Nihon Falcom

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Nihon Falcom
Native name
Kabushiki gaisha Nihon Farukomu
Traded as TYO: 3723
Industry Video games
Founded March 1981; 37 years ago (1981-03)
Headquarters Tachikawa, Japan
Key people
  • Masayuki Kato
  • Founder
  • Toshihiro Kondo
  • President

Nihon Falcom Corporation is a Japanese video game developer founded in 1981. 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, in 2014

Falcom was one of the three most prominent and influential Japanese role-playing video game developers in the 1980s, alongside Enix and Square,[4][2] both of which were influenced by Falcom.[2][5] 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 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.[6]

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,[7] making it the best-selling PC game up until that time.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

Falcom was also a pioneer in video game music, with their early soundtracks mostly composed by chiptune musicians Yuzo Koshiro and Mieko Ishikawa,[10][11] and some arranged by Ryo Yonemitsu.[11][12] 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.[10] Falcom's Ys soundtracks in particular are considered some of the finest and most influential role-playing game scores of all time.[13]


Release date (JP) Title Platform
June 1982 Galactic Wars PC-8801
October 1983 Super Mahjong X1
Bird Land PC-8001
Computer the Golf
Horror House
Cosmo Fighter II X1
1983 Super Horoscope Kanji Version PC-8801
November 1983 Private Stripper
SSGN Covert Cruise Special Attack Strategy FM-8
Panorama Island PC-8801
Horror House Part-II
January 1984 Monster House MZ-2200
March 12, 1984 Demon's Ring PC-8801
April 10, 1984 Asteka
June 1984 The Threat of North PC-6001
July 1984 Escape from Twilight Zone FM-7
September 10, 1984 Dragon Slayer PC-8801
November 1, 1985 Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu X1
October 1, 1986 Xanadu Scenario II: The Resurrection of Dragon PC-8801
October 6, 1986 Dragon Slayer Jr: Romancia X1
October 9, 1986 Asteka II: Templo del Sol PC-8801
June 21, 1987 Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished Omen PC-8801
July 9, 1987 Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family MSX 2
December 20, 1987 Dragon Slayer V: Sorcerian PC-8801
April 22, 1988 Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter
March 23, 1989 Star Trader
July 21, 1989 Ys III: Wanderers from Ys
December 10, 1989 Dragon Slayer VI: The Legend of Heroes
December 21, 1990 DINOSAUR
March 21, 1991 Dragon Slayer VII: Lord Monarch PC-9801
October 25, 1991 Brandish
December 20, 1991 Popful Mail PC-8801
March 19, 1992 Dragon Slayer VI: The Legend of Heroes II
March 12, 1993 Brandish 2: Planet Buster PC-9801
February 18, 1994 Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu PC Engine CD
March 18, 1994 The Legend of Heroes III: White Witch PC-9801
June 10, 1994 Popful Mail Super Famicom
November 25, 1994 Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan PC-9801
April 28, 1995 Revival Xanadu
June 30, 1995 Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu II PC Engine CD
December 8, 1995 Revival Xanadu II Remix PC-9801
December 29, 1995 Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand Super Famicom
May 24, 1996 The Legend of Heroes IV: A Tear of Vermillion PC-9801
October 4, 1996 Brandish VT
December 20, 1996 Lord Monarch Original Windows
March 1997 Lord Monarch First
April 25, 1997 The Legend of Heroes
May 1997 Lord Monarch Pro
June 27, 1997 Sorcerian Forever
December 12, 1997 Vantage Master
April 24, 1998 Ys 1 ETERNAL
July 10, 1998 Vantage Master V2
October 30, 1998 Monarch Monarch
December 11, 1998 Brandish 4
April 23, 1999 The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch
December 9, 1999 The Legend of Heroes V: A Cagesong of the Ocean
July 6, 2000 Ys 2 ETERNAL
November 7, 2000 Sorcerian Original
December 7, 2000 The Legend of Heroes IV: A Tear of Vermillion
June 26, 2001 Ys 1&2 Complete
December 20, 2001 Zwei!!
June 27, 2002 VM Japan
December 19, 2002 Dinosaur Resurrection
September 27, 2003 Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim
June 24, 2004 The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Windows, PlayStation Portable
December 25, 2004 Gurumin Windows
June 30, 2005 RINNE
June 30, 2005 Ys: The Oath in Felghana
October 27, 2005 Xanadu Next
March 9, 2006 The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC Windows, PlayStation Portable
June 29, 2006 Gurumin PlayStation Portable
December 21, 2006 Ys Origin Windows
June 28, 2007 The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd Windows, PlayStation Portable
April 24, 2008 Vantage Master Portable PlayStation Portable
September 25, 2008 Zwei II Windows
December 11, 2008 Zwei!! PlayStation Portable
March 19, 2009 Brandish: Dark Revenant
July 16, 2009 Ys I & II Chronicles
September 17, 2009 Ys Seven
December 24, 2009 Ys I & II Chronicles Windows
April 22, 2010 Ys: The Oath in Felghana PlayStation Portable
July 29, 2010 Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga
September 30, 2010 The Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki
September 19, 2011 The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki
July 26, 2012 Nayuta no Kiseki
September 27, 2012 Ys: Memories of Celceta PlayStation Vita
September 26, 2013 The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
September 25, 2014 The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
September 30, 2015 Tokyo Xanadu PlayStation Vita
July 21, 2016 Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
September 8, 2016 Tokyo Xanadu eX+ PlayStation 4
May 25, 2017 Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
September 28, 2017 The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
March 8, 2018 The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I: Kai -Thors Military Academy 1204-
April 26, 2018 The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II: Kai -The Erebonian Civil War-
September 27, 2018[14] The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV


  1. ^ a b Bailey, Kat (May 18, 2010). "Hack and Slash: What Makes a Good Action RPG?". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Szczepaniak, John (July 7, 2011). "Falcom: Legacy of Ys". GamesTM (111): 152–159 [153]. Retrieved September 7, 2011.  (cf. Szczepaniak, John (July 8, 2011). "History of Ys interviews". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved September 6, 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". Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ Massey, Tom. "Chronicles of Ys: A Series Retrospective". Gamer Network. 
  5. ^ John Harris (July 2, 2009). "Game Design Essentials: 20 RPGs - Dragon Slayer". Gamasutra. p. 13. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ Sam Derboo (June 2, 2013), Dark Age of JRPGs (7): Panorama Toh ぱのらま島 - PC-88 (1983), Hardcore Gaming 101
  7. ^ "Xanadu Next home page". Retrieved September 8, 2008.  (Translation)
  8. ^ Hendricks, Fayyaad (December 22, 2011). "A complete history of role-playing videogames: Part 2". EL33TONLINE. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ Massey, Tom. "Inside Ys: Nihon Falcom Interview". Gamer Network. 
  10. ^ a b c Szczepaniak, John (July 7, 2011). "Falcom: Legacy of Ys". GamesTM (111): 152–159 [154]. Retrieved September 8, 2011.  (cf. Szczepaniak, John (July 8, 2011). "History of Ys interviews". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved September 8, 2011. )
  11. ^ a b Kalata, Kurt (February 2014). "Ys". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ Ryan Mattich. "Falcom Classics II". RPGFan. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  13. ^ Chris Greening & Don Kotowski (February 2011). "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  14. ^ Stenbuck, Kite. "Trails of Cold Steel IV will be released in Japan on September 27". RPG Site. Retrieved 25 May 2018. 

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