The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
|The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III|
North American cover art
|Series||The Legend of Heroes|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch|
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is a role-playing video game developed by Nihon Falcom. It is a part of the long-running The Legend of Heroes series, and a direct sequel to Trails of Cold Steel II. The game was released for the PlayStation 4 in Japan in September 2017, and worldwide on October 2019. A Nintendo Switch port is scheduled for release in early 2020. A sequel, Trails of Cold Steel IV: The End of Saga, was released in Japan in late 2018.
The game plays as a traditional JRPG with turn-based battles, similar to Trails of Cold Steel and Trails of Cold Steel II. An emphasis on speeding up battles is being made as well, including making transitions into battle scenes more seamless, and being able to map out more battle commands to specific buttons rather than various menus, though the battles will still be primarily menu-based. Other things of note including a new Orbment system, Order system, and affection meter reset from prior games.
The game is a direct sequel to the prior two Trails of Cold Steel games, picking up one and a half years after the events of Trails of Cold Steel II. The story is centered around main character Rean Schwarzer, now a military professor, as well as his students, and the rest of his military school friends from the prior two entries, notably exploring subjects such as the mysterious origins of Rean's birth, and what others have been up to since the events of the prior games. The game also features appearances from Tita and Agate, characters from Trails in the Sky, a previous story arc within the Trails series, as well as Tio and Randy, characters from Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure.
Intentions to create a third entry in the Trails of Cold Steel meta series were announced as early as December 2015, at Nihon Falcom's 2015 shareholder's meeting. Initial planning began in early 2016, though the development team was initially divided on which platforms the game should release on. On one hand, the PlayStation Vita was preferred, due to its larger user-base in Japan, and prior entries in the series being released there, but the team also wanted to consider using the much more powerful PlayStation 4, which could greatly help with the game's scope. Full-scale development on the title began around mid-2016. The game was officially revealed as a PlayStation 4 exclusive in December 2016, at Falcom's 2016 shareholder's meeting. Unlike the prior two entries, no Vita or PlayStation 3 versions will be developed. The game was initially scheduled for a release window of Q3 2017 in Japan, later narrowed down to September 28, 2017. It was mentioned in the 2016 shareholder's meeting that a deciding factor in developing the game for the PS4 was to help ensure higher international sales for the game, with the PS4 having a much larger userbase in most countries outside of Japan as of 2016. This premise was reiterated in July 2017, with Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo stating:
"Foreign sales have reached a point with both the Trails and Ys series and where we can't ignore them from a development angle anymore. Ys: Memories of Celceta, for example, sold more outside of Japan than it did inside of Japan. Because Vita has kind of been on the decline for a while outside of Japan, and because the PS4 userbase is pretty established elsewhere, we have begun shifting toward PS4 development."
An official English and French localization was announced on January 17, 2019, to be released by NIS America rather than Xseed Games, who were responsible for the western localizations for the first two Trails of Cold Steel games. The announcement that NIS America was taking over caused some concern among fans, due to their previous, highly criticized work on Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, another Falcom game. In July 2019, NIS America announced that the game had been delayed from its original September 2019 release date in North America and Europe until October 22, 2019. A Nintendo Switch port was annouced in December 2019, schuelded for release in 2020.
After the positive reception of the first two Trails of Cold Steel entries, journalists were generally enthusiastic for the prospect of a third entry, though many lamented the lack of a Vita version of the game.
Trails of Cold Steel III debuted as the best selling game in its week of release in Japan. selling 87,261 copies. This was a significant drop from the 151,781 units Cold Steel II had sold in its first week. Media Create attributed this decline to the lack of a PlayStation Vita version. Despite this, Dengeki's sales reports still estimated that approximately 80% of the game's physical stock was sold at launch, and Falcom announced that the title had the highest digital game sales in the series as well.
- 英雄伝説 閃の軌跡III Eiyū Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki Surī
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- Inc, NIS America (2019-07-17). "The release of #TrailsofColdSteelIII will be postponed to October 22 in NA and EU to ensure as successful a launch window as possible. A demo will be released prior to the game's release with details to come. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your support". @NISAmerica. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
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