RPG Spain and YSpain_Legend had the honour to interview Mr. Toshihiro Kondo! We hope you like it!
This interview is also available in Spanish.
RPG Spain: What do you think makes Adol such a special character? How did you take that idea of him being a recurring protagonist? Will we see an adventure with Adol alone again?
Toshihiro Kondo: I think the fact that he has been the main character for more than 35 years sets
him apart. I also think the setup where players know that he left more than 100 books detailing his adventures and they can follow along and see how he progressed is also important. Depending on the situation, I think it is possible that we might see an Adol only adventure again in the future.
YSpain_Legend: One of the aspects that I’ve noticed that people enjoyed a lot is that Adol has gained a lot of expressiveness in YS IX. Despite being a mute character, this has allowed the
player to get an idea of what his personality is like. Are there any plans for us to get to see an Adol who can express its personality a bit more with more dialogue just like we saw in the anime?
Toshihiro Kondo: It was necessary to have him speak (SPOILER: though that wasn’t actually Adol) for us to tell the tale we wanted to even though he hasn’t spoken before. Basically, in his video game appearances, we develop under the policy that the player is seeing and experiencing what Adol is through his eyes. If Adol were to have too many lines, it would destroy that illusion, so we have no plans to increase his number of lines by a large amount.
YSpain_Legend: YS has always had an stuning soundtrack with a lot of exceptional tracks. How many composers (from Falcom and outsourced) take part in the games that you are making
lately? In recent years, we have noticed that the number of outsourced tracks has been bigger (I really like Jindo’s tracks). Why is this happening?
Toshihiro Kondo: We cannot provide the exact numbers, as it is confidential company information, but each division in Falcom does not have many members. As the amount of data necessary for game development has increased substantially compared to the past, we do outsource some things.
YSpain_Legend: We have seen that Sunshine Coastline is a fan favourite track, even if this track make its debut in YS VIII. That makes us wonder, who is its composer? Among our fans it is a
beloved track as well! Will we hear the tracks from that composer in YS X as well?
Toshihiro Kondo: Music composition for Ys X is still to come, so there’s nothing to say at the
moment, but there is certainly a chance!
YSpain_Legend: Talking about music, I couldn’t help but notice that the tracks that were used in the debuts trailers at Tokyo Game Show for YS Celceta no Jukai and YS VIII never made it into the final version. Will we hear them at some point in an unreleased track album or something similar?
Toshihiro Kondo: Really? You know about this than I do! Thank you for the information! If many
people ask us for something like that, it is a possibility!
YSpain_Legend: With Kuro no Kiseki, we have seen that you wanted to bring fresh changes to the The Legend of Heroes IP, both in terms of visuals and gameplay with a new combat system
which mixes turns based combat with real time action. Can we expect such a big change like that in the YS series with YS X?
Toshihiro Kondo: Ys X marks a very special milestone for the series and there will be various large-scale changes. Please look forward to more information.
YSpain_Legend: When it comes to the new design of Adol for YS X, since he is supposed to
be around 17 y.o. in this entry, what was the reason to go for this design instead of his classic silver armor?
Toshihiro Kondo: When you say, ”Adol” most people are going to think “red hair” and “silver armor.” The reason for the red hair is that, back when the first game was being developed in the pixel art style, there was a hard limitation on the number of colors, so they went with red. However, for a long time, JRPGs featured main characters with armor, but you see that less and less recently, so we dropped that aspect at the designer’s suggestion.
For this reason, while Ys X is Adol in his younger years, he won’t be wearing his silver armor.
YSpain_Legend: With each new entry, the story has been taken more and more protagonism, with more cinematics and dialogues, and even by playing the game across different chapters. Can we expect to keep going this route for YS X?
Toshihiro Kondo: There might be more cinematics, but we won’t increasing the dialog dramatically. We want to make the game play at a nice, quick tempo.
YSpain_Legend: In an interview it has been said that if Falcom released YS IX on PS5 it would do something big, like making Aprilis playable. That makes me wonder, is the current YS IX
the product you had envisioned? I remember that when YS VIII was released on PS Vita, the Dana sections had been left behind for technical reasons, but when the game was released later on PS4 (and progressively on more platforms) a much more refined product was achieved.
Toshihiro Kondo: The released version of Ys IX pretty much contains everything we had planned for it. If we had the time to create a PS5, it would have been nice to make Aprilis playable. That we couldn’t is unfortunate.
YSpain_Legend: Will we ever get to experience Adol’s last adventure in the North Pole?
Toshihiro Kondo: This particular adventure is kind of a taboo; you think, “Should I really be the one to make this?” Honestly, there are no plans at all for that at this moment.
YSpain_Legend: Will we see more prequels like YS Origin?
Toshihiro Kondo: No. Ys Origin the idea we come up with at the behest of the then company
president’s mandate to develop a game on a short timeframe.
YSpain_Legend: Since the name of the IP is “YS”, will we get to explore this land again in the future?
Toshihiro Kondo: I think this is a possibility. It was by another company, but in the Hudson-
developed version of Ys IV, it does take place partially there. That said, I don’t think that it’s good to dwell on the past as we have many newer fans of Ys.
YSpain_Legend: Are there plans for spin offs such as a fighting game (An YS fighting game by Arc System Works would be like a dream come true for me) or a rhythm game to take advantage of the exceptional OST?
Toshihiro Kondo: We have! There was a turn-based Ys game on the Nintendo DS. There have been other plans, but nothing ever came of any of them.
YSpain_Legend: We know that this questions has been asked a lot, but we do really need to know if something has changed. Can we expect an YS V Remake at some point in the near
Toshihiro Kondo: I’d love to! If we only had the time…
YSpain_Legend: Are there plans for ports or remasters for PS5/Switch/Xbox One? It would be great if people could discover all of the games in the same platform!
Toshihiro Kondo: Right now, we are focused on creating new titles, so there no present plans.
RPG Spain: Many consider Ys the clear benchmark for Japanese ARPGs. How do you think combat has influenced other games in the genre?
Toshihiro Kondo: I don’t know how far its influence extends. The original “bump” style combat
certainly doesn’t exist anymore. However, the current iteration of Ys, with its speedy and simple action where you find yourself deeply invested in just killing the normal enemies is certainly something that I think maintains the spirit of Ys.
RPG Spain: If we’re not wrong, we’re lucky enough to be the first Spanish media to interview you, so we have to ask: why so many references to Spain and how did they come about? We love them! Any curiosity to comment on them?
Toshihiro Kondo: In the game manual for I, it says that Adol traveled down from the North and
continued going south. However, he encountered a war and had to turn west. What happened from there in that first adventure is recounted in Ys I. The following stories tell about his adventures in the nearby areas, so that would put them in Spain. I think there are so many appealing motifs from the region, which is why they were used.
RPG Spain: With YS you always try to make each game independent from other entries so that
everyone can play them. That being said, how do you consider the plot of each new installment, knowing that they are related but should not be too noticeable?
Toshihiro Kondo: We try not to deeply touch on the events of previous titles in the main story of
newer games. However, we do often touch upon them in quests or side-stories. We don’t want players to feel alienated if they haven’t played a previous entry.
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
YSpain_Legend: The Romun Empire often plays an antagonistic role throughout the saga, will we see the conflict come to a close end?
Toshihiro Kondo: In the same vein as depicting the “Northern Adventure,” this is also a tough
subject to approach. I would like to take this on at some point though.
YSpain_Legend: Does the ancient city of Kishgal from YS VI have any relation to the YS Origin character who has the same name?
Toshihiro Kondo: Hmm. I wonder. Kishgal from Ys Origin is a Darkling, so he might have received their name from hearing about that city.
YSpain_Legend: Did the story of the Eldeen saga came to end with Eldeel or will we see more around the world in future entries?
Toshihiro Kondo: According to our plans, I’m pretty sure all Eldeen who befriended humans have
already appeared. If there were others who were operating on their own, they could potentially appear, but there are no current plans.
END OF SPOILERS
RPG Spain: We believe that in the West and for the new generations of players, YS Lacrimosa of Dana has been very important and has recently won a poll as the favorite installment of the saga. What do you think that it makes it stand over the rest?
Toshihiro Kondo: I think it is the result of having the double main characters, the castaways, Dana’s entire scenario and the overall usability of it that created the end result. I think it’s
totally OK to experience Ys VIII on its own.
YSpain_Legend: Is there any strategy to reduce the release gap between Nihon Falcom games in Japan and Europe?
Toshihiro Kondo: We’ve already started clearing this hurdle in Asian regions. We want to do the
same for Europe and North America as well.
YSpain_Legend: Will we get a new artbook for the 35º anniversary of the YS series?
Toshihiro Kondo: There are currently no plans, but I would have liked to. I definitely want to make this happen for the 40 th anniversary though!
YSpain_Legend: With the release of the TLOH anime next year, we wonder if there are any plans to release a new anime for YS. We know that there is an anime that covers the events of YS I and II, just as there were plans to make an anime of YS IV but this could not be carried out, so it seems that the idea of taking the adventures of Adol Christin to the animated format has been around the company
Toshihiro Kondo: Unfortunately, there is nothing that I can announce on that front at this moment.
RPG Spain: What elements do you think that have made the saga to be loved for so many years?
Toshihiro Kondo: Adol travels to various locations and adventures, and along the way meets and
then must depart from the various people including heroines. The events and characters change per installment, but the style is unchanging and is also the same as a long-running hit Japanese movie series. The gameplay is also carefully updated each installment, which I think also
contributes to the reception.
RPG Spain: To finish the interview: What would you say to lovers of the genre who haven’t played Ys yet?
Toshihiro Kondo: Ys is a series that has continued for over 35 years now, but each can be picked up and played today in any order. Its simplicity, fun action and deep stories have made it a standout series throughout RPG history. Don’t be put off by the number of titles in the series and pick up the one that interests you today!
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