Namco Bandai Games America’s Iwai Talks About Tales

By Spencer . August 5, 2009 . 9:23pm

image What’s going on with Tales these days? It’s a question fans often wonder about on Siliconera so I brought it to Makoto Iwai, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Namco Bandai Games America.


“Well, Tales is being produced in Japan, but we have to be very selective,” Makoto Iwai, COO of Namco Bandai Games America, told Siliconera. “We’re carefully choosing which titles we deliver here to fans. I wish I could bring everything.”


Namco Bandai released Tales of Vesperia, and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World in North America last year. So far no plans have been announced for this year’s Tales flurry, which includes Tales of Graces, Tales of Vesperia (the PS3 version), Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2, and Tales of Vs.


“Nowadays, you might admit, that Japanese role playing games are not really expanding, to be honest. It’s called the JRPG nowadays. It used to be mainstream, but it’s not as much as it used to be. Of course we like to entertain those fans waiting for the franchise, but at the same time we have to think what is the best for this market.”


Please look forward to the full interview with Iwai where we discuss Tekken 6 and Game Center CX 2 on Friday.

Read more stories about & & & & & & on Siliconera.

  • lostinblue

    BOOOOOO, first thing I did upon opening this was ctrl+F and writting “innocence” (tales of innocence) then “hearts” (tales of hearts) only to get a “phrase not found” dialog box. And then I started reading it knowing that there weren’t news regarding the most recently unreleased Tales titles :(

    They’re not expanding also because of how they’ve been marketed by Namco might I say. If they want to build a brand they have to bring EVERYTHING, not leaving costumers wondering if they’ll be able to play it or not. A lot of RPG franchises sell a lot less than Tales too and Atlus and XSEED manage to keep pumping them… so why not?

    If Namco isn’t willingwhy not giving Tales to XSEED/Atlus?!

    Oh, and after all the “we’re gonna shorten localization time for Tales” how come Graces is not getting the same treatment? I mean… it’s supposed to be almost out in Japan and we’re still in the dark!

    The game looks so much better than that piece of turd made on the premise of recycling 5 year old assets that they disrespectfulluy put on the Wii last year (Tales of Recyclia: Dawn of the New Cash-in)… How come they aren’t hyping it here? Again… seems like it’s up to US fans, to hype the darned thing while wondering if it’ll make the cut is it?

    • Geosaferi

      I’ve always wondered why they refuse to give their games niche treatment, much like how XSEED, Atlus, or even NISA treats their games. They would probably turn more of a profit if they operated more like those companies and released less copies. And would it have killed them to have at least licensed some of the previous games they had no plans on localizing to other companies? They really seem hellbent on releasing such a small amount of tales games into the US and expect every game to sell millions. delusional.

      • lostinblue

        Seeing comments by them remind me of how when they finished localizing last years Tales they said in a interview with Siliconera something in the lines of “WEW, we worked overtime for this, now we need some vacation, heheh” as if they were expecting some kind of praise… and the answer in the comments was:


        Oh well, nice to see nothing changed in the last year. (if anything it got worse)

        • Gestahl

          Completely agree. And they should totally let someone localize their older stuff, like Tales of Rebirth PSP. With the PSP going through the Renaissance Age it might sell enough to justify localization.

          One can dream, right?..

        • Haha, that comment was hilarious, if not harsh.
          Tough love, I’ll say.

  • superdry

    This is my theory on how Namco brings Tales over to the US: They have a dart board in the office to determine which ones are localized.

    I’d love to get Tales of VS., but there is the possibility of it being released in the US since it is a fighter. So…I’m torn, buy the Japanese release or wait and pray for the US release. Well…hopefully Tales of Graces comes out here since the Wii doesn’t have too many RPGs, unlike the DS.

    • lostinblue

      Wii is getting there, when all the RPG’s marvelous worked on get here (arc rise fantasia, rune factory frontier, valhalla knights eldar saga, muramasa, little king story), plus the Final Fantasy crystal bearers title and Fragile, shiren 3, monado, phantom brave and sakura taisen 5 ports and the overlooked chocobo dungeon, opoona and Monster Lab; that and the two tales (although one although not horrible marks Namco taking a piss at the platform) and eventually: Dragon Quest X. Those alone make it a platform with more RPG’s than… say, X360. (I think)

      The question is… what comes after that, we’re antecipating those now, but after all of them have aired we don’t have much more on the horizon, taking Dragon Quest X aside. Third party’s, specially the small ones seem to be stupid or something their reluctance when they seem to be jumping on HD development (Atlus, Gust, Nippon Ichi, etc) but we’ll see.

      And mark my words… Arc Rise Fantasia is AWESOME. It’s by ex-members of Team Symphonia see, but without Sakuraba as a composer and in a turn based package, feels like tales but it’s also it’s own game… and it rocks.

      • For pete’s sake—5 minutes at IGN will tell you that thinking there are more RPGs for Wii than 360 is misinformed. Even counting VC and WiiWare. (…Why did you even bring up the 360 here? superdry was only speaking about the DS.)

        You know what, as someone who owns a Wii (and not a 360) I’m gonna ask nicely: PLEASE stop going Wii Defense Force/”It does X which Y on 360 didn’t!/”I don’t understand why Developer Z isn’t concentrating on it! They must be dumb or something” every time the console gets brought up. Please.

        I’d really like to read one Siliconera article discussing the Wii without any of your sideways jabs at the 360 or white knighting against every PERCEIVED—not even actual—slight. :(

        • lostinblue

          I gave a whole list wereas right now I only see Magna Carta 2 and End of Eternity in the radar for it; oh and FFXIII. compared to that Wii seems prolific for me right now, although I’m not exactly writing RPG lists for it… but I’m satisfied with the ones coming out on the wii and wouldn’t trade them.

          My point: time will tell, but the wii is not looking shabby NOW when it comes to RPG’s. X360 has more of them out, sure, and more AAA attempts, but the Wii has a lot of solid titles coming. In the end of the day I still think the Wii could turn into a new DS when it comes to RPG’s and… newsflash: Wii actually sells in Japan, the main market for JRPG’s; unlike X360. I think I’m only pointing the obvious here; disagree? fine, but I voiced my opinion still; and no… it wasn’t really in a bitter way, just my own style, nor do I want to focus on it here since I already went over it on other places.

          I like lower end RPG’s because: they require less development time, less money and often have more freedom. So I’d prefer to have lower end company’s aiming for the lower end, not the more expensive higher end. And that, of course, is my opinion. And thus I root for them, rather than “high-spec’ing” them that’s all there is to it.

          Not all reply’s have to be literal and I often talk a lot with only a little bit of that being related to the above; that of course is the remark that the Wii doesnt have many RPG’s, compared to DS, sure, but I can’t compare a home system to a portable one, so my line of thought went to say that I don’t think it’s upcoming RPG library is any worse than X360’s; yes… as a whole. Biased? I don’t think so, but feel free to think otherwise. (Arc Rise Fantasia is so awesome).

          If anything you could question why I said X360 and not PS3, and I said it because I think X360’s RPG library is still better/more prolific than it.

          (jeez, for calling me out and all that)

    • I really think Namco Bandai is holding off on Tales announcements since the last wave of Tales games is just hitting Europe. PAL territories don’t even have Dawn of the New World yet.

      When the next round happens they’re going to shorten the US / EU localization time, but they can’t release too many Tales games in the market so they’re holding them back.

      • lostinblue

        I dunno about that. On Vesperia it makes sense, for the X360 sales to not be capped by the shadow of a “enhanced port” but for Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World… I even think hyping Tales of Graces at the same time could get more people to buy Tales of Symphonia, since they’re listening to “Tales of” being talked about… I mean… Dragon Quest IX comes to mind, and how Square-Enix took the chance to cash-in on Dragon Quest IV and Dragon V while building-up hype for it. They were simultaneously using the hype of the new installment to get new people into the franchise and… making money.

        That’s how you build a userbase, really… with multiple games on that platform, and not all have to be new, providing you have new ones coming. I usually think ports are only “acceptable” if they’re building up for something on the aforementioned platform, for instance I think Monster Hunter G for the Wii was valuable since MH3 was coming, just as while building a userbase for RE4 I didn’t object to… RE2, 3 and Code veronica overpriced ports on GC last gen. In the same fashion I think ports of Tales of Destiny Directors Cut, Tales of Destiny 2 and Tales of Rebirth for the Wii could be very acceptable, providing they were done with the apropriate timing (and of course, Japan doesn’t need them, US/Europe do!).

        There’s no real consequence in start hyping Graces now… specially considering Namco is doing NOTHING to hype their Tales games in europe… just press releases with no images and a boxart mockup so far.

        Same for Tales of Versus (no consequences), considering the PSP outside Japan hasn’t had a Tales title since the first Tales of Radiant Mythology, so they’d at least would give them something to chew on.

        • I see your point and you’re looking at it from the perspective of an ardent fan.

          For the general consumer promoting Vs. and Graces now, even though there’s news about the games from Japan, is overkill for the general consumer. Think about how people say there are too many Shin Megami Tensei games these days when the series was pretty much unknown five years ago. Announcing Graces could kill sales for Dawn of the New World in Europe.

          Also, and this is more of a general statement, Japanese companies typically focus on product launch in Japan and then announce a game for North America / PAL. It’s an archaic way of doing things since the news is out in the wild thanks to the Internet, but that’s how they’ve traditionally marketed games. I’m sure you know this, but some titles are also “tested” in Japan and if they fail at home there isn’t any chance of an international release. So, announcing a game ahead of time when they’re not sure how it’s going to perform in Japan really isn’t their strategy.

          • xemnas

            Thats true..but explain Vesperia and Star ocean? those releases were nearly simultaneous. Star Ocean had reputation and just as lostinblue suggested it was hyped up…i myself purchased Second Evolution and First Departure due to SO4 hype.

          • That’s because those releases were planned as major international releases from the get go.

            If a publisher is going to do a worldwide launch like Resonance of Fate / Magnacarta 2 they’ll openly talk about a game because it’s within reach.

            If a publisher is not sure if a game is coming over or it won’t be released internationally until a year later they’ll hold off on marketing. There are exceptions to the rule like Final Fantasy games, but those are exceptions.

            The idea for Namco Bandai or any publisher is they don’t want a long tail of marketing. People get frustrated when they hear about a title and its so far from being released. Publishers want “hype” close to launch so the game is fresh in people’s minds when they can buy it.

      • Geeman

        I hope you’re right! I keep telling myself PS3 Vesperia will come after the Europe release loses steam.

        But still a little disappointed about ToDRM:DC…

        They honestly got their big break with Symphonia selling so well, I just think they didn’t use the opportunity to get people to fall for the series and not just the one game.

  • Max

    There problem is they keep expecting Tales of Symphonia type of sales(in millions) for every Tales of game which probably won’t happen.

    I think instead of spending HUGE amounts of cash on English VA and adding new stuff they should just translate the game and spend the rest on advertisements but then again what do I know?

    • lostinblue

      HUGE amounts of cash? then why weren’t they willing to pay for the original ToS actors to reprise their roles on ToS2:DoTN last year and instead used a cast of… turd? I mean, the voice acting is BAAAD, not Tales of Eternia BAD but damn.

      Abyss and Vesperia had it good though. (thanks namco, for being cheap)

      As much as I’m a fan of Japanese voice-overs over the US tbh I don’t think taking them out is viable, although I hope one of these days they give us the chance in the disc. I think taking the US voice-overs decreases the potential public greatly, even if they sell mostly to the niche public it’s only obvious that they’re always trying to make the break for the mainstream… and the mainstream are used to english voice-overs, not subtitles.

      • Max

        They do spend a good amount (I agree w/ maybe not HUGE but a good chunk of cash that could be put into a commercial which who help more than VA’s).

        The reason TOS:DOTNW had different VA’s is its a spin-off a.k.a. not quite ToS2 (not saying its a horrible game, just its a spin-off)

        Tales of “..” will never be mainstream, (unless they 1)make it not anime-ish, 2) have all the ladies half naked, 3) add lots of blood and 4)make it a 1st or 3rd person shooter) they should just forget about it and NOT further anger the current fan base

        I’d add more complain but meh

  • Ereek

    I understand Bamco’s risk with JRPGs, but it still makes me a bit sad. Instead they choose to release games like Magna Carta 2 over here? Sure, it could end up good and sell well, but it’s far riskier than Tales of, which at least has a larger dedicated fanbase in North America.

    • lostinblue

      Similarly, why the hell did they bring up Eternal Sonata from Tri-crescendo and took a dump at Fragile from Tri-Crescendo? they’re both 3D titles so the 2D Namco legend doesn’t apply… but one is for the Wii? Is that the reason? why so considering it’s the same Wii whose shameful Tales effort game last year sold better than the “mothership” with collectors edition on X360?

      What’s with that? they bring a HD title of the same developer, but won’t bring the Wii one despite the buzz? tbh, seems like platform prejudice to me.

      Namco is too conservative, and then… like you said, they jump on localizing the sequel of a average PS2 game who isn’t even developed inhouse… unlike tales.

      Again, platform prejudice, considering the next Tales is on the Wii and… *zing!* it’s NOT CONFIRMED for US.

      • malek86

        Maybe we got the best end of the deal. Everyone I talked to, said Fragile really isn’t that good.

        • lostinblue

          I know people who enjoyed it… just like I heard a lot of complaints regarding Eternal Sonata’s last segment, dullness and all (haven’t played either)

          Thing about Fragile, I think, is that no one should be expecting a perfect game… I mean, I’ll go with shenmue as a example, I button mashed my way through the battles, that felt robotic and broken, but I still ended the game and have it as a fond gaming memory. Fragile combat clearly works that way, it’s simple and repetitive, and was at one point considered to be taken out… but the story and envyronment should even out the bad with the good and keep you playing.

          This of course, is what I think are “realistic” expectations for the game, when I play it I’ll create a final opinion. But I expect a good game/experience.

  • Geeman

    This whole interview makes me sad… his whole attitude read like he was trying to avoid saying “yeaaa… good luck with that”, no wonder us tales fans are jaded when all the good stuff only gets realeased in Japan (ToD RM Directors Cut, DS Tales, PS3 Vesperia, and now Tales of Vs).

    Sadly I will still sit here hoping that they’ll bring every title over someday…

    Discovering the NIS games has been a relief though.

  • TurkeyPotPie

    I do hope you asked him whether the PS3 port of Vesperia is going to be released in North America.

    • Ereek

      Based off his comment, I’d say it’s a resounding “no.”

    • lostinblue

      Read what Spencer said, it’s quite natural that they can’t talk about Vesperia PS3 at this point. For the other Tales games not so much, but…

      • TurkeyPotPie

        What is different about PS3 Vesperia and the other Tales games?

        Edit: never mind, I just saw Spencer’s comment above, I didn’t see it when asking my original question about PS3 Vesperia.

        • lostinblue

          Vesperia is just fresh out in Europe. hence why they might be holding back on the ps3 one.

          I think that one will come, I mean they brought the PS3 Eternal Sonata over, and truth to be told, they probably have a broader userbase for it on PS3 than on X360.

          This is “logic” though, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that… Namco doesn’t answer to logic.

  • xemnas

    Come on Ps3 Vesperia and Graces…

  • Daszeuzo

    “What’s going on with Tales these days?”

    The same thing that was going on with Tales ten years ago, only spread thinner.

    • xemnas

      You mean trolling the fanbase? yea i agree.

  • jj984jj

    You asked about RM2 and not Hearts? That’s just mean. :(

    I hope if they’re going to be selective about the next 3 titles they choose to bring over Graces at least because I know NoA won’t ask them to do it, I think Sony will talk them into bringing Vs. (even as just a DD title) and Vesperia PS3 as well though. Sony has been behind 3rd parties a lot more this year and MS seems to be letting up unless it’s for something stupid like exclusive DLC, and as usual Nintendo of America doesn’t give a crap about 1st party titles they can’t make money off of much less Japanese 3rd party Wii titles.

    • No, I asked them about Tales in general. No specific titles were mentioned.

      • xemnas

        I see…well Jeff Rubenstein of SONY said he was asking about Vesperia…we’ll see where that goes..VS is a psp game..that can be imported and it’s a fighter, thus easy to navigate

      • jj984jj

        I apologize, I thought you listed the games you asked about.

        Sorry about the rant too, I’ve been pretty miffed lately about the growing amount of DS (and now Wii) titles like the recent Tales games that have gone unlocalized lately, and the fact that there are many are first party titles that have gone unlocalized too… I really hope Graces doesn’t follow the trend the rest of Team Destiny’s titles have just because JRPGs aren’t as mainstream as they used to be.

        • lostinblue

          I think they’ve gone the way of the 3D precisely because of that, so Namco America localizes the darned thing.

          But of course, that’s not always a no brainer for Namco, as we’ve seen what the Venus and Braves team got when they moved away from 2D and made Fragile. (and Namco didn’t move a muscle so it would get released outside japan)

    • lostinblue

      It was actually Nintendo that asked them to bring ToS over back in the days and paid the localization. And this is the same Nintendo that unveiled Tales of Graces in video form at their very own “media summit” in October or the Nintendo that told them to not make ToS:DotNW for casuals.

      Saying they won’t ask for Graces is just mean; we don’t know but they have the legitimacy to do so (ask for it); specially considering then we speak of Sony as if they’re free of faults and will try everything so the game makes it across the ocean… I don’t think so, this is the same Sony that blocked Tales of Eternia PSP US release because “it didn’t have enough new features” and supposedly the company that blocked Tales of Destiny 2 a few years back. (it’s a urban legend at this point but it is said Namco actually wanted to bring that one) as Tales fans we owe them no respect, certainly less respect than for what Nintendo has done for the franchise.

      • jj984jj

        Nintendo did not have anything to do with the NA localization of ToS, John Ricciardi has clarified that several times because those rumours about Nintendo funding it aren’t true. And I specifically singled-out Nintendo of America for a reason, they have nothing to do with what NCL is announcing at their fall conferences or the 3rd party titles they’ve secured for Wii (like MH3 and ToG), these are Japanese 3rd party titles that NoA wouldn’t care about at all if NCL didn’t tell them too. Saying they won’t ask for Graces is being realistic because they leave it entirely up to 3rd parties to decide what games to bring over, I’m talking about the Nintendo and Sony of today and they’re entirely different then they were 5 years ago when the DS barely off the ground and Sony wasn’t worried about being in last place in both the handheld and console markets with a handheld no 3rd parties were heavily supporting until they started asked.

        You’re telling me that I’m going overboard but my post wasn’t meant to paint Sony as a saviour, they undoubtedly have been pushing for 3rd party support when you look at what has been announced for the PSP this year and that’s not a bad thing. Things have changed and you’re giving Nintendo of America too much credit, they’re back on top and they no longer have to care about anything unless they want or have too.

        • lostinblue

          Then why didn’t the PS2 version come out outside Japan? legend says because Namco couldn’t publish the game “as is” since Nintendo paid the voice-overs. Oh, and they say it was Nintendo who brought the game to europe and paid the localization into PAL5 as well.

          Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and the guy doing the localization at Namco US doesn’t have to know all details. I know it was Namco who did the US localization, but still it might be under NoJ’s pressure, the voice-overs might had their money on it, and all that stuff. IMO, they probably had, because otherwise Namco wouldn’t have bothered.

          they clearly didn’t even bother with proper voice actors with Baten Kaitos since we’re making a comparison. And Tales of Eternia is actually the only game that I remember having to turn the voice-overs off.

          I also disagree with the rest, Nintendo compromised themselves to bring Dragon Quest IX and X and publicize them as if they were their own, and I’m sure they’d ask Capcom, if they weren’t bringing Monster Hunter 3 along. Of course they’ll only really pressure if they see the franchise as a hardware seller… but it was always like that. Although I can agree NoA doesn’t breathe in and out without NCL telling them to.

          We don’t know what’s going behind the scenes though, Nintendo might “ask” them nonetheless as a formality. which is different than blocking which happened pretty recently on Sony’s block, and will happen again since their rules haven’t changed. All we’re seeing on PSP this year didn’t start development this year, my point… if it was sony pushing for that support they haven’t started now; just like, if you suddently see a Wii support boom (and things are getting better, supposedly; this years third party support was the best yet) it won’t be due to a sudden change of direction.

          • jj984jj

            Nintendo did release the game in Europe, but that has nothing to do with the NA localization or the fact that the PS2 version never came over. And speaking of smoke, that’s all you’re blowing now to the undisputed facts that I presented about ToS’s localization (there’s no proof that Nintendo funded it when there is a much more creditable source than your “legends” denying it), the amalgamation of unlocalized DS and Wii titles, and the amount of PSP titles being announced lately, so I guess we’re done this little debate.

          • lostinblue

            Never said there was proof. If anything by invoking “legends” I was invoking reasonable doubt.

            I gave my opinion over it.

          • jj984jj

            Invoking reasonable doubt to paint NoA in a better light isn’t going to bring more DS and Wii titles stuck in Japan to America. :(

          • lostinblue

            I blame namco though.

            I think Graces will come since ToS2:DotNW obviously sold more than it deserved to; now, I think DS is a lost cause Namco USA is too stupid to consider it.

  • icedearthaholic

    I think someone needs to let Bandai-Namco know that we want the PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia, and of course Tales of Graces for the Wii, to come stateside, the other two I could honestly care less about, just so long as Bandai-Namco releases ToV PS3 and ToG here in the States, they’ll have a customer in the form of me.

    Someone seriously needs to slap Iwai silly, be selective my ass, they’re just trying to cover it up if you ask me.

    • lostinblue

      what “other two”?

      I trust Tales of VS is one of them, and I don’t really give a rats ass about that one. but the other… is it Radiant Mythology 2 (which can also go die in a fire for all I’m concerned after having played the first one) or are you saying you don’t care about… Tales of Hearts or Tales of Innocence? *_*

      I’d buy those two in a heartbeat.

      • icedearthaholic

        Yes, it’s Radiant Mythology 2, I could care less about that one honestly. Never played the first one. Tales of Hearts and Tales of Innocence need to get released.

        • lostinblue

          I did… it was so horrible :(

          Think about a game that is a mesh up of badly tuned Tales of characters and no plot or compeling points whatsoever… you have a guild in each town, and each town has 2 dungeons and then you have to complete the missions until you get a mission that advances the lousy plot at place. but the whole missions are “hey get there and kill 2 of these monsters because they’re scaring the vilagers”, or “hey go pick some onions for me, they can be found at the end of the dungeon” you always come back and have a ton of those crappy fetch quest to do in a seemish looking scenario. I mean… not even the combat was fun, it was totally broken.

          it’s just… so DULL. They said Radiant Mythology 2 was severely improved, but I have no faith. For me even the darn guild missions in Dawn of the New World, (a quick and dirty extender for an average game) are better than the whole Radiant Mythology 1… it’s just that bad.

          I even cursed Namco, for localizing that turd and not Tales of Destiny 2 or Rebirth PSP ports (who supposedly have extra content so Sony America couldn’t block them), or Tales of Innocence, or Tales of Hearts.

          Now that I think of it… I’ll probably curse them if they bring Tales of VS over instead of the aforementioned titles (even if I understand that it’s a lot easier to localize a fighter)

          • icedearthaholic

            Yeah, tell me about it, Namco just seems to love screwing their US Tales fans out of the good stuff, would’ve loved to have seen Destiny 2 and Rebirth on the PSP in English. Hell, they should’ve even ported the PS2 version of the original Destiny over to the PSP as well.

            However, from what I gathered, VS. has interaction with the PS3 version of Vesperia as well, meaning we wouldn’t get the complete experience if they just brought VS. over without the PS3 version of Vesperia following suit. So if and only if, VS. guaranteed a localization of the PS3 version of Vesperia, I’d be all for it, otherwise it can go burn in hell.

          • This is going to probably sound silly… but I loved the original Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology for the PSP.

            I had wanted to love Monster Hunter PSP, and had even purchased the first one from GameStop. But I just couldn’t get into it and play it.

            I ended up picking up Radiant Mythology, and fell totally in love with it. I enjoyed the missions and had a lot of fun with the game.

            But then, I don’t mind fetch quests and enjoy mission-based games, so maybe it’s just me.

  • Anon

    So what’s “best” for the market is to release nothing? And no other company is allowed to pick up the slack?

    Namco USA is just one disappointment after another. I really don’t understand or agree with their business practices at all.

    • Excerpt from Gamasutra:
      “Publisher Namco-Bandai’s fiscal year is beginning inauspiciously, as it posts losses of ¥2.8 billion ($29.6 million) on revenue of ¥75.7 billion ($800 million) for its first quarter, which ended June 30.

      This loss compares poorly to a ¥1.5 billion ($15.9 million) profit during the same period last year, and overall revenues were also down 16% in the period for the firm, which also sells toys and operates arcades in Japan.”
      This puts Namco USA in a tight, and maybe interesting, spot.

    • I agree, they should at least let folks like Xseed release the Tales of games they don’t want to… Heck Xseed would do a much better job than them anyways. Maybe that’s what they’re scared of?

  • BraveWind

    I sticked my face to the screen hoping for hearts and innocence on DS.
    Coming Namco, tales is becoming more popular…and I hope they release those four too.

    My dream is to get every “Tales” thing possible…muhaha
    I have no xbox and I already have Tales of Vesperia.

    • lostinblue

      Also bought it, I refuse to buy the system (don’t ask) but I’ll borrow one just the same.

      • BraveWind

        >> I Hate Microsoft for stealing my Tales is my reason, and I live faraway from America [Amazon FTW] so If send back my 360 it will cost a 360! lol

        • lostinblue

          I feel for you (and hence one of the reasons I’ll be borrowing one)

          • BraveWind

            Lucky you >>’
            I can’t borrow any 360 cause only my cousin has it and i seriously doubt he would let me play a single game in it in his house lol

  • “Ardent fan,” Spencer? I think the correct term might be rabid fanb-…fan. I must skim half of the comments but I think the Tales series coming out with SO many games is what has stopped me from playing most of them. NamcoBandai not taking chances? They released Culdcept Saga stateside, which in itself is a miracle. It’d be great to see them bring all the Tales games stateside, but I think I’ll just end up importing them when they’re cheap. At least the ones worth getting. The list is getting incredibly long, no?

    Oh, and someone made a comment about RPG’s on the Wii vs 360. While I love all systems, I don’t think the Wii is going to have more anytime soon and the 360 is just stacking them up, likewise, which is amazing this gen. It’s funny how people piss and moan about Xbox sucking for no RPG’s/J-style games and then this gen they spend lots of money to get all kinds of decent games that you would find on the PS2 and none of these “fans” buy them. [Katamari? Culdcept? Operation Darkness? Oneechanbara vorteX? Earth Defense Force 3?] How many fun, not-so-stellar (in the pop-gaming minds) yet still very playable niche games must they back before someone supports them a little. It’s like the internet is just melding with peoples personalities and their ignorant e-persona is what they are in person now too. It makes me hate gamers. Misanthropy will overcome me completely, no doubt. I think I’ll become a self-proclaimed Gaming Hermit.
    /2 cents.

  • The bigger question is who’s working on what. I’m almost certain Graces is being done by Team Destiny. They haven’t done a “mothership” game in a while and the character art for Graces is by Mutsumi Inomata, who’s worked on all of Team Destiny’s games (Rebirth, Destiny, Eternia).

    That probably means Team Symphonia is working on the next entry for the high-def systems. A few guys from T.S. are probably doing the the Vesperia PS3 port.

    That leaves us wondering what the third Tales team (the one that worked on Hearts, I assume) is up to, and whether or not Sword of Legendia is being worked on at the Tales studio — it’s being produced by Tsutomu Gouda, who was producer on Vesperia.

    • Wasn’t Hearts done by Team Destiny?

      • lostinblue

        It’s the remnants for it. basically they purged out 2D sprite artists and stuff for yet another smaller team. think of it as a satellite team or something.

    • lostinblue

      there’s another sattelite team, Team Ratatosk (if they weren’t disbanded) who is composed of 10% of Team Symphonia and a few others; but mostly newcomers to the franchise.

      Sword of Legendia is being done at Namco, not at Tales Studio, that much is official. They must be Team MelFes.

      • Wasn’t that like, part of Project Soul? And Hearts, I believe, was done by select members of Symphonia and Destiny. However, there’s no way to be certain that the Hearts team IS the third Tales team.

        I wasn’t sure who’d done Symphonia 2, but it could be that the third team is some sort of flexible unit that switches members in and out depending on the project requirements.

        • lostinblue

          They said “that” but the Symphonia “blood” in Team Hearts is probably very, very small… it’s like saying Team Ratatosk had a Team Destiny dude doing the battle programming (and it shows, with the whole aerial battle aspect added) but with all that said, there wasn’t really a team destiny involvement.

          But we can’t say there was a real “Team Symphonia” workforce behind it, while the presence of former Team Destiny members can’t be denied just from the looks of the game. I didn’t analyse the credits roll though.

          I never heard of Project Souls, but I heard about “Team Ratatosk” multiple times… all of them unofficially though, but calling Team Hearts to the Tales of Hearts team is also unofficial.

          The “third team made of member from the other two” theory has merit, but considering they developed Tales of Hearts and Dawn of the New World at once I’d say at that time at least there were 4 teams? Shame namco isn’t more stragaightforward with what’s going on with their teams/structure.

  • will

    tbh i think namco bandai are not very good at trying to sell their own games. out side of the spoiled japanese fans, their is next to nothing on tales of series althou their is alot more titles for NA than EU but still.

    they do next to nothing in advertising , either on tv or gaming mags etc and have the illusion that it to do well, and they released tales of vesperia shockingly , am shocked at how bad this company are. they had next to little pal region games that were out in the uk, i mean seriously if your gona release a game on eu atleast bring/import/make enough copies of the game so that pple can buy it. so stupid.

    i do like how they did tales of series in multi platforms such as nds/psp/xbox360/ps2/ps3/wii. etc they’ve always kept it only japan, so am not surprised that how bad their company is doing yet again. i could see them doing well if they advertised/marketed to the right pple etc and in the right way but still they continue to make the same mistakes as before, i am astounded at how dumb these pple are in this company even if its just for money hungry pple they still arent doing a good job of it.

    i mean take tales of vesperia if your going to make a game from it they should of known the date of when it was due so they wouldnt have to cut out alot of stuff and then port it to ps3, imo they should of either just made more disks for the game or just do it for the ps3 in the first place , plus its even more money wasted when they could of had so much profit imo but thats namco for you, stupid .

  • Well as long as Graces, Hearts and/or Vs is localized I’ll be happy.
    At the same time it’s sad they cannot keep up with such a good series. Hopefully sales will convince them to be confident about it.

  • verdun

    Hey Spencer. The next time you talk to an American NBG representitive, you don’t think you could ask about the chances of unionized voice acting to get the Tales of Symphonia voice cast back someday, do you? Fans don’t like the new actors…

    • lostinblue

      bringing them together for what game? rebubbing the original into a “Play on Wii” version with the PS2 extras?

      other than that I can’t see neither a prequel nor yet another pseudo-sequel.

      • verdun

        I meant something along the lines of another spin-off title or cameo appearances, or a “true” Symphonia sequel (the latter of which will never happen whereas the former is inevitable.)

        • lostinblue

          yes, I don’t see material for a sequel, considering the “next big thing” is Tales of Phantasia anyway. And a sequel more “epic” than ToS would render it useless, so they’re left with “spin-off” scenarios.

          Plus it seems Team Symphonia can’t be arsed to do it, considering they were too busy doing something else when Tales Studio was developing the sequel of their most famous game (you’d think they’d have the brain cells to put their best talent on it)

          I wouldn’t mind at all if they made a prequel with the original chosen, martel, kratos, yuan and mythos though, providing they didn’t take the half assed path of… recycling 6 year old assets yet again (grrrrr).

          • verdun

            Hey, when the American division can’t salvage the brain cells to at least alleviate SOME pain from a subpar spin-off sequel by paying a little extra for some simple fan service (e.g, Menville as Lloyd, Strong as Zelos, Wahlgren as Raine, ect.) I guess serious thought from the bigwigs is out of the question.

            I’d love to see a Team Symphonia developed prequel, though.

  • jarrodand

    Hometek can eat shit and die. Give me Hearts or give me Death!

    • lostinblue


  • I’m genuinely hoping Tales of Graces, Tales of Vs. and Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2 make it over this year.

    And, deep down, I sincerely hope that someday we get Tales of Hearts and/or Tales of Innocence as well.

  • Jirin

    Wait. Releasing Dawn of the New World and Legendia is being *selective*?

    You want to be selective? Give us all the mothership titles and nothing else! Or at least give us *anything* by Team Destiny, and keep the half assed spinoffs. It’s effing ridiculous.

    • Honestly! They gave us frigging Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology but not say~ Tales of Rebirth… They really suck at selecting…

  • God fuck it! If I don’t get Tales of Vesperia for PS3 and Tales of Graces I’m gonna be an angry fanboy! For this guy to even say what he did was like a slap in the face…

    Sigh this is what happens when I have hope…

  • Being selective would be releasing MotherShip titles ¬¬ Tales of Hearts is a Wonderful game even if u brought only the CG version I wouldn’t care and buy it, in the end it only have like 6 movies XD that game is like the best DS one I’ve ever played, Unfortunately the cartridge isn’t mine and I only finish the 1st playthrough

  • Being selective would be releasing the mothership titles or at least tales of hearts, i wouldn’t mind just the CG version brought (It only have like 6 CG scenes LOL) I wouldn’t mind if u announce it today and release it in 3 years, but at least u release it. I’ll come tomorrow to read the full interview for sure ToH 4ever XD

  • Joanna

    Selective…riiiiight. More like prejudice against DS owners >:( Seriously, every system that had a Tales of… released has got at least one, except the DS. Namco what has the DS done to you that you refuse to release Tales of Innocence and Hearts >:( God, I’m really starting to get bitter when it comes to Namco. I hope that at least they feel the need to release Graces. Yes, NamcoBandai, I hate you. >:P

  • thebanditking

    Spencer all I want to know is when I can buy Vesperia for PS3. Namco brought over Eternal Sonata and I thank them for that, but I really want Vesperia on my PS3. If they do that then I am good for a while but if PS3 TOV gets the shaft like TOS on PS2 did I am not going to be a happy camper. Also if NamcoBandai USA is going to be “selective” about their titles then why not do english subtitles and translations for the other in game texts for the Japanese relases? PSP and PS3 are region free and TOV already was translated once, so the ammount of “extra” text added by the new features is pretty small, that way at least I could import it (I am not against paying $80 for things I want).

  • Shu

    I love listening to companies whine about poor game sales especially since they never see some pretty obvious factors like poor marketing, or poor platform choice. Not to sound like a fanboy but when it comes to this topic the 800 pound gorilla in the room is always the 360. I think many of these companies devloping their JRPG’s on only the 360 is their biggest mistake, it’s not that I think 360 owners should not get JRPG’s in fact I think they should release these games on as many platforms a possible to expand the fanbase, but don’t jump ship 100% and then be surprised when Tales fans who normally bought Playstation or Nintendo don’t have a 360. See last gen the most popular console was also a Japanese console, so it was logical to focus on PS2. This time out though things are split, and the Japanese will not support 360 the way they did PS2 or PS3 it’s just not going to happen. Sure TOV did very well for a “western” console release in Japan but TOV’s numbers would have been quite a bit larger if it was released on PS3.The 360 fanbase is just not as varried as the PS2 one was, and these companies are going to have to wake up a bit and realize that the 360 is not some golden key to Western sales, and I would hate to see Japan loose more of it’s culture and game design philosophy to attempt to sell games on a console whos fanbase is mainly concerned with Online enabled shooters.

    • jarrodand

      Well, Vesperia actually outsold every PS1/PS2/PSP Tales in America. In fact, if we’re going to talk about “Tales fans”, the PlayStations seem to be the last place we’d find them here. They’re all with Nintendo in the west.

      I agree, multiplatform is the way to go, but it’s really been that way for awhile. Namco squandered a good opportunity not having Abyss on GameCube last gen, but at least they’re bringing Vesperia to PS3 now. If they want to do an exclusive, it should be on DS, PSP or Wii.

    • lostinblue

      Sir, you totally get it.

      kudos for that.

      I think Namco did well in not releasing Abyss for GC last gen though, IF they could only develop for one platform at once, they did well in choosing PS2, even if in the end the loadings and overall optimization are lacking. The truth is in 2005 (JP release) when the game came out the GC was already declining, and considering the game finally came out in October 2006 in US… it would be dead on arrival. It’s like the “what if Okami was released on the GC?”, they had the right demographic and interest in Nintendo’s field, sure, but not the right timing to bank on it.

      And of course, they should also take into account their only “real” established platforms for the franchise outside Japan are the Nintendo platform, and incidentally that those fans have been expecting the DS games for aeons now, that and that… they’re specifically Team Symphonia fans; I’d still like to see some Team Symphonia on my console of choice, since they’re the Tales team whose games are done with west in mind (hence, always confirmed for release here) and the team that did put Tales on the map ouside Japan on Nintendo platforms… which means most Tales fans outside Japan are Team Symphonia fans and not necessarily Team Destiny fans (and instead have seen their work as a derivate of sorts at some point)

      This is the west right? if what they have in the west is a Nintendo userbase and they have a team prepped up for cracking the west market… shouldn’t they aim the thing at us at some point? So… one more point for the narrowminded Namco?

      And of course… Timed exclusivity motivated by moneyhats was a big error by Namco; in Japan in particular. And although I agree with jarrodand above, that the Playstation sales never broke out, I’d argue that was also because Tales always came to late to the party, had bad timing (releasing abyss so close to FFXII? really?) and no marketing when the demographic was already overflowing with RPG’s… couldn’t possibly want to sell that much; which isn’t the case yet on no platform this gen. yes, I think ToV would have done better in US on PS3 too; if released alongside.

      And just for the finisher, do you guys remember what Namco said when they didn’t release Tales of the Abyss on GC? They cited “we don’t want to divide our userbase” (and I agreed with them if that was their focus/decision)… quite coherent aren’t them? considering they couldn’t be doing better at dividing their already small userbase if they tried.

      • jarrodand

        The idea that Abyss would’ve bombed on GameCube is somewhat faulty given Symphonia GC sales even just after the Abyss PS2 release actually exceed it overall. I do think there’s merit in the argument that late term GCN support was inherently a losing proposition (look at Baten Kaitos II), but then oyou could also make the counter argument that stuff like Okami or Abyss might’ve fared substantially better in the west had the been bumped up to Wii launch games or early releases instead (look at DBZ BT2 or RE4 Wii).

        Also, Vesperia wasn’t moneyhatted in the classic sense. 360’s lead for kits was what pushed it that direction mainly, since Team Symphonia decided they wanted to go HD after Abyss. Now, after that decision had been made there might’ve been some dealing to give 360 a window, but even so it doesn’t seem like Namco got any direct compensation for it. Probably just a royalty cut if anything, which was also standard operating procedure for Sony in the PS2 days… chances are, if you consider Vesperia “moneyhatted”, you should do the same for Abyss.

        • lostinblue

          I don’t disagree with you for the most part. My point wasn’t to say it would have bombed, but that it would never have the same impact the first one did. For instance, FFVIII and FFIX sold less than FFVII, the game who did the big “splash” as Majora Mask sold less than… say, Ocarina of Time. Gamecube was already dying at that point and so I consider there was a risk, and their primary market was Japan.

          Tales used to sell 650k in japan and Tales of Symphonia across two platforms sold 750k there, so it was under that assumption that Namco said they didn’t want to split their userbase, that just for 100k it wasn’t worth it… that the GC version in there actually sold less despite being a timed exclusive and of course… that the userbase for it was falling apart at that point (non leading platforms have a shorter lifespan). My whole point is that I could see logic in that move, as the best thing to do if multiplatform wasn’t an option; and of course neither of that takes into account the west.

          I’m sure it would sell more in US to a albeit more reduced GC userbase in total numbers. But their choice was understandable IMO, for one PS2 was a leading platform and was in a better state. But I still understand the thinking behind it; plus I think franchises in order to aim to be more popular instead of niche, have to aim with all they got at leading platforms, that’s how Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest got to where they are today, by always jumping ship for the leading platform. “If” FF7 had came out on N64 I don’t think for a second that it could have the same impact as it did.

          I don’t think Abyss was moneyhatted though, Tales of Symphonia probably was by Nintendo (just like RE0, REmake, RE4 and the Capcom 5 were, through deals… or even FFCC) but the Nintendo demographic is more open to RPG’s (some of it comes from the SNES days) so that one played out fine, since they were having a RPG drought and all. (and regarding vesperia, all I have to say is that I don’t believe that, Star Ocean 4 and Last Remnant never admitted being “moneyhatted” but I have no doubts they were; vesperia doesn’t push X360, they could have accommodated it pretty fast on a PS3 build)

          Your point about bumping them to Wii releases… True, but even Nintendo as a publisher didn’t do that for games like Baten kaitos origins who would have fared better that way. The team was actually asked why and they answered they couldn’t be just copy pasting and that they would need extra development time to do so, which seems plausible. Adaptations take time… and the games were ready and not taking the Wiimote into account when the platform in it’s early stages had to use it as a selling point (now, with some RPG’s and MH3 they’re braching on the fact that it’s not a requirement because it’s accepted as a standard)

          Capcom did shameful adaptations with Resident Evil 0 and Remake, but that’s Capcom.

          At that point Abyss and Okami simply weren’t running on GC hardware, so making the change for Wii would require quite some resources. Not to mention no one saw Wii coming with the market acceptance it got, or that the hardware would allow the original code to be imported and run natively in order to keep developing those GC SKU’s in order to late in development make the jump.

          Again, that would be quite nice, and I’m sure Tales of the Abyss would sell in US better than on PS2, if only purchased by the Tales of Symphonia fans as the next team symphonia game… but that wasn’t predictable back then like most of the shots in the feet Namco takes are predictable by a blind mile. That one didn’t seem like a shot in the feet at distance. (of course releasing it so close to FFXII was a colossal shot in the feet, though, I’m not defending them)

          Also on the Tales of the Abyss topic, I purchased and equipped the broadband adapter and a hdd just so I could get rid of the long loadings on PS2 (I only did so for that game in particular) and the framerate was ridiculously all over the place, but I’d take a port made in 2009 as an insult. (this because a interview a few months ago actually asked for it, and I’ve seen people begging for “abyss at 60 frames and 16:9. I mean, why should my console be some kind of “Team Symphonia” greatest hit’s” platform? if they’re gonna bring old sh*t then they ought to put their team on the money as well, new games. (I sure hope they don’t even think of porting Abyss otherwise)

          • jarrodand

            Supposedly, Abyss started out as a GC game though (Harmonia) so we don’t really know how much work it would’ve been to really follow through with a multiplatform or delayed Wii release. Tales has always been Japan centric though, and I agree if the decision came down to just going for one platform that PS2 was the right choice… I just question the sincerity of that need.

            I agree with your “biggest base” argument too, but FFVII’s a terrible example. When the game was announced, Saturn was outselling PSX in Japan and N64 hadn’t even released yet… FFVII was the key game that helped propel PlayStation to market dominance, it didn’t jump ship to the leading platform at all.

            Also, Last Remnant pretty clearly wasn’t moneyhatted. In that situation it’s literally a problem with getting the game running to spec on PS3, as it was even announced as multiplatform from day one. I’d question Star Ocean too, that seemed to be more a bonus lead development thanks to Microsoft investing in Infinite Undiscovery. In any case, like Vesperia, it’s undoubtedly PS3 bound anyway. Really, the only times you can make a rock solid case for Microsoft “moneyhatting” JRPGs are for the ones they own (Blue Dragon, Last Remnant, Infinite Undiscovery). Each other instance of timed exclusivity seem to revolve more around R&D timeframes with the games eventually going multi anyway (Enchanted Arms, Eternal Sonata, Vesperia, likely Star Ocean) or multiplatform development difficulties (Last Remnant). If anything, it looks like Sony’s more involved in moneyhatting big 3rd party JRPGs this gen (FFXIII Japan, FFvsXIII, FFXIV).

          • lostinblue

            Yup, it started as a GC game, and then switched platforms which is kind of a shame considering the Tales of Symphonia GC engine was pretty nicely optimized (written from the ground) and the port for it was hideous. The result is a Tales of the Abyss that could be better had them optimized the engine, or used the original hardware for it.

            But then again, it jumped platforms at an early stage… to the point those idiots ported it back into the Wii to make ToS2DotNW which resulted in yet another unoptimized engine port (gone is the streaming engine that was blazing fast on the GC and the rock solid 60 FPS in cities and battles), and why did they ported it back instead of using the GC build? because they’d have to up the GC build in order to implement Flex Range LMBS.

            If… they had reached a point where they had a solid version of Flex Range running on the GC build they’d have to be even more stupid than they were, to port back something that was… a total trainwreck.

            Regarding the “biggest userbase” PSone quickly topped the Saturn in hardware sales, I actually have read articles regarding that; it’s possible that Saturn leaded for a short while (dunno) but that soon changed even because the Saturn couldn’t compete in price of the hardware, past a certain point. What Saturn had an advantage at, was being known as a “hardcore platform” and the playstation was regarded as a casual one… where simpler games sold better and tie-ins had more aceptance while multiplatform games and hardcore titles in general constantly sold more units than playstation despite the lower userbase… that, and it had quite a following. A kind of edge no home platform has over the Wii at this point.

            The whole “Psone is more casual” only changed with the release of FFVII, and we know the rest of the story. So yes, it jumped ship to the platform where they could really maximize their potential, really. Releasing FFVII on the N64 wouldn’t make a dent as huge, because not only the N64 had less mass aceptance but because the “new gamers” were on PSone. To this day a lot of people regard FFVII as the best FF installment because it was their first. And what were they playing previously? not RPG’s. that’s why going for the market leading platform is important; because the masses is what can make the difference if you’re lucky, not us, fans; we’re the money on the bank that deserve some degree of respect, for always backing them, and hopefully do some word of mouth… but we’re only just that.

            On the later point… I don’t regard Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey and Infinite Undiscovery as moneyhatted, they paid for the whole development for those games and published them as their own, moneyhat is the act of sweeping money under the table, which in those cases weren’t it at all. and regarding SO4 being a “thank you” I can’t bite that, Plus they all seem to not announce the ports for similar times, and not ultimatelu release the game until a full year has passed… that sounds a lot like a 1 year time exclusive.

            And you know that developing multiplatform instead of porting later on is cheaper too right? No reason to not develop them alongside… unless they’re getting paid/they have a deal that prohibits them from doing PS3 development/builds at the same time; which seems to be the case.

            I also think releasing those games on a platform that doesn’t sell in japan will ultimately reduce the sales of the game on the PS3 or the impact it’ll have in the market (see Eternal Sonata, dead on arrival), and that’s the real problem for me; they should be maxing their properties, not running them into the ground.

            I’ll back down from last remnant point as it was more on the lines of adding one to the list (money might have been involved to release it first, but it’s know that they had technical dificulties for real), and I dunno if FFvsXIII is moneyhatted, I mean, it’s nomura’s lovechild, we all know the man is gaga for sony and seems to have his own. I mean, he even managed to keep FFXIII saga out of Nintendo consoles, including the DS and do a complete game on PSP.

  • DarkMan

    give us all of them, or get atlus to just publish/localize them

  • divineimpressia

    I can’t believe Bandai Namco doesnt realize how much evry1 in U.S wants all of those tales games, like i wanted tales of innocence but its not coming to U.s, tales of graces and rm2 and evrything else has potential to be a great game but they wont ever realease it in U.S, all the games we want are all only released in japan and it sucks, alot.

  • DuskShark

    I lost faith in the series. Namco doesn’t want to release anything because it didn’t give Final Fantasy a run for it’s money. They’re not happy with their sales here even though they’re good enough to keep em’ a float. Namco USA treats the Tales fans like slime…

    Either they need to get their head out of their asses or hand the series over to Xseed of Atlus.

  • Vesperia2011

    You know, i really hope they bring PS3 Vesperia, because i will buy a PS3 just for that game!! I don’t own one yet, but i will if they make PS3 Vesperia for the US. I’m sure I’m not the only one so screw being selective, sell the US Version!! I really wish there was a way to communicate with Iwai and tell him that.

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