Earlier today, NIS American several entries from its cult favorite Trails RPG series would be making their way west. This was cause for celebration for fan group Geofront, which helped to translate two of the games — The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, also known as the “Crossbell duology” among fans.
Geofront announced the partnership on its official website, confirming that the group’s patches would serve as the basis for the official localization. As part of the agreement, Geofront has pulled the patches from its website, urging fans to celebrate the official releases instead.
In a lengthy article on the group’s website, team members also posted personal statements about what the partnership meant to them.
“Somehow—for some reason—everything has worked out. Not just worked out, but worked out in the best possible way,” wrote Zerker, the Trails From Zero project lead.
Group co-founder OMGFloofy said the group was happy that NIS America was keeping the localized titles along with the logos. “[T]he team working with the games has been amazingly receptive to everything we’ve done and what we want to discuss with them regarding the games.”
Geofront isn’t the first fan group to have its work officially adapted by a publisher. Back in 2010, XSEED licensed the fan translation for Ys: The Oath in Felghana and released it on PSP and Steam. Nevertheless, it’s relatively rare, with publishers generally preferring to use the work created by their own in-house localization team.
Geofront’s work arose from the lack of any kind of official release for the Crossbell duology for more than a decade. Originally released on PlayStation Portable in 2010 and 2011 respectively, Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure remained tantalizingly out of reach of fans despite the rising popularity of Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel — both of which eventually made it to North America. A separate fan translation of Trails to Azure was released in 2018, with Geofront completing its own translation in May 2021.
They are part of the larger Trails franchise, which now comprises several games set across multiple sub-series. Referred to as the Kiseki series in Japan, they are part of the even larger Legend of Heroes RPG series, which has roots extending all the way back to Japanese PCs from the 1980s. Of the many games released under the Legend of Heroes banner, the most famous in North America is likely the Trails of Cold Steel tetralogy, which recently wrapped its run on Nintendo Switch and PS4.
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In addition to Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, NIS America also announced English releases of Trails into Reverie and Boundless Trails. All four were leaked on the Epic Games Store ahead of a Nihon Falcom 40th anniversary event.
Trails from Zero will be the first of the games to be released in Fall 2022, with the rest following in 2023 on PS4, Switch, and PC. It’ll be a long wait, but that isn’t diminishing Geofront’s excitement, even as it prepares to hand the reins over to NIS America.
“While our time with Crossbell may have come to an end, we know everyone on NIS America’s localization team working on these two games will preserve the love and care we put into them. They have welcomed us with open arms, because, at the end of the day, we aren’t as different as we seem,” wrote Trails from Azure’s project lead, referring to simply as Scott. “We all have so much passion for what we do — and it shows. Now, more people around the world will finally get to experience these two masterpieces in English and see the passion that both teams have put into getting Crossbell over the language barrier.”