At long last, Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim has been announced for English-language PC release on Steam, GOG and the Humble Store alike!
This has been a long time coming, requested by fans for years now – ever since we released Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin on Steam back in 2012 – but has always been a tricky prospect due to the logistics involved. The game has, after all, already been released on PS2 and PSP by Konami, and it’s also the oldest game in the “trilogy” of Napishtim, Felghana and Origin, with the latter two making numerous changes and improvements to the engine that fans have come to really love and, indeed, expect.
This brought up two very important questions for us: What do we do about the translation (Do we attempt to acquire Konami’s? Do we try to work with our esteemed fan-translator again? Or do we re-translate from scratch?)… and what do we do to bring this 12-year-old game not just up to modern-day compatibility and presentational standards, but also up to the standards set by its already-available PC followups, Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin?
In other words, how do we take the oldest game in the most beloved Ys trilogy, and give it the legs it needs to stand toe-to-toe with its big brothers?
The translation part was simple: After evaluating our options, we decided that re-translating the game was the way to go. Konami’s official translation, while excellent, features an entirely different tone and different nomenclature from what we at XSEED were looking to produce, and the fan-translation largely followed suit, so it only made sense to give this game a full-on “makeover” to bring it more in line with the rest of the series we’ve had on offer up to this point. To do this, we called in our ringer, Dan: the same Falcom fanatic who translated Ys: Memories of Celceta for us. And as expected, he did a fantastic job, making life much easier on Brittany during what was to become her second ever completed editing project (after Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven).
As for how to bring this game up to the standards set by its successors, that was a much trickier prospect, but we rose to the challenge and, through the dedicated work of our loyal programmer, Sara, we’re very pleased to present to you a feature that’s completely unique to our version of Ys VI:
One of the most daring and unconventional features Falcom added to Ys: The Oath in Felghana, and later carried over to Ys Origin, was the removal of stockable healing items. In vanilla Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, it’s very often possible to stock up on powerful healing items, then just spam them during battle with difficult bosses, virtually eliminating the need to discern patterns or strategize. Felghana and Origin remedied this by making it so that healing items were used automatically the moment you picked them up, and since they couldn’t be stocked, they couldn’t be relied upon during boss battles – every boss had to be defeated on a single life bar. This made these two games notably more difficult, but also turned every boss into a sort of puzzle as players attempted to figure out the best way to defeat them (and made traversing the dungeons a little more exciting as well!).
Our newly-added Catastrophe Mode in Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, which players can optionally select at the start of play (and combine with any existing difficulty level), mimics this by removing all stockable healing items from the game, instead having them auto-use when picked up via monster drops. To help give players who select this mode a fighting chance, we’ve also replaced Croix’s grocery stock with tremendously expensive yet permanent stat-altering seeds, as well as swapping out all healing items inside treasure chests with a slightly modified version of the “Capla Water” item, which can be used outside of boss battles to cure status effects and refill Adol’s magic gauge but has been stripped of all its restorative powers from non-Catastrophe gameplay.
These excess Capla Waters may seem like a huge boon, but thanks to us also removing all other items that cure status ailments from Catastrophe Mode gameplay, they now represent your only line of defense against poison, confusion, curses, etc. (outside of accessories, anyway), making a certain dungeon (Ys fans know which one I’m talking about!) much more threatening than ever before.
We didn’t stop with just adding a mode that completely changes the dynamics of gameplay, though – no, we also added the ability to warp among save points once the Wing of Alma item has been acquired, which is a convenience formerly enjoyed by players in the PS2 version that has never before been offered in any PC version of the game.
Add to that all the usual bells and whistles (widescreen visuals, enhanced compatibility, Steam achievements and leaderboards, etc.), and possibly a little something extra if the stars align just right, and you have yourself a fully modernized version of Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim that can easily stand tall among its brethren.
We hope very much that you enjoy the game, and we can’t wait to hear your feedback on all these new additions that I feel easily make our version of the game the definitive Napishtim experience.
Thanks for all your support these many years, and here’s to many more years of Falcom PC deliciousness to come!