Bandai Namco On The Theme And Characters Of Tales of Xillia 2

By Robert Ward . April 22, 2014 . 12:31pm

At Bandai Namco’s Global Gamer’s Day event, Siliconera got to speak with staff members at the company that are involved with the Tales of franchise. One of these was Kohei Rokugawa, who serves as the director of the western version of Tales of Xillia 2.

 

During our brief chat, Rokugawa lent insight as to why Bandai Namco decided to revisit the world of Tales of Xillia, and what’s different about the world in the sequel to the game.

 

Rokugawa: I’m Kohei Rokugawa of Bandai Namco Studios working as a director for the overseas version of Tales of Xillia 2.

 

Tales of Xillia 2 has a choice mechanic. The ability to alter the course of events in the story is a convention often seen in Western titles, but it’s a first for the Tales series.

 

In past Tales titles, there are some choices in the storyline—but not as many as Xillia 2. By implementing this mechanic in Xillia 2, I believe that the users can immersive themselves in the psyche of Ludger. In that way, they can understand what and how he feels about events throughout the story.

 

Every Tales game has a theme to it. We were wondering how you chose the theme for Tales of Xillia 2, and how it might relate to the first Xillia game.

 

Everyone on earth has to make decision every day. We sometimes have to make very difficult and troubling decisions in our life, so, we’d like to implement this kind of experience directly into gameplay. In Tales of Xillia 2, users need to make very ultimate decisions in the story line—and Elympios seemed like the kind of world we could implement this sort of structure into.

 

In terms of these themes in general, do they come together before the game is ultimately designed, or do they come about half way through the process. Basically, when do themes pop up in development?

 

The theme is outlined at the beginning of a game’s development. So, after deciding the theme for the story, we make a detailed personality of a culture that can fit into the mold of that theme, and implement themes or elements that capture that theme and then take the game from there.

 

Tales of Xillia 2 has a lot of returning characters. How do they fit into the world of Xillia 2 and which one have you changed the most?

 

Of the original cast of characters, I think that Muzet is the one that’s changed the most. In Xillia, she’s a huge danger, but in Xillia 2, she’s really interesting and funny. You’ll be able to find out a lot about what’s happened in the year between Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2 throughout the game, and you’ll be able to see just how much she and the other characters have changed since then.

 

We got to see Elympios in the previous game, and now it’s the center of Xillia 2; what kinds of enemies can we expect to populate Elympios this time around? Reza Maxia is more oriented towards the natural world, while Elympios is a sort of modern metropolis. Do the enemies reflect this?

 

Well, Elympios and Reza Maxia aren’t necessarily their own worlds—they’re more like separate kingdoms that inhabit the same larger world. That being said, there won’t be a lot of differences in the kinds of enemies you fight on the outskirts of town versus, say, the cliffs of Reza Maxia.

 

Wolves and big crabs appear in both areas—but the presentation is what’s different, I think. The urban setting of Elympios versus the natural setting of Reza Maxia, that’s where you should expect to see the primary differences. The atmosphere, the color palettes, please take time to observe and enjoy these differences.

 

In the last game, Elympios comes into the story fairly late. How can we expect to see Reza Maxia play into the greater story of Xillia 2?

 

So in Xillia 2, Elympios is the main world. The players can go to Reza Maxia, but it doesn’t have a huge impact on the storyline. In the story, the players move between the fluctual dimension world and Elympios. Though I can’t say much about the fluctual dimension world now, you’ll learn how it comes to play a greater role in the story and world of Xillia 2 when it comes out in the U.S. In some cultural episodes, to describe what’s happened to the remaining cultures, the players will visit Reza Maxia to experience some really interesting episodes.

 

The main character can use switch between a variety of weapons. Does this ability stretch to other characters as well?

 

So the ability you’re referring to belongs exclusively to Ludger, and it’s called Weapon Shift. This allows him to switch between dual pistols, dual blades, and a big old sledge hammer. Other characters have different abilities. For example, Jude can quickly approach the enemy rear to attack, and another character can extend the length of her weapons.

 

Tales of Xillia left off on a fairly open note. Even so, is there a reason you chose to re-visit the world of Xillia specifically?

 

Tales of Xillia marked the 15th anniversary of the Tales of series, so the development team made a very, very detailed world with its own unique history. In Xillia, much of this history and world was simply told and not shown, so we wanted to create a second one that could expand on some of the unexplored elements of Xillia. After the release of Xillia, the team received so much positive feedback that we really wanted to utilize the richness of that world setting.

 

Speaking of feedback, how do you feel about the reception of the Tales of series in the U.S.?

 

I went to Paris’ Japan Gaming Expo not too long ago, and saw that there were a lot of players who were simply fascinated with the culture in the game; in fact, it’s that culture that the game creates which I think is responsible for its positive reception as of late. I believe that the Tales series has been accepted by western fans in the same way it has been accepted by Japanese users. By bringing more and more Tales games to the west, we expect this fan base to grow.


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  • Kornelious

    It seems like at this point the Tales series is treated here the same way it is treated in Japan :)

    • IshimaruKaito

      YES!! i hope so

    • Spirit Macardi

      I kind of doubt we’re going to see stage shows with the English actors dressed up as their characters though.

      Be great if we did though, since I’d love to see Johnny Yong Bosch come out wearing a combination of Guy, Cress, and Emil’s clothing x3

    • 永次

      Yes, sure xD

      • Kornelious

        Hey a guy can dream right XD
        I’m just glad we’re out of the dark age of no Tales games :)

  • Loli Summoner

    Muzet Is very interesting indeed.

    • HerosLight

      ̲S̲U̲P̲E̲R̲ interesting might I add.

    • Christopher Nunes

      Where did you get that image? o///0

    • Crimson_Cloud

      Majority of us would gladly tether with her. :3

      • Kornelious

        Word

  • Masa

    “By bringing more and more Tales games to the west, we expect this fan base to grow”

    Just this one line has made me happy. :)

    • IshimaruKaito

      seriously!!! lol

    • Ixbran

      Its also one of the most obvious ideas ever. “OMG maybe if we release more games in the west, the fan base in the west might grow!” seriously, who is the head of their localization department, Goofy?

      Hopefully this means we can finally get the rest of the Tales of The World games over here. Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology was my introduction to the tales series, and I was so excited when I had herd a second one was being made after beating the first.

      When I found out it wasn’t being localized, i went to do some research on the localizations they had done with other Tale’s games in the past. and after finding out that only some games get over here, while other didn’t, made me feel like Tales games weren’t worth investing my self in anymore.

  • Aleister Crowley

    It’s a shame that some sequels don’t know how to deal with returning characters. When I play an RPG, it’s about the characters, not about the world, and yet so many sequels feel the need to change the main character. Didn’t work with any game I can think of.

    SPOILERS AHEAD

    And it’s also a shame when characters suddenly change without any reason.
    Was there any reason given as to why Leia decided not to be a nurse anymore and turned into a reporter?
    Jude and Milla were star crossed lovers and yet that is barely, if not at all adressed in the sequel (iirc, there’s a cockblocked moment and that’s it.)

    • Ferrick

      honestly, In my opinion, Ludger is an excellent half in the MC slot of TOX2, and i prefer him against Jude and Millia, character-wise and battle-wise

      spoilers ahead

      if i do recall, she does mention the reason on why she did a huge U turn, and in summary i think that she felt unsatisfied with her life and decided to go on a “soul journey”, and that’s when she came across journalism

      as for the last part, that’s kinda hard to tell because as you know, it’s a huge spoiler and all

    • Lynx

      THEY WEREN’T LOVERS.
      Geez.

      People are looking way too much into it.

      Jude was like 15 when the first game happened. 15 year olds are very impressionable. Plus Milla’s like, 20. Jude just looked up to her as an idol.

      • https://www.behance.net/cobaltcomet KOKAYI5

        I don’t think he idolized her. Just respected her as a comrade in arms and wanted to help her save the world. Ivar IDOLIZED her.

        • Arrei

          “Respect as a comrade” isn’t quite accurate, I think. It’s quite clear he looks up to her and aspires to be like her at the beginning of the game, so while he didn’t have Ivar’s… zeal, he certainly saw her as a role model.

          • https://www.behance.net/cobaltcomet KOKAYI5

            True.

        • DawnWolf

          It really depends on which version of the game you played. In the original Japanese version Jude was incredibly obsessed with Milla. Like, to pathetic levels. This was toned down in the localization.

          • https://www.behance.net/cobaltcomet KOKAYI5

            Why’d they make him a fanboy in that version? Obsessing over someone be it male or female isn’t a respectable trait. It makes you look like you have no persona of your own.

      • darkfox1

        Uh I think Jude was older than that. At least 18 IIRC Wow never mind he really was 15…

        • Ferrick

          nah, he is 15

    • Spirit Macardi

      But in a good story, the world IS a character. And experiencing it from someone else’s point of view can reveal something new about it that the first ones to experience it may have missed.

    • https://www.behance.net/cobaltcomet KOKAYI5

      If it were me, from jump you’d be able to play with ALL of the characters.

    • King Chibi

      japanese games the majority dont really pick up were the last one left off. its basically a whole new story made up all over again with some old characters

  • ThatGuy3190_7

    I’m surprised there wasn’t the usual “The Tales series is mostly aimed at Japanese market than western market so we’ll see on further localization” comment.

    • 永次

      What will they say to a Western interview? They want to catch people to play the games.
      But when West market buy around 800k Tales of Xillia like Japan, then we can say the west market is as important as Japan in Tales of terms.

  • https://www.behance.net/cobaltcomet KOKAYI5

    Ludger looks like a cool character but he’s mute until you beat the game once. Shame. I wish they’d make that optional.

    • PringlesXD

      Really? That’s odd. I wonder why they did that.

  • Yatol Charles

    choice have been in tale games before, but not as important as this one. one example would be symphonia,

  • Alestaos

    Pre Ordered My CE already :) I love Tales of games and cant wait for this and Hearts R. This will go well with my Milla CE i missed out on Symphonias CE :( So kinda hoping they do a Hearts R one for EU as well as NA.

  • King Chibi

    so at e3 i want news about kh3

  • Lelouch Vi Britannia

    Eventually Namco & Square are gonna have to do a Final Fantasy X Tales of Crossover game. I desire it.

  • Lelouch Vi Britannia

    I’ve hear that at Sony E3 conference there will be a showing of Tales of Zestiria. Then Namco’s Tales series will increase into even bigger popularity.

  • Earthjolly

    Fat Cat

  • Timovisch

    ToX2! :D

    -sorry hyped-

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