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The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (英雄伝説(えいゆうでんせつ)VI 空の軌跡(ソラノキセキ); later releases: 英雄伝説(えいゆうでんせつ) 空の軌跡(ソラノキセキ) FC) is a role-playing game developed and published by Nihon Falcom for Windows in 2004, and the first installment in the Trails series. It was later re-released for PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita as well as mobile phones. Later release names drop the "VI" and add "FC" (stands for "First Chapter") to distinguish it from its sequels, while the English release names do not retain the "FC". It was directed by Toshihiro Kondo and produced by Masayuki Kato.

Synopsis

Setting

Trails in the Sky FC is the first game on the continent of Zemuria, set in the year of S.1202, 50 years after the Orbal Revolution makes magic accessible to everyone through the use of orbments, enabling new developments and simplifying many aspects from common life to warfare, while complicating others.

Trails in the Sky FC establishes most of the world for future installments in the series and sets up the plot for the next game, Trails in the Sky SC.

Story

Main article: /Story

Trails in the Sky FC follows the journey of Estelle and Joshua Bright, as they train to become bracers in the Liberl Kingdom. Spurred by the disappearance of their father, they travel through the five regions of Rolent, Bose, Ruan, Zeiss, and finally Grancel. From the small-scale theft of an expensive crystal to a country-wide conspiracy with a mysterious black orbment at its center, their journey through the regions has them encountering challenges they must solve as they encounter all facets of the Liberl country in their pursuit of the rank of a senior bracer.

Gameplay

The game world consists of field maps where the characters can move freely and interact with NPCs or open chests. On most maps the camera can be rotated to view the field from different perspectives. Some maps have enemies present on the field, which on contact between the characters and the enemies will engage into combat screen. To improve the character's combat performance, they can visit shops to purchase equipment, orbal factories to upgrade their combat orbment and create new quartz to improve their capabilities and arts, or restaurants to purchase food and learn new recipes to cook.

The game starts in the region of Rolent, with the characters traveling around the kingdom as the game progresses. The game's main storyline is advanced through the Bracer Guild, with sidequests that can be started at the guild's request board or just by talking to NPCs. Completing sidequests rewards Mira, the game's currency, as well as Bracer Points (BP) and sometimes other items. Special conditions during quests can grant bonus BP, Mira, or items, and accumulating enough BP grants its own rewards.

Combat Mechanics

Combat is held in a separate screen with a map consisting of a grid of 17x17 square tiles (though some locations may be more restricted). The position each character starts in can be predetermined to an extent from the Tactics menu outside of battle. If the battle is started by contact with an enemy on the field, the way contact was made can also influence how the battle starts: contacting an enemy from the back will have the characters start with preemptive advantage, which has all of the characters' turns happen before any enemy turn; having an enemy contact the characters from their back will have the characters ambushed and be surrounded by enemies in combat map while the enemies get the first turn.

Each character and enemy takes their turn sequentially according to the Battle Order Bar shown on the left of combat screen, which can be altered by actions that increase or decrease the unit's AT Delay. Options for characters are: Move, Attack, Art, Craft, Item and Run. Each action has its own Delay value, which affects how soon the character's next turn will occur. In the Battle Order Bar there will sometimes be a bonus given to a unit at a certain turn. The bonus can be taken by someone else by killing, delaying or advancing his destined bearer, increasing the tactical aspect of the battles.

  • Move: Allows the character to move to a different unoccupied tile than the one they are currently on without taking any other action. The movement range of the character is determined by their MOV stat and any buffs or debuffs active on them.
  • Attack: The character moves up to and uses equipped weapon to deal damage to an enemy within range. Different weapons have different ranges and areas of effect.
  • Art: Magic spells that become available basing on the combination of quartz you have equipped on that character's orbment. Casting arts requires EP and takes time to cast, and its also possible to have the casting process canceled by special attacks.
  • Craft: Skills unique to each character with varying effects that require CP to use. Unlike arts, crafts are instantaneous and CP is generated through combat.
    • S-Craft: A special type of craft that requires at least 100 CP. The S-Craft can be activated on the character's turn or through an S-Break, where the character's set S-Craft can be triggered on the press of a button that depends on the character's slot. When performing an S-Break, after the current turn has finished, the character's turn will move up and they will perform their S-Craft straight away, adding the S-Craft's delay to the delay they had when the S-Break was performed. This can prove a useful tool for urgent needs, or to steal bonus events (such as "Critical" or "STR Up") with S-Breaks to further enhance the damage output of the attack, but it can backfire as the character's CP will always drop down to 0 after use, and the delay until their next turn may be so long as to leave them open to several enemy turns; some conditions can also prevent S-Breaks from being used at all.
  • Item: The character uses an item on themselves or an ally in range. Items include prepared food, which has a wide variety of effects available.
  • Run: The battle ends immediately without obtaining any items or experience, and the enemies will be temporarily unable to be fought on the field. Note that some battles do not allow running.

Both characters and enemies can be afflicted with stat buffs, debuffs, and status effects, which can change the tide of battle. Being prepared to deal with (and dish out) abnormalities is critical to the success of the party.

Combat ends when all enemies are defeated, the entire party is knocked out, or the characters run. Having the party wiped out will normally result in a gameover, but some battles do not require a win in order to move forward. If the battle is won, the party will obtain any dropped items and sepith from the enemies as well as experience points. If the characters are below the enemies' level, encounters will give significantly more experience to the characters, ensuring they catch up quickly. If they are above the enemies' level, the characters will gain significantly less, preventing experience grinding from being either necessary or profitable.

Development

After the release of Eiyuu Densetsu V: Umi no Oriuta for PC in 1999, Falcom decided not further to develop the world of Gagharv and started working on a new world.[1] For this world they borrowed many components from the Gagharv trilogy, such as villages filled with NPC that you can interact. To create a sense of distinctiveness for the new series, they stuck with the theme of an industrial revolution.

One employee’s interest in mechanical clockworks led to the idea of combining these with magical powers. From this, the Orbment (a portmanteau of ‘orb’ and ‘movement’) device was born. For the atmosphere of Liberl, the developers let themselves inspired by images of Swiss and Austria. The rest of the kingdom was shaped after Thailand, where Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo resided for a while.

In contrast to the Gagharv trilogy, Kondo wanted to have a female protagonist. Since the team responded somewhat bewildered to this proposal, they initially swapped Estelle Bright and Joshua Bright’s sexes; Estelle wore Joshua’s outfit and vice versa. They added characters with more experience to supervise the two inexperienced protagonists, which ended up becoming Scherazard Harvey and Agate Crosner. Zin Vathek was initially called Sidoh Vassek. Orbments were initially called ‘Prisms,’ but Falcom wanted to introduce a new term for the device and eventually settled on ‘Orbment.’

There were also plans to have Estelle’s father, Cassius Bright, die in the early stages of the game to create a shock effect, but still plan was scrapped. Kondo felt that having someone as strong as Cassius’ alongside the protagonists would limit their growth throughout the game.

Announcement

Header of the first website.

Early map of Liberl.

Falcom started teasing 'the next Legend of Heroes' game in their Hot Information newsletter throughout 2002. They revealed the title of the game, shared screenshots to show off the game's 3D environments and provided the following description in English:

“After the disruption of the world, people who lost all live a dissolute life. But "Orbment", the great fortune which "Sept-Terrion" left, bring the hope to the people who survived. "Orbment", which people made "Septium" into, gave people a light, warmth, and power. The workings of people are spreading over sea and sky again. Liberl Kingdom, the small constitutional monarchy whitch Princess Arisia governs, prosper being second to none as an "Orbment" exporting country. "Orbment" whitch made in Liberl Kingdom is good quality in comparison with the great neighboring powers' one. People live strongly cling to something on the earth where a blade of glass had not left. No "road" may exit this world from the first. If many people walk, that place would become a "road".”
— Sora no Kiseki, early flyers

Falcom revealed the game in earnest in March 2003.[2] It was announced as a new world and setting from the previous games of the Gagharv Trilogy. They also confirmed that the protagonist would be a female character.

Photo of the script used for Sora no Kiseki FC.

In an interview with the developers published around the same time,[3] they initially pondered whether to continue building on the world established in the Gagharv Trilogy or to make some loose connection. They re-evaluated the older titles in the series to determine what their players liked, which differed from person to person. Favourite aspects include the combination of a male and female protagonist, the moralising but otherwise good-natured characters in the world and old characters, but also the serious themes that came with societies and civilisations wrapped in an overarching story.

How The Legend of Heroes V: Cagesong of the Ocean tied the loose ends of the previous two games together, was much appreciated by fans and development members alike. Rather than expanding on what all of them considered to be a finished story, they started drafting a new challenge to incorporate their experiences from the Gagharv Trilogy even more profoundly. As Falcom started from scratch again, the development team began their brainstorm sessions.

They revealed the new world of the Liberl Kingdom, Bracer Guilds and Orbments and six main characters: Estelle Bright, Joshua Bright, Olivier Lenheim, Scherazard Harvey, Tita Russell, and Agate Crosner.

Release

Eiyuu Densetsu VI: Sora no Kiseki was released on June 24, 2004. The first edition of the game was shipped with the Sora no Kiseki Visual Guide & Materials, the Sora no Kiseki Super Arrange Version CD and the Hoshi no Arika single CD.

Trails in the Sky FC was initially released as Eiyuu Densetsu VI: Sora no Kiseki for Windows on 24 June 2004. A port for the PlayStation Portable was released in Japan on 29 March 2006. Through a collaboration with XSEED, this PSP version was localised and released as The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky in North America 29 March 2011 and in Europe, published by Ghostlight Games, on 4 November 2011. XSEED released an upgraded PC version of the game through Steam on 29 July 2014, which makes use of the high-resolution assets of the PlayStation 3 release, which released only in Japan on 13 December 2012. An upgraded port of the PSP version as part of Chara-Ani's 'Evolution series' for PlayStation Vita was released on 11 June 2015.

Scrapped content

In the game's Prologue, Professor Alba's explanation on the Sept-Terrion, the Ancient Zemurian civilisation, and the Aureole was initially planned to have one background visual for each of the three topics.

Further proof that FC and SC were initially in development as one game can be found in the game files. Portraits of the following characters have been replaced with 'Now Printing' text, referring to the upcoming release of SC: Bleublanc (230), Mary-Ann (later renamed to Luciola, 240), Walter (250) and Renne (260).

Reception

Production credits

Main article: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC/Credits

Gallery

Key Visuals

Concept Art

Key Visuals (Evo)

Visuals (Evo)

Other Artwork

See also

References

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