Trails of Cold Steel was originally released for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on 26 September 2013. Through a collaboration between Nihon Falcom and the Sony Computer Entertainment divisions of Taiwan and Korea, a Mandarin and Korean version was localised on 24 June 2014. On 26 June 2014, Nihon Falcom re-released Trails of Cold Steel under the SuperPrice banner.
On 5 June 2015, XSEED Games announced a localisation of Trails of Cold Steel and soon thereafter Trails of Cold Steel II for 2015 and 2016, respectively. Trails of Cold Steel, as the localisation was named, was released on 22 December 2015 in North America. Apart from the standard edition, XSEED offered a limited "Lionheart Edition", which came with a sturdy box for both Trails of Cold Steel games, a paperback artbook and a pin of the "Golden Stallion", the emblem of Erebonia. Trails of Cold Steel was published in Europe by NISA America on 29 January 2016.
Moving away from the Crossbell setting in Ao no Kiseki and Zero no Kiseki, Trails of Cold Steel takes place in Erebonia, one of the largest and most powerful nations in Zemuria. Chronologically, the game runs parallel to some of the events of the Crossbell duology, starting in March S.1204 - roughly around the same time as the third chapter of Zero no Kiseki.
Despite its wealth and military prowess, Erebonia is in a state of political instability. The Orbal Revolution brought sweeping changes to the sociopolitical, economic, technological, and military landscape of the empire. Among the most significant changes was the formation of a class of powerful, educated commoners whose upward social mobility began to directly challenge the longstanding Erebonian nobility. With the rise of chancellor Giliath Osborne, the nobility has seen their power decline on multiple fronts. While many see this new class of commoners as a positive force of change in Erebonia, others have grown wary of Osborne's regime and his continued militarization of the empire. With tensions growing between supporters of each side, many worry about Erebonia's future.
The story of Trails of Cold Steel centers on Rean Schwarzer and his freshman year at Thors Military Academy, a famous school established by the late and great Emperor Dreichels Reise Arnor. Unbeknownst to him, Rean is enrolled as member of Class VII, a small group of students from various backgrounds and social classes gathered to take part in a pilot curriculum. Armed with state-of-the-art ARCUS orbments and donning unique red uniforms, Class VII embarks on an eventful first year that few students could ever imagine.
Prologue - The Way to Thors
Trails of Cold Steel begins at Garrelia Fortress, located on the eastern edge of the Erebonian Empire. The fortress is in chaos due to an attack by heretofore unknown assailant. A group of teenagers accompanied by two young adults rush indoors and are repulsed by the sight of numerous dead soldiers. Upon assessing the situation, the group quickly realizes that the enemy's attack was a diversion to let them reach the two railway guns stationed at the fortress. Using these weapons, the enemy plans to fire at a target in Crossbell, disrupting a trade conference currently in session and killing Chancellor Osborne in the process. Fearing the worst, the group rushes through Garrelia's interior, fighting off waves of archaisms along the way. After reaching an outdoor deck just below the railway guns, the group is attacked by two Zephryanthes archaisms. They do their best to quickly destroy these archaisms, but they're too late. The railways guns are deployed and the scene cuts away as Rean yells out in desperation.
The game then cuts to March 31st, about three months prior to these events. Rean Schwarzer is seen arriving to Trista by train. After going around town and meeting some fellow students from Thors, he walks to campus to attend Principle Vandyck's opening speech. After the speech is over, most of the students leave the auditorium to attend their designated classes - with the exception of those in red uniforms. Recognizing these students' bewilderment, instructor Sara Valestein explains that their situation is a bit different from every other student's and tells them to join her at the Old Schoolhouse for an orienteering exercise.
Once inside the building, Sara reveals that they are part of Class VII, a newly-formed class that combines students from various backgrounds, including social class. This infuriates Machias Regnitz, who hates nobles and quickly butts heads with Jusis Albarea, a classmate from one of the Four Great Houses in Erebonia. Sara breaks up this squabble and proceeds to start the class's exercise proper. She presses a button on a nearby column and activates a trap door which sends Class VII falling a the basement level below - with the exception of Fie Claussell, who attempts to avoid the fall with a grappling string. Unfortunately, she is scolded by Sara, who snaps the string with a throwing knife and drops her into the basement like everyone else.
Upon dropping down into the basement, Rean finds himself in an awkward situation. He had attempted to save Alisa Reinford from falling, but had unfortunately caused her to land right on top of him with her chest on his face. Embarrassed and angry, Alisa impulsively slaps Rean and refuses to talk to him for a while. After everyone regains their bearings, Sara contacts them via their ARCUS units. She instructs them to pick up their weapons and master quartzes, which were placed on stands around the perimeter of the room. Afterwards, Sara explains that the class's objective is to reach the basement's exit. Thus, Class VII splits up to look for the way out. Fie moves on alone, with Jusis and Machias following stead after getting into another argument. The remaining students split into two groups, with Gaius Worzel and Elliot Craig following Rean and Alisa and Emma Millstein following Laura Arseid.
The rest of the prologue is mostly a dungeon crawl with Rean, Gaius, and Elliot. Jusis eventually joins the team and they find their way to the exit, but not before being attacked by a statue turned monster called the Iglute Garmr. The quartet initially struggles to fight off this beast, but the rest of Class VII eventually come to their aid and they kill it together. Afterwards, Sara congratulates the students on a job well done and explains that their teamwork took advantage of the one the ARCUS units' key new features: combat linking. While Class VII is preparing to leave the old schoolhouse, principal Vandyck and a blonde-haired man dressed in red are seen overlooking the basement from afar and making small talk about their hopes from the class's future.
Chapter 1 - Unconventional Studies
Practical exam: farmer.
Chapter 2 - The Verdant City
Practical exam: sewage cleaner.
Chapter 3 - Beyond the Railways
Practical exam: nomad.
Chapter 4 - A Midsummer's Revels
Chapter 5 - Signs and Omens
Oh shit was that-
Chapter 6 - Progressive Chaos
Practical exam: mine worker.
Final Chapter - Put to the Test
The real Sen no Kiseki starts here.
An alpha build of the game's engine was demonstrated in March 2012, half a year after the release of Ao no Kiseki. It features a small area resembling the final Alto Street in Heimdallr. In this sample, Alisa Reinford serves as main character and was capable of interacting with a couple of NPC's. From this location, it was possible to access the prototype of the Old Schoolhouse discussed below.
Instructions reveal that players could switch characters using the L button and start a battle by interacting with enemies on the field. The battles proceeded in real time, in which one character could be controlled and the others fight automatically. Switching between characters was done using the L and R buttons. One of the NPC's in this area mentions the train derailment of the Transcontinental Railroad. This is dialogue originally appeared in Ao no Kiseki.
Late 2012Thors Military Academy in the final version of the game. For this build, the battle system changed from semi-real time to turn-based. S-Breaks were added in this build. Alisa still serves as the playable main character. The primary purpose of this demo was to test the free rotation of the camera.
Another room that was used during development is a prototype of Trista. In takes place before the Academy Festival. Since in this build Rean Schwarzer has assumed the role of protagonist, it can be assumed that this build was released after August 2012.
Alisa Reinford now serves as an NPC, who Rean finds wondering whether her grandfather or mother are responsible for keeping her bank account in a healthy state. Alisa, surprised that Rean overheard her, tells him to mind his own business and inquires whether that includes jobs for the student council. The demo seems to focus on emotions and gestures of characters.Other NPC's present in this build include Becky (written as ベッキオ, or Beckyo/Vecchio), Hugo, Colette and two nameless students. An unused NPC student named Lyner is also present. Elliot, Towa, Instructor Sara and Sharon are mentioned in passing.
Falcom officially announced Trails of Cold Steel for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita during their investor's meeting on December 14th, 2012. The press release confirmed that the game would take place in Erebonia and that the mechanics would be enhanced with a combat link system, active voice segments and a 360 degree camera. The press release also reveals the designs of Rean Schwarzer, Alisa Reinford, Elliot Craig and Laura S. Arseid. Their names, however, were not included in the press release.
The Finale of Trails of Cold Steel describes the events that transpired between Chapter 6 and the Finale, which were removed from the game and moved to the Drama CD that came with the limited edition of the game. Data mining reveals that fans were correct in assuming that the scene was removed from the game due to time or budget constraints.
Ymir as it was in development for Trails of Cold Steel hardly changed when it finally appeared in-game in Trails of Cold Steel II. The most noteworthy change is the position of grocery store Plover, which was originally positioned directly next to the foot bath in the centre of Ymir, and the residential house, which was originally situated between Plover and Baron Schwarzer's Mansion rather than next to the Valley's Echo inn in the final version. Whereas the village itself appears to be finished, the interiors remained largely unfinished. Models for Rean's adoptive parents, Teo and Lucia Schwarzer, have also been found among the files in Trails of Cold Steel despite not appearing in-game.
Japanese PlayStation 3 cover
Japanese PlayStation Vita cover
Japanese Super Price cover
North American cover
European cover (French version)
- ↑ Endless History. http://www.esterior.net/2012/12/the-erebonia-set-legend-of-heroes-sen-no-kiseki-for-ps3-and-ps-vita-in-2013/
- ↑ Memoirs. Trails of Cold Steel II official website. http://www.trailsofcoldsteel.com/cs2/memoirs1.html