Tons of Different Tales of Information From Our Latest Interview with Bandai Namco
So today there was an event held in New York City where a few members of the Shonen team were invited to check out some of the new titles being released by Namco, and also conduct a few interviews. I personally went to get information on the Tales titles that we’ll be seeing this year, as well as some general info on Tales of Zestiria and other titles. Check out the whole interview below:
So Tales of Xillia is a really special experience for a lot of fans, and its one of those Tales Games that has a really different and special feeling. With most tales games, fans really want a sequel or some kind of continuation. To this day there are still people holding out for a Vesperia sequel, so the question is, what goes into the decision making process, as far as which games get sequels?
Answer: So There’s a lot of factors that go into that, typically I feel with a lot of the Tales of Series, the dev team usually doesn’t do a lot of sequels. Usually they like to tell new stories with new characters and new worlds to bring something new to the series. I can tell you for Tales of Xillia, there were kind of two main factors.One of them was a pretty internal thing. So one, with Tales of Xillia 1, the fan reaction to the game and the characters was really really great, like we had tons of fans that were like we love these characters, they’re great and they noticed that the fans really liked it, so they really wanted to show more about those characters to the fans, but secondly, and this is more of an internal thing with the dev team, but they created all of these assets for Olympus. In Tales of Xillia you only really got to scratch the surface of Olympus, but there was so much art and backstory and all of these other things that they created for Olympus that they basically didn’t share with the fans or anyone, that they thought you know what, well what if we did tell a story that utilized these assets, and really told something that expanded on the overall world and that story that they ended with in Xillia 1. They talked about, how would we do that, and they were able to come up with a story that they liked and were able to incorporate the returning characters and expand on their stories a little bit, so that kind of went into their decision for making the Xillia sequel.
Are all the DLC featured in the Japanese version also featured in the US and European versions of the game? Fans are worried that certain costumes like the Madoka Magica and Code Geass Costumes are going to be kept from Western players due to some sort of Licensing issue, can you speak a little bit on what we’re expecting as far as costume DLC?
Answer: So just talking about the DLC in General, there were some costumes that were part of a licensing deal made in Japan, for the Japanese Market, but unfortunately we don’t have the rights to use those overseas, so there are certain costumes that we’re not gonna get unfortunately. One of the cool things with Xillia and Xillia 2 though, is that the DLC costumes are actually cross game compatible. So any costume that you download for Xillia 1, will work with Xillia 2, and any costumes that you pick up for Xillia 2, will also work when you go back to Xillia 1
Now with the Original Xillia, there was a Day One Limited Edition available at select retailers, seperate from the Collectors Edition. Will we be seeing a Day 1 Limited Edition for Tales of Xillia 2 as well, and if so what will it include?
Answer: So for Xillia 2, In the US there actually isn’t any kind of a Day One Edition, however we do have the Collectors Edition, however a lot of the kind of content that we used in the Xillia One day one edition, is included with that collectors edition, so we only have those two versions, which are the Collectors and the Standard Game.
How long has the Tales of Hearts R project been in development, and what was the biggest challenge when remaking a game like this?
Answer: So Tales of Hearts as a series has been in development for actually a long time. The original was a DS game, so it is one of the flagship titles. So there was all of the development for the DS version which was similar workwise to any other main project. When it was brought over to Vita they changed the battle system and a few things, and thats what we’re getting now. So if you take that process from the development of Hearts, and the development for Hearts R, and now the localization, its a long process.
Was there any feedback, specifically from Tales of Innocence R, that effected development of Hearts R?
Answer: So, I don’t believe there was a lot of fan feedback that was taken from Innocence R to Hearts R, because at the time the concept for both of those titles were happening at basically the same time. So at the time that Innocence was getting that feedback, the team had already pretty much set their goals for Hearts R.
Tales of Hearts R was developed by what was largely an entirely different development team and more or less rebuilt the battle system from scratch, by adding Chase Link and Spirt Drive and removing the Emotional Gauge and Combination Gauge. Were some of the older battle system ideas such as the Emotional Gauge ever considered to be brought back during development?
Answer: With Hearts R, the dev team wanted to incorporate new elements, but they wanted to make sure they gave attention to everything they were doing. So they did have to decide which systems would come back and which systems would be new and that kind of thing. Now even though it was an external team that handled the development, there were producers from Bandai Namco that overlooked that project and had their hands in that development.
So we know that there’s no English Dub for Tales of Hearts R, can we hear a little more about that and why the decision to exclude an english voice track was made?
Answer: So that issue is more of a technical thing, but essentially when Tales of Hearts R, it wasn’t developed with the Western market in mind. So the way that the game is coded and created, so it only supports one voice track. So the decision really turned into a thing where we were either going to have the English Dub only, or have the Original dubbing with subtitles, because if we wanted both they’d have to go back and recode that entire system. When they make the games they sort of have to know whether or not to build the infrastructure for other voice tracks, and since they didn’t here, instead of taking a much longer time, we decided to keep trying to catch up to Japan as far as tales games come. So they’re working really hard to bring as many of the Tales of Experiences to west, so they are making decisions with that in mind.
So the latest title in the Tales series was announced quite some time ago, and we’ve seen a lot of new changes as far as the battle and movement system for Tales Of Zestiria. Can you speak on what makes this an all new Tales Experience?
Answer: So, I can’t go too much into detail into a lot of those things, because even though a lot of that info has been dropping for Japanese audiences, we haven’t exactly been speaking about it to western audiences. Even things like the characters names, which have their reveals to the japanese community, I mean we haven’t even really revealed any of those, but one of the things for Zestiria is the world setting, which helps it stand out. It goes back to more of a traditional fantasy setting. You see the midevil setting, you see the dragons, that itself is something that sets up the fantasy setting really well, and that hasn’t been done in a while in a Tales of Title. As far as the battles, the dev team really wants to streamline a lot of the experience, so one of the things we’ve seen recently is that when you go into battles, instead of having the loading screen, the fight starts in almost real time so thats something they used to kind of immerse the players into the world.
So many have noticed that Tales of Zestiria uses a similar Graphic style to Xillia, is it the same graphics engine, and what makes the team choose one graphic style (like xillia’s) over others (like Vesperia’s)
Answer: That’s actually a really good question. I don’t know all of the exact details, but I know that the Zestiria Engine is an all new engine. It isn’t like an edited version of the Xillia engine or anything like that, what they do is when they’re in the concept stages, they have the people who work on the different character designs and things like that come up with these great things that they have to show, and if the team likes it, thats what they go with. As far as the game looking similar to Xillia, that might just be something that was done because the fans like how it looks, but usually after using the same art style for the games after 2 or 3 titles, the dev team looks for different ways to change it or make sure that it remains fresh.
Well this is sort of a Joke question, but since we haven’t seen them yet, obviously people are going to have fun with it. There’s a little internet dispute going on currently that I’d appreciate if you could settle. Does Dezel from Zestiria have Eyes, or is there just some kind of mysterious blank face under his hat and his hair?
Answer: So that is something that I cannot confirm or deny, so it will be a mystery for a while, so thats something that maybe we have to ask Baba himself in order to find out.
Have you guys ever considered making the Bosses or Cameo characters playable in these games? I remember in Tales of Vesperia, I always wanted to play as Duke or Alexei, is this something that you would consider in future titles with DLC?
Answer: So cool enough you say that when Xillia 2 is coming out. So theres’s always been this kind of concept with Tales of that the main villains are always pretty popular. Theyre generally really cool, you know, really powerful
and in the tales series there isn’t really a concept of a “really bad guy”, so none of the main villains are ever truly evil, they all kind of have their reasoning for what they do and why they do it. With Xillia 2, in the Story it makes sense how Gaius joins up with the team for example, because in the context of the story it makes sense, so they do kind of think of those things, however its more of a thing that they save for when they’re making a separate title like the upcoming strategy game or Radiant Mythology.
So is Radiant Mythology pretty much done, or can we possibly expect another entry, maybe for home consoles, sometime in the future?
Answer: So as far as I know, right now atleast in the short term, there are no plans for another entry for Radient Mythology, however I will say that you never know what the team might come up with, because they’re always looking to bring back older games and things like that because even they they like to make new experiences, they do kind of go back and look at some of the legacy stuff as well, so you never know. It could be yes, it could be know, but in the short term as far as I know, there are no current plans.
Has the team ever considered implementing some sort of training mode? The community feels as if it would promote the use of different characters, because it would give them more time to master different combinations outside of actual battle.
Answer: Um, its interesting to have a game mechanic as far as game design for this kind of title, because theres a balance to how much you want to do tutorials for certain things, and which things you want people to figure out on their own, so the dev team does a lot to try an, but as far as stuff for those advanced techniques, they liked it when players go through and kind of find all those things, and one of the elements they’re always conscious of, is that they don’t want to scare off any of the less experienced players. That’s not to say that they can’t implement you know different ttorials and stuff that you could do on your owm, there are different ways to do that, but I know that they’re always looking into making sure that the game works well for what they want to do with different titles, so they’re really open to doing a lot of different things, but they always kind of pick and choose what they want.
While the direction of Tales Games so far has been more of a one player approach, but there’s a growing want in the tales community with people that want to be able to play together, especially when you have battle systems like in Tales of Xillia 2, so is this something that the team has ever looked at and thought of implementing?
Answer: So the Tales of games are kind of developed as a one player experience. So what they noticed was that a lot of players play with their kid or their significant other or a spouse, so they ended up adding the local co-op, because its real time battling and you have 4 different characters, so it makes sense to make it 4 player locally. I know they’ve thought of the online function, but I don’t know how far they’ve gone to try and implement it. It really comes down to sort of whether they really want people to share the experience locally, and the balances change with what they’re planning, but I do know that with their current planning, there really isn’t any plans to do any sort of online co-op.
Will we ever see any of the PS1 or PS2 Tales titles brought onto the PSN marketplace?
Answer: So we are going back and looking at our library of different titles, and which make sense for release digitally. Sometimes theres issues with licensing or things with different titles, so we are looking into that, and I do think that its something that might be possible, as far as bringing older titles to the markpetplace.