Tales of Graces f is just three months away and we caught up with Tales series producer Hideo Baba. In this interview, Baba talks about developing the battle system for Tales of Xillia and downloadable content for Graces f.
The Tales series has a lineage of heroes. Who is your favorite character and what’s the secret to creating a lead that fans will like?
Hideo Baba, Producer: I often get this question in Japan, but it is hard to answer. All the characters in the Tales of series have been created to have deep emotions which make them all equally charming to me. It is difficult to define a formula about how to make a character that the fans will absolutely adore. We think about this everyday, but we have many fans of the Tales of series with each having different tastes.
Everyone has their own preferences and it is possible to create a lead character that adjust the difference of preferences, a character that will be accepted by everyone, but this has a possibility that this character will not be unique. Instead of making a lead character with this type of compromised personality to please everyone, the important factor is to rather give our character an empathetic way of thinking and a cause that makes our fans want to embark on a dangerous adventure with this character.
Was there any content you began developing for Tales of Graces, but got cut in the end due to time issues?
In the early phase of development, we came up with many ideas. We took the ideas that we could actually use in the game and polished them to be released into the game. Basically, everything we wanted to include into the game is all included.
Tales of Graces f has a new storyline that wasn’t included in the Wii version. Why did you want to create an epilogue?
We had one goal when we decided to make the PS3 version. We wanted to add something extra for our fans to enjoy, and give a deeper look into the story and gameplay. But, after deciding to make a PS3 version, we had to endure an irregular schedule that was so tough that, to this day, I still remember what we went through.
In Japan, there was a lot of downloadable content for Tales of Graces f. Will those costumes be released in North America too?
I would like for all the DLC to be available overseas as well, but I cannot make any promises at this time.
How did the Tales of Xillia project begin? What themes did you think of for the story and how did you get two popular Tales artists working on the same PS3 game?
In the early stages of planning, we initially did not plan on having a 15 year anniversary title, but as we progressed further along in the planning stage we decided that because of the timing Xillia should be the anniversary title.
Then, if this was going to be the anniversary title, we thought we should return the series to its fundamentals. For example, have the game take place in a world where spirits and humans could coexist. As for the story, we wanted a theme where each character’s actions reflected their ideals, responsibilities, and unwavering beliefs. Because this was the 15 year anniversary title, for the first time, we were able to have both Ms. Inomata and Mr. Fujishima work together and collaborate on this title. With both Ms. Inomata and Mr. Fujishima on board for Xillia, naturally, we were also able to have both of them do the artwork.
Tales of Xillia’s battle system lets players attack enemies in tandem with another character and set up team attacks. Why did you decide to make this change to the established Linear Motion Battle System?
In Xillia, we decided to have two lead characters, which was the main reason we decided to change the battle system. We wanted to have a fighting system where both lead characters could have a collaborated double attack. In the end, we decided to not limit these double attacks to just the lead characters but have this linked attacks available with anyone in your party. This gave a new way to enjoy the Linear Motion Battle System.
Check back tomorrow for part two where producer Ryuji Odate talks about developing Tales of the Abyss 3D, Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave, and Tales of Innocence R.