Over the last seventeen years, JRPG fans all over the world have been enjoying Namco Bandai’s Tales series. It has come a long way since its beginnings on the SNES but never lost the core experience fans of the series have come to love. I was recently lucky enough to Hollie Bennett, Consumer and Community PR Executive for Namco Bandai games, about the upcoming PS3 exclusive Tales of Xillia. We talked about the history of the series, the games updated battle system, the games reception in japan and more. What are you waiting for? The interview can be read below.
Laura: For those who have never played one of the Tales games, could you give us a brief description of the series and what makes the games unique?
Hollie: Wow, that’s a pretty big question actually. The Tales series started back in 1995 with Tales of Phantasia on the SNES, since then the Tales studio have produced fourteen flagship or ‘mothership titles’ plus numerous other spin-offs. The Tales games still continue to capture the essence of the JRPG with beautiful anime-style visuals, a great battle system known as the ‘Linear Motion Battle System’ and lovable characters and stories that our fans fall in love with.
Laura: Tales of Xillia was today announced for North America, Europe and Australasia. What can you tell us about this game? What is it about?
Hollie: Well the game is already out in Japan so fans are obviously very excited to finally get this game and play it themselves. The game itself follows Jude Mathis, a clever medical student attending school in the capital city, and Milla Maxwell, a mysterious woman accompanied by four unseen beings. Players will be able to choose either Milla or Jude at the outset of their adventure through the world of Rieze Maxia, where humans and spirits live together in harmony. The kingdom of Rashugal has been experimenting with a powerful device that has been draining the mana from the world. Realizing the harm it is inflicting on the world, Milla and Jude set off on a journey to destroy it and restore the mana back to the world.
Laura: What separates this game from other games in the Tales series and from other JRPG’s in general?
Hollie: Tales of Xillia is the first Tales of game made for this generation of consoles, while Tales of Graces f is out on PlayStation 3 on August 21st, it was originally released on the Nintendo Wii as Tales of Graces. So, aside from some beautiful graphics the game contains new features helping to bring a more lifelike experience to the game. None the less Tales of Xillia maintains everything that makes the Tales games so unique in today’s market.
Laura: Tales of Xillia apparently uses something called a DR-LMBS, or Dual Raid Linear Motion Battle System. Could you explain to us a little more about how battles in Tales of Xillia will work?
Hollie: The DR-LMBS is Tales of Xillia’s variation of the LMBS – a battle system the Tales of games have been using since they first started. This system allows for real-time movement and attacks around the battle field, giving the player a more tactical role in the midst of fights. The battle system in Tales of Xillia has been upgraded to Double Raid Linear Motion Battle System to let two characters combine their attacks to utilize devastating dual-character attacks, letting fans strategize the best party setup for their style of play.
Laura: Are there any changes to the gameplay that will excite long time Tales fans?
Hollie: Updates to the battle system always excite Tales fans and small things that help bring that lifelike experience can be found in Xillia; a behind the back view point as opposed to over the shoulder, towns and cities built to a more realistic size and structure and of course being able to choose either Milla or Jude at the outset of their adventure as their hero/heroine.
Laura: This will be the first Tales game to see both Kōsuke Fujishima and Mutsumi Inomata work together on the character designs of a single game. How can we expect this to effect the design of the characters?
Hollie: I think when fans start to see more footage and of course play the game themselves they will start to see how pairing Fujishima and Mutsumi can only result in pure brilliance.
Laura: Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave the Japanese version of the game a near perfect score of 39/40, putting it above Tales of Graces F as the highest rated game in the series by the magazine. It was also revealed by Namco Bandai to be the biggest selling Tales game in the region since Tales of Destiny 2. What do you think makes Tales of Xillia so impressive? Do you think that praise and success will carry over to its western release?
Hollie: We really do feel this praise will carry over and of course we eagerly await the time we can start showing the game to both press and fans alike. What makes Tales of Xillia so impressive is how successful the series has moved to this generation of consoles, how its story, characters, gameplay, music and art style are incredibly strong while the game continues to remain true to the JRPG genera and carry on flying the flag for it.
Laura: Can you tell us anything about the localisation of the game? Any Voice actor names you might be able to tell us are coming on board?
Hollie: I actually can’t tell you information on that at the moment but I’ve really enjoyed talking to the fans about their suggestions – it’s a hot topic right now.
Laura: When can fans expect to hear more about the game? Will the wait for information regarding release date, language options ect be a long one?
Hollie: Sadly I can’t put a time frame on when fans will hear more but the moment I have anything to share, I will. Tales fans can either join us on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/tales or our dedicated Tales of twitter account @TalesofU
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