The Early History of Falcom

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Bowl-of-Lentils

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Edited By Bowl-of-Lentils

This is a video I made about the early history of Nihon Falcom. I started out researching the company since I'm a fan of the Trails series, adding information to the wiki here and there, and eventually ended up creating this huge thing. I spent about 4-5 months making this video, by far the largest project I've ever undertaken, and I hope it is a fun watch. I realize the video is pretty long but I did my best to be as concise as possible and I split the video into chapters that are about 10 minutes long each.

Also, while researching the company, I collected a bunch of old Falcom advertisements by digging through old Japanese magazines on Archive Dot Org. You can see everything I found here on Giantbomb.

Video Sources

  1. A 30 Year Fantasy: The Story of Falcom's Resurgence by Christian Nutt (Gamasutra, 2011)
  2. AX2019 - Toshihiro Kondo, From Fan to President (NIS America, 2019)
  3. Can "Game Music" be Enjoyed even if you are not Playing the Game? I asked Nihon Falcom (Phile Web, 2015)
  4. Chinese Blog Post about Tadashi Hayakawa and the Brandish Novel (Mizudiwood, 2016)
  5. Comptiq's SOFT Grand Prize Award for Legend of Heroes III (Comptiq June 1995)
  6. Comptiq Sales Chart from December 1989 (Different picture of the same chart)
  7. Dengeki Online’s Nihon Falcom 30th Anniversary Project (2011)
  8. Entertainment Station Three Part Interview with Masayuki Kato Conducted by Fumio Kurokawa (2017).
  9. Falcom Bible: Making Of Sorcerian (1988)
  10. Falcom Catalogue July 1992
  11. Falcom had Three Development Teams in the 80s (Kiya and Tomoo 2017 Talk)
  12. Falcom Package Exhibition by the Game Preservation Society (@tk_nz, 2017)
  13. Falcom Shop Retrospective (Psyzans)
  14. Falcom Sound Team jdk (VGMdb)
  15. Game Business Interview with Toshihiro Kondo (GameBusiness, 2015)
  16. Gruppo One Credits
  17. Gurumin Online (Game Watch) and (4Gamer)
  18. The History of Ys (Retro Gamer Magazine, November 2017)
  19. Holistic Profile on Nihon Falcom
  20. ICON 2007: Interview with Toshihiro Kondo, CEO of Nihon Falcom Corporation (Game Watch, 2007)
  21. Information from 2017's "Listen to the Legendary Game Creators" Panel with Yoshio Kiya and Tomoo Yamane (VGDensetsu).
  22. Inside Lens - Game Preservation, the Quest (Game Preservation Society, 2017)
  23. Interview between Masayuki Kato and Toshihiro Kondo (Denfaminicogamer, 2018)
  24. Interview: Shinji Yamazaki (President of Nihon Falcom) (Diehard Game Fan, 2006)
  25. Interview with Yoshio Kiya (4Gamer, 2006)
  26. Is Falcom Restricting Employees’ Fame to Prevent Turnover? Not that Simple (Yin Laoji, 2019)
  27. Keeping the Classic Sound Alive: An Interview with Yuzo Koshiro by Jeremy Parish (1up, 2012)
  28. Kiya and Tomoo 2017 Talk (Togetter Twitter Archive)
  29. Login Magazine August 1986 Xanadu Advertisements
  30. Login Magazine Sales Chart May 1986
  31. Micom BASIC Magazine July 1994 Sales Chart
  32. Pasokon Sunday Ys Feature
  33. Pasokon Sunday Xanadu Special Feature
  34. PC Engine Fan June 6, 1993
  35. PC Game 80 Chronicles (1990)
  36. Preserving Nihon Falcom’s First Game by Takeshi Kanazawa (Game Preservation Society, 2017)
  37. Press Release of Nihon Falcom Entering the Stock Market
  38. Profile on Yoshio Kiya (Game Preservation Society)
  39. Q&A With Nihon Falcom’s Toshihiro Kondo by Robert Allen(Tech-Gaming, 2017)
  40. RPGamer Feature - XSEED/Falcom Interview (2010)
  41. Shinji Yamazaki Bloomberg Profile
  42. The Official Book Of Ultima by Shay Addams (1990)
  43. Tomoyoshi Miyazaki‘s afterword from MSX-FAN (May 1988) (Arc Hound)
  44. The Gray Area of ​​the August 18 Falcom Game Production Staff List (Yin Laoji, 2018)
  45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails Series Sales Top Five Million (Gematsu, 2020)
  46. The Prehistory of Nihon Falcom by Kevin Gifford (1up, 2011)
  47. The Trail of Nihon Falcom by Kevin Gifford (1up, 2011)
  48. The Untold History Of Japanese Game Developers Vol. 1: Interview with Kouji Yokota and Jun Nagashima (2014)
  49. Translated Bahamut Interview with Toshihiro Kondo about Sen no Kiseki II and the Future of Falcom by Kirsten Miller (Endless History, 2014)
  50. TSE approves listing of Nihon Falcom on TSE Mothers (Game Watch, 2003)
  51. Ys IV: Development Interview Collection (Shumplations)
  52. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana sales top 500,000; ‘Christmas Gift Package’ edition announced for PS4 in Japan (Gematsu, 2018)
  53. Ys Interview Collection (Shumplations)
  54. Ys Online Article (Game Watch, 2009)
  55. Xanadu Scenario II by Kevin Gifford (Magweasel, 2010)
  56. Yuzo Koshiro Interview: Innovator in Game Music and Sound Design (VGMO, 2011)
  57. XSeed Games Announces Wide-Ranging Partnership with Nihon Falcom (IGN, 2010)

Other Helpful Resources

Third Party Video Sources

And other official trailers and gameplay.

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chaser324

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#1  Edited By chaser324  Moderator

Falcom is such an interesting company to me. They're truly one of the most disciplined and resourceful developers out there for being able to do so much on a consistent release schedule with such a lean team.

They never fell into the Square-Enix trap of trying to do too much and getting bogged down in 5-10 years of development on a single game. Instead of stepping up to the plate and swinging for a home run every time, they're content to just reliably get on base. You can clearly see them iterate year over year on slowly building up the core code-base from one game to the next, and it's great to see that approach paying dividends with their recent success on Ys VIII and Trails of Cold Steel.

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Bowl-of-Lentils

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#2  Edited By Bowl-of-Lentils

@chaser324: Indeed. While their conservative nature means that their production values can't compete with games like Persona 5, the consistency of their output is very impressive. Plus, they are always improving little by little with each release.

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joshth

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Really enjoyed this video, well done! I'm a huge fan of the trails series, and this is yet another reminder that I should really look at some of the other stuff in Falcom's catalogue. I was particularly fascinated with the fact that so many developers of various stripes seemed to get their start at Falcom and then go on to make some really big/important titles elsewhere.

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Bowl-of-Lentils

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@joshth: Yeah, making this video really made me realize that Falcom helped a lot of creators get their start in the industry. I don't mention it in the video but the producer for the Atelier series, Tadanobu Inoue, also got his start at Falcom before becoming a managing director at Gust. It would be fun to make a family tree showing all the franchises that were started by former Falcom employees.

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Hellfire2750

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#5  Edited By Hellfire2750

The Youtube recommendation algorithm actually put this up as the up next video when I was listening to PC-88/98 soundtracks today and I decided to give it a watch due to how much I like Falcom games, even though I figured knowing about Galactic Wars, the all 2nd action game mode in Legacy of the Wind, and Gekirin was good enough,.

The video blew away my low expectations of another surface level Youtube video regurgitating the same info. I was particularly impressed by your presentation of staff exodus and the new hires that came and went over the years.

A Falcom family tree sounds like a great project.