The Legend of Heroes: Trails Series – Localization Blog #1

Hey, Trails fans!

This is Brittany again, Production Coordinator at XSEED. So. Yes. The rumors were true. Every time the words “Trails of Cold Steel” showed up on news sites, we were giggling like preschooler dorks because we knew it was a real thing that was happening. On the flipside, we were also visibly cringing because of how we couldn’t participate in any forum discussion surrounding it whatsoever. And with the fanbase Trails has, you can bet there are always lots of questions.

This blog will serve as more of a preemptive Q&A session for Trails in the Sky Second Chapter, Trails of Cold Steel, and the Trails series in general to try and clear up the series’ position in the West as much as possible. We’ll also be sharing the first official PC English screens of Trails in the Sky Second Chapter along the way!


Why the name Trails of Cold Steel?

Longtime fans of the series know the game as Sen no Kiseki, which roughly means something like, “The paths/trails of a flash/flicker.” It’s typically meant to represent that glint you see on a blade being drawn as it catches the light. It’s clearly not a very easy word to render in English and still make sense with the current “Trails” moniker, so we dismissed the more literal “Trails of a Flash” and other similar titles rather quickly.

I suggested Trails of Cold Steel for several reasons:

• The story is based around Thors Military Academy, a place in Erebonia where many young political upstarts balance school life and war tactics as part of their daily curriculum. Conflict and weapons are something of a theme in Cold Steel, and I wanted words which were specifically reminiscent of steel blades.

• The term “Sen” is a fairly serious word—”Steel” alone wouldn’t have set the right tone, but “Cold Steel” together helps reflect the strain of Erebonia’s intensely classist, military powerhouse society.

• Being a big fan of the Trails series myself, I’ve bought every single soundtrack related to the series. Even before we had the rights to Cold Steel, I’d bought the soundtrack. Hell, I bought it day one! And the main battle theme (which is a killer track, I might add) is called “The Glint of Cold Steel.” The second I saw it, I thought, “Well, that has quite a nice ring to it!”

• When Ken and I were in Falcom’s office and proposed the English title, they immediately smiled and said, “Actually, we once considered using the word ‘Steel’ in the title ourselves, so that’s perfect. We like it.”

So, there you have it. As of now, the official English name of Sen no Kiseki, completely endorsed by the original developers themselves, is Trails of Cold Steel.


Aren’t there a few games that come before Trails of Cold Steel? What’s up with that?

Let’s get this out of the way: I am absolutely thrilled we’re continuing the Trails series in the West. It quickly became one of my favorite series along with Ys, and I absorb all information relating to it much like how a northern clingfish clings to rocks. Look up northern clingfish videos, by the way; they’re really cool.

When Falcom approached us with interest in seeing the game localized (and yes, they came to us), I naturally was all for it. But like most fans, I worried because of the two games that preceded it—Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki (which I will henceforth be calling Trails to Zero and Trails to Azure, though those should not be considered final or official names)—because they have some events in them that seem to tie in with Cold Steel directly. Is it okay to publish the series out of “order”? If we do take on Cold Steel, will people be missing out on some critical information by not playing Zero and Azure first?

I was fortunate enough to be able to express this worry in person to the president of Falcom, Toshihiro Kondo; I was also just as relieved by his response. Immediately, he responded: “Actually, this is kind of intentional. We wanted Cold Steel and Zero/Azure to be playable in any order because we noticed that, withCold Steel, the demographic suddenly became younger. Many new fans of the series were going back to the old games.”

Essentially, their goal for Cold Steel was not only to continue developing the incredibly deep lore behind the Zemurian continent, but to do it in such a way that would both please longtime fans and help new fans feel right at home. Rest easy knowing that you can canonically play Cold Steel before Zero/Azure—you’ll simply be getting a different perspective on events, seeing things in an order that differs from what Japanese players experienced, but is still confirmed by one of the Trails creators to be A-OK and even pretty much as intended.

And, hey, while I’m all about encouraging people to play Trails in the Sky first, you could start with Trails of Cold Steel and then go back to the Sky series if you so desired; you’d just be enjoying a whole different set of Easter eggs. I absolutely adore the ridiculous amounts of detail this series manages to put out without completely shutting out a curious new audience at the same time, and apparently Falcom does, too.


Even if the games can be played in a different order, why didn’t you work on Trails to Zero and Trails to Azure first? Why “skip ahead” at all?

The simple answer is this: Zero and Azure started as PSP games and by the time we would have finished both of them, the PSP will have long been dead as a viable platform. Even though we’re working on Trails in the Sky SC for PSP now, all the effort going into its PSP launch is a labor of love, not profit.

However, there does exist a Japanese PC port of Trails to Zero and a Chinese PC port of Trails to Azure. This means that, theoretically, we could go back to the duology at any time if the series remains successful, since Trails in the Sky has found new life on PC in the west. PC love won’t be falling out of fashion any time soon.

Trails of Cold Steel is only for PS3 and PS Vita, however. With the PS4 already taking the world by storm, the PS3 is slowly falling out of favor, meaning we have a very limited window to get it out and still justify it as a smart business move—especially since we have Cold Steel’s direct sequel to consider. That’s the main reason we opted to move forward with Cold Steel’s localization even before we knew the series was intended to be played in any order.

In short, what all of this means is that the chances of Trails to Zero and Trails to Azure getting released here are not, uh, zero. Just keep supporting the series, and let’s see what happens together!


You guys are still working on Trails in the Sky Second Chapter, right? Will it be out before Cold Steel? What about the last game in the trilogy, Trails in the Sky 3rd?

Yes, we are still in QA for Trails in the Sky SC for PSP (PS Vita/Vita TV compatible) and PC. And yes, it will also be out before Cold Steel, so you will be able to thoroughly enjoy the conclusion to Estelle and Liberl’s story before Cold Steel’s launch.

I say “conclusion” because, while 3rd is related to content within FC and SC, the overarching story fans were introduced to from the first game will indeed be concluded with SC, satisfactory ending and all.3rd serves as something of an intriguing offshoot from the series and stars a beloved character introduced inSC: one Kevin Graham. Rather than take on the grand scale of FC and SC, it dives even deeper into character development and series lore, with said lore dipping its fingers into every game in the series in some way, shape, or form. Needless to say, I would be thrilled to work on it, and have made my opinion very much heard in the office. Ha ha.

While far, far, FAR from confirmed, I will personally continue to push for 3rd and hope that fans will back me up by buying the hell out of SC. Please. Seriously. Buy it. I’m not even going to try hiding how desperate I am here. I want us to keep working on this series forever.


We’ve been waiting a long time for Trails in the Sky Second Chapter. What’s the status of that? And what’s the localization status on Cold Steel? What about “Cold Steel II”?

We know you’ve been waiting for SC. Boy, do we know! And in hindsight, we wish we could’ve scheduled its localization a lot better, because at this point we want it out the door just as much as you (ha ha). I’m currently working together with Trails in the Sky FC & SC editor Jessica Chavez to clean things up and make sure it’s as polished as can be within our crazily hectic schedule. In fact, we’re working 100% in tandem with some of the series’ biggest fans to ensure that every fact is checked and every piece of foreshadowing is correctly shadowed, and just in general taking every step we can to ensure even our biggest critics are pleased with the final product. So far, I could not be happier with the feedback we’ve received.

That being said, we know the series has had something of a rocky start in the West in terms of scheduling, and it’s stressed us out as much as it would anyone. We’ve even joked about it by dubbing these delays and surprises the “Curse of Kiseki,” which has a particularly hilarious acronym when also paired with Trails in the Sky’s now-infamous acronym.

Aaanyway, we’ve learned a hell of a lot over the years, so this time, we didn’t want to jump the gun on announcing Trails of Cold Steel too early (and we didn’t, because the translation process started a year and a half ago!). As of this writing, not only is Trails of Cold Steel fully, 100% translated, we’re reaching the final stages of editing as well and will very soon be recording a whopping 10,000~ voiced lines for the game. You may remember Nick from his sublime work in STORY OF SEASONS; he, together with the newest addition to the XSEED team, Kris, are working together to bring you one sensational experience.

…Oh, and Trails of Cold Steel II in already in the process of being translated, so don’t you worry your silky little heads none.


Will Trails of Cold Steel I and II see physical releases, or will they be digital-only like Trails in the Sky SC?

I’m pleased to say that both Cold Steel I and II are confirmed for physical and digital launches on PS3 and PS Vita.

There’s still plenty of work to be done, and I’m almost certain this blog won’t answer everything, but I hope it clears up the biggest mysteries surrounding this series. The world of Trails is wonderful and full of life, and I hope fans will continue to support it in the West for years to come.

– Brittany


And, hey, just because I can: my very first localization project, Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven, just launched on June 2nd physically and digitally for 3DS! If you like SRPGs and things that melt your heart, LoM might be the game for you.