Trails of Cold Steel III has been long-awaited by fans of JRPG games, and now the creation of Nihon Falcom is finally available to the world. It was initially released only for the home country Japan about two years ago, but now it can be played by owners of PS4 worldwide.
Toshihiro Kondo, president of Nihon Falcom, co-creator and producer of the Trails series, shares his thoughts into the story’s development, and combat design. He also adds advice for those fresh to the Trails of Cold Steel series, all in the following interview published on blog.us.playstation.com:
What is happening in the world of Trails of Cold Steel III right now, story-wise?
The setting is the Erebonian Empire, which under Chancellor Osborne’s leadership, is beginning to apply more and more pressure on other countries. So when it comes to foreign relations, tensions are running high. In the midst of this climate, Rean Schwarzer is making a fresh start as an instructor at a military academy.
What message are you trying to deliver to players with the story? What do you want them to feel while playing?
We would like players to experience a part of this young man’s life, as Rean finds himself in turbulent times, facing despair over and over. Yet he always manages to stand in defiance of it as he cuts his own path forward. The Chinese character, 閃, in the original Japanese title is meant to evoke the action of cutting open a new start.
What are the biggest changes to the battle system from previous installments?
Thanks to UI improvements, each face button now corresponds to a combat action. Other newly introduced features, like the party-buffing Brave Orders and enemy Break Gauge, give combat a speedy feel, almost akin to an action game.
What makes turn-based combat the right fit for this title?
In Japan, there are many players who become invested in RPGs for the story and want to play the game at their own pace, but they may not really enjoy — or be good at — action games. In Trails of Cold Steel III, players will be able to enjoy speedy combat, while still being able to think carefully and deliberately about the actions their characters will take.
Who is your favorite character and why?
I’ve been with him for five years now, so I would say I have an attachment to the main character, Rean. He’s always placed in these incredibly difficult situations, so I hope he can find happiness soon.
Can you tell us about the newly annexed lands that Trails of Cold Steel III takes place in?
Crossbell was an independent state located between the Erebonian Empire and the Republic of Calvard, and it served as a buffer zone between those two nations. It had a strong economic center, but was politically unstable. As the story of the Trails of Cold Steel series unfolds, it gradually falls further and further into the Empire’s sphere of influence, which contributes to further unrest.
Any tips for said newcomers?
The overall Trails series offers players a grand story with appealing characters. You might be hesitant to start an ongoing series, but many players in Japan who started at this point have fallen in love with the world and went back to play the prior games in the series. If this series piques your curiosity in the slightest, you should definitely give it a try.