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Tales Producer Baba Says The Focus Is Squarely On Appealing To Japanese Fans


Speaking with Insert Credit, Tales series producer, Hideo Baba, discusses the series’ Japanese and overseas fans. Baba says that the primary audience for Tales in Japan is teenagers and people in their early 20s. This, he emphasizes, is the audience that the developers tend to focus on, as opposed to taking up a more global mindset.


“The Tales series has been developed with Japanese players in mind, so achieving success in Japan is a major goal for us,” says Baba. “But when the development schedule makes it possible, we do like to create localized versions for some titles in the hopes that players outside of Japan will hear about the series and get to like it.”


Baba then goes on to touch upon the subject of young protagonists in Japanese RPGs. “It is true that the number of teenage JRPG players is higher in Japan than elsewhere, but I wouldn’t say that teenagers are the main audience overall,” he shares. “We think of people in their late teens and early twenties as being the main audience for JRPGs.”


He elaborates: “As for the issue of young protagonists in JRPGs, this is just my personal opinion, but characters in Japanese anime have traditionally been relatively young, so having grown up watching this kind of anime, I think we Japanese don’t feel that having young protagonists in JRPGs is particularly unusual.”


Does this make it difficult for the Tales studio to create games with a global appeal? Perhaps, but Baba says that he isn’t too worried about what foreign fans think of the games.


“If we worried too much about what foreign players might think when we were developing them, we wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of our strengths as game creators,” Baba believes. “That’s our first priority—to preserve what makes the Tales series so great. It’s up to the foreign players whether they like them or not.”

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.