Bandai Namco talks Tales of Symphonia on Nintendo Wii
An interview with Cubed3’s Adam Riley and Bandia Namco producer, Teruaki Konishi-san and Hideo Baba-san, Tales brand Manager.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Source – http://www.cubed3.com/news/9808
CubedÃ‚Â³Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s Adam Riley: First of all, why make a sequel to Tales of Symphonia on Wii, rather than create a brand new Ã¢â‚¬ËœTales ofÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ storyline?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: The original Tales of Symphonia was very well received both by our domestic fans and fans overseas. We feel that the wonderful characters (both in terms of design and personality) and the enchanting world that the game took place in are two of the major reasons for the critical acclaim.
For Dawn of the New World, we aimed to create a game that is set in the same world as Symphonia, so our fans can find out what happened to their favourite characters since the previous title. At the same time, we felt bringing a brand new Tales adventure to the Wii would be the best way to show our appreciation to our fans.
AR: How has the in-game world changed since Symphonia on the GameCube? Will there be many surprises for fans of the original?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: From the visual aspect all the character models have been remodelled with a more realistic body proportion. Taking advantage of the more powerful new hardware, the background textures for all towns and dungeons were all newly created, allowing for higher quality visuals and a much more sophisticated game overall.
Another big addition to the game is the ability for players to tame monsters. Not only will monsters be able to fight along side the player, but the monsters can also evolve into more powerful monsters with new skills and abilities as they gain experience.
AR: Why did your team choose to use a point-and-click map for moving around the world, rather than keeping the traditional format and letting players explore the world on foot?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: There are many reasons for this choice.
First of all, considering that Dawn of the New World is being released on the Wii, we wanted to take advantage of the Wii remote in a way that would not compromise, but enhance the unique gameplay that the Tales series is known for. The point and drag format was one of the ways in which we were able to achieve this.
At the same time, we were also limited by the production schedule. Overall, we felt that the new, more compact interface would allow the game to flow between story-telling and battles much smoother, creating a much better experience on for our players.
AR: There have been cases where developers have forced motion controls into games when they should not have. Will you be keeping motion control to a minimum for this game?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: As we mentioned earlier, we wanted to bring the Tales experience to the Wii in a way that takes advantage of the WiiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s uniqueness, yet at the same time would not interfere with the core gameplay mechanics that our fans have come to expect from a Tales game.
The Tales series has always been known for its deep, fast- paced, action packed battle system. We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to compromise this by forcing our players to swing the Wii remote endlessly. Instead, we chose to stay true to the action packed battle system by utilising the motion control to activate shortcut commands during battles.
AR: Can you please explain how the new battle system works?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: The battle system is based around the Free Run System, which has been the basic system for all of our recent Tales games. For Dawn of the New World, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve introduced a new system called the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Elemental GridÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The Elemental Grid allows the player to affect the dominant element of the battle field depending on the skills they use. The dominant element affects everything from the effectiveness of the characterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attacks, to which characters will participate in Unison Attacks, to whether the player can tame enemy monsters at the end of each battle.
Although we are balancing the gameplay so that players can enjoy the game without taking any of this into consideration, we also want to make the battles enriching enough as to reward even the more hardcore gamers.
AR: Will cooking and skits return? And what will be available in terms of side-quests Ã¢â‚¬â€œ will the Guild approach from Tales of Innocence be taken?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: The cooking system and skits are both fan favourites in the Tales series and will both be making their return in Dawn of the New World. The biggest difference with the cooking system this time is how it ties directly into the monster system. Depending on which dish the player cooks for their monsters, it can affect everything from the monstersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ basic parameters to how they evolve. The skits system is also a classic staple in the Tales franchise and Dawn of the New World will remain faithful to it as well.
Side-quests in the form of the Neko-nin Guild will be in the game as well. The player will be able to visit the Neko-nin Guild and choose from a list of quests to accept. The player can also manage their monsters at the Neko-nin Guild.
AR: Has consideration been given to including any WiiConnect24 or Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection functions?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m afraid we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have any plans for either service at this time.
AR: So far we have seen Collette return as a playable character and Lloyd make an appearance. But will there be many other familiar faces returning from the GameCube game?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: All of the characters from the original Tales of Symphonia will make their own unique appearance in the game.
AR What would you say to people that think this is going to be very similar to the GameCube game?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: As I mentioned in the first question, it has always been a priority for us since the very beginning to keep the elements that were a hit from Tales of Symphonia, while improving upon it to make it into something even better. Taking that into consideration, it wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be surprising for some to have the impression that this looks very Ã¢â‚¬Å“similarÃ¢â‚¬Â to the previous title.
However, at the same time, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve also incorporated various new elements when it comes to the storyline, gameplay and various systems. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re also confident that once you play the final product, you will not be disappointed with the results.
AR: Tales of Innocence has performed better than Tales of the Tempest, and was also critically acclaimed by many sources. But are you personally pleased with the sales performance of Tales of Innocence on DS so far?
Hideo Baba-san, Tales Brand Manager: In many ways, we were able to apply the lessons learned during the development of Tales of the Tempest to Tales of Innocence. This allowed us to create an even better title. Each and every member of the staff kept in mind our goal of creating the best Tales game for the DS hardware throughout the project. Looking at all the positive comments and feedbacks weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve received from our users, we felt they were truly able to appreciate and understand our dedication to our goal.
AR: And considering there are so many readers requesting to play the game in English, will the game be released in the US and Europe?
Hideo Baba-san, Tales Brand Manager: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry to say that there are currently no plans at this point.
AR: Previously there were rumours that Tales of the Abyss would come to the GameCube. Was there any truth to this rumour and could we see the game Ã¢â‚¬ËœremadeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ on Wii in the future?
Hideo Baba-san, Tales Brand Manager: We canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t comment on anything that hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been decided, but we will say that this is nothing more than a rumour. We certainly will not disclose information which could mislead our fans in any way. At this time, there is absolutely no possibility for the rumour in question to be true.
AR: Baba-san, when speaking to you last year, you said there was a possibility of a Ã¢â‚¬ËœTales ofÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ game being made for WiiWare if people were interested. Since then there has been considerable praise from readers about the idea. Will the positive reaction encourage Bandai Namco to make a Tales game for the download service?
Hideo Baba-san, Tales Brand Manager: As there are many different platforms on the market today, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re constantly evaluating each one to see which would be the best for the Tales series shine on in terms of the story, gameplay, controls, as well as other elements and aspects essential to the series. Of course, WiiWare is one of the potential platforms that we are evaluating. With that said, we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t promise that this statement will automatically mean that there are immediate plans in the near future for a download service.