The Singapore Toy, Game & Comic convention has always been the Geek culture event in Singapore, with a strong line up of comic book artist and writers but what about games? Well fret not because Hideo Baba – producer of the critically acclaimed “Tales Of” series was invited to show off the newest games from Namco Bandai. Kenny Chen caught up with the famed producer and picked his brain about the “Tales Of” series and game development as a whole.
It has been 18 years since the first instalment of the “Tales Of” franchise; looking back, which game was the most memorable for you?
So my most memorable title by far is “Tales Of Phantasia” because it was the game that featured the many basic features that would define the “Tales Of” series such as the “Linear Battle System”
The Characters and world of the Tales series have always had deep philosophical meanings behind them. Are they something you try and incorporate into every game?
As you said, all the characters in the “Tales Of” series have a significant meaning with regards to the game world and storyline as a whole. With that said, we usually build the characters and their meanings after the conceptualization of the game.
I’ve noticed that each Tales game have its own unique visual style, what’s the rationale behind this decision?
The graphics style of the “Tales Of” series is constantly evolving and being refined. An example of such would be the character proportion in the latest iteration of the “Tales Of” series: “Tales Of Xillia” where the characters are proportioned exactly like a real human being while the earlier titles featured a more cutesy or “Chibi” proportions.
The team wanted to the make the user feel like it’s an expansion and scale of the world in Xillia. So this was the result of the evolution of the “Tales Of” world
From the perspective of a game developer; what do you think are the differences between a Western game such as GTA V and Japanese game such as Tales of Xillia?
I’m only able to comment this issue with perspective from my experience developing the “Tales Of” series. With that said, I believe that the main difference between western games and the “Tales Of” series would be the amount of freedom the players have in the game. Western games generally allow players a greater degree of freedom while the “Tales Of” series would guide the player through the narrative.
Will there be surprises in store for long time “Tales Of” fans in “Tales Of Symphonia Chronicles”?
Japanese promo TV has released information with regards to your questions; however I’m currently unable to reveal any information to fans overseas yet. But let me give you a hint, if you have played “Tales Of Xillia” or any other “Tales Of” titles on the PS3, you will get a nice bonuses when you start playing “Tales Of Symphonia Chronicles”. So remember to keep your save data of the games on your PS3s.
How do you keep up with new gameplay concepts, for example Tales Of Xillia’s “Dual Raid motion battle” system?
Every time we (the developers) to come out with game concepts, we’d always struggle with coming up with new concepts that would appeal to fan; we did a lot of internal play testing in order to find out which concept was the best.
The “Tales Of” series celebrated its 18th anniversary this year so we wanted to avoid repetition in the gameplay experience. However, we could not really make drastic changes to the core gameplay elements that fans know and love such as the battle and culinary systems; we wanted to create an experience that would feel fresh to fans as such it’s a very difficult balancing act to follow.
Thank you Baba-San for your time.
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