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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Out Today on PS3, PS Vita

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Out Today on PS3, PS Vita

Hi guys, this is Brittany, Production Coordinator and Unofficial XSEED/Falcom-Hybrid Super Fan for XSEED Games. After many crazy years figuring out how to best wrangle what we dubbed the “Curse of Kiseki,” The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel launches physically and digitally for PS3 and PS Vita today, complete with cross save support. Hell yeah.

Because this series has grown leaps and bounds over the years, becoming significantly more in depth with each new entry, newcomers to the Trails series might find themselves unsure of where to start. What’s this “Cold Steel? Is it related to Trails in the Sky and Trails in the Sky Second Chapter? Where should I start?

Well, worry not! I’m a licensed professional in Trailsology, and I’m here to not only give you an introductory overview of Trails of Cold Steel, but of the series as a whole.

Trails/”Kiseki” Series 101

Many moons ago, before I started working at XSEED or knew a thing about Trails’ existence, XSEED Games posted a funky, hand-drawn chart about the series’ developer, Nihon Falcom, and their many games over the years. It looked a little something like this:

The Legend of Heroes "Picture of Hell"

Heh.

As you can see, things started with Dragon Slayer, then it spun off into The Legend of Heroes series, which then formed the Trails series within The Legend of Heroes, which has since then also been given its own… inbred spin-offs. Rad as all those games before Trails are, none of them are necessary at all to start Trails. Trails does reference those games on extremely rare occasions, but it’s so insignificant that it’s clear at this point Trails is meant to be its own, 100% standalone beast. In short: ignore everything that’s not listed below.

Without further ado, here’s a basic outline of the main games in the series, ignoring spin-offs:

Arc 1: Liberl Kingdom

Game 1: Sora no Kiseki FC = Trails in the Sky (You can start here if you’re new to the series)
Game 2: Sora no Kiseki SC = Trails in the Sky Second Chapter
Game 3: Sora no Kiseki 3rd = Not in English

The most well-known arc in the West. It took us nearly four years to localize and release game two, Trails in the Sky Second Chapter (“SC”), which finally made its debut in English this past October. It’s worth noting that Trails in the Sky’s first and second chapters conclude the main story English fans started. Sora no Kiseki 3rd has a different main character.

Arc 2: Crossbell State

Game 4: Zero no Kiseki = Not in English (You can start here if you’re new to the series)
Game 5: Ao no Kiseki = Not in English

We’ve written a tiny bit about where this arc takes place on Trails of Cold Steel’s website, but only because arcs 2 and 3 take place at the same time. We’ve also written about why we jumped from arc 1 to arc 3 in English, which you can read here.

Arc 3: Erebonian Empire

Game 6: Sen no Kiseki = Trails of Cold Steel (You can start here if you’re new to the series)
Game 7: Sen no Kiseki II = Trails of Cold Steel II
Game 8: Sen no Kiseki III (Just announced earlier this week in Japan)

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold SteelThe Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

Hey, look! It’s the arc I’m supposed to be telling you about now!

The Trails series takes place on a single continent called Zemuria, and each arc is generally divided by locations within said continent. To put into perspective how large this series is, as of the seventh game in the series, we still don’t have a full map of Zemuria — forget the entire world.

Each arc has its own story, but there’s also an overarching storyline that Falcom has claimed is a little over halfway finished. Thankfully, due to how this overarching story has been handled so far, newbies can jump into the beginning of any one of these arcs completely blind and then go back to other arcs to learn more about the world of Trails as a whole. About 2.5 in-game years have passed as of the seventh game. It’s unbelievable how much Falcom has managed to pack in such a short time while still giving curious, new fans plenty of openings to get familiar with the series.

If it wasn’t already clear, the series is infamous for being really damn huge. This means literally years of text to translate and localize, thousands of terms to keep track of, and even hundreds upon hundreds of names and relationships to keep track of on top of it all, because each NPC has their own name, backstory, and relationships.

Without even counting the currently Japanese-only titles, the four games in the series launched or confirmed to be coming to the West in English — Trails in the Sky, Trails in the Sky Second Chapter, Trails of Cold Steel, and Trails of Cold Steel II — total up to approximately 7.85 million Japanese characters. And remember, Japanese is a language where you can explain so much in a single character that twitter’s 140 character limit pretty much gives you license to write a novel in a single tweet.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold SteelThe Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

To reiterate what is written on our gorgeous website, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel takes place inside one of the countries within Zemuria, the Erebonian Empire. Being a country historically wracked with war, it is now known for its incredible military might, making no shortage of enemies across the continent in years past. And while it has modernized itself in some ways, it is also dreadfully dated in others.

For one, the nobility have always had the upper hand over the common folk, and to keep things that way, they’ve formed the Noble Faction: a united force dedicated to keeping the balance of power within Erebonia as it always was. Opposing them stands the group known as the Reformist Faction: self-proclaimed “men of the people” who strongly believe the country should move with the times and minimize — or even outright eliminate — the political influence of the aristocracy.

Whether they’ll succeed or not remains to be seen: even now, every commoner is brought up to know their place as beneath anyone of nobility.

Players will start with Rean Schwarzer, a 17-year-old student beginning his first year at an esteemed military school known as Thors Military Academy. While the school accepts both nobles and commoners alike for lessons ranging from history to engineering to combat instruction, like everything else in the Empire, these groups have been divided by class.

That changes this year: for the first time in the academy’s history, Rean is one of nine students introduced to a brand new class — Class VII — that places importance on skill over rank. The intent behind this mishmash of nobles, commoners, and even foreigners, is to travel all across Erebonia as a group, overcome mental boundaries set in stone since birth, obtain new perspectives from vastly different lifestyles, and personally see the effects of the political strife that has strained the country to its very core… and maybe do something to fix it.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

New to the series is the Combat Link system, which allows characters to “pair up” in battle. As each pairing’s link level is increased through experience points or story-intensive, character-driven bonding events, characters will be able to help each other out in various ways during battle.

Not so new — but still awesome — is the magic system, known as the Arcus system for Cold Steel, but it’s seen its fair share of sleek and sexy changes. Get ready to collect and customize characters with dozens of magic attacks, known as “arts,” alongside the many skills unique to each party member, called “crafts.”

As a major, major fan of game lore and detailed politics, this game stole my heart from the get go. As a major fan of things like the Tales of series’ character development, Falcom once again did not disappoint me with Cold Steel. And now that it’s out in the West, I’m going to do what all good nerds do and Platinum it. Again.

In Conclusion

As much as I’ve written here, I’ve never been the lead editor for any of the games in the past. I’ve always been the one to help with lore or talk nonstop about things that have happened. For folks wanting to dive into Cold Steel, know that we’ve started the translation and editing process for Trails of Cold Steel II, so the wait shouldn’t be agonizing. I hope. Trails of Cold Steel II also marks the first time I’ve been granted the position of lead editor for the series, and though I protested for weeks due to feeling more than a little unworthy of working on what became my favorite ongoing series, I accepted after being bribed with free food.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

This is something of an experiment for us, but I plan on using my position to be as open about our schedule and progress as I possibly can. If this ridiculous blog didn’t make it obvious enough, I love this series so, so very much, and if keeping an open channel with new and old fans is what I can do to keep this series alive in the West, I’m more than happy to talk until my face turns blue.

Barring limitations with that pesky little thing we call an NDA, you’re free to ask me whatever you please about the series. Or hey, maybe you’re a longtime fan who remembered something that one NPC said in that one line in that one game that kinda sorta maybe could possibly be foreshadowing something that likely hasn’t been explained yet and you want to email us in a panic to make sure we didn’t forget that in the English. That’s cool, too — as a fellow fan, I understand.

To me, Trails is and always will be a group effort, and while we at XSEED do localize the final product ourselves at the end of the day, I want you guys to feel like you were part of making that happen in the first place.

As the school motto in Trails of Cold Steel’s Thors Military Academy goes: “Arise, O youth, and become the foundation of the world.”

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  • YAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! New Vita Games :D and its Vita TV compatible, How cool is that :))

  • On another Falcom-related front, I’m guessing that there isn’t much which can be said here just yet on the potential fate of Tokyo Xanadu. But for what it’s worth, I’m hoping that XSEED will one day be in a position to bring that game over to the West in 2016.

  • Dub only really turns me off on these games, (have not finished Ys Ceceta because of this, lol)
    But still bought this because I wanna support Xseed. Been getting all your Vita releases.
    Now where’s Estival versus? XD

  • So I’m not the only one viewing Kiseki as its own Sub-series withing Legend of Heroes, eh?

    Anyway, Falcom is my absolute favorite game developer whether it’s somehow making me love Ys even tho I’m not in the target audience until the 7th entry and 4th’s remake or making the absolute best game series in existence, Legend of Heroes. In all honesty, you have pretty much my dream job and I would love to steal it from you, horror stories and all.

    One of my greatest regrets will forever be that Trails in the Sky came out on my 16th birthday but I didnt know what it was yet. Also still sad everyone I ask says I cant marry the game series </3.

    • Oh, it’s most definitely a sub-series within TLoH in my opinion, although if that will actually matter in a big way remains to be seen (I’m the in-game novel ‘The Doll Knight’ from Trails SC makes a vague reference to the Gagharv trilogy, though it felt more like fiction within fiction… Haha). And hooray for Falcom love in general!

      I ADORE Ys. It sounds like you like the ones with a stronger sense of character development, so if you haven’t, I’d recommend giving Ys Origin for PC a chance. It’s my personal favorite Ys game, and the combat is a super-refined version of the same combat system you’ll find in Ark of Napishtim and Oath in Felghana.

      And hey, dream jobs are always a nice thing to have. I feel like I’ve found the industry for me, so I hope you’ll be able to sneak your way in too someday. :D

  • So after reading this… I decided i need to pick this up. Haven’t played any of these yet, but been looking the Sky one on PSN for the last bit and think this is a good way to go. It will have to be put on my back burner since i have way too many games I’m working on right now, but I’m a huge believer in supporting what i want more of, and i really just want more japanese games localized… so yeah. Also i love JRPGs so win win.

    Thanks Again

    • Amazing! Thank you so much! I know the feeling of having too many games building up on the backlog, so I really appreciate the support. I hope we can keep bringing awesome JRPGs over in English.

    • Well the real sinker was when I realized you guys brought over my favorite vita series corpse party.

      But waiting for Amazon the ship, completely back ordered on their site. That’s exciting.

  • Wow. When it comes to Falcom, I’m more of a Ys fan. Though it’s exciting to see someone with such enthusiasm working at XSEED. You guys do great work! You just might be as positive about gaming as gametrailers.com’s Michael Huber. And that is saying A LOT. Because of XSEED North American can play games like Senren Kagura and Akiba’s Trip. You even took the massive task of bringing over the Last Story. Thank you for staying true to gamers, and to the games themselves. You guys do great work. I want to do what I can to support you. I have a large back log of games like Yakuza 5, Tales of Zestiria, and more…and honestly I never really looked into the legend of heroes series BUT your passion has most definite put this game on my radar. I will keep an eye out for it when I visit a game retailer. I have faith when I see that XSEED logo. Thank you for all your hard work!

    • Thank you so much! Was just saying above that Ys is also one of the series I love, haha. You really can’t go wrong with Falcom in general. And hey, you’ve actually played quite a few of our games! Awesome! Akiba’s Trip was the first game I got left to my own devices when editing certain sections… A weird game to be sure, but it’s super charming. TLS is also a blast from the past. New as I was to the company, I remember tearing up when the physical copies finally came in because I realized I’d have my name credited with people like Sakaguchi. Still sort of blows my mind to this day.

      You also reminded me that I’ve been meaning to pick up Yakuza 5, if only to assuage the glares of death I get from a friend who is a diehard Yakuza fan. Haha…

      If you do end up grabbing Trails in the Sky or Trails of Cold Steel, I hope our efforts make it worth the purchase. Thanks again!

  • Too bad it´s not cross-buy and cross-save :(

  • Is this game english dubbed? or or just in Japanese voice over at least,
    i prefer to play the game in Japanese to be quite honest with english sub.

    • She already answered that question. They weren’t able to get the Japanese VOs, but the English dub is quite good(I can speak from experience, streamed a few hours of it last night. Quite good)

    • Yep, like Seluhir said, it’s English audio only. If that isn’t your cup of tea, there’s an option to turn off voices, but I was pretty pleased with how they came out if you’re willing to give them a listen!

  • IT HAS CROSS-SAVE?! Oh dear lord in heaven I’m might have to go back to GaemStop and double dip to get the PS3 version. You know the game is good when you contemplate buying it twice……lol

    • Yes, it does! And if you do end up double dipping, well…thank you!!

    • To follow up my previous comment, I did indeed double dip! Bought a Lionheart edition of ToCS for both Vita and PS3 because you guys deserve the extra money. I hope the game sells well enough to make future localizations a viable option.

      Also, your passion for XSEED games is awesome! I was looking up gameplay videos to help me decide on buying this game and listening to your enthusiasm when talking about this game sold me on it immediately and I pre-ordered it immediately. Keep up the great work of keeping us informed on all things XSEED! :)

  • Wow this might be my fav jrpg this year, im glad gamestop had a lionheart edition in stock because i had a copy preordered from amazon a month ago and the day of release they said they didnt have enough stock to cover preorders. But the game reminds me a lot of persona in some ways and im loving the battle system. I wanted to give the vita love so i picked up that version but i might pick up a copy for ps3 for my collection. Anyone who loves jrpg’s needs to pick up this game, and it could take 100 hours to do everything i like getting my moneys worth.

    • Oh, man, if you’re interested in collecting everything in the game, you’ll definitely go well over a hundred hours. Lots of hidden conversations and “quests,” though quests often come with conversations and their own stories rather than just being simple fetch quests, cooking, and since each character has difference tastes you can discover new dishes with different characters, fishing… Just so much stuff. But it doesn’t ever feel overwhelming to me, either. The game does a good job of organizing everything for you.

      Thanks for grabbing the Vita versions, and if you grab the PS3 version, thanks again!

  • Getting the Lionheart edition delivered today, woohoo. Won’t play it til I’m done with Trails in the Sky SC though. Crazy to think we got 2 kiseki games this close to each other.

    • It still doesn’t feel real, haha. At one point, it almost felt like we weren’t even going to get SC out the door, and then we suddenly were able to launch two Trails games in one year. Feels like we’ve got a handle on the series now to be sure. And while I’m super grateful for the support, yeah, I’d definitely say finish up SC first. It’ll make a certain cameo in Cold Steel that much sweeter if you’re already familiar with the Liberl arc.

  • First off I’m a huge fan of XSEED games, I’m also looking forward to playing Trails of Cold Steel over the upcoming weekend. Are there any plans to bring these games up over to PS4? Is there any plans on remaking or remastering Lunar Silver Star Store Complete (Harmony on PSP) or Eternal Blue for PS3/PS4??

    • Thanks for the love! Unfortunately, we’re just a localizer and publisher, so we actually don’t have the power to do any of that. The Trails series is developed by Falcom, so any decisions on development is up to them, and we were able to only publish LSSH on PSP because, well…that’s what existed! Basically, if it doesn’t already exist, we can’t work with it. Would be pretty sweet to see more Lunar, though, speaking purely as a fan of both games growing up.

  • From XSEED’s release of first chapter of Trails, you won me over as a lifelong fan. All RPG fans owe it to themselves to try these games. They’re wonderful.

  • Wow great job on this post.

  • Just wanted to say thank you. Really enjoyed the first few hours of this game I was able to stream last night(despite being sick). My viewers had a blast too. Was a great time.

    The game is looking amazing from what I’ve seen so far, and I can’t imagine it deviating from that.

    (although I am saddened that Cold Steel doesn’t have the little post-opening messages on the treasure chests like Sky did ;))

  • guys i live on indonesia. i have a vita and my playstation network(ps store) is updated but the legend of heroes trails of cold steel is not there yet. so when will it be release on vita? i cant wait to play it. i try search for it its not there yet.Thanks.

    • and i try using my pc. i go to the ps store website, i saw trails of cold steel with the $39.99 but when i click on it and i sign in, it become a page with the word written (unable to find this page). did somebody know why?thanks.

    • so when will my ps store get the trails of cold steel? i have been waiting since yesterday and its not there even though it has been updated my ps store

  • Got the Vita Lion Heart Edition. it’s awesome.

  • Thank you SO MUCH for answering my question before I even had to ask it. I have never played any of these games before, so it’s good to know I can start with this one. The game is absolutely gorgeous. I do believe I’ll be adding it to my collection soon.

  • I love that you localize this game this will be my first trials games, I have played the dragon slayers games on. Psp as a kid but I have no clue what order they were actually in lol. I hope you guy will localize Xanadu Tokyo as well next year it seem like an mix between trials, ys, and persona which to me seem like a good combo hopefully you can get it next year.

  • Will the costume DLC that you guys are going to release on January, going to be the last DLC for this game or is there more DLC coming for the game?

  • I know this is minor and my not ever be read but in the digital manual for the vita version of the game there is a small error in the explanation of the controls.
    On page 5 under basic controls the Left Sick reads ” Move character (hold the X to walk)”
    Due to button changes from JP to EN it should read “Move character (hold the O to walk)”
    I know it’s minor and very easy to miss due to the amount of content that needs to be change for translation.
    P.S. I know who even reads manuals anymore right :P
    P.P.S I love the amount of passion you all as a team put into bringing these JRPG’s to the west.

  • Received my Lionheart edition on Vita yesterday. Everything about this game is beautiful! Amazing packaging, and the game looks and sounds incredible on PSTV! I recently picked up Trails in the Sky SC as well, and all I can say is Incredible and Thank You!

  • When trails of cold steel releases in japan, do you guys plan on translating that as well? If it’s relevant to the story at least.

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