This article contains major spoilers for Ys IX: Monstrum Nox
Nihon Falcom CEO and Ys series producer and writer Kondo Toshihiro discusses Ys IX in a post-release interview in volume 682 of Dengeki Playstation.
Part 2 of this article is available here:
The interviewer observes how characters like Marius and the Ispani nobles seem like they might be relevant in sequels. Kondo says that while the Romun Empire has been involved with Adol’s adventures before, IX having the emperor himself appearing is a first. He thinks that the Ys series will show the Romun Empire in proper someday, but this may be handled not by Kondo himself but whoever comes after him. He does, however, think that Balduq and Marius are a foundation for what will come then.
When asked about Marius’ relationship with Griselda who appeared in Celceta and VIII, Kondo only says that they are both from the imperial family. It is unclear which is older, as it is unclear what the age of Marius’ original is.
It is pointed out how Marius’ death has Adol killing a regular person who has not transformed into a monster for the first time, and Kondo says that he was very careful about that scene. Adol is still unsure of what to do up to the very end, when Marius forces his hand. Kondo also specified in the script that they were not to speak during the duel.
The spirits that appear in the ending are discussed next. Kondo says that their identities are mostly what fans have thought they are, and confirms that Dana is one of them. He mentions that Onishi Saori was originally brought in just to record lines for Dana, and the casting company ended up using her for Carla as well. All of the other spirits also have clear identities as well, with them having shown the voice actors pictures of the characters before recording.
While fans have managed to figure out the identities of most of the spirits, however, Kondo thinks they might have been a bit too convoluted with the one named “voice of a calm man” in the Japanese version, saying that one would have to watch Ys series side materials to figure it out (the characterization and Japanese voice casting indicate that it is supposed to be Dark Fact as seen in the OVA version of Ys I).
The spirits possessing Margaret are the same as the ones seen in the ending, and are due to Zora’s experiments having an effect on the denizens of the city. The idea to let Adol hear the voices early was thought up not by Kondo, but by other staff
Kondo next talks about the Crimson King. The scene with him and Adol meeting was not originally in the script, but at a certain point in writing Kondo realised that the two needed to have a dialogue for things to fit properly. Since the Crimson King would pass everything on to Adol, Kondo wanted him to show him consent to doing so.
The Crimson King and Adol would thus have to speak to each other, but having both speak through dialogue options would have been strange. Kondo thus figured that the surprise of the Crimson King not being Adol could also be applied here, with him actually speaking.
Kondo says that Adol not speaking is something that has been passed down since Ys I, and that the founder himself has insisted on it as well, but this scene was one where he would absolutely have to speak. Kondo says that he was sure that it would be a great scene that would remain in people’s minds, and also mentions that it was very refreshing during recording too, with people being surprised that Kaji Yuki (Adol’s voice actor) was actually speaking lines of dialogue instead of the usual yells for combat. Kaji himself was also surprised that this was the sort of character Adol was.
Kondo says that the scene ended up popular with players, and that they got a lot of positive feedback about it, and he thinks it left a strong impression. He was initially worried that players would be angry that they had not been playing as the real Adol, and that was another reason why he felt that scene was necessary, to make it so that players would be satisfied even if it was not the real Adol.
It is also mentioned how Dogi had noticed that something was off about the Crimson King. In the scene where they first meet, Dogi indicates that he notices something. Kondo says that this was added later, as a way to show what a great partner he is to Adol, and that it would have been weird for him to not have noticed considering how long he has travelled alongside Adol. That being said, he does not know specifically what is different, and to him it is a feeling that Adol might have changed slightly in some way such as losing weight.
There was originally going to be dialogue with Dogi talking about the Crimson King’s disguise too, but this was cut. In the final version, Dogi sees through the disguise instantly, and on top of that notices that something is off. Kondo was particularly pleased with the scene.
Kondo is asked about how Balduq will be affected by the loss of the Grimwald Nox. He says that although it is a land of tumultuous fate, being involved with conflicts between gods and countries, the problems it has are ones that ought to be solved by people to begin with, and so there should not be much to worry about.
The interviewer points out the presence of the character with a halberd in the ending, and asks if it is Geis from Ys VI and Seven. Kondo says that it was something that was just in the artpiece when it was done, and that it is indeed him.
West of Gllia is Ispania, which is not under the control of the Romun Empire, and thus has a lot of skirmishes along its border. After the ending Credo becomes a mercenary and heads there, and it would thus not be weird for him to be with Geis. It has been some time since Geis appeared in the series, and Kondo comments that the Ys staff likes adding such fanservice.
When asked about Jules’ legs, Kondo says this is left up to the player’s imagination. He does comment, however, that Jules was created as a result of them wanting to have a boy who looked up to Adol as a hero but was also not entirely open about it, which is a kind of character not seen before in the series.
Regarding Anemona’s new body in the ending, Kondo says that it might be one of Roswitha’s spares, or it might be an entirely new one made by Zora. In any case, it was Zora’s doing. As for her powers, while the other Monstrum gained their’s by being shot by Aprilis, this was not the case for Anemona. Zora might have made her that way, or it might have been something natural that had nothing to do with him: Kondo says that it is unknown.
Regarding the man in the wheelchair, Kondo says that it is hard to think that it is not Zora. Zora has to atone for what he did, and Kondo says that returning to his original form might be one way of doing so.
The interviewer comments on how the ending of Ys IX is a bright one, and Kondo says that when they began work on IX he decided that they would have a happy ending for it. VIII had a bittersweet ending out of necessity, but they still got feedback from players saying they wished it had a happy one. Kondo thinks IX’s ending has Adol’s departure should leave the player feeling great, on a different level from the endings of his previous adventures, and also points out how the lives of everyone he met along the way have changed for the better as well as can be seen in the ending illustrations, and Kondo thinks they handled the ending ideally.
Kondo also notes that the ending of IX was also a callback in ways to III’s, with Adol trying to leave early in the morning without telling anyone, but they turn up anyway to say farewell. Thus, he had the track “Morning of Departure” from Ys III playing in his head while he wrote that scene.
When asked about plans for the gameplay in the next Ys game, Kondo says that they are unsure. The game’s system has gone through repeated inflation, and while that may be a form of evolution in itself, he also wants to think about action existing within more limitations.
Combat has been the same thing improved on bit by bit since Ys Seven, and Kondo thinks that they have done pretty much all there is to be done as of IX. As such, when thinking of what to do next, the type of evolution the game goes through will probably not be something like “the same thing, but with more abilities”. That being said, he understands that it will have to be something that pleases the playeres who liked IX, and so considering that will be a huge task for them.
Ys has gone through several transitions – I-IV, V alone on a different axis, VI-Origin, and Seven-IX – and Kondo says that for the series to continue to evolve, he thinks it should do so in another, new form. The time after IX’s release is a period which they are using to rethink a lot of things.
Kondo says that while they certainly want to make Ys X, there are no plans yet. He says that they want Ys to constantly evolve, and so they cannot just keep doing the same thing over and over again. They would like X to be something memorial-like, and are currently unsure what platform it will be released on: It will be released on the PS5 if that is what fans want, but if the PS4 is still active it might be for the PS4.
(* Kondo has gone on to talk more about work on the next Ys game after this interview was first published)
Ys VS. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga was a crossover action game featuring characters from Falcom’s two flagship series together
The interviewer asks about a new Ys VS Kiseki, and Kondo says that this is something he also gets asked a lot by foreign media. He says there are a lot of things that he would like to do, and when he made a list, there were more than he could possibly handle before retirement at 60, and so he has to pick and choose. The next Ys is of course on that list, and considering how many new fans started with VIII, he would like to remake Ys I again, but if he sets down that path it will never end. He also wants to be around for the conclusion of the Kiseki series.
The November 2019 patch was the final one for the Japanese version. Kondo says that they have since received more requests for DLC, and that if they release a PS5 version they might do something big there, such as making Aprilis playable, noting that she would probably use her gun to fight.
Finally, Kondo is asked for a message to players. He starts by thanking the players for purchasing the game, and says that Ys VIII was a huge hurdle for them, with many saying that there was no way they would be able to surpass it. They thus began work on IX thinking about how to overturn this, and reached the conclusion that if they could not surpass VIII if they did the same things, then they would do different things. This is what resulted in ideas like the Monstrum, and having two Adols.
They have received feedback from players who cleared the game saying they liked it as much as VIII, and they were very happy to hear that, as surpassing a well-received previous game is not an easy feat. Kondo says that they intend to make sure that the next game does not pale in comparison, and hopes that fans will continue to support the Ys series.
Ys IX -Monstrum Nox- was released for the PS4 in Japan on 26 Sep 2019, and in North America on 2 Feb 2021. Nintendo Switch and PC versions have been announced for mid-2021