Toshihiro Kondo On Hajimari no Kiseki, Its Sequel, The New Falcom Engine, Spinoffs, And More

Toshihiro Kondo, in an interview on Hajimari no Kiseki, explained why it doesn't feature Kevin, what comes after it, PS5 support, ports, and more.

By Iyane Agossah

August 25, 2020

Game news site a9vg published in early August an interview with Toshihiro Kondo, most notably talking about Hajimari no Kiseki, its sequel, and a bunch of other Nihon Falcom related subjects. The interview was translated by Japanese blog Hokanko, which in turn allowed me to read it. We’ve got a summary below. Let’s take a look.

Hajimari no Kiseki has over 50 playable characters, and nearly all of them have been introduced now by Falcom, on the game’s official site, or through Dengeki Online (each time with exclusive comments from Kondo). Most of them are returning characters from past Kiseki games. However, Kevin wasn’t introduced. He won’t be appearing much in Hajimari, if at all. Kondo already mentioned in the past that the Septian Church is one of the only organizations who know the secrets of Zemuria. And starting the games after Hajimari no Kiseki, the Septian Church and its knights like Kevin will play a bigger role. That’s why we won’t really see Kevin in Hajimari.

Balancing all the characters’ strength in Hajimari no Kiseki was difficult. The game features playable characters that are extremely strong according to the story, so they were made strong in gameplay too, and you might feel overpowered in the early parts of the game. However, it doesn’t mean that the characters other than these are weak though, and you can freely make your favorites stronger with items.

Characters from Akatsuki no Kiseki don’t appear in Hajimari no Kiseki. It’s possible popular Akatsuki characters will appear in future games though.

Toshihiro Kondo already mentioned in the past Falcom is working on an in-house new game engine. Hajimari no Kiseki is the final game running on Sony’s PhyreEngine, which was also used for Trails of Cold Steel IV.

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Falcom will start using the new engine with the game following Hajimari. This new engine will make the games look much more beautiful than they are now. There are actually a few scenes in Hajimari no Kiseki which use the new engine as well. When PS5 launches, Hajimari no Kiseki will also receive an update that adds PS5 support.

Kondo said if Falcom ever develops remakes for the Trails in the Sky trilogy, or Zero and Ao no Kiseki, it’ll be on this new engine.

The Ys team proposed adding a distinct Photo Mode for future Ys games. The Kiseki team didn’t show interest at first but now they’re considering it too. Future Kiseki games after Hajimari will probably include a Photo Mode. (It’s funny how a lot of Japanese games already did Photo Modes in the past, but now that western AAA do it too it became cool.)

Right now, Falcom doesn’t have the leeway to make spinoff games like a new Ys Vs Kiseki game. The developers are focusing on switching to the new engine.

Toshihiro Kondo also reiterated what any person into Falcom games knows. The company doesn’t have the leeway to make PC and Switch ports itself for now. So these will only keep happening through collaborations with other companies. Hajimari no Kiseki is a PS4 game and there are no plans for ports. Though it could happen in the future thanks to other companies.

Kondo was also asked about how the Kiseki series is too long and complicated which makes it hard to get in. He explained Falcom tries to make each beginning of a new arc an entry point, and try to bring in new players. This allows to grow the fanbase. And now they have middle-aged fans who started since Trails in the Sky, a bit younger fans who’re playing since Zero Ao, and younger players who got in with Cold Steel. This means the game after Hajimari, which will start a new arc, will similarly be a new entry point in the series.

Lastly, Toshihiro Kondo praised the work of Clouded Leopard, who made possible the simultaneous releases of the Traditional Chinese and Hangul versions of Hajimari no Kiseki . He also stressed out JRPGs since the last 5-6 years got a renewed popularity and sell pretty well now in Asia and Europe.

The Legend of Heroes: Hajimari no Kiseki is launching on August 27 in Japanese, Chinese and Korean, exclusively on PS4. You can read additional details on the game, most notably how it’ll include DLC VR scenes, with our past coverage. We also translated Toshihiro Kondo’s first video interview on the game.

Time didn’t permit me to cover the details Falcom recently revealed about the game. However, we’ll soon be publishing a guide compiling all the information Falcom published on Hajimari no Kiseki prior release. In order to help those who are importing the game. Or simply for those who are curious and don’t mind spoilers regarding Cold Steel 4.

A live stream will also be held on August 26 at 2100 JST, to celebrate the release of Hajimari no Kiseki. We’ll be covering it as soon as we can.

The Legend of Heroes: Hajimari no Kiseki was first teased by Falcom in March 2019, alongside its sequel which will start a new arc. It was furthermore teased with screenshots and story hints in June 2019, at the Kiseki Series 15th Anniversary Event. Lastly, Falcom mentioned in November 2019 that a new Kiseki game would launch by September 2020.

Western releases of the 2020 PS4 remasters of Zero and Ao no Kiseki were teased multiple times, but nothing was officially announced yet. Zero no Kiseki also recently got a new fan patch.

Lastly, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV will launch on PS4 in the west on October 27, 2020. Switch and PC version will also launch in 2021. You can preorder Trails of Cold Steel IV on Amazon to support DualShockers. (Be sure to select the correct platform).

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Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He plays Genshin Impact for the story. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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