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Everything you need to know about Ys: Memories of Celceta, out this week on PS Vita

Learn more about the cult favourite action RPG series

Konnichiwa, doods! Chris King from NISA here giving you a friendly reminder that the action RPG game, Ys: Memories of Celceta, will be cruising onto European shores on 21st February – only three days away! Find it on PlayStation Store the following week, too!

To mark the occasion, I also bring upon you an exclusive interview with Tom Lipschultz of XSEED Games, giving you an in-depth, detailed look behind some of the game’s features and mechanics. Let’s dive right in, shall we!?

Could you tell us a little about Ys for those who have not had the chance to check out the series?
Tom: Ys is an episodic series of action RPGs that’s been going strong in Japan since 1987. Every Ys game bar one stars a red-haired adventurer named Adol Christin, and each game chronicles his adventures in a new land as he (typically) arrives by boat (be it intact or in pieces), gets caught up in some local plot involving supernatural evil, has every female humanoid within a 10-mile radius fall hopelessly in love with him, defeats the evil and saves the day, then leaves without saying goodbye or entertaining any beautiful young women — his eyes ever searching for new adventure on the horizon.

Although the gameplay and visuals have changed dramatically over the series’ long life span, two things have invariably remained in almost every incarnation: a lightning-fast pace and a hard rock soundtrack (often of the ’80s-style glam rock variety). From the original Ys with its buttonless “bump” combat system to Falcom’s latest Ys: Memories of Celceta, every game seems bent on giving the player instant gratification for the ears and the senses alike.

And since each adventure takes place in a new land, the series can easily be played in any order. There are recurring characters and motifs, but the games are structured in such a way that players can just as easily discover these characters and motifs in a later game, then go back and find out more about them from an earlier one without feeling as if he/she had some major plot point spoiled.

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What makes this action RPG really stand out?
Tom: Almost every Ys game has something that sets it apart from its ancestry, but Ys: Memories of Celceta (hereafter YsC) is particularly noteworthy for introducing some drastically new elements to the typical Ys formula. The biggest of these (both literally and figuratively) is the overworld, which could easily fit the combined overworlds of every other Ys game within it (likely several times over, at that!). I can’t stress enough just how massive it is, and how much there is to see and do within it. There are hidden treasures virtually everywhere, and the game generally gives you the freedom to explore large swaths of it at a time, providing a robust and intuitive mapping system to help you along the way.

And despite its size, exploring the overworld never gets repetitive, as its structure is full of unique settings and landmarks that makes every location feel distinct and alive. Add to this a fluid day/night system, too, and you can easily spend hours upon hours upping your map percentage as you scour the fields for new treasures or crafting materials.

Oh, and yes, that’s also new: there’s a rich and insanely detailed item and equipment crafting system in place, allowing you to customise virtually every aspect of your party members’ combat profiles.

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Who is Adol and how does he evolve in this game?
Tom: Adol has typically always been a silent protagonist (with rare exception). This may have originally been done for the sake of making him a player stand-in, but Falcom quickly crafted an overarching narrative that states Adol’s adventures took place over 1100 years ago, and are being researched by scholars now from the copious and highly detailed travelogues he kept along the way. This helps explain discrepancies between the different versions of Ys I through V (of which there have been several apiece), and also gives Adol’s silent nature a bit more of a humble feel.

However, this doesn’t change the fact that Adol, on account of being virtually infallible and always quiet as a mouse, tends not to be anywhere near as interesting as the characters he meets during his adventures. But YsC manages to make Adol the most interesting he’s ever been through a very unconventional method – the developers gave him amnesia.

Although a long-standing trope in anime and video games, this may be the best use of amnesia I’ve ever seen, as Adol is actually tasked with finding literal fragments of his memory strewn about the enormous overworld. These range from plot-relevant scenes of things that happened only a week before the game began, to scenes from Adol’s childhood (in which he actually talks!) that help give a rare glimpse into his psyche.

In addition to these memory fragments, Adol is also frequently given numerous possible responses to questions or situations that arise during gameplay. And in an odd sort of way, these also help give a glimpse into his personality, with the latter choice invariably being a bit… mischievous.

Does this game link in with previous Ys games?
Tom: Very much so. YsC is actually a reimagining of Ys IV, the only game in the numbered series that Falcom themselves had previously never developed (instead outsourcing to other companies). And Ys IV has always been a very important entry in the series canon, as it was the first to introduce numerous recurring themes, and also the first to make subtle references to previous games and help expand upon their lore.

Not content simply to remake the content other people had written on their behalf, however, Falcom decided to up the ante for this reimagining, including subtle nods and tie-ins to just about every other game in the franchise, including ones that came out long after Ys IV.

In true Ys fashion, however, none of these references are so blatant as to spoil content from other entries in the series, nor is knowledge of any other Ys title required to fully enjoy the narrative YsC tells.

Boss Rush is back, are there any other new features/old favorites in the game?
Tom: There’s a New Game + feature, as well as the ability to permanently drop the difficulty level during play if you selected something a bit beyond your means at the start (though note that you’re unable to RAISE the difficulty during play, so use this feature wisely!).

This is also the first Ys game to include a day/night cycle in the field, as well as the first Ys game to include a true crafting system.

As for old favorites, the party system from Ys SEVEN has returned, and is more refined this time around, with skills requiring more effort to learn and proving more immediately useful than before.

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Do you have a favorite character in the game? What makes that person so awesome?
Tom: Karna, definitely. And what makes her so awesome? Well, she was always awesome — in the original Ys IV, she was the only “escort mission” character in the series’ history who actually escorted Adol rather than the other way around, and they definitely carried that no-nonsense attitude over to YsC as well.

…Also, there’s Napalm Shot. Once Karna learns the Napalm Shot skill, you basically won, because nothing can stand up to you anymore.

So, who wins in a fight, Duren or Karna?
Tom: Karna, hands down. I mean, she’s got that Napalm Shot! Duren’s muscles may be able to take her down if he gets in close, but… well, before he ever gets close enough to put them to use, he’ll be swimming in a sea of exploding knives. He doesn’t stand a chance!

I hope you’ve enjoyed what you read so far! I’ll be back in the near future to talk more about our upcoming titles, but until then, keep an eye out for Ys: Memories of Celceta, doods!

24 Comments
8 Author replies

Hi Chris, currently the YouTube vid is marked as private :-)

1.1

Hey tat_sun,

It seems to be working at the moment – Please let me know if you are having any more troubles! And thanks for pointing that out, dood ^^

very excited for this, hopefully my preorder will ship soon.
took too long to reach europe so i hope european sales wont suffer too much from the fact that a lot of people imported.

Already imported it and finished it months ago. Great game, 9/10 must buy for Vita owners!

Really looking forward to play this game! More Ys is always welcome!
On another note, I know that the US got a discount on the Ys PSP titles on the store when Memories of Celceta came out. Is there a possibility for us Europeans to get a discount as well?

4.1

Hey Zhao_Yun16,

Thank you for your support! Hmm, I haven’t heard about any kind of discount at this time.

Can’t wait for this, Ys Seven was a brilliant game.

5.1

Hey ryuno_uk,

It was an AMAZING game – I hope you enjoy Celceta as well ^^

Seems that my hunger for a new Secret of Mana might be satisfied soon. :)

Finally ! This was actually the game that made me buy my Vita a long time ago (when it was first announced in JP) :D
So looking forward to this.

By the way, will we be getting a physical release too, or just digital only ?

7.1

Hey Miro33no,

It will be coming out in retail form on February 21, and digitally on February 25. Happy to bring it to Europe, dood ^^

This has been along time coming to the UK but its almost here!

Thank you for localizing this!

9.1

Hey stathmos,

You should be thanking XSEED Games for all their amazing localization work! We are happy to bring this awesome game to European shores ^^

Great game. Already platinumed US version (Silver Anniversary Edition). And want MOAR.

I haven’t picked this up yet, but it’s definitely on my list of things to add to the backlog. You really need to rethink your strategy on staggered releases though – if you’re going to be looking at EU sales figures as a guide for future releases and localisations, then your data is going to be skewed by people buying it on import.

Amazon UK marketplace sellers have been openly selling this locally in the UK for months, and people are increasingly not being bothered to wait until it’s released locally. More and more people have multiple PSN accounts in every region, and more and more companies are either shipping them over for sale or doing good deals on international shipping.

For example, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment will be a day 1 purchase for me – no matter that I’ll have to ship it in from Japan, or that I’ll have to wrestle with one of the most difficult languages on the planet to play it. I want it for the gameplay, so no company’s regional release strategy or decisi...

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I haven’t picked this up yet, but it’s definitely on my list of things to add to the backlog. You really need to rethink your strategy on staggered releases though – if you’re going to be looking at EU sales figures as a guide for future releases and localisations, then your data is going to be skewed by people buying it on import.

Amazon UK marketplace sellers have been openly selling this locally in the UK for months, and people are increasingly not being bothered to wait until it’s released locally. More and more people have multiple PSN accounts in every region, and more and more companies are either shipping them over for sale or doing good deals on international shipping.

For example, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment will be a day 1 purchase for me – no matter that I’ll have to ship it in from Japan, or that I’ll have to wrestle with one of the most difficult languages on the planet to play it. I want it for the gameplay, so no company’s regional release strategy or decision not to localise it is going to stop me.

If I hadn’t a multi-thousand hour backlog on my Vita, I’d have picked Ys up before Christmas. On a positive note though, I am glad to see this localised for a Western release.

Looking great, dood! Will definitely buy this later this year, once my wallet has recovered from sales. Finally bought Disgaea 3:Absence of Detention few days ago, it will keep me busy for a while. :)

And awesome lineup for this year, this might as well be a year of JRPG!

Any chance for NISA sale in Europe, would love to grab certain titles on PS Vita?! (Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days, Prinny 1+2, Ys PSP titles to name a few)

12.1

Hey theJJ88,

Wow, you made my day! Thanks so much for your ultra-support! I haven’t heard anything about a NISA sale in Europe, but there may be something cooking that I am not aware of. If we have any news we’ll be sure to let everyone know with our newsletter ^^

This one of those must have games on the Vita. Music is great as always on Ys games.

13.1

Hey seldinhio,

Thanks for your kind words and I completely agree about the Ys tracks ^^

Williamflipper 18 February, 2014 @ 17:01
14

Nice

pre-ordered a copy from the US and loved it. Anyone who hasn’t imported now is your chance to play one of the best games on vita.

16

The game is looking really good. I’ve been keeping my eye on it. But would like to know will there be a demo for us newbies?

16.1

Hey dark_angel69,

The game is awesome and plays so well on the PS Vita. Unfortunately we won’t have a demo available for this one. Don’t worry, it’s easy to pick up and learn in-game! ^^

SaveTheQueenIX 19 February, 2014 @ 05:30
17

I love the Y’s series. I can’t wait to hear the soundtrack to this game. Team JDK never dissapoints!! I still play Y’s seven from time to time, recently picked Origins and Oath in Falghana. Hope this is game is ultra successful!!

18

Thanks for your reply Chris

I forgot to ask, what’s the saving like in this game? Can we save at any time we want or is there a certain point in the game we must reach to save? Reason I ask is cos I only have an hour of a bus drive to work in the morning and same back home. This is the only time I have during the week to play my Vita games. And being able to save anytime I want would make it a good purchase. But if I have to wait until I reach a certain point, maybe my one hour wouldn’t be enough

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the interesting developer interview, I really like these stuff. As for Ys… of course I pre-ordered it and it looks amazing, but I haven’t even finished Danganronpa (BTW this game is FANTASTIC!) yet, so it will be pretty hard to decide which game should I play. :)

P.S. You made my day with that Danganronpa 2 / Disgaea 4 announcement a few days ago. Now you have my eternal gratitude, dood. :)

Question for the new ones to the series ( i know, i suck). Does this have interaction between the party members, or is more like Disgaea series where the emphasis is more on action (and grinding :D ) then on the NPC-s and their interaction ?

Thanks!

I ended up ordering Danganronpa too. I have voted with my wallet that I approve what NISA does. ;)

waiting for this to download.

is this available at the ps store? its already feb. 22 but stil not appeared in ps store.

benandrewsao21 25 February, 2014 @ 20:17
24

trying to find this in the ps store? where is it? i cant wait to play it

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