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.
"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."