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    Ys III: Wanderers from Ys

    Game » consists of 15 releases. Released Jul 21, 1989

    The third game in the Ys series developed by Nihon Falcom that introduced a new side-scrolling perspective and allowed the player to directly control Adol's ability to attack and jump for the first time.

    Short summary describing this game.

    Ys III: Wanderers from Ys last edited by Bowl-of-Lentils on 03/25/24 07:44AM View full history


    Ys III: Wanderers From Ys is the third entry in Nihon Falcom's Ys franchise, a long-running series of action RPGs.

    Wanderers From Ys, like its predecessors, was originally published in Japan on the NEC PC-8801 and PC-9801 computers on July 21, 1989. The title was soon released on other Japanese home computers, like the MSX and Sharp X68000, and later saw ports created for the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-CD. While the original PC version was never localized into English, all of the console ports were eventually published in North America. Years later, Ys III was remade for Windows-based computers as Ys: The Oath in Felghana in 2005 which followed the same basic story while featuring the new gameplay systems and graphics engine introduced by Ys VI: Ark of Napishtim.


    Taking place nearly three years after the events in Ys II, Adol and his companion, Dogi, have been wandering the land. On their journey, the two hear rumors regarding Dogi's hometown, Redmont, that prompted them to venture there. Dogi's hometown, located in the land of Felghana, had been experiencing crop failure as well as vicious nighttime attacks. Not afraid of the danger, Adol and Dogi set forth on their new adventure.


    Ys III features several new additions to the Ys series, while also retaining several components. The most important change comes in the form of it's gameplay. No longer played from a top-down perspective, Ys III is played from a side-scrolling perspective not unlike another Falcom-developed title, Sorcerian. With a change in perspective also comes a change in game mechanics. Players now have direct control over Adol's ability to attack, either with ducking, forward, or overhead sword attacks, which is a major departure from the previous game. In Ys I & II, players had to come in contact with enemies in order to damage them, as the majority of attacks were done automatically. Only in Ys II did players have a controllable attack in the form of a fireball. Another major change is the ability to jump. Since Ys III is also a platformer, the game has been given vertical depth, and as such, Adol needs the ability to jump to attack certain enemies and overcome obstacles. Yet another change to the gameplay system is the omission of magic points. Replaced by consumable rings, players can accrue a stock of them by defeating enemies, and subsequently use them to power the different permanent rings that Adol finds over the course of his adventure. Also of note, is that Ys III does not feature as much back-tracking as it's predecessors, and is much shorter in length because of it.

    As for the components that Ys III kept, the first would be the wearable rings. Found at various points in the game, Adol can obtain five different rings - power, shield, time, heal, and protection - that have the same properties as they did in the previous games. Adol must also buy or find the different swords, shields, and armors throughout the game, with five items per category just like the previous games. In addition to Adol's equipment, he must also find an array of items, keys, and objects to aid him in his journey and to open up new paths. Ys III also has an experience point system like the previous games, however, depending on the version played, the game will either feature diminishing experience points (TGCD) or not (SNES). Ys III also allows players to save at any time they wish, except during boss fights.


    Ys III Development Team (Comptiq, January 1989)
    Ys III Development Team (Comptiq, January 1989)

    The original Ys was born from a prototype created by programmer Masaya Hashimoto that showed that full-screen 8-color scrolling was possible on the PC-88 [6]. Similarly, Ys III began with Hashimoto's desire to achieve a side-scrolling parallax effect on the computer [1]. Hashimoto experimented with this effect in Ys II but decided to take this technical challenge head on in his next game. The title was planned to be a side-scrolling action title directly inspired by The Adventure of Link and was initially completely unrelated to Ys [1]. In fact, shortly after the release of Ys II, Hashimoto stated that the story for the series was complete and that his next game would be a new title that would have a similar atmosphere to Ys in terms of scenario [2].

    However, when development first began around the middle of 1988, the game used a sprite of Adol as a place-holder graphic for the main character [5]. Because of this, the game eventually evolved into a spin-off to the Ys franchise internally called "Adol's Great Adventure" by the developers [1]. Hashimoto and map designer Seigo Oketani did not initially want "Ys" to be in the game's title, because the story wasn't about the continent of Ys, and they did not want the game to be a numbered installment, most likely because it was so different from the previous two entries [1]. So when the spin-off was first revealed to the public in late 1988, it did not have an official title, yet some magazines tentatively called it “Ys III” anyway [3][7]. However, at some point, it was decided that the game would be called “Wanderers from Ys”.

    Before development on Wanderers had even begun, Hashimoto and scenario writer Tomoyoshi Miyazaki intended to leave Falcom once the game was completed. It is not known exactly why the duo wanted to leave but Hashimoto’s relationship with Falcom's president deteriorated greatly during the development of Wanderers [1]. Eventually, around February/March of 1989, development on Wanderers was basically complete and almost the entire Ys development team left Nihon Falcom by the end of March. Over the next few months, the remaining staff at Falcom put the final touches on the game and the title was altered once again to be “Ys III: Wanderers from Ys" [1]. This change was so last minute that some early advertisements only call the game “Wanderers from Ys” and the in-game logo only has simple text reading “Ys III” before the more elaborate logo for Wanderers appears [4].

    Farewell message from the staff that was removed in future re-releases.
    Farewell message from the staff that was removed in future re-releases.

    After the departure of the Ys team, Falcom went through a period where they stopped including staff credits in their games. This started with Ys III and lasted up to the release of Brandish in 1991 [1]. Falcom would also end up collaborating with other developers to make the fourth entry in the Ys series before returning to making Ys games themselves with Ys V in 1995. As for Masaya Hashimoto and Tomoyoshi Miyazaki, they both co-founded Quintet in April 1989 and many former Ys developers would help them create various action RPGs for the Super Nintendo.


    Ys III is often considered to be the black sheep of the Ys franchise by some fans due to its change in gameplay. Back in the day, Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded the game scores of 7, 8, 7, 8 saying, "...misses the high mark of the original. There is little or no challenge here and the whole quest is too straightforward for an adventure game".


    1. Ys I & II: The Development and Completion of Ys III, and One Speculation by Hiromasa Iwasaki (Colorful Pieces of Game, 2019).
    2. Masaya Hashimoto Interview (Technopolis, September 1988) - Page 52.
    3. Ys III Announcement (POPCOM December 1988) - Pages 72-73.
    4. Early Ys III Advertisement (Micom BASIC July 1989).
    5. Interview with Kouji Yokota (The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers).
    6. Early Development History of Ys for PC88: From Asteka 2 to Ys by Hiromasa Iwasaki (Colorful Pieces of Game, 2017).
    7. Early Ys III Preview (Comptiq January 1989) - Page 158-159.

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