Our Tales series interview with Hideo Baba continues with coverage on the portable games like Tales of the Abyss,. Producer Ryuji Odate also joins us to talk about Tales of Innocence R for PlayStation Vita and Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave for PSP.
Want to hear more about console titles like Tales of Graces f and Tales of Xillia read part one here.
What was the most challenging part of transferring Tales of the Abyss to 3D?
Hideo Baba, Producer: Our biggest challenge was using 3D effect effectively on a finished product’s port which is not made with data considering 3D depictions. In order to give a comfortable 3D experience, we had to adjust our 3D features one by one. How speech bubbles appear onscreen, how characters’ poses looked during events, etc, all had to be adjusted one by one. In the end, I believe we were able to present it comparable to the original version as much as possible.
Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave is an interesting change for the series. How did development of the 1 vs. 100 Musou style action game begin?
Ryuji Odate, Producer: We started to aim for a new Tales of style which is why we condensed the charm of the Tales of series with stress-free gameplay. Defeating hundreds of enemies with the familiar artes from Tales of games is a thrilling experience, and provides action gameplay that anyone can enjoy. Characters that appear in the game all have new scenarios, among other things, included with a Tales of-like story.
Why did the Tales team decide to reimagine Tales of Innocence for PlayStation Vita instead of any of the other "mothership" Tales titles?
RO: When the original Tales of Innocence was released, of course I included everything we could in the original release as a creator. But, we have received many comments, from the fans that liked Innocence, saying “I want to be able to do this” or “I wish this feature was in the game”. In response to these requests we have decided to release Tales of Innocence R which will include these changes.
What can you tell us about the new character QQ and the changes to the battle system to make Innocence have a more technical feel on PlayStation Vita?
RO: The new character QQ comes from a different world than that of the world Ruca and his friends are in. Even though she is only 18 years old, her body is covered with scars, where you can see that she has come from a world with raging battle. She is a little chubby, loves to eat and has a different set of values than Ruca and his friends.
In order to take advantage of Vita’s features, we added touch functionality to the battle system that allows players to tap on a character’s face while they are fighting to give them orders of using artes. In the original version, players had to move the analog stick left, right, up, or down to assign orders, but tapping the faces of characters to assign orders is much easier and intuitive to navigate.
Namco Bandai already has a Tales game in development for PlayStation Vita. What is it like working with the hardware and how do you plan to use Vita specific features like the touch screens, camera, 3G, and GPS support?
RO: The Vita is equipped with an OLED screen, and it is appealing to Tales of series as a platform that is capable of providing beautiful graphics to consumers. Recently there is a trend for 3D gaming, but the OLED screen provides a vivid 2D screen which allows for beautiful graphics. In Tales of Innocence R we only used the touch feature, but the camera, GPS, along with other features that link to reality are appealing to us. We want to find new interesting ways to use these features in future titles.
For some time, overseas Tales fans were disheartened at the lack of English localized games. While they are happy to see translations are on the horizon, what do you think can ensure a steady flow of Tales games in North America and how do you think you can grow the Tales series outside of Japan?
HB: This is a tough challenge. Of course, we want to expand more overseas, but we have to consider the business side as well. We cannot completely remove the business side as long as we are a company, which makes this a very difficult challenge.
The Tales of series has a specific style that does not use realistic images, but uses a distinct Japanese anime style. For this reason, only a small portion of Westerners have supported the series. If more people purchase and play Tales of games, it would be easier to release games overseas.