At Bandai Namco’s Global Gamer’s Day event, Siliconera spoke with product manager Dennis Lee about the reception of the Tales of series of RPGs in the West. Namco have begun to bring these games over fairly regularly now, and have committed to trying to grow the franchise in the West. Lee said this was entirely because of communication with the series’ fans.
“So, a lot of what we had done in the past—mainly the PS2 and GameCube era—of course, JRPGs were popular and the Tales of series had the most successful title in the series released in that console generation, Tales of Symphonia,” Lee said. “In the years after that, there were some ups and downs in the series. There were a lot of titles that weren’t brought over to the west—in fact, there was a span of two or three years where we didn’t bother to bring any over.”
“A few years back is when we decided to really focus on the series and the fans because they’re asking for these titles, so we started with Tales of Graces F and the 3DS version of Tales of the Abyss, and we started to do things where we went to events and talked directly to anime and Tales of fans about what they wanted. A lot of those requests were things like Japanese and English audio options, shorter waits between Japanese releases and Western releases, and so on.”
“That being said,” Lee continued, “we’ve put a lot of work into making sure that Japan and America get Tales of games right around the same time. With each game we’ve released, sales have increased—so we believe that fans have been going out and talking to other fans. With games coming out on a more periodic basis, I think it conveys [to new fans] that this isn’t just a one-off game, it’s not just another RPG.”
“Working with our community and fans has helped the audience to grow, and we’re delighted to see it taking off so well in the west.”
I asked Lee if there were any other devices Bandai Namco were looking to bring Tales of games out on in the West.
“Right now the team’s very focused on getting us caught up to Japan with the new releases, and they’re looking at different platforms to get these games out to the fans,” he replied. “There were a couple of… experiments, you know, with games like Tales of Phantasia, which we released on iOS. That received some mixed results. In general, though, we’re looking at all of the ways in which we can bring the Tales of series to the fans.”
Note: Screenshot from Tales of Zestiria, the latest game in the series. It’s been confirmed for Western release, but has no release date yet.