Vagrant Story

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Vagrant Story
The "Summer of Adventure" North American release
Developer(s) Square Product Development Division 4
Director(s) Yasumi Matsuno
Producer(s) Yasumi Matsuno
Programmer(s) Taku Murata
Artist(s) Hiroshi Minagawa
Akihiko Yoshida
Writer(s) Yasumi Matsuno
Jun Akiyama
Composer(s) Hitoshi Sakimoto
Platform(s) PlayStation
  • JP: February 10, 2000
  • NA: May 15, 2000
  • EU: June 21, 2000
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Vagrant Story(ベイグラントストーリー,Beiguranto Sutōrī) is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the PlayStation video game console. The game was released in 2000, and has been re-released through the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita consoles. Vagrant Story was primarily developed by the team responsible for Final Fantasy Tactics , with Yasumi Matsuno serving as producer, writer and director.

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

Square Enix Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling over 115 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

PlayStation (console) Fifth-generation and first home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment

The PlayStation is a home video game console developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. The console was released on 3 December 1994 in Japan, 9 September 1995 in North America, 29 September 1995 in Europe, and 15 November 1995 in Australia. The console was the first of the PlayStation lineup of home video game consoles. It primarily competed with the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn as part of the fifth generation of video game consoles.


The game takes place in the fictional kingdom of Valendia and the ruined city of Leá Monde. The story centers on Ashley Riot, an elite agent known as a Riskbreaker, who must travel to Leá Monde to investigate the link between a cult leader and a senior Valendian Parliament member, Duke Bardorba. In the prologue, Ashley is blamed for murdering the duke, and the game discloses the events that happen one week before the murder.

Fictional country country that exists only in fiction and not in reality

A fictional country is a country that is made up for fictional stories, and does not exist in real life, or one that people believe in without proof. Sailors have always mistaken low clouds for land masses, and in later times this was given the name Dutch capes. Other fictional lands appear most commonly as settings or subjects of myth, literature, film, or video games. They may also be used for technical reasons in actual reality for use in the development of specifications, such as the fictional country of Bookland, which is used to allow EAN "country" codes 978 and 979 to be used for ISBN numbers assigned to books, and code 977 to be assigned for use for ISSN numbers on magazines and other periodicals. Also, the ISO 3166 country code "ZZ" is reserved as a fictional country code,.

Ghost town city depopulated of inhabitants and that stays practically intact

A ghost town is an abandoned village, town, or city, usually one that contains substantial visible remains. A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, prolonged droughts, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, pollution, or nuclear disasters. The term can sometimes refer to cities, towns, and neighbourhoods that are still populated, but significantly less so than in past years; for example, those affected by high levels of unemployment and dereliction.

Cult Social group

In modern English, the term cult has come to usually refer to a social group defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal. This sense of the term is controversial and it has divergent definitions in both popular culture and academia and it also has been an ongoing source of contention among scholars across several fields of study. It is usually considered pejorative.

Vagrant Story is unique as a console action-adventure role-playing game in that it features no shops and no player interaction with other characters; instead, the game focuses on weapon creation and modification, as well as elements of puzzle-solving and strategy. The game received critical acclaim from gaming magazines and websites.


Vagrant Story is a solo action role-playing game, in which the player controls Ashley Riot from a third-person perspective while exploring Leá Monde and the catacombs underneath. The player may also switch into first-person perspective to allow for a 360° view using the START button or right analog stick on the game controller. Characters and sprites are proportionate with each other, and the player navigates Ashley on a three-dimensional field map. Navigation is in real-time, and areas accessed by the player are stored in an in-game map menu. [1] [2]

Isometric projection method for the visual representation of three-dimensional objects in two dimensions

Isometric projection is a method for visually representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions in technical and engineering drawings. It is an axonometric projection in which the three coordinate axes appear equally foreshortened and the angle between any two of them is 120 degrees.

Catacombs cemetery

Catacombs are human-made subterranean passageways for religious practice. Any chamber used as a burial place is a catacomb, although the word is most commonly associated with the Roman Empire.

In computer science, real-time computing (RTC), or reactive computing describes hardware and software systems subject to a "real-time constraint", for example from event to system response. Real-time programs must guarantee response within specified time constraints, often referred to as "deadlines". The correctness of these types of systems depends on their temporal aspects as well as their functional aspects. Real-time responses are often understood to be in the order of milliseconds, and sometimes microseconds. A system not specified as operating in real time cannot usually guarantee a response within any timeframe, although typical or expected response times may be given.

Ashley can run, jump, and push crates and cubes to navigate around obstacles, adding puzzle and platforming elements to gameplay. [1] During the game, the player must sometimes solve block puzzles to advance the story. When the player returns to a completed block puzzle room, a time-attack mode called "Evolve, or Die!!" begins. Players must reach the end of the room in the shortest time possible, after which they are ranked. This stage is optional and can be turned off from the menu. [2] [3]

Platform game video game genre

Platform games, or platformers, are a video game genre and subgenre of action game. In a platformer the player controlled character must jump and climb between suspended platforms while avoiding obstacles. Environments often feature uneven terrain of varying height that must be traversed. The player often has some control over the height and distance of jumps to avoid letting their character fall to their death or miss necessary jumps. The most common unifying element of games of this genre is the jump button, but now there are other alternatives like swiping a touchscreen. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay as well, such as swinging from objects such as vines or grappling hooks, as in Ristar or Bionic Commando, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines, as in Alpha Waves. These mechanics, even in the context of other genres, are commonly called platforming, a verbification of platform. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.

In the field map, players may engage the enemy as soon as they enter Battle Mode, which uses a pausable real-time combat system, much like Square's Parasite Eve (1998). [4] In Battle Mode, when the player taps the attack button, a spherical grid appears around Ashley. Individual body parts within this sphere can be targeted. The battle system involves the player chaining different attacks known as Chain Abilities to achieve large combos and deal damage to the enemy. This is done by pressing buttons in timely succession, making combat resemble a rhythm game. [1] In addition to Chain Abilities, Defensive Abilities allow Ashley to reduce or reflect damage or avoid status ailments. Ashley also gains Break Arts, which exchange his hit points (HP) for increased damage. [1]

<i>Parasite Eve</i> (video game) videogame

Parasite Eve is a 1998 action role-playing video game developed and published by Square. The game is a sequel to the novel Parasite Eve written by Hideaki Sena; it is also the first game in the Parasite Eve video game series. The story follows New York City police officer Aya Brea over a six-day span in 1997 as she attempts to stop the Eve, a woman who plans to destroy the human race through spontaneous human combustion. Players explore levels set in areas of New York while utilizing a pausable real-time combat system along with several role-playing game elements.

Music video game music-themed video game genre

A music video game, also commonly known as a music game, is a video game where the gameplay is meaningfully and often almost entirely oriented around the player's interactions with a musical score or individual songs. Music video games may take a variety of forms and are often grouped with puzzle games due to their common use of "rhythmically generated puzzles".

Ashley attacks a Crimson Blade soldier. The exclamation mark indicates the point where the player can chain attacks; reflexes must be keen to inflict higher damage to the enemy. Vs-ashleyblade.jpg
Ashley attacks a Crimson Blade soldier. The exclamation mark indicates the point where the player can chain attacks; reflexes must be keen to inflict higher damage to the enemy.

Magic in Vagrant Story is learned later in the game using Grimoires that are dropped by enemies. Once a Grimoire is used, the magic spell associated with the Grimoire will remain in the menu, and players only need to spend magic points (MP) to cast a learned spell. Magic spells can be used to attack, heal, create status effects, and manipulate Ashley's elemental and enemy affinities. Certain magic spells allow the player to affect multiple targets by using a small sphere positioned within the Battle Mode wire frame. Unlike physical attacks however, magic attacks cannot be chained. [1] [2]

Grimoire book of magic spells and invocations.

A grimoire is a textbook of magic, typically including instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination, and how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, deities and demons. In many cases, the books themselves are believed to be imbued with magical powers, although in many cultures, other sacred texts that are not grimoires have been believed to have supernatural properties intrinsically. In this manner, while all books on magic could be thought of as grimoires, not all magical books should be thought of as grimoires.

In role-playing games, a status effect is a temporary modification to a game character’s original set of stats that usually comes into play when special powers and abilities are used, often during combat. It appears in numerous computer and video games of many genres, most commonly in role-playing video games. The term status effect can be applied both to changes that provide a character an advantage, and those that hinder the character . Especially in MMORPGs, beneficial effects are referred to as buffs, and hindering effects are called debuffs.

Risk is an essential element in the battle system. A Risk bar is placed below the HP and MP bar, representing the Risk Points the player has accumulated. Risk Points affect Ashley's concentration; the longer Ashley attacks a target, the more his Risk Point accumulates — lowering his accuracy and defenses. Chain and Defensive Abilities increase Risk faster than regular attacks, while Break Arts do not increase Risk at all. Enemy attacks and spells deal more damage if the player has high Risk. The advantage, however, is the higher chances for the player to score critical hits and restore higher HP. [2]

Vagrant Story's crafting system allows the player to create and customize weapons and armor in designated "workshop" areas, inputting various ranges, strengths, and statistics. Weapons fall into one of three main damage types: blunt, piercing, and edged. Equipment are influenced by their material and affinity to enemy classes and elements. [3] Affinities influence the effectiveness of weapons and armor; however, equipment might lose one form of affinity when it gains another type. Weapons and armor can be combined, merging their affinities and sometimes creating a new type of blade or armor in the process. [1] Different weapon types have different ranges, such as a crossbow having a longer range than melee weapons such as a mace. [5]

Like several Square titles, the New Game Plus option is made available to the player upon first completing the game. In Vagrant Story, selecting "New Game+" enables the player to replay the story using their end-game weapons, items, and statistics instead of the defaults. [3] This option allows players to access a hidden level, which features more intimidating enemies and more powerful equipment. The story does not change, and original enemy statistics will remain at default.



The Rood of Iocus, mystic symbol of the game. Vagrant Story Rood.svg
The Rood of Iocus, mystic symbol of the game.

Vagrant Story is set in the fictitious city of Leá Monde, while the kingdom of Valendia is engulfed in civil war. Leá Monde is an old town with a history spanning more than two millennia. Located on an island surrounded by reefs, the walls have been the "witness of many battles" and are "stronger than the mightiest forts of Valendia". [6] In its golden years, Leá Monde was a thriving community until an earthquake struck the town 25 years before the game, destroying the city and leaving the ground unstable. [7]

The Grand Cathedral and the Temple of Kiltia are at the center of the city. This area is surrounded by the west and east districts, both in fairly good shape, as well as the massive, fortress-like City Walls. Beneath the ground are an abandoned mineshaft and limestone quarry, the shadowy labyrinths of an "Undercity", and the dark Iron Maiden dungeon. [6] The maze-like Snowfly Forest, named for the so-called snowflies that can be found within, covers part of the city. Other locations include the Graylands, the setting for the prologue event; and Valnain, the city where the Valendia Knights of Peace's Headquarters is located. While Valendia and Leá Monde are fictitious, the game's scenery is inspired by real-life landscapes of the southwest of France, including the city of Saint-Émilion. [7]


The protagonist is Ashley Riot, a male member of the Valendia Knights of the Peace (VKP) in pursuit of a cult leader named Sydney Losstarot. Sydney, leader of the religious cult Müllenkamp, laid siege to Duke Bardorba's manor in search of a key and kidnapped Bardorba's son, Joshua. Ashley's partner is Callo Merlose, an agent of the VKP Inquisitors. Also attempting to capture Sydney is Romeo Guildenstern of the Crimson Blades, whose mission was undertaken without the approval of the VKP. [8]

Ashley is a Riskbreaker, a militant division of the VKP responsible for upholding state security and law. [9] Although Callo accompanies him, Ashley does not accept her as a combat partner due to her lack of combat experience. [10] Callo ends up being Sydney's hostage and discovers the truth of Müllenkamp's activities. Another Riskbreaker, Rosencrantz, appears during Ashley's battles in Leá Monde, briefing him on the plans of the VKP, Sydney and the Cardinal, and subsequently his take on Ashley's past. This casts suspicion on Ashley's behalf, as Riskbreakers always work alone.

The Crimson Blades, under direct orders of Cardinal Batistum, are a group that is part of the Cardinal's Knights of the Cross, in charge of seeking heretics and quelling cults. [11] Romeo Guildenstern, their leader, is a pious man, deeply faithful to his belief and consequently immune to the Dark's powers. Under orders of the Cardinal, he pursues Sydney with a small army in his command and his captains: Samantha, Duane, Grissom, Tieger and Neesa. [12]

Müllenkamp is a cult based in Leá Monde. [13] The city suffered a catastrophe when the population was killed in an earthquake. [14] The city, filled with corpses controlled by Darkness, is the cult's stronghold. Sydney and his accomplice, Hardin, survive the pursuit of the Crimson Blade, though Hardin sometimes doubts Sydney's intentions.


The plot of Vagrant Story, titled "The Phantom Pain", is presented as the prelude to the "story of the wanderer". [15] Beginning in the Graylands, Ashley and Callo are sent by the VKP to Duke Bardorba's manor to investigate the Duke's involvement with Müllenkamp and the Cardinal's interest in Sydney Losstarot. [8] [16] Ashley infiltrates the manor and encounters Sydney, witnessing his powers first hand. [17] [18] Sydney escapes with his accomplice Hardin and the Duke's son Joshua, leaving Ashley with a clue to his whereabouts. [19] This event was dubbed the "Graylands Incident".

Ashley Riot faces a wyvern during the opening sequence. The game directly switches between event cutscenes and gameplay using the same character models. Vs-ashleywyvern.jpg
Ashley Riot faces a wyvern during the opening sequence. The game directly switches between event cutscenes and gameplay using the same character models.

Ashley and Callo arrive in Leá Monde and a lone Ashley infiltrates the city through the underground wine cellars. Along the way, he learns of objects holding magical power known as Grimoires and the city's power to spawn the undead and mythological creatures. [20] He encounters Guildenstern and his lover Samantha, and learns of the condition known as incomplete death and the Cardinal's true intention for his pursuit of Sydney: immortality. [21] [22] The Crimson Blades confront Ashley and reveals his presence to Guildenstern.

Escaping unharmed, Ashley encounters Rosencrantz who intends to join him, though Ashley declines. [23] Rosencrantz tells him of the VKP and the Parliaments' knowledge of the dark powers of Leá Monde, and that the hidden powers deep within a person can be unleashed with the help of the Dark. In his encounters with Sydney, Ashley is shown visions of his past, where his wife Tia and his son Marco are killed by rogues. Meeting Rosencrantz again, Ashley is told that they were not his family, but mistaken targets he killed during a mission of theirs. Ashley's guilt over their deaths was manipulated by the VKP to turn Ashley into a loyal Riskbreaker. [24] Ashley recalls his hidden battle skills and experiences "clairvoyance", seeing the progress of the Crimson Blades, which leads him to the Great Cathedral.

Sydney had captured Callo earlier and brought her with them. Callo learned that Hardin was skeptical of Sydney's plans. [25] She begins to develop the powers of "heart-seeing", a form of telepathy, as they continue their escape deeper into Leá Monde. [26] With her powers, she learned of Sydney's intentions and Hardin's reason to join Müllenkamp and his closeness to Joshua. [27] [28] [29] Sydney left them to stop the others from advancing; taunting Guildenstern and Samantha, and provoking Ashley to follow him as he intends to bestow his powers upon Ashley. [30] Ashley was not interested in inheriting the powers of Darkness; seeing that Callo had been captured, his only intention is to rescue her. [31]

While discussing the Gran Grimoire, a powerful source of magic, Guildenstern and Samantha discover ancient Kildean letterings carved throughout the city walls. [32] Rosencrantz reveals that the city is the Gran Grimoire and its power lies at the city center: the Grand Cathedral. As Guildenstern leaves for the Grand Cathedral, Rosencrantz searches for Ashley and Sydney. Finding them, Rosencrantz, confident in his immunity against Darkness, tries to force Sydney to surrender his powers. [33] Rosencrantz also assaults Ashley to prove that he is not a suitable candidate for the powers of Darkness. [34] Sydney refuses to listen and kills Rosencrantz by using a possessed statue, leaving Ashley to once again prove himself as his chosen successor.

Guildenstern continues on to the Great Cathedral in the center of the city, leading him to Callo, Hardin and Joshua. Interrogating Hardin about a certain "key" known as the Blood-Sin, [35] [36] Guildenstern reveals his intentions in acquiring the Dark's powers. [37] Sydney arrives to teleport Hardin and the rest away, leaving him to Guildenstern. Guildenstern acquires the "key" from him and murders Samantha as his sacrifice for the powers of darkness. Ashley arrives later and listens as Sydney reveals his true intentions. [38] Ashley then confronts Guildenstern and manages to defeat him.

Upon Guildenstern's defeat, Ashley, now bearing the "key", carries Sydney out of the collapsing city. The creatures spawned within the city begin to disappear. Callo, Hardin and Joshua escape the city, though Hardin dies and the fate of Callo and Joshua remains unknown. In the epilogue, Ashley goes to visit the ailing Duke Bardorba in his manor, although once they were alone, it was Sydney who was in the room. Sydney tells the duke that he had found a suitable heir to the Darkness in Ashley, and that their plan to inherit the powers of Darkness was successful. [39] The duke then proceeds to kill Sydney, and he himself died soon after of unknown causes. In a report received by the VKP a week after the Graylands Incident, the duke was believed to be murdered, and Ashley became the prime suspect, though he was never found again.


Matsuno, the game's producer and director, preferred to create a new game title from scratch and use design ideas from staff collaborations, rather than reusing popular characters and designs that are found in sequels. Vagrant Story is regarded as a mixture of genres, as it contains elements of role-playing in its battles and platform games when in the field map. Matsuno explained that the development team was not eager to place Vagrant Story into a specific genre, preferring to create the game with a genre of its own. [40] [41]

Saint-Emilion. Portail eglise monolithe.jpg

During the design phase, Matsuno was shown photographs from France, particularly Saint-Émilion in the region of Bordeaux. This region was visited by one of Matsuno's colleagues, who was a wine enthusiast and favored Saint-Émilion, one of the largest vineyards of Bordeaux. Captivated by this small town's architecture, the design team went on a trip to France to adopt these styles into the game. A team of five people was formed in September 1998, including Matsuno and the principal persons in charge of graphics and decorations, to realize the game's setting. [40] [42]

Development of the game began in January 1998, spanning two years with manpower that steadily increased from 20 to 50 at peak development phase. The storyline conceived for the game follows Ashley Riot's origins as a dedicated government agent prior to being the titular "vagrant" who is "involved in many incidents" after the events in Leá Monde. Inspiration for the plot is derived from Hollywood "classic and blockbuster" films as well as European and Asian films. The gameplay was conceived to cater to hardcore gamers who do not "ask for hints and read through strategy guides". However, Matsuno revealed that over half of the game's story was cut due to capacity and development time constraints. Memory issues was considered the most challenging aspect of the game development, with the team forced to adjust the game's interface, texture mapping and polygon mesh in maps, as well as removing gaming elements such as AI-controlled supporting non-player characters that would have joined Ashley in the middle of the game. [41] [43]

Vagrant Story was conceived during a time when most games had made the transition into three-dimensional graphics. Games with real-time polygons were the mainstream, and it was decided for Vagrant Story to follow this trend. Murata, the main programmer, expressed his concerns in working towards a large-scale three-dimensional game for the first time. To avoid discrepancies in the frame rate caused by the large number of polygon models, the modeling team had to select an aspect of each character to focus their attention. Art director Minagawa mentioned that painstaking detail were given to each individual model, even to characters that only appear for a few seconds in the game. The same character models were used throughout the game to create a seamless transition between event cutscenes and actual gameplay. [40] The sound effects of Vagrant Story are credited to Minoru Akao, the game's sound programmer; and Tomohiro Yajima, the sound editor and engineer.


A demo disc of Vagrant Story was included in the packaging of Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana in Japan. During the Square Millennium Event held by Square in Tokyo, movies of Vagrant Story such as the opening sequence and the weapon crafting system were presented to onlookers. Matsuno stated that a normal playthrough would take the player five to six hours to complete. [44]

In North America, Vagrant Story was released as part of Square's "Summer of Adventure" that lasted from May to September 2000. [45] [46] Vagrant Story was released with two discs; the first disc is the game itself, while the second disc is a demo disc released by Square to give the player a preview of seven titles. The seven titles include three interactive demos and four non-interactive demos; the former being Chocobo Racing , Front Mission 3 and Threads of Fate , and the latter Chrono Cross , SaGa Frontier 2 , Chocobo's Dungeon 2 and Legend of Mana. Both discs were included in the North American release on May 15, 2000. [47] Due to a ruling by the Quebec government that video game titles in Canada should be sold with both French and English-language instructions, Vagrant Story's release was delayed in Canada. [48] In the European PAL release, the game did not feature the additional demo disc.


On April 13, 2000, DigiCube published the Vagrant Story Ultimania , the official 496-page strategy guide for the game with the ISBN   4-925075-75-6. The contents include staff interviews, a detailed background story, and information on monsters and items. On July 20, 2006, the book was republished by Studio BentStuff and Square Enix. Other merchandise include jewellery, T-shirts, cigarette lighters and posters featuring character artwork and CG renders. [49] For the North American release, a 16-page comic-book tie-in with art by Steve Firchow, Clarence Lansang and Michael Turner of Witchblade fame was published by Eruptor Entertainment and Squaresoft. The comic was freely distributed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2000 and included an interview between Matsuno and Square Electronic Arts assistant product manager Andrew Shiozaki. [41]


The original score for Vagrant Story was composed, arranged, and produced by Hitoshi Sakimoto, whose previous video game works included the soundtracks to Radiant Silvergun and Final Fantasy Tactics , with additional arrangement by Takeharu Ishimoto for Track 2–30 and Hirosato Noda for Track 2–31. A Japanese orchestra ensemble, Shinozuka Group, performed for the orchestral piece of Track 2–29. All synthesizing operations are led by Takeharu Ishimoto with assistance from Hidenori Iwasaki for Track 1–1 and Hirosato Noda for Track 2–18. [50]

Sakimoto noted that during the initial phase, he composed "bright and cheerful" tunes similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, but Matsuno emphasized music that was "more deep and heavy". Matsuno also advised him to listen to music from The X-Files for ideas on ambient scores, and Sakimoto pointed out influences of James Horner and Hans Zimmer in his compositions. Sakimoto was impressed with the dedication of the development team to the game, and expressed uneasiness trying to come up with music during the game previews. Sakimoto created themes for each character and monster, and made several changes in their melody to reflect their relationships, feelings as well as antagonistic views. [51] The soundtrack for Vagrant Story remains to be one of Sakimoto's favorite compositions. [52]

The album was first released on two Compact Discs by DigiCube on March 8, 2000 bearing the catalog number SSCX-10042. It was subsequently re-released by Square Enix on March 24, 2006 with the catalog number SQEX-10068/9; the re-release removed some of the original PlayStation synth reverb, yielding a slightly different version of the audio. The CDs contain 57 tracks, including two remixes and tracks that were not used in the game. Packaged with it is a small booklet featuring interviews with the composer and character artworks. [50]


In May 2000, Vagrant Story was the fifth best-selling PlayStation title of the month. [53] 100,000 units were sold in the first 20 days of the game's release, [3] despite being overshadowed by other Square titles like Final Fantasy IX and Chrono Cross . [3] Vagrant Story was the third of twenty games to date, and the only game on the PlayStation, to receive a perfect score of 40 from Famitsu magazine. [54] [55]

Aggregate scores
GameRankings 92% (43 reviews) [56]
Metacritic 92/100 (19 reviews) [57]
Review scores
Edge 7/10
EGM 9/10
Famitsu 40/40
GameSpot 9.6/10
IGN 9.6/10
OPM (US) Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg
PSX Extreme9.6/10

Reviews were generally positive—multimedia news websites IGN and GameSpot praised the gameplay and story. IGN described the story as "so deep and intuitive that it'll likely please fans", and said the battle system maintains "a needed element of strategy and balance". [3] The graphics were seen as a breakaway from the clichés of Square's contemporary titles. [58] Extensive detail was given to the background settings and character expressions. [58] The game's sound effects have been praised as "well done and impressive, straying from Square's synthed noise", [1] as details such as the background audio help create a believable world for the player. [3]

The battle system, however, was described by GameSpot as too complex for beginner players, as even hard-core players require a "comprehensive understanding" of the weapon customization system. [1] IGN pointed out that enemy encounters can be more difficult than boss battles. [3] noted that the game's inventory was too limited for the vast number of customizations possible; this was considered particularly troublesome because some boss enemies are only vulnerable to certain types of weapons. [59]

Alexander O. Smith is responsible for the English localization of Vagrant Story, using archaic English as compared to its straightforward Japanese version. His effort on translating Vagrant Story was described by Andrew Vestal as an "unparalleled—and unprecedented—work" of Japanese to English video game translation, "in spite of the occasional typo or grammatical hiccup", as quoted by IGN. [3] [60] Vagrant Story was awarded "Best PlayStation Game" in the E3 2000 IGN Awards [61] and was nominated for Best Console Action/Adventure in the 4th Annual Interactive Achievements Awards held by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. [62]


Three years after its 2000 release, Vagrant Story was selected as one of Sony's Greatest Hits. Games released as Greatest Hits were sold at a lower price, often increasing units sold. [63] Vagrant Story is also part of Ultimate Hits, Square Enix's main budget range. [64] The game was later made playable on Sony's PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 consoles when Square Enix announced the title's release on the PlayStation Stores in Japan, Europe and North America. [65] [66] [67]

The 2006 role-playing video game Final Fantasy XII contains several references to Vagrant Story. Terms such as Riskbreaker, Leámonde and Kildea (albeit with different spellings in the localizations), are commonly used in both games. According to an interview with Joypad, a French gaming magazine, in 2004, Yasumi Matsuno claimed during its development that Ivalice, the game world he created when he joined Square in 1995, is a complex world with a very long history and the stories of Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy XII are said to unfold quite close on the Ivalice map. [68] The original plan, however, was not to place Vagrant Story in the Ivalice universe. Matsuno stated in 2011 via his Twitter account that the plot elements of Final Fantasy Tactics found in Vagrant Story were meant to be intertextual reference to the Ivalice title as a form of "fan service". [69] [70]

Vagrant Story is acknowledged as a game with an "extreme popularity" outside Japan eight years after it was first released. [71] In October 2007, during an interview with the development team responsible for the remake of Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation Portable, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions , Executive Producer Akitoshi Kawazu was asked about the possibility of a remake or port of the title to the PSP. Kawazu mentioned that it is "the next natural candidate for such an update", although there would be difficulty in porting the game, because it was a title that already pushed the original PlayStation to its technical limits. Kawazu also remarked that bringing the character Ashley Riot into other Ivalice titles would be difficult since, even in Vagrant Story, "there's really not that much learn(ed) about Ashley Riot". [71]

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<i>Final Fantasy Tactics</i> 1997 video game

Final Fantasy Tactics is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Squaresoft for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series and was released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998. The game combines thematic elements of the Final Fantasy video game series with a game engine and battle system unlike those previously seen in the franchise. In contrast to other 32-bit era Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy Tactics uses a 3D, isometric, rotatable playing field, with bitmap sprite characters.

Yasumi Matsuno is a Japanese video game designer. Formally an employee at Quest Corporation and Square, Matsuno is best known for his work in the tactical role-playing game genre, specifically the Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics series, in addition to Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII.

<i>Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together</i> 1995 RPG video game

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is a Japanese tactical role-playing game created by Quest. The game was released in 1995 on the Super Famicom in Japan as a sequel to Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. Let Us Cling Together is the second entry released in the Ogre Battle franchise, featuring many dramatically different gameplay elements from its predecessor. While The March of the Black Queen has the player managing an army of squads free-roaming in semi-real time over larger areas of land, Tactics Ogre features turn-based battles and offers more control over individual characters. The game was re-released on the Sega Saturn in 1996 and the PlayStation in 1997. An enhanced port of the game developed by the original development team was released on February 15, 2011 for the PSP. In some regions, notably Japan, the port was retitled as Tactics Ogre: Wheel of Fate.

Akihiko Yoshida is a Japanese game artist. Yoshida was born in 1967 and joined Square Co. in 1995, before the company merged with Enix. He then left Square Enix in September 2013 and became freelance. On October 2014, he became the company director of CyDesignation, a subsidiary of Cygames. He is well known for his work on the Final Fantasy series. He is a frequent collaborator of game designer Yasumi Matsuno.

Hiroshi Minagawa Japanese video game designer

Hiroshi Minagawa, also known by the nickname Nigoro, is a Japanese video game artist, designer and director.

Hitoshi Sakimoto Japanese composer

Hitoshi Sakimoto is a Japanese video game music composer and arranger. He is best known for scoring Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII, though he has composed soundtracks for over 80 other games. He began playing music and video games in elementary school, and began composing video game music for money by the time he was 16. Sakimoto's professional career began a few years later in 1988 when he started composing music professionally as a freelancer, as well as programming sound drivers for games. Five years and 40 games later, he achieved his first mainstream success with the score to Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. In 1997, he joined Square and composed for his first international success, the score to Final Fantasy Tactics.

Alexander O. Smith is a professional English–Japanese translator and author. While his output covers many areas such as adaptation of Japanese novels, manga, song lyrics, anime scripts, and various academic works, he is best known for his software localizations of Japanese video games including Vagrant Story, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and Final Fantasy XII. He currently resides in Kamakura, Japan, where he operates his own contract localization business, Kajiya Productions, and is co-founder of a translation and publishing company, Bento Books.

Ivalice fictional place in Final Fantasy Tactics

Ivalice is a fictional universe setting primarily appearing in the Final Fantasy video game series. The world was co-created by Yasumi Matsuno and Hiroyuki Ito, and has since been expanded upon by several games as the Ivalice Alliance series. Ivalice is described as a complex world with a very long history, and the stories of Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII all take place in it.

Vaan fictional character

Vaan is a fictional character in the Final Fantasy series from Square Enix. Created by Yasumi Matsuno and designed by Akihiko Yoshida, he first appeared in Itadaki Street Special and then appeared in Final Fantasy XII as the protagonist. Final Fantasy XII establishes Vaan as an orphaned teenager from Rabanastre who dreams of becoming a sky pirate. He and his best friend Penelo join Dalmasca Princess Ashe in her fight against the tyranny of the Archadian Empire. Vaan also takes a more active role in the sequel Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and has also been featured in few Final Fantasy crossover games.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy XII was composed primarily by Hitoshi Sakimoto. Additional music was provided by Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo, who also orchestrated the opening and ending themes. Former regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu's only work for this game was "Kiss Me Good-Bye", the theme song sung by Angela Aki. The Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack was released on four Compact Discs in 2006 by Aniplex. A sampling of tracks from the soundtrack was released as an album entitled Selections from Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack, and was released in 2006 by Tofu Records. Additionally, a promotional digital album titled The Best of Final Fantasy XII was released on the Japanese localization of iTunes for download only in 2006. "Kiss Me Good-Bye" was released by Epic Records as a single in 2006, and Symphonic Poem "Hope", the complete music from the game's end credits, was released by Hats Unlimited in 2006. An abridged version of the latter piece, which originally accompanied a promotional video for the game, was included in the official soundtrack album. An album of piano arrangements, titled Piano Collections Final Fantasy XII, was released by Square Enix in 2012.

Quest Corporation

Quest Corporation was a Japanese video game company founded in 1988. They were originally known as Bothtec, which had developed The Scheme, a Metroidvania-style open world action role-playing game featuring music by Yuzo Koshiro, that same year. Quest is best known for its critically acclaimed tactical role-playing game series Ogre Battle.

The music of the Final Fantasy Tactics series, composed of Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, and Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, was primarily composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto. He was assisted by Masaharu Iwata in composing the music for Final Fantasy Tactics. The Final Fantasy Tactics Original Soundtrack, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by DigiCube in 1997, and re-released by Square Enix in 2006. No separate soundtrack has been released for Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. The soundtrack was well received by critics, who found it to be astounding and one of the best video game music soundtracks in existence at the time of its release.

<i>Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift</i> video game

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS handheld game console. Releasing in 2007 in Japan and 2008 in the West, the game is a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and forms part of the Ivalice Alliance, a group of games set in the titular fictional universe. The game features cameo appearances from central and supporting characters from Final Fantasy XII, a title set in Ivalice.

<i>Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead</i> (film) 1990 film by Tom Stoppard

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is a 1990 comedy-drama film written and directed by Tom Stoppard based on his play of the same name. Like the play, the film depicts two minor characters from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who find themselves on the road to Elsinore Castle at the behest of the King of Denmark.

<i>Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead</i> 2009 film by Jordan Galland

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead is a 2009 American independent film written and directed by Jordan Galland. The film's title refers to a fictitious play-within-the-movie, which is a comic reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and its aftermath and whose title is a reference to the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The cast includes Devon Aoki, John Ventimiglia, Kris Lemche, Ralph Macchio, Jeremy Sisto and Waris Ahluwalia. The film stars Jake Hoffman. An original musical score was composed and performed by Sean Lennon.

<i>Rosencrantz and Guildenstern</i> (play) play by W. S. Gilbert

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, A Tragic Episode, in Three Tabloids is a short comic play by W. S. Gilbert, a parody of Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The main characters in Gilbert's play are King Claudius and Queen Gertrude of Denmark, their son Prince Hamlet, the courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Ophelia.

<i>Nier</i> (video game) video game

Nier is an action role-playing video game developed by Cavia and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In Japan, the game was released as Nier Gestalt for the Xbox 360, while an alternate version entitled Nier Replicant was released for PlayStation 3 with a younger main character. A version that combined elements from both releases was in development for PlayStation Vita, but was cancelled in March 2011 due to Dragon Quest X taking precedence.

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs). The eponymous first game in the series, published in 1987, was conceived by Sakaguchi as his last-ditch effort in the game industry; the title was a success and spawned sequels. While most entries in the series are separate from each other, they have recurring elements carrying over between entries: these include plot themes and motifs, gameplay mechanics such as the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, and signature character designs from the likes of Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.


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  8. 1 2 VKP Officer: Furthermore, we must find out why the Cardinal sent his blades to deal with this incident without our approval. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  9. Rosencrantz: We were always the champions of justice, true, but a justice that served the state alone. Square (2006-10-31). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  10. Ashley: An agent with no combat experience would just be a liability. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  11. Ashley: Are cults not the Templars' concern? Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  12. Guildenstern: Grissom, gather our remaining men. Join with Tieger's knights, and crush Müllenkamp. Go! / Grissom: By your command. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  13. Rosencrantz: However, Leá Monde has strong ties to the Dark, for this is the Dark city of the ancient Kildean priestess Müllenkamp.Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  14. Narrator:At its height, Leá Monde was a thriving community more than 5,000 people strong. Twenty-five years ago, a great earthquake brought that chapter in Leá Monde's history to a close.Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  15. Narrator: And so began the story of the wanderer, the vagrant./ Title Card: "The Phantom Pain". Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  16. VKP Officer: Our Inquisitors have found that Müllenkamp's coin comes from the captive duke himself. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  17. Ashley: What's going on? You were most certainly dead! Leave the back-from-the-grave stuff to faerie tales... Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  18. Duke Bardorba: The fool Sydney used his wyvern. We can't have witnesses telling the world, can we? Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  19. Sydney: I...I'm the one you want. Hardin...go Leá Monde. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  20. Crimson Blade: ...with a Grimoire, your fattest sow could outfly my swiftest falcon - if ye believe the chroniclers. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  21. Guildenstern: Trapped in purgation, they yearn for life. Thus they seek bodies without souls...and the "corpses that walk" are born. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  22. Guildenstern: There is one who has found the true undeath. Immortality, my love. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  23. Ashley: You must know, Riskbreakers always work alone. And a change of plans mid-mission is unthinkable. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  24. Sydney: You were an assassin and a saboteur in an elite squad. Mistaking them for your target, you murdered an innocent family. For country and justice you would take any life without thinking, until you sent that family to their deaths. The VKP saw the opportunity to turn your guilt to patriotic zeal. They twisted your very soul, Ashley. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  25. Hardin: Were the duke's betrayal, the cardinal's meddling...and a Riskbreaker strong as a bloody titan all part of your precious plan, too, Sydney? Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  26. Hardin: As I can scrye on distant locales, so the talent of the heart-seers has flowered in you. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story.
  27. Hardin: The key-bearer, the duke, will soon die. If he dies without a successor, all is lost. The duke thinks he can cut off the cursed Müllenkamp bloodline, but that must not be allowed to happen. We will assume the legacy. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story.
  28. Hardin: There was an investigation into an incident. I was part of a special team, entrusted with delivering blades to rebels in a neighboring kingdom. Apparently, some did not reach their destination. They claimed some of us were making coppers selling the steel on the black market. ...We were all guilty, I was not the only one. They presented me with an offer. Betray my friends, and I would walk free.Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story.
  29. Hardin: ...I had a brother, half my age. He was gravely ill, and we knew not when he would leave us. I wanted money...I wanted my freedom. I sold my friend, my brother. But they did not set me free. When I escaped from prison, my brother was dead.Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story.
  30. Sydney: I give you the city, Riskbreaker! All its power - all to you! Make haste! Join me! Already, your powers are close to readiness! Come! Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  31. Ashley: Keep your accursed city! Where's Merlose!? Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  32. Samantha: The Gran Grimoire...the ultimate codex of sorcery. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  33. Rosencrantz: It is time. I will carry on the legacy in your name. Now, the rites! Name me your successor!! Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  34. Rosencrantz: This...This is your "successor"? Open your eyes, Sydney. I am the one! Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  35. Guildenstern: The Blood-Sin, you say? It has a familiar ring... Years past, during the Inquisition of the heretics, the "Rood Inverse" was carved on them, an abjuration of the flesh... Those who bore this tattoo called it the Blood-Sin. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  36. Guildenstern: Good God! Sydney held the key all along! The tattoo on his back, it is the Blood-Sin! He has the key! He has played you false! Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  37. Guildenstern: ...the nobility! They do nothing and blame others for their failure; they steal men's dreams and twist them to nightmares...We must cleanse this corruption. There must be strong, unwavering justice. And there must be fear to enforce that justice. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  38. Sydney: I wanted to help father, as he helped me when I was born. He wanted the city destroyed, even if it meant his own death. Then, he implored me. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
  39. Duke Bardorba: So, it is done...You have suffered much. I, too, have played my part. Let us leave the rest to this Ashley. He is the one you have chosen.. Square (2000-05-15). Vagrant Story. PlayStation.
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