Tales fans interview series producer – part 3

Baba on balancing, custom characters and localization.

Namco Bandai has gone live with part three (part two, part one) of its fan-powered interview with Tales series producer Hideo Baba. This time, Baba talks the importance of balancing characters, the series’ stance on custom characters, and the difficulty of bringing Tales games overseas. Watch the interview below. Or, view our transcript under the clip.

James Williams: Will there be any new, innovative weapon choices in future Tales of games?

I believe the battle system is the defining trait of the Tales series more so than the individual weapons, and it’s something we’ve received a lot of praise for. We’re continuously thinking of ways to make that system better in the future.

Here’s some more merchandise. Here are Tip, Asbel, and Yuri dolls. Here’s Leon.

[shows merchandise]

James Williams: Will mages obtain more melee artes to put them on par with the primary melee characters?

It’s all about balance – the balance between the characters who fights with swords in the front and those who support others with magic from the back. We can, for example, make a character who uses a sword and magic and works well with both. But from a character design perspective, whether they are skilled at one or another is a defining feature. If everyone was good at everything, the characters would lose their personalities. For that reason, we like to balance out these traits amongst the characters.

Roy Lagendijik: Ever thought about a Tales of game that lets you create a custom character and “recruit” friends for local/wifi gameplay?

We do have titles that are not a part of the main series. They are spinoffs or “gaiden” series where characters from the main series appear. In these, players play as themselves with an avatar. Players can also connect with their friends and go on adventures together. We would like to think about these more in the future.

This is a magazine that’s not sold overseas, called “Tales of Magazine.” In Japan, we sell this every month. If Tales of fans increase overseas, we hope to run this there too.

[shows magazine]

Stuart Gannon: What do you think could be done differently in regards to the handling of Tales of games outside of Japan?

This is a very difficult problem. We are proud of making the Tales of series a distinctly Japanese RPG. But, for it to be accepted overseas requires all kinds of promotions and things from all angles. We consider this an important issue which we continue to think deeply about.

Caleb Ross: What makes the Tales of series so difficult to localize?

Though this isn’t what makes it difficult, Japan is the biggest market for the Tales of series. You all know this already. We do want to have people all over the world play. As an RPG, there’s a lot of text. To localize everything at the same time takes a lot of time, cost, and even work on development. So we can’t help but launch in Japan first. But we’re always looking for ways to make the process more efficient and bring the launch dates closer together.

Finally, there’s this.

[shows Tales of Xillia-themed pillow]

For the Tales of Xillia launch, we made a “Tales of Cafe.” This was the cushion on the chairs that customers would actually sit on. We made these cushions thinking that fans would appreciate them. When you turn them around the characters say something. Just a line of something we thought the character would say. For example, Jude says, “It makes me nervous that you’re going to sit on me.”

Caleb Ross: What is the defining trait of Tales of Graces f that makes it so special compared to Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Vesperia?

Abyss and Graces f will be our first overseas launches in a while. In that sense, we are putting extra effort into promoting them in various regions so that more and more players can enjoy the Tales of series. Perhaps this is why it appears these titles are special to us.

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