Underrated Developers That Deserve More Attention
Nihon Falcom is one of the longest-running Japanese studios around, established all the way back in 1981. Yet, they don’t have nearly the same name recognition, especially in the west, as others like Square Enix or FromSoftware, and that’s a shame.
Falcom is responsible for some of the best JRPG franchises out there, including the tremendously successful Ys series, The Legend of Heroes, Xanadu, Brandish, and Sorecerian. In recent years many of their titles have started getting more attention such as hidden gems like The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, which we’ve written about before.
They’re the perfect example of a developer iterating and improving year after year, and you can literally see the strides Falcom has made if you compare past games, like early Ys games to Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana or the upcoming Ys IX: Monstrum Nox.
Part of the reason Falcom has remained more unknown over the years is because many of its games never made their way west, or they took years to ever get translated. For example, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, a JRPG classic, released in 2004 in Japan, but wasn’t released in the west until a whopping seven years later in 2011.
Still, efforts from companies like XSEED and NIS America have helped more Falcom games come west, and they’ve started building a sizable fanbase here. Hopefully, that means the prolific developer starts getting more recognition with Western audiences.