Tales Producer Hideo Baba Answers Fan Questions, Says No To Realistic Tales

By Spencer . April 23, 2012 . 4:01pm

Taking questions from Tales fans in Europe, Namco Bandai put together this video of Tales producer Hideo Baba answering questions like," Is there any Tales of game you guys regret making?" (Spoiler alert: No.)


Baba also says he’s going to stick with what he does best – making Japanese RPGs. So, if you were hoping for a Western oriented Tales game with realistic graphics… sorry!

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  • pockystix

    I want to salute harder, but I think I’d just hurt my head. . .

    oh well *salutes*

  • Ladius

    Don’t worry, I think it’s perfectly understandable for European fans of this series to be disillusioned with Namco, given how many entries were never released in that market or arrived there only after long delays.

    That said, another good news in that regard is the unification of the US and EU Namco operations, something that should be reflected by a more cohesive strategy for their future releases: http://www.abyssalchronicles.com/?fn_mode=comments&fn_id=883

  • pockystix

    no, I think people have forgotten that innovation doesn’t require an entirely new system, visual style, etc. to fully realize a new installment.

    Square Enix have been pretty innovative, but it’s been in the “let’s change everything, and dumb it down. Because it’s way too hard to put some effort into improving upon what works anymore” style.

    one of the hardest, and most rewarding ways to innovate is to take the same concept, but find a way to make it all new again. Try playing one of the older Tales of games, and really try to tell me that there’s been no innovation where it matters.

    We’re not talking about rehash, once a year games like CoD and what not, we’re talking about games that take several years to develop, and put a lot of effort into recreating the battle system.

  • Raharu95

    Tales of Graces f underperformed in the US? How so?

    • malek86

      Word is that it sold between 50k and 80k in the first month. If true that would put it somewhere in line with the sales of other Tales games, which would mean “no big deal, especially after all the fuss about localizing the series”.

      Granted it’s just a leak. Not confirmed or anything. Although, if the game had sold a lot, you’d guess Namco would be flaunting the sales now.

      • If the Tales of Grace F didn’t sell what was expect in the US, Tales Of Xillia wouldn’t have been copyrighted here in the U.S a month after Grace F was release here in America. Pretty sure this is a false rumor.

        • Raharu95

          Trademarks mean nothing, specially to Namco. Shall we remind ourselves about Rebirth? But Every 3D Game makes it here (Barring portables), so the Xilia’s localization chance is already very high.

  • Raharu95

    Bah… What fan of this series would actually want that?

    • boundries_san

      The ones who wanted a realistic art for Tales does not worth to called Tales fans!!!

      • Raharu95

         Every True fan of the series can agree to that. No one wants a series to be radically changed from it’s core.

  • malek86

    But handhelds rarely, if ever, get any WRPGs. That should have made the audience mix a lot smaller.

    • Ladius

      What I meant is that many jrpg fans looking for home console games were left with little options compared to the last generations since many series migrated on handhelds, and that made it easier to give a chance to the new wave of console wrpgs even if they had never tried a wrpg before.

      Another factor to consider is that many jrpg fans were used to AAA-level experiences in terms of budget during the PS2-GC gen, while this gen the home console jrpgs have mostly been niche, low budget efforts or mid-budget games, while wrpgs are often graphical powerhouses easily able to please gamers searching for that kind of things (of course, this is discouting personal tastes in regards to the art direction – obviously someone who deeply hate “realistic” art direction won’t consider them regardless, and those who can’t stand anime characters will probably avoid even the best cel-shaded effort).

      For example, take Trails in the Sky or Tactics Ogre: almost everyone who played them ended up loving them, but it’s easy to see how being low budget games on handheld (and a rather unfortunate one, at that) instantly meant a lot of western gamers didn’t even consider them, or never got to knew them in the first place.

      • malek86

        I understand that the focus on the PSP effectively meant that JRPGs have become more niche this generation.

        But I still don’t see how this turned out in a huge war between fanboys of both factions. The idea seems to be that “WRPGs have become more popular at the expense of JRPGs!”, but that is definitely not the case, since the lack of JRPGs on consoles is only due to the low sales of said consoles in Japan.

        It all seems like some huge misunderstanding to me.

      • Ladius

        My point is that this is the first hardware generation since the home PC and 8bit consoles that wrpgs and jrpgs have coexisted and directly competed on the same platforms, and those who never played on PC had their first exposition to wrpgs on X360 and PS3. This created a lot more opportunities for flame wars than in the past, when the two fanbases were mostly separated because of their different hardwares (aside from those who played both on PC and consoles), rarely interacted and often didn’t even know about the games played “on the other side”.

        Of course the flame war between jrpgs and wrpgs is absolutely silly, just as any cultural clash based on the idea of superiority instead of diversity, but the current hardware context made it a lot easier for people to start this kind of “wars”.

  •  I agree – the series has often edged its way towards more intelligent and meaningful themes, and while I’m not asking for grey and grey morality setup in a Tales game (ugh, that would be awful), the games with a little more nuance tend to be the best ones.

    Similarly, I think it’s time for the Tales protagonists to grow up a bit – as mentioned, Yuri was older and was plenty popular, and, lets be honest here, who LIKES Asbel? Really? Anyone?  I mean, he’s not offensive, but he’s just so…generic.  Indeed, I find that overall, I find the older, or at least, more mature characters in the series to be more appealing and potentially interesting than “A_Teenaged_Protagonist_075” – who doesn’t like Jade? Or Malik?  I think part of the reason I enjoyed the Abyss cast so much is that, aside from Luke, the cast was all very emotionally mature.  Even Anise didn’t have the kind of “Oh, hee hee, I’m a little kid and I don’t really know what to do with myself or even why I’m in this game, teehee!” effect that say, Karol did.  (Aside: I have a pet theory that literally everything about Karol would have worked better and been more effective if he had been ten years OLDER).

    The JRPG audience isn’t made up solely of kids in their mid teens anymore.  So I think those of us who’ve “grown up” with this medium would appreciate games respecting us a little more and honestly just being a little less dumb/childish about things like relationships with members of the opposite sex (Aside: This was another thing Abyss did really well.  Luke and Tear’s relationship, if not necessarily super romantic, was intelligent and real, with neither character playing to a childish behavioral stereotype ala BOTH Asbel and Cheria in Graces.) and just…life in general.

    Tales. I know you can do it.  Make me proud.

  •  I totally was going to list Borderlands as an example too(love the general style of the Borderlands series). Yes, I think we, particularly America(because we see the most anal regarding anything non-realistic/grounded), need to be more open to all different styles of art design. I mean, looking back at American art, comics and cartoons/animation, we are freakin rich with style, but pretend that we are “better” than that and that striving towards realism is the only thing that counts. It’s sickens me in a way, as an artist and a human being.

  • boundries_san

    To Baba. Just hold on those ideals and don’t care about the others who complain. We see how Virtua Fighter is still one of the most competitive fighting game in Japan and they still maintain their seriousness on the physics and mechanics of the game which is the main feature of the game.

    And Tales is famous for being a game that have a good battle system,(quite a typical J-rpg game) and of course good j-pop songs and anime art for the char.

    If u take that out. Tales will be just another game that loses its identity. Hope that Baba will keep on holding his ideals here for the better of the series.

  • Julien_N

    Errr…why are there so many people worried about the series becoming realistic? Baba said it would never happen, so that is cool, right? ^.^
    I am just puzzled by the amount of comments discussing this issue as if it could be a possibility, when it is obviously being jossed by the series’ director.

  • i don’t know why fans want it realticis anyway ummm
    anime style isn;t anything speical either it’s just a cartoon it’s not unquie because it lives and breaths in japan
    its no different from the american comics ect ect. WHAT i dont get is that he made two version of hearts one with anime and one with CGI so ummmm….
    i’m gald he took the time to talk to europe (me included) and talk about how he feels, i feel better that he actually ackowleadges us and isnt ignorant about the world outside japan.
    i still think catering to japan is abit selfish but yeah thats me since i am picking up the series but i love tales

  • It’s not realistic graphics that we want. It’s the more open-ended gameplay and customization from WRPGs that we really care about. I sure hope more JRPG devs look to Xenoblade as an example of doing this right.
    And, character designers, start looking to more diverse character faces as you see in manga like 20th Century Boys or One Piece. Having the same face shapes and features is a sign of a lazy artist. That’s all that I want at least.

    • Ni_Go_Zero_Ichi

      Tons of manga artists use a small set of facial shapes – it doesn’t mean they’re lazy or that their art is bad. It never hurt Rumiko Takahashi or Akira Toriyama, for example.

    • briony.conway

      No thanks, a more linear structure allows them to tell the story they
      want. It’s fine to have some variations ie. the ‘hard route’ early on in
      Symphonia (still think the more usual one makes the story flow better
      though), or a choice over how to split the party into teams, which
      generally results in different dialogue, but anything more than that in
      Tales of would just get in the way of the story or wind up making it
      feel unfocused. I appreciate the strong focus on following the story in
      the games, and seeing what the characters (not me) decide to do (even if
      I may not always agree with them, for me that actually makes it more
      interesting than if I could control the story myself), and the many
      sidequests mean there are still other things to do without losing that
      (especially as a lot of the sidequests connect to the story and develop
      the characters further). There’s a fair bit of customisation anyway, but
      each character is intended to have their own fighting style and it’s
      often referenced in the story, I think allowing the player to change too
      much would make them lose some of their personality, they wouldn’t feel
      as unique. There is still a good bit of choice, ie. Tear in Abyss is a
      healer but also a very good caster, and you can use her purely as the
      latter if you want and maybe let Natalia take the support role instead,
      which works very well for some fights. Using her as a physical attacker
      isn’t the most efficient way to play her, but you still can if you
      really want, I found she was quite good at drawing enemy aggro (which
      enabled an AI controlled Tear and Jade to beat the Sword Dancer on their
      own with just a few instructions from me after the rest of the party
      were KO’d).

      The relatively simple face designs are just part of the character
      designers’ style, I’m fine with it. The characters still look distinct,
      even ones like Guy and Flynn, you get a good sense of their
      personalities from their designs.

      • Julien_N

        Xenoblade is very linear but the environments are gigantic and you are not forced to explore everything yet are awarded exp, sidequests and other bonuses if you do so. I think it is a nice compromise and what kind of inspiration Greg Morton was talking about.

        • icecoffemix

          If you want to talk about that kind of linear, then most RPG are with the glaring exception of Metal series.

          • Julien_N

            What I meant is that there is no real way to go to some places early, as you discover new areas only by going to the designated locations, following the game’s plot. Moreover, I do not think there are multiples endings or morality choices.

            I agree with you about the fact that in the end, most RPGs are linear (Most games, I would even say), but there are different levels of linearity. ^^

  • Ni_Go_Zero_Ichi

    Wouldn’t a “realistic” Tales game entirely defeat the purpose of being a Tales game?

  • Ni_Go_Zero_Ichi

    When has any Tales game after the first one prioritized innovation?

  • I have and I platinum 2. Perhaps you don’t see the similarities between ME and FF 13-2. Like  how to  reply to a specific character.

    • SirRichard

      But that sort of response system has been common in RPGs for a while now, it’s hardly unique to Mass Effect. FFXIII-2 doesn’t even use a wheel like Mass Effect and its imitators do, and the wheel style is just a fancy way of displaying a standard menu.

  • Actually, you’re right, I guess I’m going the wrong way with this. 

    Really, though, I think the biggest problem might be the fact they’re localizing some of the wrong titles. Tales of Innocence and Hearts stay in Japan, but we get Symphonia 2? And is it really such a surprise that Graces isn’t doing well in the U.S. when it has such a flamboyant art direction, even amongst other “Tales of” games? Heck, even I would be kind of embarrassed to co-op that with my friends, and I LOVE the series.

    Long story short, I think Baba is misinterpreting the “Tales of” game sales as a lack of potential in the western game market.

  • Visa Vang

    I support the “No Realistic Tales Movement!”
    Burn it to hell. 

  • In my eyes, the sign of a truly great artist is knowing how to make as many diverse characters as humanly possible, and this is what artists such as Eiichiro Oda and Naoki Urasawa have clearly done.

  • amagidyne

    Final Fantasy XIII looks so weird, though. All the characters look like cosplayers (in the cutscenes, anyway).

  • Lele Mett

    You act like the Tales games have Great characters. There just your normal chilche chars you see in anime. As for FF 13, that game seemed like another FF to me. Ive played 4-13. All they do is keep changing. The games Linearity is what killed it. Best FF will always be 6. But no one sees that cuz its too old.Sigh

  • Lele Mett

    Thats all Ff does. IT KEEPS CHANGING.Thats whats its suppose to do. It might be good it might be bad, but FF wants to keep chaning on you cuz they want to give you something new. Look at FF 8 and then look a 9. People hate 9 but hell that game had the best characters(even though they all look weird).

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