Not every anniversary is always cause for celebration with companies. Nintendo was noticeably quiet during Legend of Zelda’s 35th recently, but Nihon Falcom is doing things differently. A special 40th anniversary broadcast planned at 11am GMT, and will be hosted by President Toshihiro Kondo, looking back at the company’s long history in RPGs. And what a history that is.
Nihon Falcom opened its doors on March 9th 1982 and was an early pioneer of RPGs, focusing mainly on Japanese personal computers. Nihon Falcom doesn’t usually get the same love that other major publishers do – Square Enix and Atlus are more famous in the west, for example – but throughout its history, it has successfully developed a dedicated cult following.
After early efforts like Panorama Island, Nihon Falcom’s first major hit came in 1984 with Dragon Slayer, a franchise that would eventually spinoff into The Legend of Heroes and Tokyo Xanadu. The latter hasn’t been seen since 2015, but Legend of Heroes has been given wide renown for its impressive worldbuilding. It eventually led into the “Trails” sub-series, best known on Nintendo platforms for Trails of Cold Steel.
We can’t discount Nihon Falcom’s efforts in defining the action-RPG genre, which is often credited to Ys. Chronicling the adventures of red-haired adventurer Adol Christin, this series began in 1987 with Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished, arriving on Famicom a year later. These days, Ys has popped up on Switch with Ys Origin, Lacrimosa of DANA, and the upcoming Monstrum Nox.
These releases highlight a recent shift with Nihon Falcom. Having only sporadically appeared on Nintendo consoles, the last decade has seen a much more active push, even if release dates aren’t especially steady when compared to the PlayStation and PC versions.
So, what can we expect from this broadcast? Well, we wouldn’t count on any Western news, since NIS America generally handle publishing duties here. It appears to be a fan-driven affair for the most part, though new information is also due to be shown about Kuro no Kiseki, the latest Legend of Heroes entry.
We’re hopeful for news of a Switch edition, but as we wait on further details, we’d like to wish Nihon Falcom a happy 40th anniversary. With Monstrum Nox not due until later this year, we can at least look forward to Trails of Cold Steel IV arriving next month on Switch.