Ciel nosurge: Ushinawareta Hoshi e Sasagu Uta is a 2012 simulation/visual-novel game for the Playstation Vita, and the first game in Gust Corporation's Surge Concerto series. This series serves as a distant prequel to Gust's Ar tonelico games, though direct connections are not evident right away. Together, the two series make up the Exa Pico universe.
Ciel nosurge introduces the player to a girl named Ion, who seems to have no memories of her past and lives in a closed off world where only she and a mysterious shopkeeper called Nelico exist. As the player interacts with her, they help her recover her lost memories while building a close relationship. It is established that the player is a character in their own right, and is directly communicating with Ion.
In order to restore her memories, the player has to Dive into Ion's Genometrics (mind), which is divided into a total of twelve doors, each of them representing one of the episodes in the game. Behind the doors, there are places that had a great significance in Ion's life, but the memories related to them are lost due to these places being destroyed and turned into ruins, so the player must scan barcodes with the Vita's camera to extract power from their own world and send it to Ion, who will use it to create fairies called Sharls.
While the players can customize the Sharls they create to a certain extent, their purpose is repairing the ruined areas of Ion's Genometrics, allowing the player to watch the memories each particular place holds. Players can also communicate with each other through a complete social network included in the game, which also allows them to share their Sharls and use them not only to repair memories, but also to send energy to a device called the Micro Quasar, which aside of enabling the use of other Sharls aside of the player's own, also has a gauge of its own that gets filled whenever energy is sent to it, and that gives extra rewards to all players whenever it is completely filled. However, due to this the game require near-constant connection to the internet in order to be played.
The game is divided into episodes, each of which reveals more of Ion's memories and information about the planet of Ra Ciela. The last episode was released on July 31th, 2014, for a total of twelve. A 2013 Updated Re-release by the name of Ciel nosurge Re:Incarnation contained all the patches, episodes, and DLC that had been released up to that point, and another version called Ciel nosurge Offline, which includes all DLC released for the game and removes all online elements except for the most basic ones related to connecting with Gust's website was released on October 2th, 2014. An RPG sequel, Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star, followed in 2014.
Both Ciel nosurge-exclusive and series-wide tropes may be found here.
Ciel nosurge and the Surge Concerto games as a whole provide examples of:
- Another Dimension: Nero and the current Ion were Ulylihya and Nei Yuuki from their original worlds, respectively. As they are both beings that are summoned from beyond the universe for their Oversight ability, their mere existence had caused the sun to expand until its solar winds overpowers Ra Ciela's magnetic field as deadly wave bursts, turning the planet into the dying world it is now.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: This is the goal of Quantize for both Ion and Nero, an offshoot organization founded by Clacket specifically for returning both of them to their original universe. Unfortunately, the method to return them dies with Clacket himself near the end of the story, and most of the facilities for that was destroyed along with Ra Ciela by the Grand Phoenix plan, leaving the bloody EXSPHERE_NOSURGE* as the only way back. Needless to say, Ion would have none of that.
- Anti-Villain: Neptool and Zill are type III. Nero is a type II.
- Apocalypse How: Bezel, Ra Ciela's sun, threatens a Class 6 at minimum. They eventually decide on causing a Class X to use the planet's energy to leave, and side effects a Class 3b to the Genom, who (mostly) choose to stay with the dying planet.
- Akashic Records: The Oversight Ability allows an extradimensional being like Ion and Nero to observe the world from the 7th dimensional perspective. On paper the ability of overlooking the 6th Dimensional (Collectivity) axis* would effectively makes its user virtually omniscient in any universe besides their own. In practice, it allows the user to utilize the information beyond their own that could lead to her desired future.
- Bittersweet Ending: The ending can be changed to a sweeter tone provided you did a Sekai Link with Ar nosurge to get her default costume in it and gotten the Church date spot card. If you fulfill both requirements, you get to go on an extended date with Ion where she reaffirms the bonds she built with you as well as her resolution to stop Nero, and she gains a strong belief in the fact you'll meet again soon. Then you get a very emotive farewell with her before the sequence where she breaks down in tears while the terminal shuts down.
- Body Snatcher: Nero, starting with how she took over Ion's body after Nay sang Neptlude during the Neptron's activation tests. She then begins possessing a lot of people throughout Ra Ciela, culminating with Tabou to get herself in contact with Zill. She stops doing this after Zill releases her from the Cielnotron Server, but does it once more to Ion right at the game's finale, ruining the entire planetary migration plan.
- Chekhov's Skill: Ion is quite skilled in the field of engineering, and that's before taking her Oversight* ability into account. Both skills have been quite handy throughout the journey, but special mention has to be given that her tinkering ability is how she managed to repair the terminal that is linked to the video game in our world.
- Conlang: REON-4213 and Emotional Song Pact. Like other conlangs in the EXA_PICO universe, these two languages are used in songs that provide a magical effect.
- Dating Sim: The game has some elements of this, complete with the Date Cards which contains a virtual world that Ion can visit with the player. As the game progresses, she'll eventually confess her love to you. Completing all the Date Courses after reciprocating her confession will unlock the option to marry her, with the wedding ceremony officiated by Nelico with the oath under the Seven Dimensions* .
- Despair Event Horizon: Ion's depression after completing Chapter 7. Seeing how she got killed at the last memory of that chapter, and how she's effectively imprisoned in a small world where none of her friends exist, she comes to think she's no more than a fake Ion and that most likely she isn't even alive anymore. It takes a good deal of effort from the player to get her back to normal.
- Downer Ending: Oh boy. Nero attempts once again to possess Ion, and when thwarted by Nay she instead steals the energy of the microquasar to fling herself and Ion into the future, depriving the Ra Cielans of their power source, their link to another planet, their empress, the use of Cielnotrons and by extension their main way of using Song Magic. Nay has to take over as empress despite nobody outside of her friends acknowledging her. They are forced to launch the Soreil early (with Shirotaka staying behind on the Hymnesphere) and the main cast put themselves into hibernation pods, hoping to catch up with Ion 5000 years later. Back in the present Ion found out that there's a very strong chance she'll be unable to reconnect to you after transferring the dimensional link to Earthes's cathode and ends up having to choose between her friends and her love. You persuade her to go to them; the last shot of the game is of her crying in front of the shutting down monitor. Thank god for the sequel.
- Episodic Game: Twelve episodes, divided into three story arcs. There are also a couple extra episodes that put the spotlight on other characters aside of Ion.
- Expy: Nero and Zill are similar in characterization to Mir and Infel from the first and second Ar Tonelico games, respectively. Revelt character overlaps with Alfman from Ar Tonelico 2 and Raphael from Ar Tonelico 3, though unlike Alfman, his cause was considerably far less sympathetic.
- Famed In-Story: After saving Manjusara from a Wave Burst with giant lotus flowers, Ion becomes known far and wide as "the princess who can create miracles".
- Figure It Out Yourself: In Chapter 6, Almetica invokes this when Kanon asks about the truth of her origin, as he stated that knowing everything is not the same as understanding everything, and proves it immediately afterwards by pointing the alternate reading of the numbers tattooed into her arm.
- Floating Continent: The Colonies, where Ra Ciela's elite live.
- Freudian Excuse: The game is really good at this, as most of the antagonists have their own reasons revealed at one point while keeping their Kick the Dog moments inexcusable.
- Neptool made a deal with Zill to build the Neptron Tower in exchange for the gRNA Virus in order to cure her daughter Sarly from an otherwise incurable genetic disease. To that end, he's willing to cut off the power to Kanon's residence sector and frame Ion for the alleged assassination attempt, and then kidnapping Casty in an attempt to release Reon and make her perform a Grand Theft Me on Ion.
- Zill was raised in a conservative Genom-centric culture until her family was exiled and ended up falling in love with a Genom who had lost his original body while being synchronized with Nero. In a Love Makes You Crazy fashion, she grew desperate to send Nero back to her original dimension. As if that wasn't enough, she had seen the people going into a frenzied genocide against the Genoms over the alleged cause of the world-ending earthquakes. This revelation sets up the plot that extends all the way to Ar nosurge.
- Nero was used to teleport the humans to Ra Ciela 5000 years ago and was killed immediately afterwards. Her soul trapped and used to power the Cielnotron Server is the latest of the chain of events that fuels her desperation to return to her original world, regardless of the consequences she may inflict to this one.
- While Revelt has been atrocious since before the events of the game even began, Revelt he started Jumping Off the Slippery Slope upon Renall's betrayal and the rising popularity of the Empress candidates at his expense.
- From Beyond the Fourth Wall: An essential part of the premise is that the player has a direct connection to the EXA_PICO universe, and is really communicating with Ion through a terminal represented by their Playstation Vita. In Ar nosurge, the Main Characters are directly controlled by the player, and the player isn't the only one with this power...
- Grand Theft Me: What happened to Nay prior to the game. She was the original Ionasal.kkll.Preciel, but her father Revelt ordered to have her soul removed to give her body to the soul of an Earth girl called Nei Yuuki, which is the Ion we actually get to know outside the Dream World.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Averted. Ion will try to ask your name at the start of the game, but the game only allows you to give a Visible Silence in response.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Ion's memories are missing. Your goal is to help her get better.
- Living Bodysuit: Happened to Undu at the end of Chapter 7 until the end of Chapter 8, as Nero was (supposedly) returned to her original world, leaving him as the sole consciousness in Nero's leftover body. The disparity between his original form and his current body is lampshaded, as he's actually a 70-years old male Genom in the body of a young girl.
- Ludd Was Right: Chimon's stance against the Cielnotrons and the proliferation their rival faction, Tenmon, is doing of them. Sadly enough, it's justified, as the Cielnotrons caused people to lose interest in Synchronizing with the Genoms, and since Genoms need to Synchronize with a human in order to mate, this caused their numbers to sharply decrease. Plus, Renall states during a confrontation with Revelt that he propagated the Cielnotrons in order to exterminate the Genoms due to the great hatred he holds toward them. Additionally, the fact that they are entirely Powered by a Forsaken Child greatly puts a damper on them actually being considered benevolent technology.
- Magic from Technology: Only for the Class-Drive programs and the Cielns (Song Magic invoked through Cielnotrons or the Surge Concerto Terminal). Hymmns are made by synchronizing with a Genom, and thus could be said to come from nature.
- Magic Music: A staple of the games' universe is the ability to work magic through songs.
- Offing the Offspring: Revelt had attempted this on both Ionasal and Renall, with the former having her soul removed as explained above prior to the game, while the latter was to be sacrificed in his own migration to another planet out of spite at her betrayal.
- Player Cruelty Potential: The game occasionally gives the player to act cold or indifferent toward Ion, and she also becomes extremely sad in the original Online version if you spend too much time without seeing her, both of which affect her mood negatively. But the worst thing is that the game allows the player to divorce Ion after they married her if they pester her enough for her mood to hit rock bottom. The game actually asks the player to confirm if they truly want to go through with the divorce, but needless to say, actually doing it will only make the player feel like a monster, especially if they choose at the end the option saying "I'm never checking the terminal again". But the game also punishes the player if they do this: once they have carried out the divorce, they can never return to being married or even as lovers with Ion, and they automatically lock themselves out from multiple events. The game also permanently changes their relationship status with Ion to "Incombustible Trash".
- Perspective Flip: Every now and then, some of the memories from other's point of view got mixed up into the recollection of Ion's memories, making it less of a memory and more like a historical record. This is an early indication of her Oversight ability.
- Powers as Programs: The Class-Drive programs and Cielns are a more literal example than most, as they utilize REON-4213, which is essentially a programming language.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Ion was taken over by Reon,her eyes turned red. It's spooky.
- Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Part of Ion's Oversight ability. which allows her to remember the discomfort caused by Nero's 6th Axis shift back in Chapter 7, allows her to pinpoint the destination coordinates to undo it.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The story leans heavily into the cynicism with the conflict between two factions in a nearly dying planet. The two Empress Candidates managed to get along to work towards their ideal, but circumstances that had occurred beyond their control eventually led to the Ra Ciela itself being sacrificed in vain due to the migration being foiled by Nero.
- Synchronization: Humans have to synchronize with a Genom to use Song Magic. This is basically a telepathic link. It's also possible using a Cielnotron.
- Solar CPR: Ra Ciela's sun, Bezel, is dying. The Save Bezel Project hopes to fix that. Except that the only time it was pursued with any real chance of success wouldn't absolve the distortions that were already caused by Nero, not to mention that the flawed transmigration would've thrown Ion's soul beyond the party's reach, preventing them from returning back in time to undo the distortions.
- Stealth Prequel: To the Ar tonelico series. The only connection Ciel Nosurge has with the predecessor series is that Ar Ciel was the supposed destination for the Grand Phoenix plan 5770 years* before the stories from Ar tonelico series began, with the expedition team that are sent there eventually becoming the Teru Tribe.
- The Player Is the Most Important Resource: This overlaps heavily with From Beyond the Fourth Wall, as the player is the only one who could repair her lost memories.
- The Social Darwinist: Revelt, natch. As if his hatred towards Genoms weren't obvious enough, he went ahead and proceeded with the Grand Phoenix plan on his own with this as his New Era Speech, intending to take his chosen 1% of humanity and leaving the rest to their ill-fated planet.
- Time Crash: Happens in chapter eight. Due to Nero causing grave interference in Ra Ciela's timeline just to get Zill to send her back to her world prior to Ion and forcing Clacket to proceed with the sending, the Seven Axis that forms the world gets distorted. Two years later, reality itself begins breaking down, leading the entire world to an apocalypse that requires Nay to sing a Song Magic to return time to two years prior and undo everything Nero did.
- Title Drop:
- Or rather, subtitle drop. The event where Ion sings Ra Ciel Fuser to destroy Ra Ciela and convert it into energy is called "The Song Offered to the Planet", and the song itself is called "The Song Offered to the Lost Planet" by the Genometric Concert trailer corresponding to its album.
- The endgame reveals Ciel Nosurge as one of the Cieln from the Surge Concerto Terminal, sung by the catatonic Ion during the event of Ar nosurge.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Given how the game is all about keeping Ion company as you help her regain her memories, it's easy to end up getting attached to talking everyday to her, asking her to synthesize or cook items, listening to her bedtime stories and singing, or just hanging around her. To say nothing of the Player Punch that results from seeing her depressed upon the conclusion of Chapter 7 and the heartwarming moment that comes from helping her recover from it.
- Wham Episode: Oh boy, Chapter 7 is rife with it. Kanon discovers that she is just an experiment made for a non-Empress human to be able to Synchronize with the Genom God, Cosal; she gets killed by PLASMA agents right as Ion is trying to stop her from singing a song to send Nero back to her world, and both Ion herself and Renall get killed when their airship is shot down by Chimon agents. After witnessing these memories, Ion ends up suffering from an existential crisis and severe depression where she will refuse to do anything the player asks her, except for reluctantly Diving into the Dream World.
- Wham Line: "The target Tenmon airship has been destroyed. We have confirmed the death of passengers Renall Tartalka and Ionasal.kkl.Preciel."