The first Legend of Heroes
title was Dragon Slayer VI: The Legend of Heroes
, released on the Turbografx-16 CD-ROM in 1991, and developed by Ys
creator Falcom. As the title suggests, this game was actually the sixth game in the Dragon Slayer
series -- "a series of thematically similar (yet ultimately unrelated) games all produced and numbered by a man named Yoshio Kiya," Lipschultz explains. "This was a game popular enough to spawn its own subseries, part of which was eventually renumbered and released out of order on the PSP in North America [by Bandai] – LoH: A Tear of Vermilion
is actually LoH4, LoH2: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch
is actually LoH3, and LoH3: Song of the Ocean
is actually LoH5."
The Dragon Slayer
series from which it originates is one of the oldest RPG series in Japan, possibly even the oldest. "And did you also know that Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu
, released in 1985, is still to this day
the best-selling Japanese computer game of all time?" This series is also host to the NES's Faxanadu ("Famicom" plus "Xanadu"), and the game published stateside as "Legacy of the Wizard," which was known in Japan as Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family
"A trilogy all its own, Sora no Kiseki has the distinct 'honor' of being the only 'game series within a game series within a game series' that's likely (we hope) ever existed."- Tom Lipschultz
So that's two series to which this game is related -- there's more. It's actually a sequel to a spinoff of a spinoff. " The Legend of Heroes
series, then, would go on to spawn yet another
subseries, "Trails in the Sky
," with its sixth installment "The Legend of Heroes VI: Sora no Kiseki
" (later renamed 'The Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
,' with FC an acronym for 'First Chapter)," Lipschultz said. "A trilogy all its own, Sora no Kiseki
has the distinct 'honor' of being the only 'game series within a game series within a game series' that's likely (we hope) ever existed." That game, The Legend of Heroes VI
, is the one coming here as The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
"The reason this franchise gave birth to so many subseries," he theorized, "is largely because each game was structurally and mechanically very different from its predecessors (despite the thematic similarities), and some positively begged
for sequels to be made." Where the Dragon Slayer
games were characterized by a search for crowns inside a dungeon," each LoH game tells the story of two young people – usually a boy and a girl, but sometimes the same gender – who travel the entire length and breadth of their home continent on foot in search of someone very important to them," with detailed storylines for the characters and locales in the world.
Those previous PSP remakes, by the way, shouldn't be taken as representatives of the series, Lipschultz said. "Heck, they don't even represent themselves
very well! They're hastily-localized remakes of much older PC titles that were groundbreaking for their time, and are still incredibly engaging today – when played in their original language, with their original battle systems."
If you're still shaky on the Legend of Heroes family tree, we'll refer you to the above chart sent to us by Lipschultz and editor Jessica Chavez. Click to open a larger version, and let the knowledge -- and the obvious enthusiasm XSEED's staff has about its game, for two people to just decide to do this -- soak in.