Ys (イース) is a series of action RPGs developed by Nihon Falcom that follows the adventures of the red haired swordman, Adol Christin. The franchise premiered on the NEC PC-88 Japanese computer in 1987, spearheaded by programmer Masaya Hashimoto and writer Tomoyoshi Miyazaki, and remains famous for its fast paced action combat as well as the classic soundtracks composed by the likes of Yuzo Koshiro, Mieko Ishikawa, Hideya Nagata, and Falcom's JDK Sound Team. Today, the series consists of several numbered installments, multiple ports, spin-offs, remakes, and adaptations into other media.
The original Ys was themed around the idea of "kindness." RPGs were very difficult in the early 1980s and the Ys franchise was created as a response to that trend by attempting to be more accessible than its competitors. The slogan of the first game was: "今, RPGは優しさの時代へ" ("Now, RPGs are entering an age of kindness") . While some later entries in the franchise are known for being challenging, it could be said that the series continues to focus on the theme of "kindness" by featuring straightforward, easy to understand gameplay.
All the numbered Ys games are suppose to be stories from Adol's collection of personal travelogues which he wrote during his many adventures. There are nine numbered entries in the Ys franchise as well as prequels, such as Ys Origins, and re-imaginings of previous titles.
Falcom's games have been remade by various developers throughout the years but, during the late 1990s, Nihon Falcom began making their own remakes in-house. Ys Eternal, a remake of the first Ys, was one of their most ambitious remakes at the time which not only redid the original game's presentation but the story was also extensively rewritten and expanded. This led to Falcom creating several remakes that re-imagined older Ys games.
- The name Ys (pronounced "eece") is derived from western European legend, Ys being a mythical city on the coast of Brittany, and many locations in the world of Ys have counterparts in the real world.
- Although Adol shipwrecking on the shores of a new continent is a running joke among Ys fans, Adol rarely actually shipwrecks at the beginning of any of his adventures. The first Ys title was the only entry in the series to contain a shipwreck for many years until the release of Ys VIII in 2016.
- 1993's Mask of the Sun and Dawn of Ys are different interpretations of the series' fourth installment. Ys IV is the only numbered entry to not be made directly by Falcom themselves with both Hudson Soft and Tonkin House producing those titles while Falcom only provided the music and initial design outline. Years later, Falcom would make their own version of Ys IV in the form of Memories of Celceta in 2012.
- Ys Advertisement (Micom BASIC December 1987) - Shows Ys 1's slogan: "より難しければいい"というのは危険な思い込みだ. 今, RPGは優しさの時代への第一歩を踏み出した."