Nihon Falcom

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Nihon Falcom
Public kabushiki kaisha
Traded as TYO: 3723
Industry Video games
Founded March 1981
Headquarters Japan
Key people
Masayuki Kato, Founder
Toshihiro Kondo, President
Products Panorama Island
Dragon Slayer
The Legend of Heroes
Vantage Master

Nihon Falcom Corporation (日本ファルコム株式会社 Nihon Farukomu Kabushiki-kaisha?) is a Japanese video game company. The company was founded in March 1981 by Masayuki Kato. Falcom has played a definite role in the growth and development of the Japanese personal computer software industry. The company released one of the first Japanese role-playing video games in 1983 and followed with real-time action and adventure games as well as games with fully developed soundtracks. They are credited with pioneering the action role-playing game genre[1] and the Japanese role-playing game industry,[2][3] and remain one of the oldest role-playing game developers still in existence today.[3]


Toshihiro Kondo, president of Nihon Falcom, at Seoul Next Visual Studio, on April 21, 2014

Falcom was one of the three most important Japanese role-playing video game developers in the 1980s, alongside Enix and Square,[2] both of which were influenced by Falcom.[2][4] They are credited with laying the foundations for the Japanese role-playing game industry.[2]

Falcom's first role-playing game was Panorama Toh (Panorama Island), released for the NEC PC-88 in 1983 and created by Yoshio Kiya, who would go on to create the Dragon Slayer and Brandish franchises. While the its RPG elements were limited, lacking traditional statistical or leveling systems, the game featured real-time combat with a gun, bringing it close to the action RPG formula that Falcom would later be known for. Set on a desert island, the game's overworld is presented as a hex grid and featured a day-night cycle. There were also indigenous non-player characters (NPCs) who the player could choose to attack, have a conversation with, or give money for items, though NPCs could choose to run away with the money. In order to survive on the island, the player needs to find and consume rations, as every normal action consumes hit points. The island also has traps, which require calling for help and waiting for NPCs to help. The player could also be bit by snakes that poison and paralyze the player, requiring medicine to heal or calling for help from NPCs.[5]

Falcom eventually went on to create their flagship franchises, including the Dragon Slayer, The Legend of Heroes and Ys series. The original Dragon Slayer was responsible for setting the template for the action role-playing game genre.[1] Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu (1985) had more than 400,000 copies sold,[6] making it the best-selling PC game up until that time.[7]

While most of Falcom's games have been ported to various video game consoles of all generations, they have only developed a few non-PC video games themselves. The company's decision to develop mainly for PCs rather than consoles set them apart from their main rivals, Enix and Square, but limited the company's popularity in the Western world, thus limiting their growth potential in the 1990s.[2][3] Nevertheless, in terms of the number of game releases, Falcom's flagship Ys series is second only to Final Fantasy as the largest Eastern role-playing game franchise, as of 2011.[8]

Falcom was also a pioneer in video game music, with their early soundtracks mostly composed by chiptune musicians Yuzo Koshiro and Mieko Ishikawa,[8][9] and some arranged by Ryo Yonemitsu.[9][10] They were the first company to produce game music CDs, the first to apply vocals to game music, and one of the very first to have their own sound team composed of professional musicians dedicated to games, the Falcom Sound Team jdk.[8] Falcom's Ys soundtracks in particular are considered some of the finest and most influential role-playing game scores of all time.[11]

Published works[edit]

System indicated reflects the first release (or concurrent releases) of the game.

Release date (JP) Title Platform
1982-06June 1982 Galactic Wars PC-8801
1983-10October 1983 Super Mahjong X1
1983-10October 1983 Bird Land PC-8001
1983-10October 1983 Computer the Golf PC-8801
1983-10October 1983 Horror House PC-8801
1983-10October 1983 Cosmo Fighter II X1
19831983 Super Horoscope Kanji Version PC-8801
1983-11November 1983 Private Stripper PC-8801
1983-12December 1983 SSGN Covert Cruise Special Attack Strategy FM-8
1983-12December 1983 Panorama Island PC-8801
1983-12December 1983 Horror House Part-II PC-8801
1984-01January 1984 Monster House MZ-2200
1984-03-12March 12 1984 Demon's Ring PC-8801
1984-04-10April 10 1984 Asteka PC-8801
1984-06June 1984 The Threat of North PC-6001
1984-07July 1984 Escape from Twilight Zone FM-7
1984-09-10September 10 1984 Dragon Slayer PC-8801
1985-11-01November 1 1985 Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu X1
1986-10-01October 1 1986 Xanadu Scenario II: The Resurrection of Dragon PC-8801
1986-10-06October 6 1986 Dragon Slayer Jr: Romancia X1
1986-10-09October 9 1986 Asteka II: Templo del Sol PC-8801
1987-06-21June 21 1987 Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished Omen PC-8801
1987-07-09July 9 1987 Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family MSX 2
1987-12-20December 20 1987 Dragon Slayer V: Sorcerian PC-8801
1988-04-22April 22 1988 Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter PC-8801
1989-03-23March 23 1989 Star Trader PC-8801
1989-07-21July 21 1989 Ys III: Wanderers from Ys PC-8801
1987-12-10December 10 1987 Dragon Slayer VI: The Legend of Heroes PC-8801
1990-12-21December 21 1990 DINOSAUR PC-8801
1991-03-21March 21 1991 Dragon Slayer VII: Lord Monarch PC-9801
1991-10-25October 25 1991 Brandish PC-9801
1991-12-20December 20 1991 Popful Mail PC-9801
1992-03-19March 19 1992 Dragon Slayer VI: The Legend of Heroes II PC-8801
1993-03-12March 12 1993 Brandish 2: Planet Buster PC-9801
1994-02-18February 18 1994 Dragon Slayer VIII: The Legend of Xanadu PC Engine CD
1994-03-18March 18 1994 The Legend of Heroes III: White Witch PC-9801
1994-06-10June 10 1994 Popful Mail Super Famicom
1994-11-25November 25 1994 Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan PC-9801
1995-04-28April 28 1995 Revival Xanadu PC-9801
1995-06-30June 30 1995 The Legend of Xanadu II: The Last of Dragon Slayer PC Engine CD
1995-12-08December 8 1995 Revival Xanadu II Remix PC-9801
1995-12-29December 29 1995 Ys V: Kefin, The Lost City of Sand Super Famicom
1996-05-24May 24 1996 The Legend of Heroes IV: A Tear of Vermillion PC-9801
1996-10-04October 4 1996 Brandish VT PC-9801
1996-12-20December 20 1996 Lord Monarch Original Windows
1997-03March 1997 Lord Monarch First Windows
1997-04-25April 25 1997 The Legend of Heroes Windows
1997-05May 1997 Lord Monarch Pro Windows
1997-06-27June 27 1997 Sorcerian Forever Windows
1997-12-12December 12 1997 Vantage Master Windows
1998-04-24April 24 1998 Ys 1 ETERNAL Windows
1998-07-10July 10 1998 Vantage Master V2 Windows
1998-10-30October 30 1998 Monarch Monarch Windows
1998-12-11December 11 1998 Brandish 4 Windows
1999-04-23April 23 1999 The Legend of Heroes III: White Witch Windows
1999-12-09December 9 1999 The Legend of Heroes V: A Cagesong of the Ocean Windows
2000-07-06July 6 2000 Ys 2 ETERNAL Windows
2000-11-07November 7 2000 Sorcerian Original Windows
2000-12-07December 7 2000 The Legend of Heroes IV: A Tear of Vermillion Windows
2001-06-26June 26 2001 Ys 1&2 Complete Windows
2001-12-20December 20 2001 Zwei!! Windows
2002-06-27June 27 2002 VM Japan Windows
2002-12-19December 19 2002 Dinosaur Resurrection Windows
2003-09-27September 27 2003 Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim Windows
2004-06-24June 24 2004 The Legend of Heroes VI: Sora no Kiseki Windows
2004-12-25December 25 2004 Gurumin Windows
2005-06-30June 30 2005 RINNE Windows
2005-06-30June 30 2005 Ys: The Oath in Felghana Windows
2005-10-27October 27 2005 Xanadu Next Windows
2006-03-09March 9 2006 The Legend of Heroes : Sora no Kiseki Second Chapter Windows
2006-06-29June 29 2006 Gurumin PlayStation Portable
2006-09-28September 28 2006 The Legend of Heroes : Sora no Kiseki First Chapter PlayStation Portable
2006-12-21December 21 2006 Ys Origin Windows
2006-06-28June 28 2006 The Legend of Heroes : Sora no Kiseki The 3rd Windows
2007-09-27September 27 2007 The Legend of Heroes : Sora no Kiseki Second Chapter PlayStation Portable
2008-04-24April 24 2008 Vantage Master Portable PlayStation Portable
2008-07-24July 24 2008 The Legend of Heroes : Sora no Kiseki The 3rd PlayStation Portable
2008-09-25September 25 2008 Zwei II Windows
2008-12-11December 11 2008 Zwei!! PlayStation Portable
2009-03-19March 19 2009 Brandish: Dark Revenant PlayStation Portable
2009-07-16July 16 2009 Ys I & II Chronicles PlayStation Portable
2009-09-17September 17 2009 Ys Seven PlayStation Portable
2009-12-24December 24 2009 Ys I & II Chronicles Windows
2010-04-22April 22 2010 Ys: The Oath in Felghana PlayStation Portable
2010-07-29July 29 2010 Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga PlayStation Portable
2010-09-30September 30 2010 The Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki PlayStation Portable
2011-09-29September 19 2011 The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki PlayStation Portable
2012-07-26July 26 2012 Nayuta no Kiseki PlayStation Portable
2012-09-27September 27 2012 Ys: Foliage Ocean in Celceta PlayStation Vita
2013-09-26September 26 2013 The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki PlayStation 3
2013-09-26September 26 2013 The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki PlayStation Vita
2014-09-25September 25 2014 The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II PlayStation 3
2014-09-25September 25 2014 The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II PlayStation Vita
2015-09-30September 30 2015 Tokyo Xanadu PlayStation Vita
2015-132015 Untitled Ys PlayStation 4
2015-132015 Untitled Ys PlayStation Vita

English-localized products[edit]

Many of these titles were not developed by Falcom, and in some cases bear little resemblance to the original game.

  • Faxanadu (NES) Nintendo
  • Tombs & Treasure (NES) Infocom
  • Ys: The Vanished Omens (SMS) Sega
  • Ancient Land of Ys (DOS) Kyodai Software Publishing
  • Legacy of the Wizard (NES) Brøderbund Software
  • Sorcerian (DOS PC) Sierra Entertainment
  • Ys Book I & II (Turbo CD) NEC Home Entertainment
  • Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Genesis) Renovation Productions
  • Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (SNES) American Sammy
  • Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Turbo CD) Turbo Technologies
  • Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes (Turbo CD) Turbo Technologies
  • Brandish (SNES) Koei
  • Popful Mail: Magical Fantasy Adventure (Sega CD) Working Designs
  • Xanadu Next (N-Gage) Nokia
  • Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion (PSP) Namco Bandai Games
  • Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (PSP) Namco Bandai Games
  • Legend of Heroes III: Song of the Ocean (PSP) Namco Bandai Games
  • Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (PS2) Konami
  • Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (PSP) Konami
  • Ys Book 1 (mobile) Hudson
  • Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure (PSP) Mastiff Games
  • Ys Strategy (DS) Rising Star Games
  • Ys Book I & II (Virtual Console) Hudson
  • Legacy of Ys: Books I & II (DS) Atlus
  • Faxanadu (Virtual Console) Hudson
  • Ys Seven (PSP) XSEED Games
  • Ys I & II Chronicles (PSP) XSEED Games
  • Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PSP) XSEED Games
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PSP) XSEED Games
  • Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PC) XSEED Games
  • Ys Origin (PC) XSEED Games
  • Ys I & II Chronicles+ (PC) XSEED Games
  • Ys Memories of Celceta (PS VITA) XSEED Games
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (PSP/PC) XSEED Games
  • Ys VI The Ark of Napishtim (PC) XSEED Games

Many Falcom games have been licensed and developed by other companies such as NEC, Hudson Soft, Epoch, Tokyo Shoseki (aka Tonkin House), Sega, RIOT, Victor, Koei and Konami, for various PC and video game systems.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bailey, Kat (May 18, 2010). "Hack and Slash: What Makes a Good Action RPG?". Retrieved 2011-07-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Szczepaniak, John (7 July 2011). "Falcom: Legacy of Ys". GamesTM (111): 152–159 [153]. Retrieved 2011-09-07.  (cf. Szczepaniak, John (July 8, 2011). "History of Ys interviews". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 6 September 2011. )
  3. ^ a b c Gifford, Kevin (September 7, 2011). "The Trail of Nihon Falcom: The president of Japan's oldest existing RPG maker speaks". Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  4. ^ John Harris (July 2, 2009). "Game Design Essentials: 20 RPGs - Dragon Slayer". Gamasutra. p. 13. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  5. ^ Sam Derboo (June 2, 2013), Dark Age of JRPGs (7): Panorama Toh ぱのらま島 - PC-88 (1983), Hardcore Gaming 101
  6. ^ "Xanadu Next home page". Retrieved 2008-09-08.  (Translation)
  7. ^ Hendricks, Fayyaad (22 December 2011). "A complete history of role-playing videogames: Part 2". EL33TONLINE. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Szczepaniak, John (7 July 2011). "Falcom: Legacy of Ys". GamesTM (111): 152–159 [154]. Retrieved 2011-09-08.  (cf. Szczepaniak, John (July 8, 2011). "History of Ys interviews". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 8 September 2011. )
  9. ^ a b Kalata, Kurt (February 2014). "Ys". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Ryan Mattich. "Falcom Classics II". RPGFan. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  11. ^ Chris Greening & Don Kotowski (February 2011). "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2015-08-27. 

External links[edit]