Nihon Falcom Corporation (日本ファルコム株式会社) is a Japanese video game company who primarily develop role-playing video games, most notably in the Ys, The Legend of Heroes, and Trails series. The company was founded in 1981, making them one of the oldest game developers still active. They are credited with pioneering the action role-playing game genre, the Japanese role-playing game industry, and the development of the personal computer software industry in Japan overall.
A variant of the Nihon Falcom logo
|Nihon farukomu kabushiki kaisha|
|Traded as||TYO: 3723|
|Toshihiro Kondo (President)|
Number of employees
Nihon Falcom was founded by Masayuki Kato in 1981, and quickly became one of the most prominent and influential Japanese role-playing video game developers, alongside Enix and Square. They are credited with laying the foundations for the Japanese role-playing game industry.
Falcom's first role-playing game was Panorama Toh (Panorama Island), released for the PC-8801 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.
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. Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu (1985) had more than 400,000 copies sold, making it the best-selling PC game up until that time.
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. 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. By the early 2010s, the Ys series was second only to the Final Fantasy series as the largest Japanese role-playing game franchise in terms of the overall number of game releases.
Falcom was also a pioneer in video game music, with their early soundtracks mostly composed by chiptune musicians Yuzo Koshiro and Mieko Ishikawa. They were one of the first game companies to have their own named sound team dedicated to writing scores for their games, known as the Falcom Sound Team jdk. Falcom's Ys soundtracks in particular are considered some of the most influential role-playing game scores of all time.
|Computer the Golf|
|Cosmo Fighter II||X1|
|Super Horoscope Kanji Version||PC-8801|
|SSGN Covert Cruise Special Attack Strategy||FM-8|
|Horror House Part-II|
|1984||Monster House||Sharp MZ|
|The Threat of North||PC-6001|
|Escape from Twilight Zone||FM-7|
|1985||Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu||X1|
|1986||Xanadu Scenario II||PC-8801|
|Dragon Slayer Jr: Romancia||X1|
|Tombs & Treasure||PC-8801|
|1987||Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished||PC-8801|
|Legacy of the Wizard||MSX 2, Famicom|
|1988||Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter|
|Ys III: Wanderers from Ys|
|Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes|
|1992||Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes II|
|1993||Brandish 2: Planet Buster||PC-9801|
|1994||The Legend of Xanadu||TurboGrafx-16|
|The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch||PC-9801|
|Popful Mail||Super Famicom|
|Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan||PC-9801|
|The Legend of Xanadu II||PC Engine CD|
|Revival Xanadu II Remix||PC-9801|
|Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand||Super Famicom|
|1996||The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion||PC-9801|
|Lord Monarch Original||Windows|
|1997||Lord Monarch First|
|Lord Monarch Pro|
|1998||Ys I Eternal|
|Vantage Master V2|
|1999||The Legend of Heroes III: Song of the Ocean|
|2000||Ys II Eternal|
|2001||Ys I & II Complete|
|Zwei: The Arges Adventure|
|2003||Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim||Windows, PlayStation 2, mobile, PlayStation Portable|
|2004||The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky||Windows, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure||Windows, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS|
|Ys: The Oath in Felghana||Windows, PlayStation Portable|
|Xanadu Next||N-Gage, Windows|
|2006||The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC||Windows, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|Ys Origin||Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One|
|2007||The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd||Windows, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|2008||Vantage Master Portable||PlayStation Portable|
|Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection||Windows|
|2009||Brandish: The Dark Revenant||PlayStation Portable|
|Ys I & II Chronicles||PlayStation Portable, Windows|
|2010||Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga||PlayStation Portable|
|The Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki||PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Windows, PlayStation 4|
|2011||The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki|
|2012||Nayuta no Kiseki||PlayStation Portable|
|Ys: Memories of Celceta||PlayStation Vita, Windows, PlayStation 4|
|2013||The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel||PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Windows, PlayStation 4|
|2014||The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II|
|2015||Tokyo Xanadu||PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Windows|
|2016||Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana||PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Windows, Nintendo Switch|
|2017||The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III||PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Windows|
|2018||The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV|
|2019||Ys IX: Monstrum Nox|
|2020||The Legend of Heroes: Hajimari no Kiseki||PlayStation 4|
- Wen, Alan. "Hot on the Trails of Falcom, Japan's longest-running RPG developer". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
- Gifford, Kevin (September 7, 2011). "The Trail of Nihon Falcom: The president of Japan's oldest existing RPG maker speaks". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
- Bailey, Kat (May 18, 2010). "Hack and Slash: What Makes a Good Action RPG?". 1UP.com. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- Szczepaniak, John (July 7, 2011). "Falcom: Legacy of Ys". GamesTM (111): 152–159 . Retrieved September 7, 2011. (cf. Szczepaniak, John (July 8, 2011). "History of Ys interviews". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved September 6, 2011.)
- Massey, Tom. "Chronicles of Ys: A Series Retrospective". eurogamer.net. Gamer Network.
- John Harris (July 2, 2009). "Game Design Essentials: 20 RPGs - Dragon Slayer". Gamasutra. p. 13. Archived from the original on August 5, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- Derboo, Sam (June 2, 2013). "Dark Age of JRPGs (7): Panorama Toh ぱのらま島 - PC-88 (1983)". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
- "Xanadu Next home page" (in Japanese). Retrieved September 8, 2008. (Translation)
- Hendricks, Fayyaad (December 22, 2011). "A complete history of role-playing videogames: Part 2". EL33TONLINE. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
- Massey, Tom. "Inside Ys: Nihon Falcom Interview". eurogamer.net. Gamer Network.
- Szczepaniak, John (July 7, 2011). "Falcom: Legacy of Ys". GamesTM (111): 152–159 . Retrieved September 8, 2011. (cf. Szczepaniak, John (July 8, 2011). "History of Ys interviews". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved September 8, 2011.)
- Kalata, Kurt (February 2014). "Ys". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Ryan Mattich. "Falcom Classics II". RPGFan. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Chris Greening & Don Kotowski (February 2011). "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
- Stenbuck, Kite (May 22, 2018). "Trails of Cold Steel IV will be released in Japan on September 27". RPG Site. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- Romano, Sal (December 19, 2018). "Ys IX: Monstrum Nox announced for PS4". Gematsu. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
- Romano, Sal (December 18, 2019). "The Legend of Heroes: Hajimari no Kiseki announced for PS4". Gematsu. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- Official website (in Japanese)