Celceta, The Sea of Trees: Frequently Asked Questions

#1GurudaPosted 9/15/2012 2:28:20 PM
Thought I'd do one of these now that the game is close to release and a lot of the same questions have been appearing. Look within for information about this game, its place in the series and why we're looking forward to it so much.

General Questions

- What is Ys?
- How do you pronounce Ys anyways?
- Is there an apostrophe in Ys?
- What is Ys IV?
- What's this I heard about multiple versions?
- So which one is canon?
- Okay, which one is canon now?
- Wait, wasn't there a third version?
- Wasn't there an anime?
- Will I need to play other Ys games to enjoy or understand this one?
- What Ys games are available in English?

Game-Specific Questions

- What's this game again?
- What's up with the title?
- What will the gameplay be like?
- What new features does this game have?
- Who are the playable characters?

Series Trivia

- Ys 'Origin'
- The World of Ys




General Questions



- What is Ys?

Ys is one of Falcom's two flagship franchises (the other being The Legend of Heroes), which began in 1987 on the PC-88. The games follow red-haired wanderer Adol Christin in his travels. The early games in the series were ported to pretty much every platform available in Japan and kept getting ported until it's easier to find something the first two games aren't available on. The series is known for its high-speed action and its awesome music. The series has received mixed attention outside of Asia, with long periods of games being skipped over. Fortunately, XSEED has been making up for this and recently localized I-II Chronicles, The Oath in Felghana and Seven on the PSP and Origin (and Oath again) for the PC via Steam so the series is once again getting the attention it deserves. Go on, check those games out if you haven't already. This FAQ will still be here when you're done.

- How do you pronounce Ys anyways?

Like 'east' without the t, 'fleece' without the fl or 'geese' without the g.

- Is there an apostrophe in Ys?

NO!

- What is Ys IV?

The fourth game in the series and Adol's third adventure chronologically, taking place shortly after the end of Ys II and before the events of Ys III/Oath in Felghana. It's the last game to use the classic 'bump system' and the first game to introduce the Romun Empire, the Clan of Darkness and the idea of the Eldeen as a civilization. This game essentially created the meta-plot for the series which would be developed further in Ys VI and Origin and get retconned back into III via Oath in Felghana.

- What's this I heard about multiple versions?

A funny thing happened back in 1993. Rather than developing Ys IV themselves, Falcom wrote up an outline and composed music samples and then gave them to Tonkin House and Hudson to make their own versions of the game. Falcom was apparently working on their own version but it was never released. The end result is that you have two versions of Ys IV, neither of which was actually made by Falcom. Tonkin House's offering (Mask of the Sun) stuck to Falcom's outline while Hudson took the outline, then took liberties and gave us The Dawn of Ys. Both tell the same general story using the same general cast of characters but beyond the basics the games are very different. MotS was released on the Super Nintendo in November of 1993 and DoY was released in December of the same year.

- So which one is canon?

When it comes out, this game will be the canon version.
#2Guruda(Topic Creator)Posted 9/15/2012 2:29:33 PM
- Okay, which one is canon now?

For years, it appeared that Dawn of Ys was the canon version. It got most of the attention and all of the artwork and the OVA pitch was based on Dawn, not Mask. The song titles actually matched up with the locations or situations they played in while Mask's songs were kind of all over the place. That might have been because the song samples were delivered with tentative titles that Falcom finalized after the fact but the fact remains that it's the locations from Dawn that were used in describing them. Also, the novelisations used the Dawn setting and characters. The manga was the only adaptation to take more of its cues from Mask and even then it took enough liberties to be a unique entry for the most part. The general fan consensus is that Dawn was the better game and the fact that it was consistent with the then most popular version of I and II also contributed to this opinion among fans.

In 2003, Falcom released Ys IV: The Ark of Napishtim for the PC. The limited edition of the game included a special disc containing emulated versions of the first five games in the series (the PC-88 versions of I-III and the SNES versions of IV-V). Shortly after came the 'Perfect Data' book which officially designated Mask of the Sun as the official version of the story and Dawn of Ys as an alternate retelling. In 2006 Falcom really put the nail into the coffin with Ys Origin, which definitively eliminated the possibility of Dawn's story happening as we saw it by showing us exactly what happened 700 years prior to the events of Ys I. Dawn of Ys' plot with regards to the Fact family and Black Pearl simply can't happen according to Falcom, end of story. Of course, Mask presents its own issues but that's one reason Falcom really needed to do their own version of the story.

- Wait, wasn't there a third version?

Yeah, about that... In 2005 Taito and Falcom reached an agreement where Taito would produce their own versions of Ys III, IV and V for the Playstation 2. Without going into too many details, all the games have a very budget feel and certain flaws but Taito's version of III is generally regarded as a decent (albeit easy) last look at the classic Ys III and the original Ys V is the real black sheep of the franchise so while Taito's version has issues of its own, by comparison it comes out kind of okay. Still not a great game or even a particularly good one but it's not actively annoying. That can't be said of Mask of the Sun: A New Theory. It had some really good ideas in the role it granted the magic swords (linking them to Lefance and his followers, making more of them and requiring them to solve puzzles a la Ark of Napishtim but moreso) but the implementation was poor. Slow gameplay, repetitive and dull level design, lots of backtracking, a magic system which needed more thought put into it and a fair bit of character assassination combined to make the least impressive version of the game. The fact that the music arrangements were uniformly pretty weak didn't help either, to say nothing of the nonsensical plot rewrites. And no, it's not and never was canon.

- Wasn't there an anime?

Not exactly. Falcom wanted to do another OVA series along the lines of the first two games but they weren't able to get any takers. The only result of this attempt is a single trailer for what the series might have looked like.
#3Guruda(Topic Creator)Posted 9/15/2012 2:30:29 PM
- Will I need to play other Ys games to enjoy or understand this one?

That's going to depend on this game but most Ys games can be played blind without really hurting comprehension so it's unlikely that this game is the exception. Mask of the Sun and The Dawn of Ys both featured
nostalgiariffic segments where Adol returned to locations from the first two games and the plot made heavy reference to the events of those games. Characters from I and II also played fairly important roles in the story. The game is probably going to presume at least a little knowledge of the first two games but it's entirely possible that they'll drop the Esteria arc and any references the game does make aren't likely to leave a new player completely lost. It can't hurt to have played a few games first but at this point it doesn't seem like it's going to be required.

- What Ys games are available in English?

Quite a few. Bolded games are the 'canonical' versions, italicized games are otherwise significant.

Available officially:

I (Sega Master System)
I (DOS)
I-II (PC Engine/Turbo Duo and Virtual Console)
I-II as 'Legacy of Ys' (DS)
I-II Chronicles (PSP)
III (SNES)
III (Genesis)
III (PC Engine/Turbo Duo)
The Oath in Felghana (PSP and PC via Steam)
VI (PS2 and PSP)
Seven (PSP)
Origin (PC via Steam)

Available unofficially via fan translation patches:

I (NES)
II (NES)
I-II Complete (PC)
The Oath in Felghana (PC)
Mask of the Sun (SNES) [Temporarily canonical]
The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine) [A separate project to dub all the voices is nearing completion]
VI (PC)
Origin (PC)



Game-Specific Questions



- What's this game again?

As you can probably guess if you've followed this far, it's Falcom's own version of Ys IV, released to celebrate 25 years of Ys (and almost twenty years of anticipation). It uses Mask of the Sun as the basis for the story but there are also characters exclusive to Dawn of Ys appearing and hints that plot elements from that game will also be incorporated. Basically, it should be the best of both worlds, done Falcom-style. One element not present in any previous version of the game is that Adol begins the adventure with amnesia. His journey will not only take him into the depths of the Sea of Trees but into his own past as well.

- What's up with the title?

It's a reference to Celceta's absolutely enormous forest. It's also the official title of the journal Adol kept of his travels there, going along with Falcom's conceit that each Ys game is a 'translation' of one of his many adventure journals, being examined a thousand years later.
#4Guruda(Topic Creator)Posted 9/15/2012 2:31:41 PM
- What will the gameplay be like?

The game uses the same engine as Ys Seven and Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki Alternative Saga, albeit with enhancements. That means that you have a party of three characters, each of whom has their own Skills, Ex-Skill and one of three attack types. Skills can once again be upgraded with use and Ex-Skills appear to upgrade through story progression. Magic Items exist and grant the entire party the ability to explore new areas, such as the Mini Bracelet allowing the party to shrink to tiny size. Making a return appearance from Ys II is the ability for the entire party to transform into Roos. The sidequest system from Seven returns but equipment synthesis has been removed and replaced with a new system. There will be the usual four difficulty modes and some bosses will have different attack patterns on higher levels.

- What new features does this game have?

Aerial Combo: Repeatedly striking airborne enemies will result in a damage and gold boost and restoration of a small amount of HP and SP.

Boss Rush: This feature is being brought back after being missing from Seven and will be unlocked after clearing the game once.

Excellent Kill: Killing an enemy with an attack they are weak to will result in increased gold and a better chance to get rare item drops.

'Flash': A new method of gaining Skills. Instead of learning them from equipped weapons, you automatically learn them from fighting large enemies. Exactly how this works hasn't been revealed yet. It might be fighting certain enemies with certain characters, there might be some kill count involved, we don't know.

Flash Guard: This move has been modified from Ys Seven to be more like the Alternative Saga version. Guarding allows you to block incoming damage. If you time the block perfectly, you'll perform a Flash Guard, resulting in automatic Critical attacks for a short period and increased SP gain from your attacks. Mistiming a block will still result in increased damage for the player.

Flash Move: If you use the Dodge ability just as an enemy is about to attack you, this will be triggered and all enemies will briefly move much slower.

Party Ability: When you have more than three characters available, this becomes unlocked and the composition of your active party (based on attack types) will grant you a bonus. When you have two characters with the same attack type active, damage output goes up and it becomes easier to kill enemies weak to that attack type. When your party includes all three types, the rare item drop rate goes up.

Personal Action: Each character has a unique ability that can be performed under certain circumstances, which will be designated by a cursor when that character is in the lead and standing in the right spot. Known personal actions are:

*Adol: Recover Memories. Glowing points appear on the map. When Adol approaches them, one of his lost memories is awakened and can be viewed from a special menu. Apparently Adol will also learn a second Personal Action late in the game.

*Karna: Throw Knife. By throwing a knife, Karna can cut vines and other obstacles and open up new areas.

*Duren: Break Lock. Using his mighty blows, Duren can open doors and chests that other characters can't.

Realtime Environment: For the first time in the series, there is a full day/night cycle with Celceta experiencing morning, noon, evening and night. Certain things can only be found or done at one time in the day.
#5Guruda(Topic Creator)Posted 9/15/2012 2:32:31 PM
- What new features does this game have? (continued)

Reinforce: Using gems found during the adventure, you can upgrade the parameters of both weapons and armor. Different gems upgrade different attributes and there is a limit to how much you can upgrade any given piece of equipment.

Skill Finish: Defeating an enemy with a Skill results in the character getting back half the SP cost of that Skill along with a small amount of HP.

Touchscreen: Taking advantage of the Vita's features, the game uses the screen for several actions. Menus can be quickly opened by touch, allies can be given instructions, puzzle pieces can be manipulated and the camera zooms in and out with pinch controls.

- Who are the playable characters?

Adol of course remains the main character, using Slashing attacks as in Seven. There's no indication that he'll be able to alter his attack type. To the delight of longtime fans, Karna is playable and uses Piercing attacks (via thrown knives). The initial party is rounded out by Duren, who uses his fists and feet for Striking attacks. He's also a returning character from Mask and Dawn but he's been heavily redesigned at least in his appearance... though in terms of possible backstory it's actually more in line with his Dawn of Ys character.

Later updates also revealed three characters exclusive to this version of the game. Canlilica is a girl from Highland who uses Striking attacks with a massive mace. Ozma is a boy from Selray who uses a spear for Piercing attacks. Frida is a girl from the brand-new village of Danan who uses a halberd to deliver Slashing damage. No other playable characters have been revealed and odds are that unless Dogi shows up and replaces Duren at some point in the plot (which seems highly unlikely due to recent announcements), the above six characters are the final list.



Series Trivia



- Ys 'Origin'

Falcom didn't pick the name Ys out of a hat. In fact, it's taken from a French legend of the city of Ys (or Ker-Ys), supposedly located in the Douarnenez Bay in Brittany. The city was built in the bay itself and as a result was below the waterline at high tide. A system of floodgates kept the city safe and in time it became the most beautiful and prosperous city in Europe. The city's prosperity waned under its last king Gradlon, mostly due to the actions of his daughter Dahut. She was said to take countless lovers and kill each of them the next morning. One version of the story mentions a magical mask which she made her lovers wear, which also became the instrument of their deaths. Under her influence, the city became corrupt and a den of sin.

One day, a man in red rode into Ys. Eventually, Dahut took him for her new lover. That night he tricked her into stealing the key that controlled the floodgates from her father, then used it to open the gates and flood the city. The man in red was none other than the devil (or Satan in his original version as God's chief tester of humans, depending on which version of the legend you read) and again depending on the version he either took King Gradlon with him because he was a good man or the king escaped on his own. Dahut in either case was left behind as the city sank beneath the waves. According to legend, Ys will rise again one day...

If any of this sounds familiar, well, Falcom paid attention when researching the legend.
#6Guruda(Topic Creator)Posted 9/15/2012 2:33:46 PM
- The World of Ys

If you've seen any maps of Adol's world or thought about the names you'll notice very quickly that it literally takes place on our world, just a more interesting one with gods, magic, dragons and beautiful girls hurling themselves at red-haired wanderers. For fun, here are all the mentioned locations in the world with their real-world equivalents.

Eresia Continent (Eurasia)
Europe Region (the region around the Medo Sea, self-explanatory)
Medo Sea (The Mediterranean)
Britai (Britain)
Gllia (Gaul aka France)
Romn/Romun Empire (Rome and the Roman Empire)
Afroca Continent (Africa)
Shala Desert (The Sahara)
Ispani (Spain)
Ediz (Cadiz)
Barecia (Barcelona)
Steldum (Amsterdam)
Greek (Greece)
Garman (Germany)
Felghana (named for Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan, but physically located where Switzerland should be)
Orietta Region (presumably 'The Orient')
River Tigres (The Tigris)
Canaan (named for the historical region centered around modern Israel, located in the middle of the Ys Atlantic and possibly corresponding to the Azores)
Altago (Carthage)
Celceta (No real region, located in northwest Spain)
Xandria (Alexandria)
Esteria or Esterior (located where the legendary city of Ys would be in our world)
Atlas Continent (Atlantis)
#7PrimePikachuPosted 9/18/2012 6:38:50 PM(edited)
Sticky requested.

Hopefully, this will help reduce the number of sufferers of the accursed Y's Epidemic.
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#8zinformantPosted 9/18/2012 7:30:36 PM
Yeah, I did the same. Good stuff here, Guruda. I know I'll be pulling the general questions often, as they come up often on the Seven and system boards. Now, I don't know why I thought Canaan was based on the Bermuda Triangle...
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Go to Gamestop, buy a Steam card, and use it to purchase Ys Origin. You won't be disappointed.
For more info: http://www.worldofys.com/yso/
#9AlltraPosted 9/19/2012 11:23:42 AM(edited)
Why wouldn't Ys VI on the PS2 and PSP be considered cannon?
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My shortcomings piss me off, because nothing I do seems to correct them.
#10zinformantPosted 9/19/2012 11:23:52 AM
He bolded the PC version.
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Go to Gamestop, buy a Steam card, and use it to purchase Ys Origin. You won't be disappointed.
For more info: http://www.worldofys.com/yso/