Carpe Fulgur - the tiny translation/localisation team that brought the West Recettear, Chantelise and Fortune Summoners - is doing just fine, as reported on the company's blog. They may have been outwardly fairly quiet since the release of Fortune Summoners, but they've been beavering away at their biggest localisation job yet: XSEED's Trails in the Sky. To clarify: they're doing the second chapter of the celebrated JRPG series, with the first heading to Western PCs sometime this Winter, without their involvement.
Typical. You wait 15 years for a popular JRPG series to land properly on PC, and then two games come along at once.
On the plus side, while the last one, The Oath in Felghana, took place midway through the continuity of the Ys series, Origin is a prequel to the entire thing, making for a much better jumping-in point for its arcade-style hack-and-slash action. If you’ve played the other instalments, you’ll obviously get more of the references and understand which blanks are being filled in, but no knowledge of the other games or the backstory is actually required to get through it in one piece.
Looking for a new JRPG? Ys doesn’t exactly qualify. It’s – take a deep breath – an updated English version of the 2005 remake of a Famicom game from 1989, and the third instalment in a series of seven. None of the previous games have made it to PC, but that’s alright; you don’t need to know anything about them to play this one. Unfortunately, that’s largely because this one is astoundingly bland in terms of plot and character, with none of the cutesy weirdness of the Japanese games translated by Carpe Fulgur, or any of the epic storytelling of, say, Final Fantasy. What happens in it? Hero stuff happens. That’s all that sank in.