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English Legend of Heroes Art Books Coming This Fall

Fans of Falcom's long-running RPG series will be able to get their hands on two lovely-looking art books later this year.

Udon Entertainment has announced that it's bringing not one but two art books based on Falcom's venerable Legend of Heroes series to North America later this fall. The two books will focus on the game's artwork and character designs respectively, and will weigh in at 272 pages each.

I must confess to never having come across the rather generic-sounding Legend of Heroes series prior to this year, when I finally succumbed to peer pressure and checked out Trails in the Sky on PSP. What I found in that game was not only a beautifully-crafted JRPG -- seriously, go play it if you haven't already -- but one which was stuffed full of interesting characters, cool settings and some great artwork.

This page from the book shows the slightly-modified version of Estelle Bright that appears in the second Trails in the Sky game, yet to be released in the States.

The series as a whole is one with a long history, however, having been around since 1989 in one form or another, initially as a spinoff to the Dragon Slayer series. Not all of the games have made it to the West, meaning it's perhaps not quite as well-known over here as certain other JRPG franchises, but they're certainly very fondly regarded by those who have played them. Trails in the Sky in particular was widely praised by most people who actually played it -- unfortunately, there weren't that many people who played it in the West, leading localizer Xseed Games to push the much-anticipated (and much bigger) English versions of the second and third chapters down its priority list somewhat.

As for the two art books, they cover artwork not only from the Trails in the Sky trilogy, but also the more recent (and yet to be localized) Trails of Zero and Trails of Blue. There's also some artwork from the crossover spinoff game Ys vs. Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga. One book will focus on pin-ups, story artwork and advertising art, while the other will concentrate on character designs, costumes, facial expressions and concept art. Both will enjoy a full English translation.

"This isn't the first time we've released an English language edition of an art book based on a game that isn't available in North America," said Udon's marketing director Christopher Butcher. "It won't be the last, either. While traveling in Japan, Udon chief Erik Ko and I came across these books and just loved them, even in the Japanese."

Both books will be available in November of this year for $44.99 each. You can preorder them from Amazon (Illustrations and Characters) or direct from Udon.

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