Below is an interview from page 15 of Weekly Famitsu No. 1224 (5/31/2012) with Namco Bandai Tales of series producer Hideo Baba. Gematsu covered this interview briefly during this week’s Flying Get. Below is the full transcript.
— To start off, tell us about the developments of the series during 2011.
Baba: It’s already been a year, huh. To start, there was the series 15th anniversary title, Tales of Xillia. And then Tales of Innocence for the new hardware Playstation Vita went on sale, as well as new initiatives being carried out on mobile phones and smartphones. Despite appearances, it’s really been a run around.
— As a result, Xillia ended up being a big hit. I want to ask you about the upcoming plans for the 16th anniversary of the series, but before that, tell me about Bandai Namco Studios that was established May 2nd.
Baba: Bandai Namco Studios was formed as a new company by team developers of Bandai Namco Games. You could say the goal of its establishment was to create an environment where we could concentrate on contents development.
— You moved to Bandai Namco Studios too.
Baba: Yes. Myself along with the staff of the “Tales of” team transferred.
— Will that change impact the series?
Baba: My job of making games hasn’t changed. I think rather I’ll have more freedom to do what I like and expand the level of the contents we produce. Especially for the “Tales of” team, we’ll all be working in the same place, so we’ll have an easier time during development and what not.
— Do you think that you may end up exchanging talented staff members with the other development teams?
Baba: Mm, there’s potential for that to happen. Maybe some of the “Tales of” staff will switch to Idolmaster, or oppositely, some of Soulcalibur’s staff may join the “Tales of” team. Having new staff would have a positive effect I think.
— We’re looking forward to that. Switching topics, I’d like to ask about the 16th anniversary prospects. After the climactic events of last year, the pressure must be overwhelming.
Baba: That’s about right. I was saying to my staff, “Just because the 15th anniversary is a great accomplishment, I don’t want it to be the peak of our run.” Xillia has been called the crown of our 15th anniversary, in comparison we have to develop the next title keeping that in mind.
— There is going to be an announcement regarding the new title at the “Tales of” Festival occurring June 2nd & 3rd. The Festival this year will be of a remarkable scale, won’t it?
Baba: It’s the 5th anniversary of the Festival too. This is the first time it’s happening at Yokohama Arena. There will be over 4 hours of event performances. It’s cram-packed, with live performances from the voice actors reading familiar skits to the various goods that’ll be on sale. A lot of effort was put into the event’s planning. The announcement of the new title as well has been planned for everyone’s enjoyment.
— Prior to the announcement, image visuals of the new title were released. I get the impression that it’s very different compared to the past titles.
Baba: That’s what I wanted you to think. I wanted people to be surprised when they first saw it and say, “What is that? The ‘Tales of’ series has a title with this sort of atmosphere?” I wanted viewers to be curious about the appearance of the new world.
— This is a mothership title, isn’t it?
Baba: Yes, that’s the case. The setting of the “Tales of” series has been based in a high fantasy “swords and magic” type of world. But this time amidst that, the world outlook of human civilization is also fleshed out. It’s modern and a little inorganic.
—I’m curious what sort of story is going to develop in this world.
Baba: I can’t talk about the details yet, but the catch-copy phrase of this title is: “Are you prepared to destroy the world for a girl?” It’s a phrase that relates to the story and the system as well.
— Hearing that line, “destroy the world,” I imagine that the theme is going to be very serious.
Baba: Yes. Since it’s following the 15th anniversary title, I intended on a challenge with a new world and story. Of course, the play style of the “Tales of” titles remains. Aiming this title to the next stage in the “Tales of” series was our challenge.
— I see. By the way, I’ve heard there was another new title in development…
Baba: There is. There are many plans being considered, whether it’ll be a console game or for mobile phones and smartphones. When we can make an announcement, I think we’d like the help of everyone in deciding.
— We’ll be looking forward to it. Lastly, a message for our readers.
Baba: This is the 5th anniversary of the “Tales of” Festival that’s happening soon. I hope that it’ll continue to be something fans can enjoy. One of the high points of the festival will surely be the contents development. On June 2nd, we’ll debut those contents to everyone. Please look out for it.
The countdown site for Next Tales of currently has 14 days left until its June 2 reveal. Before that, a commercial for the game will broadcast during Fuji TV’s Hey! Hey! Hey! on Monday, May 21 between 20:00 and 20:54 (between 7:00 and 7:54 a.m. Eastern / 4:00 and 4:54 a.m. Pacific), and again on May 28.