Falcom Plans to Develop on Switch, New Kiseki Trails Game in 2022
Analyzing the new Falcom financials and announcements for the Trails series.
Nihon Falcom published on November 11 its latest financials, for its September 2020 to September 2021 fiscal year, revealing in the process a foray into Nintendo Switch development, and how it will release the next Kiseki / Trails game by the end of September 2022.
What’s the latest Kiseki (Trails) game in Japan?
The latest game in the long-running JRPG Trails / Kiseki series is The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki, released in Japan on PS4 on September 30, 2021. The game starts the new Calvard arc and follows The Legend of Heroes: Hajimari no Kiseki, released on PS4 and PS5 on August 27, 2020, in Japan and Asia.
Hajimari no Kiseki is coming to the West in 2023 under the name The Legend of Heroes: Trails Into Reverie, on PS4, Switch, and PC via Steam, Epic Games Store, and GOG – An English dub was also confirmed.
Right after the launch of Kuro no Kiseki, Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo mentioned in Famitsu magazine that the Calvard arc will probably be more than two games, and that the next game was already in development – now we know it’ll be released before September 2022. Most probably in the last week of September seeing that’s when Falcom always launches its games. (The only exception in years being Hajimari).
- MORE – Our review for Shin Megami Tensei V
Falcom will start developing games directly on Nintendo Switch
Besides the next Kiseki game getting released by September 2022, Nihon Falcom also mentioned in its financials plans to start in-house development of games on Nintendo Switch (Thanks to Game’s Talk for pointing it out). The first game Falcom handles like that will be the Switch version of Nayuta no Kiseki Kai (The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails).
Falcom also mentioned the Kiseki series has now sold over 6 million copies worldwide, and how it plans to keep developing its IPs outside Japan in North America, Europe and Asia, on consoles, mobile and PC.
In the past, Falcom was a PC developer, and would rarely make their own console ports – Right now, Falcom is a PlayStation only developer. All the PC and Switch versions of Falcom games are handled by outside companies during the localization process. NIS America in the West, and Clouded Leopard Entertainment in Asia.
Falcom developing on Switch from the get-go means higher sales for its games, as future Kiseki, Ys, and other games will be released simultaneously on PlayStation and Switch from the start. Switch is by far the biggest console in Japan, (though it doesn’t even compare with the mobile market.)
The financials also pointed out the Ys action JRPG series featuring Adol Christin will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2022. In 2019, Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo teased a remake of Ys V, and also mentioned in 2020 that the next Ys game is in development. However, seeing Falcom usually only releases one new game a year, it’s unlikely we’ll see an Ys game releasing in 2022 when a Kiseki game got confirmed already.
- MORE – Trails of Cold Steel anime details, comments from Toshihiro Kondo
Is Kuro no Kiseki 2 the new 2022 Trails game?
It’s all but officially confirmed the next game releasing in 2022 will be titled The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki II. It should be announced at the Falcom shareholders meeting in December 2021.
Kuro no Kiseki was officially revealed on December 17, 2020, after over a year of teasing. Back then, Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo mentioned in a Famitsu magazine interview that if Kuro no Kiseki doesn’t sell, the Calvard arc would continue anyway but under a different name and angle.
President Kondo was apprehensive back then. Seeing Kuro no Kiseki is a big challenge trying to satisfy older fans while welcoming in newcomers. Having played a bit of Kuro no Kiseki myself, the game is definitely phenomenal when compared to past games in terms of screenplay and graphics, thanks to the new engine. Which is definitely appealing for newcomers.
Moreover, while the battle system was overhauled with several changes, it’s still the same turn-based battle system. The action battle system is just a bonus on top. This is especially true when considering boss battles are only in turn-based mode. Taking this into account, I personally believe Kuro no Kiseki is a great game or both newcomers and fans.
on October 28, Falcom lanched the Version 1.10 update of Kuro no Kiseki, adding stable 60 FPS support on PS5, and a free demo of over ten hours was also released, so you can tell everything is made to bring in new fans. However, looking at the sales numbers for Kuro no Kiseki, it’s hard to tell whether it succeeded in doing that or not.
The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki sales numbers analysis
Kuro no Kiseki sold 58,391 physical copies as of October 17, 2021, according to Famitsu sales numbers. This is much lower than the first week physical sales for Hajimari: 83,680 copies sold, and for Cold Steel IV: 85,161 copies sold.
However, numbers should definitely be higher with digital sales, especially with the pandemic, but there is sadly no data on digital sales.
Falcom hasn’t officially revealed any sales numbers for Kuro no Kiseki yet either. It’s likely we will have an announcement once Kuro no Kiseki reaches 1000,000 copies sold, so it’s safe to assume it hasn’t reached that point yet.
Moreover, as fans of the series pointed out on Twitter, it’s important to note that Famitsu reported that during its first week, Kuro no Kiseki sold through over 85% of its physical stock. This means Falcom definitely expected these low numbers. So I wouldn’t call Kuro no Kiseki a failure.
Another reason behind the low sales is how Kuro no Kiseki, starting the new Calvard arc, is since 2013 the first game without Rean as (one of) its protagonist. And Rean is literally the most popular character of the Kiseki franchise in Japan. Even if Kuro protagonist Van is an incredible mix between Battler from Umineko and Gintoki from Gintama, the protagonist and character changes is one of the big reasons for the sales drop.
Moreover, Kuro no Kiseki will also be released in Asia with a Chinese and Korean version by Clouded Leopard coming in February 10, 2022. Which will definitely help sales seeing how big the series became in Asia. Kuro no Kiseki wasn’t announced in the west yet but will probably be released in 2024.
Personalty speaking, I thought an Ys X or an Ys V Remake would be coming in 2022 and I didn’t expect we’d get three Kiseki games in a row. I’m definitely excited to see Kuro no Kiseki 2 though, as Falcom should have mastered its new engine completely by then. Hopefully Kuro no Kiseki 2 will receive a simultaneous Switch and PlayStation release in Japan. What do you guys think? Tell me in the comments below and on Twitter @A_iyane07.