The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
A stylized illustration of a group of people posing by a clock tower
Promotional artwork featuring (left to right): Olivier, Tita, Estelle, Joshua, Scherazard, and Agate
Developer(s)Nihon Falcom
Publisher(s)
Director(s)Toshihiro Kondo
Producer(s)Masayuki Kato
Programmer(s)
  • Hideyuki Yamashita
  • Noriyuki Chiyoda
  • Takayuki Kusano
  • Tōru Endō
Artist(s)
  • Haccan
  • Yuu Shiina
Writer(s)
  • Hisayoshi Takeiri
  • Yoshihiro Konda
  • Shūji Nishitani
  • Homare Karusawa
Composer(s)
  • Hayato Sonoda
  • Wataru Ishibashi
SeriesTrails
Platform(s)
Release
June 24, 2004
  • Windows
    • JP: June 24, 2004
    • WW: July 29, 2014
    PlayStation Portable
    • JP: September 28, 2006
    • NA: March 29, 2011
    • EU: November 4, 2011
    PlayStation 3
    • JP: December 13, 2012
    PlayStation Vita
    • JP: June 11, 2015
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky[c] is a 2004 role-playing video game developed by Nihon Falcom. The game is the first in what later became known as the Trails series, itself a part of the larger The Legend of Heroes series.

Trails in the Sky was first released in Japan for Windows and was later ported to the PlayStation Portable in 2006. North American video game publisher Xseed Games acquired the rights from Falcom, but did not release it until 2011 due to the game's large amount of text necessary to translate and localize. A high-definition port to the PlayStation 3 was released in 2012, while a remaster for the PlayStation Vita was released in 2015; both were only released in Japan. A direct sequel, Trails in the Sky SC, was released in 2006.

Gameplay[edit]

The two main modes of gameplay involve exploring the field map (top) and engaging in combat (bottom)

In Trails in the Sky, the player controls a cast of characters, embarking on quests to progress the story. There are two different types of maps when navigating the overworld, field maps and town maps. In field maps, enemies roam around and a battle ensues if the player comes into contact with one. In town maps, the player can visit various shops to purchase items, replenish health at an inn and, for the major cities, take on and report quests to the local guild. Quests can be a variety of tasks for the player, ranging from defeating monsters in the field map to delivering items and finding lost cats in town. In addition, the player can interact with numerous non-playable characters (NPCs). A unique aspect in Trails in the Sky is that each NPC's dialogue changes as the story progresses, allowing players to follow their accompanying side stories throughout the game. [1] The game features 8 playable characters, who apart from the protagonists Estelle and Joshua, rotate in and out of the party while playing the main story. The story itself is split into five different portions, with a prologue followed by four chapters.

Combat takes place on a grid and is turn-based. The character's turn order is determined by a tracker called the AT Bar. During the character's turn, the player can move or make an attack. In addition to the normal attack, each character also has three other methods available for action: Arts, Crafts, and S-Crafts. Arts are magic spells characters can use to attack opponents or support teammates but must take an additional turn to cast. Crafts are character-specific abilities that are similar to Arts but can be used in the same turn; however, they utilize a special gauge called "Craft Points" (CP) for the cost to perform. S-Crafts are powered-up Crafts that can be performed once a character has over 100CP but completely depletes the CP gauge upon using it. Further extending S-Crafts are S-Breaks which allows characters to immediately perform an S-Craft regardless of when their turn order is.[2][3] An additional aspect of combat is AT Bonuses which grant bonus effects at certain turns throughout the battle, visible on the AT Bar.[2][3] If the player loses a battle, the game is over. The player is then allowed to continuously retry the battle and subsequently lower the difficulty of the battle for each retry. Earlier versions of the game included two difficulty settings, Normal and Hard, while later versions introduced a third difficulty known as Nightmare.[2][3]

Synopsis[edit]

The game follows protagonist Estelle Bright and her adopted brother Joshua, who go on a journey throughout the country of Liberl to complete their training to become Bracers, members of a non-government multinational organization that acts to keep the peace and protect civilians. During their journey they get embroiled in and work to stop a plot to start a coup to overthrow the monarchy.

After the incident is resolved, Estelle and Joshua are taking a break, when Joshua is alone, he encounters with professor Alba, whom they met during their quest, he reveals to him that he is actually Georg Weissmann, a member of a secret crime organization called Ouroboros, he then triggers Joshua's memories and he remembers the crimes he committed for society. Learning this, Joshua decides to leave and take on the society alone, but not before confessing his feelings to Estelle.

Release[edit]

Trails in the Sky was initially released for Windows on June 29, 2004 in Japan. The game was later ported to the PlayStation Portable and released in Japan on October 28, 2006. The PSP version was later released in North America on March 29, 2011 and in Europe on November 4.[4] The Windows version was released worldwide on July 29, 2014 and includes a number of features from the PlayStation Portable version.[5] A high-definition update, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC Kai HD Edition, was released for the PlayStation 3 in Japan on December 13, 2012.[6]

A remaster, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC Evolution, was released in Japan for the PlayStation Vita on June 11, 2015.[7] Evolution updates the user interface and incorporates new features such as voice acting, redesigned character portraits, and a new animated opening cutscene.[8][9]

Localization[edit]

The game was localized into English by Xseed Games, who had acquired the rights to bring the Trails in the Sky trilogy to North America in May 2010.[10] The length of the script for Trails in the Sky FC, which contains approximately 1.5 million Japanese characters, presented a challenge for the team's editors.[11] Chavez, the game's lead editor, spent nine months working on the script. Chavez stated she would frequently work over 11-12 hours for six days a week. [11][12] In September 2013, Xseed announced a Windows version of Trails in the Sky was planned to be released in early 2014,[13] but coding issues forced the release date to be pushed back to July 2014. According to Xseed localization programmer Sara Leen, much of the code needed to be rewritten from scratch because of technical differences between the PlayStation Portable and Windows versions; these changes frequently introduced new software bugs, further complicating matters.[5]

Reception[edit]

Trails in the Sky received "generally favorable" reviews according to review aggregator Metacritic.[14][15] Neilie Johnson of IGN gave it a positive review, stating that, though "First Chapter is not the most original ever made, like any good JRPG it offers amusing writing, dynamic combat, interesting tasks, an absorbing narrative, and hours upon hours of gameplay" and concluded that "while the game's 50/50 balance between combat and story may not be to everyone's taste, its charm and overall entertainment value make it well worth the investment".[21] Hardcore Gamer praised the "rock-solid character writing", noting every character has "their own history, ambitions, and social connections", every non-player character (NPC) "has their own name and motivations and interpersonal relationships with other NPCs", and the influence of Hayao Miyazaki's classic anime film Castle in the Sky on the cast and steampunk setting. They also praised the open-ended story, quest design, and combat system, and for having "one of the most complete and enthralling worlds ever rendered", concluding it to be "one of the finest JRPGs in the history of the genre".[1]

Despite the series's popularity in Japan,[29] Trails in the Sky FC sold poorly in the West upon its initial release for the PSP.[30] However, it was later ported to the Playstation Vita and PC, which USGamer's Kat Bailey described as it managing "to jump to two more platforms with little in the way of additional overhead."[31]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Japanese: 空の軌跡, Hepburn: Sora no Kiseki FC
  2. ^ Japanese: 英雄伝説VI 空の軌跡, Hepburn: Eiyū Densetsu VI: Sora no Kiseki, lit. "The Legend of Heroes VI: Trails in the Sky"
  3. ^ Later published as Trails in the Sky FC,[a], published in Japan as The Legend of Heroes VI: Sora no Kiseki,[b]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Review: Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PC)". Hardcore Gamer. August 6, 2014. Archived from the original on August 6, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Nihon Falcom Corporation (2011). The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Manual. Xseed Games.
  3. ^ a b c "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky official website". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  4. ^ "XSEED Games Announces Wide-Ranging Partnership with Nihon Falcom". xseedgames.com. May 14, 2010. Archived from the original on November 16, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "XSEED Blog - The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky". XSEED Games. July 24, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  6. ^ "'The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky' PS3 HD version announced". Polygon. September 26, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  7. ^ "英雄伝説 空の軌跡 FC Evolution". Archived from the original on November 27, 2020. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  8. ^ "英雄伝説 空の軌跡 FC Evolution New Features". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  9. ^ Sato (May 22, 2015). "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC Evolution Recaps Its New Features". Siliconera. Archived from the original on December 11, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  10. ^ Spencer (December 6, 2010). "The Legend Of The Heroes: Trails In The Sky Takes Flight In March". Siliconera. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Ishaan (February 12, 2011). "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Has 1.5 Million Japanese Characters". Siliconera. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  12. ^ "XSEED Games blog: Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated". XSEED Games. February 8, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  13. ^ Chris Dahlberg (September 6, 2013). "XSEED Games to Publish The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC digitally on Steam and PlayStation Store; First Chapter to get PC release". Cosmos Gaming. Archived from the original on September 8, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky for PSP Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  16. ^ "Legend Of Heroes Review: An RPG That's Paced More Like A Novel". Game Informer.
  17. ^ Kemps, Heidi (April 4, 2011). "Review: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky". GamePro. Archived from the original on December 2, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  18. ^ GamesMaster, January 2012, page 85
  19. ^ "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Review". Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  20. ^ "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky review". April 20, 2011.
  21. ^ a b Johnson, Neilie (April 4, 2011). "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on April 7, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  22. ^ "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Review".
  23. ^ "RPGFan Review - The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky". Archived from the original on January 21, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  24. ^ Rubinshteyn, Dennis (March 29, 2011). "The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky". RPGFan. Archived from the original on May 7, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  25. ^ Heembergen, Derek (2011). "Games of the Year 2011: Derek Heemsbergen's Awards". RPGFan. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  26. ^ Rubinstheyn, Dennis (2011). "Games of the Year 2011: Dennis Rubinshteyn's Awards". RPGFan. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  27. ^ McCarrol, John; Meyerink, Stephen (2011). "Games of the Year 2011: Best Traditional RPG". RPGFan. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  28. ^ Kohler, Chris (December 20, 2011). "The 20 Best Videogames of 2011". Wired. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on March 21, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  29. ^ Spencer. "Falcom's Trails In The Sky Series Soars Past One Million Units Sold". Siliconera. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  30. ^ Spencer (October 14, 2011). "What's Going On With The Legend Of Heroes: Trails In The Sky Second Chapter?". Siliconera. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  31. ^ "The Extra 10 Percent: XSEED Succeeds in the Age of Digital Distribution". October 15, 2015.

External links[edit]