During the Xbox E3 2019 media briefing, Bandai Namco revealed the first Tales of Arise trailer. It planned to be released next year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam. Through Famitsu, Producer Yusuke Tomizawa also shared more about different themes going into its making, improving motions and 3D anime style.
Alphen (CV: Takuya Satou)
A young man wearing an iron mask, who has lost his memories and has become incapable of feeling pain. He receives the blade of flames upon meeting Shionne, and heads into a war to liberate Dana from Rena.
Shionne (CV: Shino Shimoji)
A young girl cursed with “Thorns” that make anyone who touches her feel excruciating pain. For her own purposes, she teams up with Alphen in order to take on her own kind on Rena.
Yusuke Tomizawa is known as the longtime God Eater producer, but he took over as the Tales of series producer, starting with the latest entry in Tales of Arise. Here are highlights from the interview [Thanks, Gamestalk.]:
- The Tales of Arise project started long before the release of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition that released earlier this year.
- As you may have seen in the trailer, it’s been a huge challenge for the developers who spent long hours to reevaluate exactly is the Tales of series to them and what needs to be done going forward.
- The goal is “succession and evolution” while facing traditions of the series.
- While analyzing the attraction of the Tales of series, the developers realized many parts that are in need of evolution for the future. They’re also in need of getting attention from younger players in order to maintain and expand on the Tales of brand. With that said, they’re challenging themselves to do something completely different from the ordinary in order to catch the eyes of as many people possible.
- Some fans may have felt uneasy after seeing the first trailer, but Tomizawa says they’ve put in plenty of time discussing the fundamental appeal of the Tales of series and the points that will be carried over, and from there they’re selecting and planning what parts to evolve based on that. We’ll hear more about it in detail in the future.
- With Tales of Arise, the developers are stepping away from the engine that was being used exclusively for the series up to now. In order to have the rich lighting and atmosphere to go with the watercolor painting-like graphics and familiar character models, they’re using Unreal Engine 4 as a base while using a brand-new original shader and more that they developed.
- Offering a “highly immersive experience” is the theme behind Tales of Arise. As part of that, they’re looking to improve on the characters’ performances and action with the goal of having you really feel that “This character is living in this world.” With this approach, they’re taking the fields drawn in a watercolor style blended in with characters that now have larger body sizes to look more human. The staff is putting in extra effort into motion. For example, when a character turns you’ll no longer see them instantly turn around, but they’ll instead twist their bodies before rotating, and such.
- Bandai Namco’s Minoru Iwamoto is the main character designer and art director, making it the first time one person takes on both of those roles for a Tales of series’ mothership title. For this reason, it feels as though there’s a sense of unity in the art across the game, more so than ever. For example, by simultaneously progressing through work on the world’s appearance and character costume designs, you can unite the expression down to a cultural level. That’s all part of the “highly immersive experience” that is the game’s theme.
- The developers are aiming for the level of 3D anime you see on TV or films when it comes to character facial animations, camera work, and such.
- Some might wonder if the 2D anime parts are no longer necessary if they’re looking to enhance on the 3D anime parts of the game, but the 2D anime parts are important element of the Tales of series that plays a big part of the balance that goes into the “succession and evolution” part of it. The plan is to enhance both parts to make the drama more exciting while looking for more effective ways to use them.
- The development is being entirely handled by Bandai Namco. Members include staff from Tales of Berseria and even members that worked on Tales of Phantasia. Production has revolved around discussions of the “succession and evolution of tradition” with old and new staff who love the series.
- As for who is in charge of the music, this still remains a secret and will be revealed later. There is a theme song.
- The protagonist and others live on the planet called “Dana,” and the planet you see floating in the skies above is “Rena.” Dana is a planet that is characterized by its vast lands with an abundance of nature. They’re on the cultural level of about the Middle-Ages. Rena, on the other hand, is advanced in science and magical technique. Rena invaded Dana about 300 years prior to the start of the game. They overwhelmed the people of Dana with their overwhelming force and enslaved its people. This relationship between the two planets continues for 300 years, and that’s where the story begins.
- The protagonist is a human of Dana. One of the directions that the story takes is about how to turn around the oppressed state of Dana. The armor and helm the protagonist is shown wearing has to do with his physical features. However, the protagonist won’t be restricted to just his armored appearance alone, but will change into various other outfits based on the situation.
- The heroine is from the planet of Rena. She’s described as a confident and badass woman. With the relationship of power between Dana and Rena, she doesn’t get along with the protagonist at the start. Their relationship starts in a situation where the people of Rena discriminate against those of Dana, and from there we see a much bigger drama develop.
- The battles will be a familiar Tales of-style action battle that starts with enemy encounters. The theme behind the battle system this time around is to get new players feel “exhilarating battles.” They’re going for a kind of action that is more intuitive with a sense of speed that will make those who watch think “that looks fun.”
- There are actions that you can use based on the situations of battle. There are also some elements that involve increasing skill by using it more.
- As for enemy designs, the creators are working on making them look more threatening. This comes from the thought of “You’ll get a better sense of accomplishment by defeating an enemy worth defeating.” Tomizawa says some of the female players might not be a fan of this, but he feels that it is important to bring a sense of accomplishment when it comes to defeating enemies in RPG battles.
- However, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be any cute enemies. While it still remains a secret, there’s something of a mascot.
- The Tales of series has all kinds of traditional elements, which includes action battles, but another big part of it are the skit & chat conversational scenes. As far as that goes, the developers working on them while having thorough conversations about everything, from “What makes this popular” to “What kind of evolution do you think they’ll ask for?” and such.
- Tomizawa says it’s important to communicate the team’s efforts, so they decided to kick off a blog for the series. More details will be shared via social media later.
- While no promises could be made at the moment, they hope to provide players an opportunity to try the game before it releases.
- (With Tales of the Abyss being abbreviated as “TOA” why did you go with a title like Tales of Arise that would overlap the same abbreviation?) The codename of the game started with “Arise.” This word came from the strong desire that is going into the rebirth of the series. The team did go over things with the development and marketing staff from around the world, but in the end they all agreed that the code name Arise was the most appropriate. With that said, the staff felt that this time around it was more important to convey the passion that is going into the rebirth, even if it meant breaking the series’ unspoken rule about the abbreviations. The word “Arise” also ties into the theme of the story of the protagonist and the others rising up to fight and overturn the oppressive environment.
- Tomizawa is thinking about making the shortened name of it “Arise” or “ToArise.”
- While he couldn’t share anything about the release date, Tomizawa says things are complete to a certain extent, but still in need of brushing up, and there are still many areas for battle and drama parts that need to be made.