Unlike the other Tales games in the Tales series, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World picks up right where the 2003 Gamecube game left off. You’re going to see a lot of familiar places and faces from Tales of Symphonia. Most of the previous cast joins your party, but Lloyd is different. He doesn’t play the lead character. Newcomer Emil replaces him and views the hero as a monster. We spoke with Minako Takahashi, localization producer at Namco Bandai USA, and Andy Tsai, localization producer at Namco Bandai Japan to discuss what happened to the world and how the monster catching system got into a Tales game.
What happened to the world after the events in Tales of Symphonia?
The world regeneration resulted in the two worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe’alla to come together. However, the disparity in the technology level between the two cultures resulted in a deep divide among the people. The people of Sylvarant resented being cast off as a second-rate citizen and this resentment helped create a resistance group known as the Vanguard.
As if to coincide with the general unrest, weather patterns around the world started to change as well. Snow started to fall in areas that were once deserts, and areas that were once covered in ice, started to melt. These strange weather patterns only brought more fear and anxiety to the citizens of the world.
Tell us what the new lead characters Emil and Marta’s are like. Is Emil as easygoing and idealistic as Lloyd?
Emil is very different from Lloyd. He is very unsure of himself and an introvert. Unlike Lloyd, he does not have any friends in the town that he currently resides. He is unable to voice his opinions and is always apologizing. Marta on the other hand is very out going and cheerful.
Are we going to see the same areas and dungeons from Tales of Symphonia?
Players will be revisiting familiar locations from Tales of Symphonia on the GameCube, but they will also notice that these areas look very different. For example, the desert city of Triet is now covered in snow.
Can you tell us about some of the new places we’re going to visit?
Luin is the first location that the player will visit. It is also one that will bring up a lot of memories for players that played Tales of Symphonia on the GameCube since it played a fairly large role in the story. The city is now completely restored and statues of the heroes of world regeneration line the town.
Another new area is the Underground Ruins in Asgard. Players were able to visit Asgard in the previous game. The Underground Ruins is a whole new dungeon inside of Asgard never mentioned before with many secrets of its own.
In addition to the two mentioned here, there are other towns and dungeons, both new and old, for the players to explore. Even the old areas are filled with new things that will be both familiar and different.
How does Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World take advantage of motion control?
The main use of the motion control is the Sorcerer’s Ring and the additional shortcuts. The player will aim the Sorcerer’s Ring with the pointer on the Wii Remote. Players will also be able to execute shortcuts in battle by swinging the Wii Remote or the Nunchuk horizontally or vertically for total of 4 shortcuts.
What makes this battle system different from Tales of Symphonia and the other Tales games?
The basic battle mechanism does not change significantly from a recent Tales game. The major difference for players that only played Tales of Symphonia is that in Dawn of the New World, the battlefield is in 3D. The monster capturing aspect requires more strategy than other Tales games. Each battlefield has an element assigned to it which can be checked on the Elemental Grid. The player must change the major element and the 4 of the minor elements on the grid to the corresponding element of the monster that they want to capture. However, actions by both enemies and allies can affect the battlefield element, so this will require the player to create a battle party that is most suited to accomplish this.
Why did you add monster catching to the Tales series? What does it add to battles?
The monster catching adds additional strategy to the game that was not present in previous Tales game. It also allows numerous battle party configurations.
Monsters have always played a big role in the Tales series and for Dawn of the New World, we wanted to utilize them in ways that have never been attempted before in the Tales series.
We thought that it would be interesting to give the player the chance to form pacts and fight along side the 200+ monsters in the game. Not only would this directly affect how players fight their battles, choosing which monsters to use in battle also allows each of our fans to customize their fighting style in ways that is not possible in other Tales games.
When I saw the US version at E3 I discovered the number of motion controlled techniques were bumped up to eight. Are there any other revisions made for the North American version?
At the start of the new game, the player is given the option to load a cleared data from Tales of Symphonia on the Game. Loading the data will result in a small gift as a “Thank you“ from the team for playing the first game.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of a New World has multiple endings. How are the endings earned? Do you get stuck on a path? Are there last minute choices you need to make?
There are three endings to the game. One of them will require time and dedication from the player. I don’t want to spoil anything for our fans, so I’ll just leave it at that!
Is there any post game content like the extra missions in Tales of Legendia or a New Game + mode?
Like previous Tales games, there will be a Grade Shop at the end of the game for New Game+. A new dungeon will also be available in New Game+. A higher difficulty level will also become available to the player.
Where is the Tales series going next in North America? Are you evaluating the DS Tales games or thinking about the mothership Tales title for the Wii?
Right now, we’re just enjoying the last few months of the series’ 10th anniversary in North America. It was a tall order to prepare two huge RPGs like Dawn of the New World and Tales of Vesperia on the Xbox 360, so everyone is taking a well-deserved deep breath before we decide on our next move.
Images courtesy of Namco Bandai.