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Developer – Capcom
Publisher – Capcom
Release date - April 27, 2000

Breath of Fire IV is a role-playing video game developed by Capcom, and is the fourth game in the Breath of Fire series.

Just as in previous games of the series, Breath of Fire IV follows the adventures of a young man named Ryu, who has the power to transform into powerful dragons. The Ryu in this game must team up with several other skilled warriors to combat an awakened immortal emperor from ascending to godhood and destroying the world of man. Like Breath of Fire III, the game utilizes a mix of two and three-dimensional computer graphics and turn-based battle sequences.


The principal characters of Breath of Fire IV were designed by series artist Tatsuya Yoshikawa, and consist of Ryu and his companions, each with their own individual skills and personality traits carry the story forward. Ryu (voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi) is an amnesic young man with the mysterious ability to transform into powerful dragons, with his "other half" being Fou-Lu (voiced by Isshin Chiba), the principal antagonist and founder of the Fou Empire centuries ago with similar abilities, yet a much more malevolent personality. Aiding Ryu on his quest to confront Fou-Lu are several other heroes including Nina (voiced by Kyoko Hikami), a winged magic-user and the reigning princess of the Kingdom of Wyndia; Cray (voiced by Isshin Chiba), a burly member of the cat-like Woren tribe who wields a large wooden post and holds romantic feelings for Nina's sister, Elina(Cray's love interest); Ershin (Master in the Japanese version, voiced by Inuko Inuyama), an enigmatic robot-like armor who speaks in third-person; Scias (voiced by Unshō Ishizuka), a lanky mercenary and swordsman from the dog-like Grassrunner clan who lives for money; and Ursula (voiced by Kumiko Watanabe), prideful granddaughter of a military commander with kitsune-like features and skilled with guns.

Primary supporting characters include Yohm, a general from the modern Fou Imperial Army with the ability to summon monsters to his aid who see Fou-Lu as a threat to the world; Rasso, an elitist company commander dispatched to the Eastern Kingdoms to search for Ryu, Fou-Lu's key to obtaining his lost godhood; Yuna, a cruel geneticist and occultist who participates in horrific acts of genetic manipulation with dark magic; and Kahn, a muscle-bound chauvinist and comic-relief villain who constantly encounters Ryu's party.


The story of Breath of Fire IV begins with a search team consisting of Nina, princess of the Kingdom of Wyndia, and Cray, leader from the plains-dwelling Woren clan. They are heading to the town Synesta for information on the whereabouts of Nina's older sister and Cray's love interest, Elina, who went missing several weeks earlier on a diplomatic mission. They are soon attacked by a berserk dragon and their sandflier crashes, forcing Nina to go to Sarai for spare parts while Cray guards their ride. Happening upon a crater left when a strange object landed from the sky, Nina confronts a large dragon who transforms before her eyes into a young man. Remembering nothing other than his name, Ryu, Nina surmises he must have amnesia and persuades him to help her search for her sister. Meanwhile, across the world in the western Fou Empire, the ancient Emperor Fou-Lu rises from his burial tomb, declaring that it is now his time to regain his throne, as he promised over six centuries ago. He commands one of his Guardian dogs, Won-Qu, to guard the tomb before heading south. In his vulnerable, newly awakened state, he is attacked by Yohm, a general in the modern Fou army who is privy to Fou-Lu's long-prophesied resurrection, and aims to kill him before carrying out his plan. Fou-Lu is overpowered in the struggle and is struck down into a ravine.

Story before game

A long time ago an emperor called Muuru was having problems with the empire which was in a civil war, so he tried to summon a god named アルカイ「arukai (which was translated as Yorae) to unify the empire through its divinity. The summoning was imperfect, which made the god to be split both in time and bodies. The summoned god was called Fou-lu. After ten years he was able to unify the western continent into the Fou empire. Meanwhile the western continent was repeatedly attacked by the eastern continent, so Fou-lu decided to create a bridge that would transport people and things to the other continent. Carrying the ambitions of Muuru, Fou-lu wanted to unify both continents and cease the war. But due to the imperfect summoning Fou-lu entered a sleeping state (sealed) and the empire lost its strike on the eastern continent keeping the war in a deadlock. Without Fou-lu's presence the war kept going on for many years of truces and war. Several years later, the second half of the god came into the world, waking up Fou-lu that was sealed in a long sleep recovering his powers. And so the game begins.


Breath of Fire IV was developed by Capcom Development Studio 3, which contained many of the same staff members who produced Breath of Fire III, including director Makoto Ikehara, and character artist Tatsuya Yoshikawa, who provided designs for the game's hand-drawn sprites. In May 1999 industry rumors began speculating that the title would appear on the PlayStation 2 console when Capcom's Yoshiki Okamoto remarking that their next role-playing game would be a "giant project" that would make use of the system's network capabilities. The following July, however, it was confirmed that the game would instead be heading to the original PlayStation, with development having been underway for "some time" beforehand, and was officially unveiled in an issue of Japanese Weekly Famitsu magazine the same month. Due to time constraints, some intended features were not included in the final release of the game, including a scenario that would have involved defeating Yuna, an antagonist who otherwise lives in the end. The title would appear at the 2000 Tokyo Game Show trade show in Japan, and would later be released in the region the following April.

In February 2000, Capcom USA officially announced that an English version of the game would be made available in North America. This version would contain a number of differences from the Japanese release, including the censorship of four different scenes that take place during the game that involved Fou-Lu decapitating Emperor Soniel, Ryu spying on Nina and Ursula bathing in a pond, Ryu accidentally grabbing Ursula's breast, and Ursula dropping her pants on a dare. Scias would additionally have all references to his alcoholism removed from the English release, presenting his stuttering word pattern as a speech impediment rather than a drunken slur. One of Scias's abilities, Shikibetsu (しきべつ, literally, "Identify"), which allowed him to view the statistics of an enemy during battle, as well as a short description of their abilities, was also completely removed.


The music of Breath of Fire IV was composed entirely by Yoshino Aoki, had previously collaborated with Akari Kaida on the soundtrack to Breath of Fire III. Unlike the previous game, the music does not exhibit a jazz motif, but rather a traditional orchestral score modeled after Asian music. Aoki would also provide the vocals for the game's ending theme, "Yume no Sukoshi Ato" (ゆめのすこしあと, literally, "A Little After the Dream"), and would write an arrangement of Maurice Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte" titled "Pavane for a Dead Princess", while composer Taro Iwashiro provides the game's opening theme song "Breath of Fire IV ~Opening Animation~". In May 2000, Capcom would release the Breath of Fire IV Original Soundtrack on the company's in-house music label Suleputer, which contained all music from the game across two discs. In June 2006, the entire soundtrack would be re-released as part of the Breath of Fire Original Soundtrack Special Box boxset, which contained music from the first five games in the series.

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