The 12/31 2020 issue of Famitsu includes an interview with Nihon Falcom CEO and producer Kondou Toshihiro regarding the newly-revealed Kuro no Kiseki, the next game in Falcom’s acclaimed Trails (Kiseki) series.
Part 1 of this article is available here:
The interview moves on to discuss the setting of the game, the Republic of Calvard. Kondou says that while it was first mentioned in the first game in the series, with it being mentioned that it is a multiethnic country with many immigrants from the east, they never really came up with much more than that for most of the series, and it was only after development on Trails of Cold Steel IV ended that they really came up with what the country is actually like.
Kondou says that them waiting till this point to come up with Calvard’s details is because they did not want to just decide on things for no reason too early, which might become a hinderance later on when there is something they actually want to do. Big things such as this are done only once the finer details are done as well.
When asked about what the country is like, Kondou says that Calvard is probably far more diverse than many think. For example, aside from the eastern immigrants, there are middle eastern-like immigrants as well, as Calvard is close to such cultural regions. As more characters are revealed, they will also be revealing more information on the cultures as well.
The European-like architecture in one of the screenshots is pointed out, and Kondou says that Calvard is close to the real world’s east Europe, where European and Asian cultures are mixed. As the country is very large, cultures and also climates can vary depending on the region: For example, there are deserts to the east. Kondou does mention, however, that on the whole the country is a bit smaller than Erebonia.
The interviewer asks how the size of the game’s map will turn out compared to previous games’, and Kondou says that it should be about the same.
The interviewer mentions the clashes between nobility and commoners in Erebonia, and Kondou says that since Calvard is a republic, its political landscape is different. However, it was formerly a kingdom, and there are regions within the country where remnants of this can be seen.
Timeline-wise, the story takes place after previous games. Kondou says that the episode added in the large Hajimari no Kiseki update serves as a prologue to Kuro, ending in March 1208, with Kuro beginning almost immediately after.
The game features an almost entirely new cast of characters as well, with Kondou saying that around 90% are new. While there are some returning characters from games such as Trails in the Sky, Kondou thinks that most people, even series fans, would not be able to tell that this is a Trails game if they were to take a quick glance at the game. On the other hand, this does also mean that people who have not played the previous games can jump in from here.
The three characters shown are mentioned, and Kondou says that while he has been told not to mention who the protagonist of the game is, all three of these characters will be the main focus of the story. He does bring up, however, that the theme colour of the game, which ties in to the protagonist, is blue and black.
Kondou says that the protagonist of Kuro is a bit more mature than usual, being the oldest protagonist of the series when excluding C from Hajimari.
The interviewer mentions how the blonde girl and red-haired seem to have been shown elsewhere before, and Kondou says that since they have been working on this for two years, they did try to look for chances to sneak things in, with the bonus episodes in Hajimari no Kiseki being the biggest.
The interview diverges into discussing Hajimari’s bonus episodes which touched on Kuro’s story next, with Kondou saying that they originally did not plan on including them. It was only after development had ended on the game that the staff pointed out how the Grand Master did not even appear in the game, and asked if this would live up to fans’ expectations. They then discussed this with the Kuro no Kiseki team, and ended up adding the bonus episodes.
The interviewer goes back to Kondou’s statement on how 90% of the cast is new, and asks about the remaining 10%, and Kondou only says that they should be who fans expect.
Calvard’s former president Rocksmith, and the new president Gramhardt are brought up, and Kondou says that keeping with series tradition, what happened to Rocksmith afterwards will be shown in the games.
Regarding Ouroboros, Kondou says that there will be both new and returning characters, but he cannot give details yet.
The interviewer asks how many games the story will span, and Kondou says that Kuro no Kiseki does have its own ending. He says that he constantly tells the staff that games that do not sell will not get sequels, and the Trails series is no exception to this rule. Thus, they are doing their best to ensure that Kuro no Kiseki will continue as a series.
Kondou says that volume-wise, Kuro no Kiseki will be roughly the same size as a Trails of Cold Steel game. However, while Cold Steel focused more on drama on a epic scale, the Calvard story will take a different point of view, using the protagonist’s “grey zone” position to change how people look at past games and the world.
The interviewer mentions how the Trails game traditionally have large casts, and asks about how Kuro no Kiseki compares. Kondou says that the Cold Steel games especially had large casts due to the large number of allies. Due to the protagonist’s job, though, Kuro no Kiseki will have fewer allies and more enemies. He cannot say for certain until the game is done, but the cast should ultimately be around the same size as a Cold Steel game. He does mention however that they will not suddenly have 50 playable party members from the first game of the Calvard story arc.
Part 3 of this article is available here: