that at a certain depth [of water], you can’t discern the difference of blue from green?

TK: Exactly. You remember very well. I totally forgot I had said that.

EH: There has been some commentary in the West about the almost ‘dating sim’ nature of the bond events in the Cold Steel series. Is this something you wish to keep going with, or [are there plans] to go back to the single love interest that you had in the original Sky trilogy?

TK: Going forward, nothing is really planned yet in terms of how we’ll handle this, so I don’t know. But to talk about why we put this in Trails of Cold Steel in the first place… Obviously, the story of Trails of Cold Steel takes place in the Erebonian Empire and tells a grand story within that, and it tells a story about a man named Rean. What we wanted to show through these bonding events is that in portraying his life, Rean had many different choices on things that he could have done. So, we thought it was appropriate to the game system that, in order to show off that he has choices, to include a system of that sort within it. Again, because we don’t know where we’ll be going from here, and how we want to make the games, I can’t say whether a system like that will reappear or not in future titles.

Interestingly enough, in Japan, opinions are pretty heavily split between liking it and not liking it. The people who like it say, ‘next time, give us even more choices of girls to date!’ and on the other side of the equation are the people who say ‘I don’t know if this necessarily belongs in a Falcom game.’ I’d be very curious to hear what people over here think about the system.

EH: In a past interview, you had mentioned that the plans for the Reverie Corridor in Trails of Cold Steel II were to be an infinite dungeon. Are there any plans to revisit this concept?

TK: That’s actually a system that we’ve had in previous games, like Xanadu Next and Zwei. For the players who really like to get deep into a game, it’s a very well-received feature in the system. It is something we’d like to revisit going forward if it’s appropriate to the game we’re making. For example, it often comes up when we’re developing Ys games that this may be a suitable feature to have. That is definitely something we have considered.

EH: Additionally, congratulations on the 15th anniversary of the Trails series.

TK: Thank you very much.

EH: Are there any standout moments behind the scenes from working on the games for the past 15 years?

TK: Over 15 years, there are a lot of things that remain in my memory, but probably what sticks out the most is when we made Trails in the Sky FC. This is a game that took over three years to develop and we weren’t even finished but we were told by people above us that whether this game is finished or not, it needs to come out. And so we released it. As you know, the game ends on quite the cliffhanger, and that was an interesting challenge- a challenging way for the audience, as well- to make a game. That’s something I know I’ll never forget.

What we learned from that is, because we originally intended to release FC and SC as one game together. I look back at that and think about how young and inexperienced we were to have an idea like that. So what came out from those games had a direct affect on the games that followed. So we definitely put what we learned from those games to use.

EH: I remember how shocking it was without realizing it was going to have a sequel…

TK: Even for us, despite having more planned and being made to release what we had finished. We didn’t know if we could continue, so we were surprised too!

Back at that time, unless the fans had really praised the game and made their voices heard to us that they wanted to see more, we wouldn’t have been able to continue it. And so we thought of many different ways we could do this- try to make a preview version, or lots of other things we could do to make people say, ‘hey, we want to keep playing the series.’

EH: It’s been 12 years since 3rd came out. Are there any mysteries from it that are still unraveling?

TK: In terms of everything that we talked about with the Erebonian Empire, we pretty much covered everything leading in to that in Trails of Cold Steel. However, when it comes to the Ouroboros? No. There are still things that remain out there.

EH: [What about] the happiness stone door? Moon Door 5?

TK: (laughing) Once again, your memory is great. For a second, I had to think… is that the door that…?

EH: With chibi Ragnard?

TK: The thing is, the mystery of the Ouroboros is related to the entire continent of Zemuria. The only way we’ll find out all about them is when the overall series itself comes to a conclusion.

Kevin, from Trails in the Sky the 3rd.
Kevin, from Trails in the Sky the 3rd.

EH: I didn’t expect that kind of an answer! Of all of the characters in the Kiseki series that have been playable, what four would make your dream team?

TK: I think my dream party would be the main characters, so Estelle, Lloyd, Rean… and then one other…

EH: Kevin?

TK: Kevin! (laughing) Kevin is also a protagonist. And the thing is, there’s still a lot of mysteries that haven’t unraveled yet that are related to him specifically.

EH: Oh, really?

TK: There’s a lot left to tell on that side, as well.

EH: And probably more to learn about Rufina?

TK: And in the same way the Ouroboros is related directly to the world, so is the Septian Church as well as the religion for the goddess Aidios. It’s all connected, and those are things that, again, will be revealed as we continue to create more and more games [for the series.]

EH: Another question about the 3rd- are you able to comment on its importance to the series overall?

Trails in the Sky the 3rd

TK: The thing about 3rd is that we never originally intended to make it. We just wanted to go directly from FC and SC into Cold Steel to talk about Erebonia. The thing is, though, that when we were doing the planning and things like that, particularly when we started thinking about the Septian Church, and we had kind of name dropped Crossbell as a place, we realized that maybe we had a little longer to go to get there. We wanted to really portray Erebonia as a threat to the world, and we wanted to show what a mysterious and frightening figure Osborne is. So to do that, we ended up making the 3rd and the two Crossbell games. We thought that would make the whole story more dynamic and more interesting. Within that, it’s a very important part of the entire series.

EH: Just a fun random question: is Dorothy the Grandmaster?

TK: Unfortunately, she is not. Why do you guys think that it’s her? Because she’s wearing glasses?

EH: I think so. It’s a popular fan meme.

TK: Really? For Japanese fans, it’s Towa, since she is so talented at everything.

EH: I’m going to jump to the Gagharv trilogy…. what were your favorite scenes in it?

TK: Within the trilogy, the game that impacted me the most was Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch [also known as White Witch -ed]… there’s a scene in that where Geld reveals herself to the group. This is added on that, throughout the game, you don’t know if she’s alive or dead. When the truth is finally revealed, it really impacted me, I was even shaking from the excitement of that scene.

The titular White Witch in from the opening of the the game, and the start of the Gagharv Trilogy.
The titular White Witch in from the opening of the the game, and the start of the Gagharv Trilogy.

EH: I agree, that scene is a powerful one.

TK: And from that, I thought that the story and the scenario from the game was so good that it’s what inspired me to try my hand at writing scenarios.

EH: I agree- I finally got to play the trilogy for the first time last year. I think I cried a lot over the ending.

TK: That game is just so special and the story is so powerful… Nowadays, everyone looks at everything from a graphical perspective and when you put it into comparison to modern games, it might not look as appealing or as great, but from a story aspect, I think that it’s pretty much second to none. It’s a great example of the games overall- and obviously of the Legend of Heroes series.

EH: The impact of everything coming together at the end in Song of the Ocean [also, Cagesong of the Ocean -ed] was so great but on top of that, there were moments like Chris setting Jurio on fire in White Witch, or- one of my favorite scenes- the Triangle Rhapsody in Cagesong.

TK: Those are really comedic moments. There were lots of gags in that game.

EH: We had nicknamed it ‘Shenanigans the Musical’… But it was really neat how it had these gags and comedy, and suddenly it just went really serious.

The McVein Troupe playing the Traveler's Prelude from Cagesong of the Ocean.
The McVein Troupe playing the Traveler’s Prelude from Cagesong of the Ocean.

TK: I understand what you mean by it going from comedic to having this gravity to it. That’s kind of what makes that game great is that it does that so well.

That is a game I would love to revisit or remake but each one of those games in the trilogy has its own complete world… to remake it today would be kind of on the scale of Final Fantasy VII Remake [for Square-Enix]. But I would love to try and do it someday.

EH: The Kiseki series seeing a return of something like Ensemble Magic from Cagesong of the Ocean would be really great.

TK: As you know, in the world of Trails, magic is handled through orbments… but who’s to say, going forward, if we could incorporate something like that as well? Like a magical link attack.

EH: I know you’re extremely busy with everything with Falcom, but are there any particular things you like to do on the side, on your own? Like hobbies or anything?

TK: I’m really an outdoorsy person. I love to go mountain climbing and camping with my family.

EH: Since I loved the Michel response in my previous interview, I wanted to close off with another fun question- have as much fun with it as you want, it’s nothing serious… but if you could have any character in the Falcom library to show up in Smash Bros, who would it be and why?

TK: Having been directly responsible for Ys for a lot of my career, I would love to be able to say Adol… but the truth is, I can’t picture what his moveset would be. So, I think I’ll defer to Rean since he’s a swordsman and I think he’d fit in pretty well.

EH: Thank you very much- that was a very fun interview.

TK: Thank you.


Once again, I would like to take the time to thank NIS America for inviting me to do this interview! There will be more coverage and more promised questions that were picked up during the convention over the course of the week.

Additionally, I have also prepared some videos from this interview to be used as bonus material for awhile, so pay attention to this site’s twitter, @EndlessHistory for additional side content. That way, you can see some of the answers themselves- especially the fun JDK one!

[Anime Expo 2019] Trails of Cold Steel III – First Impressions

This week, I had the opportunity to play a build of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III thanks to NIS America at a press event in San Francisco. I played through the entire introduction, and had the was able to sit and watch someone play through the rest of the prologue.

Additionally, along with the event, I was given the opportunity to interview Toshihiro Kondo, and I will be publishing our conversation at a later date.

The first thing I noticed while playing through the game is the return of multiple voice actors who have been in the series for awhile now. And after talking to both Travis and Alan about this, I feel extremely comfortable in their promise of trying to get as many people to return as possible.

In the short time I had with the game, I found myself laughing at the delivery and enjoying the translation choices of various lines throughout the events. As an example, at first Erika Harlacher felt a little strange sounding as Juna for me, being that I’m so used to her Japanese voice. However, by the end of my time with the game, I was extremely comfortable with her voice and tone and it felt very appropriate and ‘right’ to me.

I loved hearing the other new characters, Kurt (played by Joe Zieja), Musse (played by Alexis Tipton), and Ash (played by Austin Lee Matthews). In fact, Ash was the instigator of one of my favorite moments in the section that I got to play and watch. Of course, while talking about the voices, I got to hear the voices for Randy and Michael, both of whom also sound great.

Gameplay-wise, the only real issue that I had with the game is the usual problem when going from region and struggling with the switch of the X and O buttons. This, of course, is an issue with the Sony architecture and not it’s something that any localizing publisher can control.

I’ve seen some concerns regarding video footage of the game where people feel that things look off in the game mechanics, but rest assured, I did not feel any issues. The game was as responsive and fast paced as I remember it being in Japanese.

Additionally, the game has Turbo Mode (now called ‘High Speed Mode’) and Auto added to battles. I was told that the addition of these features were inspired by the PC versions of Cold Steel 1 and 2 and that Falcom was wanting to get an enhanced version of the game out since it’s being released again.

There have been concerns over typos and odd words here and there throughout the game, and I can see that ones from older builds in past events that have been pointed out have been corrected.

The amount that I’ve played of the game is still a fraction of how much there is in the end, but I’m feeling a lot more confident about it after the bit I’ve seen. From the impressions I’ve had when talking to people from NIS America, they plan to really work to ensure that what happened with Ys VIII is not going to happen again with this title.

This has only been a small part of everything that will be happening this week, and I will provide continuous coverage of the convention and other happenings related to Kondo and NIS America at Anime Expo. For non-article information, remember to check out the twitter account for the site, @EndlessHistory.

❌