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 began on the NEC PC-88 Japanese computer platform in 1987 and now consists of several main titles, multiple ports, spin-offs and remakes. 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. The franchise is 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.
The series is also themed around the idea of "kindness". RPGs were very difficult in the early 1980s and the Ys franchise began 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 installments in the Ys franchise but the mainline series also includes prequels, such as Ys Origins, and re-imaginings of previous titles.
- Ys (1987)
- Ys II (1988)
- Ys III: Wanders from Ys (1989)
- Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (1993)
- Ys IV: Dawn of Ys (1993)
- Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand (1995)
- Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim (2003)
- Ys: The Oath in Felghana (2005)
- Ys Origin (2006)
- Ys Seven (2009)
- Ys: Memories of Celceta (2012)
- Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (2016)
- Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (2019)
- 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.