YS-VIII cover art

With the game already getting rave reviews across the net, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is being earmarked as being another RPG highlight in a year that has seen games like Persona V and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild be released in the West. And with a 30 year franchise history, as well as a strong commercial showing in Japan, where the PlayStation 4 version debuted at #1, the latest title in Nihon Falcom’s long running series is already being touted as the kind of game that “takes the action-RPG genre to a new level with its excellent story pacing and gameplay. The game offers many hours of exploring and fast-paced action along with plenty more for those who’d like to dive deeper into the mysteries of the island. The truth is after picking up Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana I simply couldn’t put it down until I finished the story. In the end, I found myself attached to many of the characters that I met along the way and part of me wished that this Ys adventure never had to end“.

With such strong reviews already appearing in earnest, I spoke to Travis Shrodes (Marketing Supervisor at NISA) to find out more about the game and to determine as to how the Ys franchise sees itself amongst all the other RPG greats. Enjoy!

The game is coming out on 15th September for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PC. What would you argue is the target platform that the game is being targeted towards?

The one that’ll be the easiest for everybody to get into is by far the PS4 Version. Its content and visuals are comparable with the Steam version, but I feel like a lot of people will get into the PS4 version a little easier with the DS4 pad and that sort of thing. It’s a very comfortable controller to play it with. So personally, that’s how I recommend playing it. I think there are a lot of people who have come on to Ys who have played a lot of them on PC, but they’ll be very happy with this version because it will be right in line with the other previous PC releases.

Given that the target platforms would essentially be PS4 and Steam, because they’re technically comparable, what do you think are the main concessions or differences between the PS4 and the Vita version?

We actually have a pretty long, complicated list of exactly the various different versions. But I’ll really shorten it and say that the big one, of course, when you first see it, are the visuals. What’s a little more subtle are things like loading screens and where they are and how zones are larger in the PS4 version and a little bit smaller in the Vita version to constrain to the memory requirements.

To go back into the history of the release of the title, the Vita version came out quite a bit sooner than the PS4 version in Japan. So the PS Vita version had a certain extensive window by itself. In that time, they

[Nihon Falcom] developed additional content in the form of an additional dungeon, additional chapters for the Dana blue haired character. So that content is only on the PS4 and Steam versions. That’s why we recommend that people get it on PS4 and Steam because that will be the more complete version of the game.

Obviously, the previous games are on the Steam / PC platform. Are there any plans to bring the previous Ys games onto the PlayStation 4?

Ys VII is about to be released by XSEED on PC, the port that was originally for PSP. We had the president of Nihon Falcom. We had him for Anime Expo where he was asked very similar questions about the title. Ultimately, it is up to Nihon Falcom whether or not they want to put the games on it. We are entirely supportive of all their efforts. And we would love to see more titles come to be released, But that’s ultimately up to Nihon Falcom.

You’ve got the three major RPG titans already released in Japan, the holy trinity of RPGs as it were… The new Persona game. Final Fantasy XV has done quite well. And the new Dragon Quest has just sold ridiculous numbers. I know that Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are done by Square Enix. I can’t remember who developed Persona

That would be Atlas.

That’s the one. You and NISA had dealings with Atlus before they associated themselves with Sega…

We’re still dealing with them mostly on the back end. The way that the old relationship worked is I think there was a lot of… how NIS would publish their games in Europe. Now they have their own sort of… I don’t want to talk too much about them on business. We still deal with them. It’s sort of its own thing on the back end though. It doesn’t really affect our upfront business practices.

Given that Ys has more of a sort of action RPG sort of feel, which obviously ties it in with games like Zelda… Now that all of these games have already come out, and bear with me on this. FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer… those games have shown that the market is only big enough for two major titles in that particular genre. It’s the same with consoles. You’ve got Microsoft, you’ve got Sony… and then you’ve got Nintendo who, as far as I’m concerned, are an also-ran and are in distant third place. But with the RPG genre being so crowded, how do you think Ys figures into all of this?

So Ys, really… The strength of the franchise, right? Like the other ones that you’ve talked about, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, we think Ys stands toe-to-toe with those in a lot of ways. Ys shares a 30 year heritage. This year it celebrates its 30th anniversary since the first title. What we haven’t had is, unfortunately, a lot of really strong representation of Ys in the West. And that’s where NIS is trying to come in. And we’re trying to expand the audience because we think the audience is already there. They’re waiting for it. They just need to see that this is, in every way, just as great as the next Dragon Quest.

I don’t doubt that for a nano-second. The quality of the franchise speaks for itself and is highly regarded among RPG aficionados. But from a commercial perspective, you did mention that Ys is under-represented in comparison to a lot of the other big games which…

It’s interesting that you bring up something like Dragon Quest. And that’s how we see it, is that the game itself is an enhancement. It’s not like a Final Fantasy in that it has to rebrand itself every time. The Ys games, like the Dragon Quest games, get incrementally better as they introduce new mechanics and things. It definitely refines itself over time. And Ys is as big and as good as it’s ever been.

Dragon Quest XI may have sold 2.08 million units in its first two days of sale in Japan, but like Ys, the Dragon Quest franchise is severely under-represented in the West.

Dragon Quest XI may have sold 2.08 million units in its first two days of sale in Japan, but like Ys, the franchise is severely under-represented in the West.

Last question… are there any plans to bring Ys VIII over to the Switch?

NIS America is entirely devoted to supporting the Switch. We’ve put more titles and announced more titles for the Switch than just about everybody else. With that being the case, we’d love to see it come to Switch. And I hope that I have some information for you later at some point.

Thank you very much.

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