Tales Of Series Creator Tells Us How He Creates Tales Characters

By Spencer . September 13, 2012 . 6:20pm

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When we spoke with Tales producer Hideo Baba he stressed the importance of having memorable characters in his games. "When we are developing titles, I first prepare a rough world setting and the basic storyline. Then the team works together to add details to the plot and atmosphere. The most important thing is the Tales series is part of the JRPG genre so I want to create characters players can emphasize with and they will want to follow as the story continues," Baba said to Siliconera.

 

I told Baba-san that I think fans in the West like Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia since he’s more developed as a character. He knows who he is rather than searching for himself like the young "gung ho" JRPG hero archetype.

 

"There is a possibility to have another Yuri-style character again, but I think it’s important to listen to the fan’s voices," Baba responded. "The development team is always creating new worlds and characters, so it’s possible to see different kinds of leading characters."

 

Ludger, the protagonist in Tales of Xillia 2, is totally different kind of Tales protagonist. Baba and the Tales of team wanted to make a lead character that makes players feel like a hero. Instead of emphasizing with Ludger, players make decisions that change how the story unfolds. In comparison, Baba said, "Jude [from Tales of Xillia] is the same kind of leading character as seen in the previous Tales games." I asked Baba-san to tell us more about how returning characters like Alvin and Leia grew in Tales of Xillia 2.

 

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"If we talk a lot about what happened between Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2 it might be a big spoiler for everyone," Baba laughed. "Xillia’s theme is ‘unwavering convictions’ and at the end of the game they found their own way. I changed their facial expressions and costumes for characters like Alvin and Leia to explain how they’ve grown after one year."


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  • Tales_of_Master

    I fell in love with the Tales series way back in 2004, and it’s been my favorite game series since then. I love to see the people behind the Tales series still passionate about the series. It seems like there still many Tales to be told, and the series isn’t ending anytime soon. Keep it up Tales team :D

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001531081700 Vale LN SkreiHolme

       Lol 11 freaking games and we STILL lack Tales of Hearts and Rebirth

      I forget if we ever got Senel coolidge or not over here in legendia

      • Voltech44

        Yeah, Legendia came out in the U.S. back in 2006.  Apparently it’s the black sheep of the franchise, but I personally enjoyed it.

        • Anime10121

           I also liked Legendia and not just because of its glorious soundtrack either!  The character tales, developed the characters and made some really engaging stories  for a Tales of game.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001531081700 Vale LN SkreiHolme

            Rebirth sounds more like the black sheep and it didnt even get localised

            and will all the side games its more like 19-21 of them XD

          • Anime10121

             I thought Rebirth was generally held as one of the best games in the series.  People always talk about how it has the best battle system of 2-D Tales games and that its story is among the best in the series (I wouldnt know, cant read/understand Japanese, so I havent played it).

          • Ladius

            Rebirth is a far better game than Legendia in terms of systems, pacing and combat, though. The fact that the 2D Team Destiny games weren’t localized has nothing to do with their quality (Destiny Remake being the prime example).

  • Paradox me

    Tales characters tend to be very hit-or-miss with me. 

    I could do with more characters like Yuri, Judith and Malik and less like Asbel, Luke, Anise, Asbel, Karol and Asbel.

    Vesperia had just about my favorite cast in the series, with only Karol and, to a lesser extent, Estelle really bugging me. And while I only have her looks to go by, I get the impression that Patty would have made me set fire to my PS3.

    • AnimusVox

      Ugh Asbel….
      I liked Symphonia’s and Vesparia’s cast the best personally.

    • Anime10121

       God I HATE Asbel, his whole character design should have just been letters made up of c-l-i-c-h-e and/or b-o-r-i-n-g!  I did like Luke, but I understand why people dislike him.  While I’m still part of the camp that hopes for Vesperia PS3, I agree, Patty would make me want to throw a brick through my tv.

      • Spirit Macardi

        I liked Asbel, quite a bit in fact. He started as a brutal take-down of the idealistic “friendship solves everything” character (essentially the entire Yu-Gi-Oh cast), showing what can happen when a character like that tries getting by on ideals alone. Then later he became a reconstruction by showing how those same principles can work if you have the ability and determination to back it up.

        Of course it’s all a matter of personal opinion. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just tossing in my two cents :3

    • sd28

      its weird my list would probably  be the opposite of yours as i found Yuri to be horrible and Judith point less though i did love manlik. 

      in the end  I felt more for characters like carol luke and asbel than i did for yuri and judith etc .

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aunna-Terrell/100001267508146 Aunna Terrell

      lol I love how Asbel is listed three times. XDD I’m currently “playing” (on a break atm!) Graces f and I can’t really stand Asbel/most of the cast (I do like Richard, Hubert, and Malik!) and the friendship theme of the game.

      • Paradox me

        They really did go overboard with the whole ‘power of friendship’ thing. It’s one of my least favorite Tales stories, but the gameplay was fun.

  • ragnarok989

    I love the Tales series, been playing it since the beginning…but I was under the impression they just had a giant wheel of character stereotypes to throw darts at.

    • Anime10121

      Yep loved Tales since forever too, and while I liked Luke well enough, Yuri is the ONLY Tales protagonist that was unique enough that I was actually surprised by some of his actions.

    • Ladius

      That could be said of any jrpg series out there, and Tales does a better job than most at defining their daily interactions and backgrounds thanks to the liberal use of skits and subevents.

    • Spirit Macardi

      They do, but it’s only to list stereotypes for them to completely tear apart :3

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Obb/100001994017630 Jimmy Dean

    Honestly I’ve never finished a Tales game to know what to make of the characters. There’s just so many of them and the gameplay barely changes between installments. They should put a little more focus into that

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001531081700 Vale LN SkreiHolme

       You playing the same game buddy? Its not like they are gonna stop using real time… they just switch what you can do in battle and did you not play graces?

    • LynxAmali

       Why fix what’s not broken?

      And besides, that’s sort of wrong.

      Phantasia’s battle system is nothing like Abyss.
      Vesperia isn’t similar to Graces.

    • Ladius

      That’s completely false, though: all Tales have real time action battle systems, but there are lots of differences between each installment, not only in terms of combat mechanics but also regarding customization and sub-systems. It’s like saying all FF games are the same just because they are turn based (in very different ways).

    • epy

      Wow, you should have at least checked some youtube videos before saying that.

    • Natat

      “the gameplay barely changes between installments”
      And there is when you should look up gameplay of Tales games other than Symphonia, Abyss and Vesperia before saying things like that.

  • Nitraion

    Lol i like Tales char such as Jade or Malik
    in other words The Captain rank is awesome!!!

  • Reiko_Chan

    I actually like most of the characters in the Tales games that I’ve played. Sure some of them irritated me every once in awhile but that’s to be expected. The only character I didn’t care for was Malik. He was way too bland.

  • Learii

    does Ludger talk in xillia 2? because i have a feeling  he never talk in the game

    • Jonathan Keycross

      At the very least he talks as much as Link, I´m sure I heard him yell and scream when attacking in some videos.

      • Learii

        i mean in the cutsene or something not just yelling or screm

  • http://www.facebook.com/magius.necros Magius Necros

    So does this mean they will create a GUTS like character from BERSERK that I can sympathize with.  Cuz that would be badass.  Will never happen but would be great.  I like older characters, but what do I know right?

    • Ladius

      Aside from personal tastes, I don’t think being “badass” or older (considering we are talking about fictional beings whose maturity is up to the writers, not to their personal experiences) makes for a good character anymore than following more traditional shounen tropes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JaeWhy SasuleUchiha

    They should make more character like Pascal.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/HAEBCODVH3BGFIHE47BKNDXD2I Jonathan

       this

    • MrRobbyM

      I’m against that actually. If only so she remains special. We don’t need more of the same characters in future Tales games.

  • Spirit Macardi

    Pfft, the way Tales characters are created can be explained in two steps:

    1. Take a common character cliche that’s popular in RPGs.
    2. DECONSTRUCT THE HELL OUT OF IT!

    It’s the whole reason I love the Tales series. The characters and the plots are formed by subverting popular conventions in utterly brilliant ways. Really, they’re essentially the jRPGs for people who dislike jRPGs.

    • Paradox me

      I feel like we’ve played two very different series. I enjoy the series, don’t get me wrong, but this seems more like the exception rather than the rule. Tales games frequently latch onto cliches and play them straight.

      I’d go so far to say that among people who dislike JRPGs, many Tales games would be shining examples as to why.

      • Barrylocke89

        Tales seems to swing either way to me. You have your more traditional hero types, like Cless and Asbel. But then you also have your more interesting peoples, like Luke and Yuri. And there’s also the factor of taking how the whole team interacts with each other as a unit. Will they have a lot of mistrust and issues, like Team Abyss, or will they be ZOMG BFFS! Like Team Legendia?

        But I suppose a lot of those musings about the characters and teams only comes from enjoying the games. Not saying that you don’t, but it’s true that to the casual observer, many of the games plots and characters will seem alike.

      • Spirit Macardi

        Granted not every character is overt, but generally the main ones will be massive subversions. Cholette was a deconstruction of the chosen one, Emil was a deconstruction of the kid with god-like powers, Luke was a deconstruction of the fated hero, etc.

        A lot of this takes some reading into, but it seems to be there since I’ve seen others come to the same conclusions. Plus the series started because the creators wanted to go against typical RPG standards x3

  • Manuel Antony Marcano

    Not to be stuck on any technicalities here but didn’t Yoshiharu Gotanda create the Tales series?

    That aside I’ve been playing Tales since I raised 90$ doing errands as a kid. I’ve found the characters fit certain cliches. Theres always the self sacrificing female healer that tries to keep a cheery disposition while quietly longing for a relationship with the hero. Theres also the female mage, who often has a prickly and abrasive personality and is more concerned with her research then with morality or the feelings of her companions.

    Sure these don’t fit 100% for every character, the fact that I can draw up a fairly long description that fits a character from each game doesn’t exactly show originality.

    There are the exceptions like Yuri, but I don’t think he’s a great character because he’s older and found himself (it helps) but instead because he’s not as generic or typical. (Its also bad that so many of the characters are so clueless)

    Still at the end of the day I keep buying and enjoying the games. 

    • Ladius

      You could draw trope analogies for each and every jrpg character out there (the same for wrpgs, albeit with a different set of tropes), but that is ultimately pointless considering archetypes have always been the foundation of most narrative.

      Also, the presence of tropes doesn’t say anything regarding their potential subversion, or about the quality (or lack thereof) of the heroes’ characterization, interactions and backgrounds.

      • Manuel Antony Marcano

        But thats not true, whats is the trope analogy for Kalas of Baten Kaitos?

        Granted if you draw these extremely broad analogies then you could apply it to almost anything, but its a very big problem when you can not only get specific, but continue talking about the similarities down to small details for so long. The issue here is that the similarities far outnumber the differences.

        I don’t hate tropes, but its been years and I’m having trouble taking characters like Asbel seriously, and saving the world from a shortage of Mana for the millionth time is getting old.

        (Worth mentioning I don’t talk about jrgs or wrpgs, they’re all RPGs to me)

        • Arrei

          Kalas would be the typical traitor who joins the party on false pretenses and was working for the villain the entire time.

          But boiling him down into that ignores all his other qualities, doesn’t it? Ignoring big things like him actually being the main character, his lying to you, the player, his vendetta against Giacomo, and so on.

          Well, that’s how it works every time you try to take a character apart into the tropes that make them up, for any series. In doing so, people always just ignore the aspects that don’t fall in line with the tropes. Like, the mage thing did not apply to Arche in Phantasia, or to Genis in Symphonia, or to Pascal and Malik in Graces, or to Elise in Xillia, and only applies partially to Jade, since his whole shtick was being the party’s resident troll.

          Then the self-sacrificing female healer thing fits like a glove on both Colette and Estelle (though Colette was not a healer), but then does not account for all the rest of their personality quirks, such as Colette’s klutziness or tendency to blame herself and Estelle’s bookworm qualities and total naivete about the world, or for the rest of the important details in their stories, such as Colette being the “chosen one” rather than the hero himself.

          • Manuel Antony Marcano

            But you seem to have misunderstood.

            You can simplify anything, you simplified Kalas pretty well but you summed him up into a single sentence.

            That isn’t the issue here. You can write pages on the similarities, while differences are fewer.

          • Arrei

            Except I’d argue that that just isn’t true. I’m not denying at all that several characters are strongly defined by archetypes, but all the comparisons on similarities are always, that I’ve seen, boiling down the characters into one or two one-size-fits-all sentences. If one actually wanted to explore differences, on the other hand, that’d be all too easy.
            For example, let’s take some characters from the “older and stoic” archetype from the games: Kratos, Regal, Jade, Raven, and Malik. 

            Just by personality you can see huge differences between them. Kratos’ complete seriousness. Regal’s repentance, and occasional joviality after moving on from that. Jade’s scathing sarcasm. Raven being a horndog. Malik switching between serious and sarcastic at the drop of a hat.

            Then you get into their backstories, like Kratos’ family and history with Yggdrasill, Regal and Alicia, Jade raising an abomination of nature into life, Raven being a death seeker.

            These are characters with major differences, yet when used in an argument about archetypes they’re always just summed up as “oh every game has that older guy with a dark secret”.

          • Manuel Antony Marcano

            Thing is I liked all the characters you pointed out for the reasons you pointed out lol.

            I’m not making the argument lightly, as I said earlier I’ve played and enjoyed these games for years but I do think that some changes to the narrative and characterization need to happen.

        • Ladius

          I differentiate between jrpgs and wrpgs simply because the shounen fantasy tropes are different from the western heroic fantasy ones.

          That said, I completely agree with you regarding the absurdity of limiting the analysis of a character to his or her trope, but that was exactly what you were doing in your first post.

          Tales characters have a lot of depth thanks to skits and subevents, and if some of them are fairly similar to their base tropes, a lot of others have unique twists that modify or subvert their archetype. That’s why I don’t think calling them out because of trope analogies, something you could do with almost everything in entertainment, is a meaningful thing to do.

          • Manuel Antony Marcano

            I did so only for the sake of brevity. It could be said that there are fewer characterizations (often not given any exposition) then differences and that is what I’m trying to get across.

            The issue isn’t that you can write a sentence comparing two characters, but rather that you can only write a sentence about how they are different.

            As for depth, quantity does not make quality, if you get 10 private actions about how Pascal wants to touch Sophie that doesn’t talk about her motivations or help define her or create a link with the player. They could have thousands of PAs and mini skits, if they don’t utilize them properly its moot.

          • Ladius

            That has more to do with your tastes than with those characters being too adherent to their tropes, though.

            For example, you’re continuing to state how it’s unjust to reduce a character to a one-line definition, something I completely agree with, but then you immediately try to reduce Pascal to her most superficial gags, apparently ignoring that she’s a character with a lot of facets.

            Behind her mask of silly cheerfulness, she is able to show maturity, concern for the other party members, dedication for her research and human understanding (her relationship with Hubert being the prime example, but far from the only one), and in the second part of the game she became a central figure not only for plot progression, but also to keep the internal balance of the party.

            You can’t really limit her development to her interest for Sophie (which is in itself an important plot point) and then claim you’re against reductive analysis.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pruitt.holcombe Pruitt Holcombe

    On one hand, I love some of the Tales characters, like Zelos, Sheena, Luke and Jade.  On the other, I hate some, like everyone in Graces barring Pascal.  Seriously, everyone has next to no character in that game! And Asbel is soooooooo boring.

    Sorry.  I want to vent about Graces, and no one I know has played it.

    • Arrei

      Wait, Malik and future arc Richard, boring? What is this madness?!

      Are you watching the skits? Those are really the plot’s saving… err, graces.

      • MrRobbyM

        I wouldn’t say boring as much as I would say terribly cliche’d. So boring in the sense that we’ve seen them a million times already. I know Tales games are known for cliches but Graces is a prime mutha-flippin’ example. I personally liked most of Graces’ characters they just weren’t interesting in the least.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pruitt.holcombe Pruitt Holcombe

        Well, I haven’t gotten to the Future arc.  I’m at the Ghardia shaft, and I’m just running around doing requests and stuff.  It’s an annoying grind. Does anybody get better during it?

        What’s so interesting about Malik?  It wasn’t until some of the recent skits I got wandering the world did he even seem to have personality at all, barring the mentor-cliche.  He’s just always been sorta…there.  In general Graces relied too much on skits, which I normally love.  Outside of them nobody had any characterization at all.

    • Ladius

      Asbel was actually a well developed character imho, the issue is that a lot of western gamers seem to prefere a “badass” hero like Yuri with his strong convictions than someone like Asbel, who has failed many times and has been forced to reconsider his values and the way he faces life’s challenges in order to find his personal balance between idealism and reality.

      • Arrei

        I’m inclined to disagree about Asbel, really. Badass or not, he has a one-track mind. In order to get the theme of the game across, for a large chunk of the game his character is just about beating it into our heads. He learns that he was just running away from his problems at the start of the game when he fails and fails again, but after that he doesn’t really change. He remains fixated on friendship and protecting his friends and doesn’t really learn anything from then on. Seems like his problem is that he finished developing much too early, and stagnated there.

        • Ladius

          I don’t really think that’s the case. If anything, we see him having developed a rather confident persona at the start of the Adult arc, only to have it shattered by the Lhant succession, his inability to fend off Fendel’s invasion, the unexpected show off with his brother’s occupation force and Richard’s apparent fits of madness.

          The rest of the story shows how he is slowly able to recover the confidence he developed during his days as a knight, this time mixing it with the idealism he tried to abandon after the tragedy in his childhood. He never became another Yuri, but that’s not what he was meant to be in the first place.

          For me, he’s one of the more humane and honestly kind main characters in the series (very different from the brash shounen heroes of other entries), and even if he’s obviously functional to the game’s theme of friendship I found some of his actions really unexpected and moving exactly because of how they embodied his ideals to the fullest. What he did with the Adult arc’s final boss and with Sophie isn’t really something you will see in many jrpgs, aside from the Tales series’ tradition of trying to make the players sympathetic with the main villains’ reasons.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pruitt.holcombe Pruitt Holcombe

         It sounds like we were playing two very different games.  I never really saw anything like that in Asbel.  Yes, he fails over and over in the beginning acts of the game, but he never changes his mindset of “I like my friends and we shouldn’t fight”.  In fact, I would say he doesn’t have any kind of personal balance.  His entire motivation in the second half of the game is “I have to save Richard!”  Regardless of the things Richard does, it always “I have to save Richard!”  Whenever something crops up that makes him doubt Richard, he just says “Richard would never do that” or “Richard’s not like that”.  Not once does he ever think about the three doomed kingdoms Richard has left in his wake, and he’s completely unprepared emotionally for the very idea of killing Richard.  Even going into the final dungeon (of the original version) his only goal is saving Richard.  He comes across as a broken record with the emotional capacity of an 8 year old.

  • Testsubject909

    I like Yuri… The character, but I also like Yuri. But I digress.

    I took some time to think about it and… You know what?

    Yuri’s sort of like Batman… While Flynn is sort of like Harvey Dent (without the whole turning into a bad guy bit).

    I like Yuri. He gets things done and unlike some other protagonists I could name, he actually knows that the answer is right there before him and that… it might not be pretty, it might not be the nicest of ways, hell it’s not very heroic in the traditional sense, but it’s an answer that works…

    And I like him for that.

    • MrRobbyM

      This.

    • Ladius

      Then again, unlike other Tales heroes Yuri’s ideological issues (the whole law vs justice theme) are never fully solved, and ultimately he’s free to keep his vigilante ideals and to become a traditional hero in the last part of the story.

      I like Yuri, too, and I understand having a “badass” Tales hero is nice and all, but I don’t think that makes him automatically better than someone like Luke or Asbel, who is faced with a lot of failures and forced to reconsider his take on life multiple times before finding his own path, instead of having found one even before the story begins.

      • Mike Pureka

        Yuri is a dreadful Gary Stu;  His “Hard decisions” are always easy, and his decisions are always right.   He never doubts himself for a second, and he never suffers any consequences for anything he does.

        He talks a good game, but he’s fundamentally shallow.

        • sd28

          perfectly sums up his character imo

      • LightZero

        It ultimately comes down to personality. Yuri has a really good personality. He’s smart, witty, sarcastic, and have plenty of common sense. I’m the kind of person who likes characters with intelligence and common sense. I can’t stand stupidity whether it’s a video game character or a real person. Characters like Luke are too whining to be well received by most people. I both like and dislike Luke. He has some good qualities but his inferiority complex and ambassador phase really annoyed the hell out of me. 

    • LightZero

      I would agree with that comparison except Yuri kills while Batman doesn’t. 

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    I like how they are trying to reconstruct each characters personality there.^_^ Seeing a grown up character from the time we play there is really fun thing to see here.^_^

    As long as the new personality does not goes all wrong here………well Shadow Hearts 2 final boss did that so…T_T

    • Nitraion

      Lol why mention SH2 lass boss? lol
      you just opened my old wounds to see SH sequel

      • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

        Haha.^_^ Indeed there lol. It kinda makes me hope that Nautillus is still alive or at least some company would have some care for the franchise there.T_T

  • Jirin

    I always assumed the process was:
    1)  Draw the character like the opposite gender of the character
    2)  Have the character say badass sounding things
    3)  If character is male, act hedonistic and stupid, if character is female, act offended by male hedonism but still crave approval from males
    4)  Overcome emotional crisis in the direction of general nobleness

    I love the Tales series, I kid because I love, but let’s be honest here about the series’ tendencies.  ;)

    • Mike Pureka

       #1: Yeah, Asbel and Luke -totally- look like girls.  Okay, I’ll give you Yuri, but he’s the one everyone seems to regard as the stereotype breaker.
      #2: Ooops, it’s Yuri again! Since none of our other recent Tales protagonists talk a good game at all. (Luke’s signature line is “…Ss-shut up!”)
      #3: Hedonistic? Really? Are you even sure you know what that means?
      #4: On this side of the pond, we call it ‘character development’.  Of course, Yuri skipped this point…

      • Jirin

        Yes, we call it ‘Lazy character development’.  Kiko is afraid of birds.  Kiko then has to fight a giant bird to save his friends, and must overcome his fear to do so.  Just because a character is developing doesn’t mean it’s developing in an interesting direction.

        But yes, hedonistic was the wrong word.  It’s more the same pattern of bashful lust.  Male is obsessed with female but afraid to say anything about it, female likes male but is offended by any suggestion of romantic intentions, but still gets jealous of every other female the male notices and mad at every small gesture she makes the male does not notice.  The pattern is repeated over and over with little variation.

        Obviously I’m exaggerating and generalizing, but as I said I’m a huge fan of the Tales series.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Mc-Devitt/100002626261475 Stephen Mc Devitt

    Well there are characters in the Tales series who I rather not know let along follow like that karrol kid from Vesperia and Xillia 2′s tagline is pretty stupid, “Would you sacrifice the world to save one girl?” No, I wouldn’t. What is ONE life weighed against the entire universe?

    • Speedo Redempteur

      of course you know it’s stupid ..i mean you’ve played the game already , right ?

      Just like it’s impossible to understand how the “convictions “part of xillia 1 works without playing the first game , it’s impossible to judge properly this sentence without the right context.

      And besides , Xillia 2 offer you choices , so as a player you’ll choose NO. Others will choose yes .. it might be part of the game , so again , nothing stupid here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wanderingwordsmith Daniel Darlington

    Just as a nitpick for this article; I think players need to /empathize/ with characters, not emphasize with them.

  • MrJechgo

    The only character that I liked was Yuri, because he didn’t get forced to go adventuring. The guy tried to arrest a thief, but when he do, he realizes that the thief was doing the right thing and that there is a conspiracy in the organisation Yuri used to be in. THAT’s a great reason to go adventuring.

    I’m sorry, when the character is forced or dragged in, it kinda gets old. Many lose something important that forced them to go searching, like a village or a person, several get dragged by someone to help them and they’re reluncant to do so at first and one (Kyle) is just an airheaded guy who wants to be a hero, which is not the best reason to go adventuring.

    Only Vesperia got the main character’s motivation right.

    • Mike Pureka

       What game did you play?  Yuri never tried to arrest anyone, and the thief he was chasing turned out to be one of the villains of the first arc of the game.   What’s more, Yuri never figures out that there’s a “conspiracy” until Alexei starts twirling his proverbial moustache.

      Yuri’s motivation was terrible. What’s worse, treating him as “more developed as a character” when he’s fundamentally shallow, hypocritical, and has no development over the course of the game hurts my brain.

      For that matter, when was the last time we HAD a “generic gung ho JRPG hero” in a Tales game? Graces? No. Vesperia? No.  Abyss? Certainly not.  Symphonia maybe?  The game that everyone over here worships as the greatest game evar?  Maybe in some gaiden game or something.

      • Jirin

        I think Asbel falls under that category.  He may take a little longer to get there but he still follows the general non-strategy of “Run headlong into the enemy stronghold and hope things work out somehow”.

        Why are people saying Yuri does not have character development?  The vigilante angle is far more interesting to me than what often constitutes character development in the Tales series.  “Start character off with quirk, reverse that quirk” is not real character development, especially if all characters evolve in that same ‘generic noble’ direction.  Yuri, for once, evolves in a direction that is not classically noble.

        • sd28

          The vigilante angle is far more interesting to me than what often constitutes character development in the Tales series.
          problem is this was a pre established trait not some thing he developed into during the game

  • JuVu

    I often ponder if I’m the only one who actually really, really liked Emil from Tales of Symphonia 2. He just might be my favorite protagonist in any game. His character growth and the dialogue between him and Marta, and the true ending of the game… I want more stuff like that in Tales and other games. Tales of Graces f almost nailed it, in two cases. Almost.

    • Anime10121

       I didnt mind Emil at all.  He was a pretty fun character to play as.  I think the main reason people hate him has to do with the fact that they love the Symphonia characters too much and wanted them to have a more prominent role in DotNW.  Emil and Marta too, were both pretty good characters and I dont think many gave them the chance they deserved.

    • Christopher Nunes

      I also like Emil from ToS2, though I’m sad the original ToS had a more limited role in the story it didn’t take away my appreciation for the character. He was fun to play as and his character development was really great, from a timid, whiny, shy kid to a more determined and resolve person who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind though some of his old habits about keeping things to himself was still there.

      Marta, I also liked, as she developed nicely as well as she first appeared clingy towards Emil but overtime truly saw him for who he is instead of the fantasy version in her head and overcome her shortcoming and her feeling regarding her problems.

      Just like Anime10121… people were sore about the ToS getting the shove for Emil and Marta and dislike them for it to really give them a chance, but there’s some who dislike their type of personality anyway.

  • Astrid Huang

    I like Luke the most, because his character development just feels so real.. From a spoiled and selfish aristrocrat, turning into a much better person. His story made me realize sometimes a painful huge mistake could make us more mature, and we keep trying to make sure that we wouldn’t repeat the same mistake again.

    • Yamaneko22

       Is someone with no self respect and constant depression a better person? I can’t agree with that :/ I actually preferred his old self, no matter how arrogant and spoiled he sounded at times. At least had some spirit in him and did not allow other people to treat him like trash…

      Poor Luke wasn’t even allowed to be individual…

      • David García Abril

        Except Luke is NOT someone with no self respect nor constant depression at the end of the game.

        He has that stage, true, but it pretty much gets over that stage shortly after the Tower of Rem incident.

        Luke’s old self was just a big jerk.

  • Jirin

    Tales tends to be good at establishing lovable characters but really bad at developing them.

    Eight times out of ten, a character’s character development is “Start character off with quirk — have character overcome that quirk in pressure situation.”  That is not real character development, and the most memorable characters are the ones who aren’t just generically noble.  Characters should have their own opinions about what the right thing to do is, and they shouldn’t necessarily agree with each other or agree with the player.  That’s what made Yuri different.

    Tales groups also always tend to have a strictly reactionary strategy.  They don’t think ahead or do anything proactively.  Just whenever somebody is acting evil right now, go wherever they’re going and hope you can somehow stop them.  One of the strengths of the Suikoden series is that games do think ahead and try to outwit the enemy before they can strike instead of just waiting for them to strike and reacting.

    • Ladius

      No offence, but I think your posts in this comment section tend to confuse your personal tastes with the various ways a character can be developed, to the point that you seem unable to see an attempt at characterization if the writers don’t follow your views point by point. Also, so far you’ve oversimplified things so much that your analysis end up becoming really superficial.

      For instance, some Tales parties tend to have more internal conflicts and different views than a lot of jrpg casts (Abyss being the prime example), not to mention they top most jrpg series out there in terms of daily interactions and relationship build up. Of course there are entries like Vesperia where the party is like an happy family, but it’s all but the rule and every mothership game so far has had its own balance in this regard.

      Even more, you praise Yuri for his vigilante attitude when he’s one of the least developed Tales hero in a long while, confusing your personal appreciation for his archetype with actual character development. I like Yuri, but he lacks any meaningful character growth, has the exact same viewpoint from the beginning to the end, never has to face the consequence of his crimes and easily escapes the law vs justice conundrum by becoming another shounen hero in the end. Does this make him a bad character? Not at all, again I liked him for what he was. Does it make him an example of good character development? Sadly, no.

      The Suikoden bit is also puzzling: that series is built upon a different set of tropes than Tales, and since its roots derive from classical Chinese licterature the strategical and military elements have a far more important role. Tales never had this kind of emphasis, and criticizing it for this reason would be just as absurd and unfair as attacking Suikoden because its character are usually far less developed than Tales ones thanks to their lack of screen time and to the massive dimension of that series’ casts.
      Even then, the idea that Tales character always go to the fray passively, unprepared and clueless is so factually wrong I can’t really see how you could support it without forcing things and, again, generalizingoversimplifying.

      Some of your other criticism could be used against any other piece of entertainment based upon the shounen fantasy set of tropes, including most jrpgs out there (which is the reason I can’t really agree with this kind of arguments against Tales, unless the one supporting them is willing to extend them to most other games in the genre).

    • puchinri

       I think you worded that quite well. I enjoy most of the characters a bit, but I think some of the development for them is where it gets trite or doesn’t compare. I think most of them could be individualized a bit better too in the regard you mentioned (and more).

  • Rogerrmark

    I like most of the characters/groups of Tales of.
    The skits,sometimes funny/dramatic/cheesy,make the games,and let the characters interact a lot,imo.

  • marclair

    I think you mean “empathize with”?
    Also, two-tone-hair girl sure is… disproportionate.

  • Leonard Norwood Jr.

    Well Each character has something that we like in their character, and I know it doesn’t take Yuri to have us know that whatever it is about the character it’s something the people can have multiple ways that we can like them for who they are and how much they develop.

    Their character, their actions, thoughts, and such was always something that made every bit of development that was worth it to bring out how we felt about them that made that said hero or villian our favorite characters. It’s no joke that we watch these guys, go through events and become more mature, or to already matured already and learned a few more things that comes to make them even more mature. And the interactions is important because after all, when it gets down to friends,family, rivals, and villians. It just tells you something about them that you’re eager to know more about them.

    Yeah Yuri’s my favorite obviously but I played with Symphonia before Vesperia, and I thought of Lloyd Irving as an okay guy, just being altrusic and stuff, but by the time I got to him, I already played games that had guys like him similiar personalities and such, making Lloyd to be an archtype of a certain level, at least that’s what I think. And I do know darn well that Yuri hasn’t have that much chance to know some consequences to his actions as he had “luck” that avoided most events that will come of what he did. It  was right there when he first killed Ragou and Cumore, and he also took a stab from Sodia, as she did it because she was pissed at him for what happened to Flynn after he took a nasty shot from Alexei. She didn’t say it, but “actions speaks louder than words” and she went for it.

    I liked Yuri because he was unique to me and was nothing like most protagonists in the Tales, although after hearing saying that he showed some archtypeness near the end, well that doesn’t stop me from just liking him for who he is. He’s the close unique character in some time, and the day there’s another one like him, but more or less goes through the things more throughly making him or or her more mature than we he or she started out, is the day I’ll be well… just be more impressed than usual.

    BTW when I meant “luck” I meant that before someone who worked on Yuri’s scenarios in the game didn’t exactly elaborate further for his actions from the previous parts of Vesperia that would have made him more mature and completely not like the archtype protags. That’s all.

  • LightZero

    Yuri is definitely my favorite Tales character. I also like Senel, Reid, and Asbel. Although I like Asbel partly because he reminds me of Suzaku from Code Geass (not just look wise) plus he fights like Kenshin. I prefer Lelouch but I also like Suzaku in the anime. Over all Asbel is just a nice guy. I don’t really see any reason to hate him. I kind of feel that Senel is bit underrated. At least of the localize Tales games he was the first one to actually be different. I have a love/hate view of Luke. There are times I really want to punch him. I’m cool with Lloyd and Emil as well. I have no major beef with them. 

    I do hope future Tales games will have more characters like Yuri though but of course with their own spin. 

  • puchinri

    I thought Baba is not the series creator? I always enjoy what he has to say though~. (And I appreciate what he does.)

    That’s a nice perspective and way to do things though. I appreciate that.

  • Kuhile Brodeur

    From this picture it looks like Milla is the most developed character…if you know what I mean.

    Also her hair is thicker than her body.

  • ZEROthefirst

    I personally don’t really care for Yuri, but my favorite Tales of character of all time has and will always remain Senel Coolidge.

  • Tails the Foxhound

    It seriously pisses me off that people fucking like Yuri Lowell. Such a horrible character. Stupid hypocritical, Batman-wannabe, man-child. On top of that Vesperia was a mess plot wise (and I hated like half the other characters too). It’s sole saving graces were it’s battle system and Rita.

    • Benny Tormoes

      He is not a man child, but every thing else, you have a right to say.

      So, can you name one other tales game with a better plot? Just wondering…

      Vesperia may be slightly messy in its plotting, but at least it was an interesting mess with actual character depth and development, unlike Graces and Symphonia 2, which absolutely nobody played for the story. Surprisingly, I may think that Hearts has the best plot and most likeable cast of the games I’ve played, and Abyss’s story was interesting, with many different events in the game provoking discussion even today and the basic story is rock solid, but half the characters in it were terrible in so many different ways (Anise, Natalia, Ion, Arrieta, Mohs) that it cannot be ignored. Eternia’s plot and characters were painfully mediocre. I dont know about the rest of the games. Yuri Lowell may not be the best character ever, but you could do a lot worse of a character for sure. At least he’s something different. At least he’s not Asbel Lhant.

      • Tails the Foxhound

        If he can’t get what he wants or if things don’t align with his jacked up morals he throws a tantrum and starts threatening/killing people. Did you ever realize that he threatens every member of the party with death besides Karol, Rita (though he does vaguely threaten her once), and Repede? He threatened Ioder for asking him a question. Sounds like a stable and rational adult to me. Even Lloyd in the infancy of his development was a more personable character.

        Symphonia 1, Abyss (though it’s sloppy in it’s execution and pacing), Phantasia. Vesperia characters mostly either didn’t change at all (Yuri, Raven) or changed very little (Flynn, Judith). I haven’t acutally bothered to play anything that wasn’t available in English yet and I’ve only gotten hold of a PS2 recently so I’m only just starting Legendia and Graces (PS3 obviously). I hate Graces so far too, nothing I really like about it either (just got Hubert back after first encounter with Rockagong).

        • Benny Tormoes

          Phantasia’s plot is the most cliched plot of any game I’ve played, perhaps of all time. Symphonia is well executed but perhaps even more clichéd, with every villain beside Yuan and Mithos (Desian Grand Cardinals) being the most one dimensional villains of all time. 

          And yes, he does threaten people with death for whatever reason it entails (Estelle’s destructive power, Judith’s betrayal, etc.). That’s the one aspect of his character I’ve always hated, that he thinks that any problem can be solved with murder :(

          also love the fact that no one ever comes in to defend Anise or Asbel :D

          • Tails the Foxhound

            Phantasia gets a pass for being the first in the series (and a SNES game) I should think. More than that though, plot progression of Sym & Phan are unconventional. If we were rating them on the fewest instances of clichés then we would need to write off most of the series. The entire series is entrenched in clichés (for better or worse), it’s the interesting use of these overused set pieces and character archetypes that allows the series to succeed. “It’s greater than the sum of it’s parts.” (The irony of justifying clichés with a cliché is amazing.)

            I enjoy 1D characters from time to time, some people are just dicks. Don’t you just love to hate Rodyle? Sometimes a lack of proper motivation can actually improve a character too. For instance, in Vesperia where they tried too hard with every other villain, the most fun guy ended up being the guy who just fought because it was fun, Zagi. For the record, I don’t dislike Yuri for the necessary deaths of Zagi or Barbos, they would have just kept coming after him.

            I actually really like Anise, she was my Abyss favorite, but there were certainly major flaws with her character. I guess I just sorta like her. :T

          • Benny Tormoes

            I thought that Yeager was a pretty decent and entertaining villain as well as Zagi, but yeah, they did try to make him sympathetic with the whole orphanage thing, which comes back  to the whole trying to hard angle…

            The key difference is that Symphonia’s (and Symphonia 2′s Magnar and Hawk as well) side villians are just so boring and unlikeable, while Yeager and Zagi are entertaining and have interesting things to say and do. It’s quite simple actually.

          • Tails the Foxhound

            I really think all five of the Grand Cardinals are interesting, not because of their specific personalities, but because they play really well with the rest of the cast. Each one of them clashes interestingly the core theme of one character or another (sometimes even being with that of Mithos). Now if we wanna talk boring, then we wanna talk Barbos, Khroma, or the Hunting Blades (much as I love Tyson and Nan, they kinda suck). Out of the ones with story, Yeager’s the best and he was still stupidly written.

            As far as Symphonia 2, I like to forget I played that game. There was so much bad with it. They should remake it and take the Symphonia cast out so the core cast of S2 can stop leaning on them so weakly.

  • Lele Mett

    All the tales characters seem the same to me. There just like your normal anime characters you see in every anime. Here is your Gary stu male(Yuir,Asbel,Luke), Mary sue(almost every girl in tales) , shy little girl, wanna be cool dude(Who is almost always the main dude’s rival), pointless little kid characters,pervy old or young male, stupid annoying female thats not funny, character that starts of as or badguy or becomes one which they all forgive soon enough, and many more cliched chars.
     
    The worlds are even look the same. Desert place, forest place, snow place…its almost like they take place in the same world. I feel like I’m playing the same game over and over and over again. I can’t believe I’m going to say this but…if Xilla doesn’t impress me, I’m done with Tales. TOD and TOD2  were like the only ones I still love. I use to love TOS until I played FF 10 and found that they  stole things from it…which the tales games tend to do to FF anyway. I don’t know if its because
     
    I’m out of anime or because I finally picked up  legendary games like Final Fantasy and Persona but the tales just aren’t doing it for me anymore. I’ve heard so many things FF and Persona but didn’t give a crap because I was all “TALES FAN FOREVER”. I played FF7 in 2010 and I loved. When on to get 8, 9, 10, and 13 which is a great game. Made me feel like I was reading a book. I just got FF 6 this year and I now know why every gaming website says “FF 6 is the greatest RPG ever made”. And it is. That characters aren’t cliched, plot is not always “Theres an evil bad guy trying to take over the WORLD!” Every FF is different, the worlds even look different. I now know why FF is known as the best JRPG and some times even best RPG period.
     
    As for persona, yes it has that anime look but it is wonderful. No chilched characters, plot is always different…weird..but different. THE CHARACTERS are better than some in FF to me. Persona is going somewhere in the world unlike  Tales which are only popular in Japan.(sort of) They hardly ever make it to 1 mil for there games unless they bring out TOG than TOGF and combind the sales. There are over 13(now 14) tales games and it still isn’t as popular as Persona…they only have for games. 4!…I think I’m starting to see why.    
     
    And you know…I grew up with them, I’m disapointed. I hope Xilla can bring me back in…but it already screams of…I’m just not feeling it.(Lost the feeling since TOA and havn’t got it back since) 
     

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