Tales of Xillia Interview: Hideo Baba on the Return of an RPG Giant
Sony Contributing Editor Roland Fauster shared an interview today on Tales of Xillia with Hideo Baba on the return of an RPG giant.
Below are the details, as follows: Hi there RPG fans! 2013 has now silently swapped into its second half but beware - before the end of the year there are all manner of great new games lined up that have the potential to blow our minds.
Case in point - acclaimed JRPG Tales of Xillia, which Namco Bandai is finally bringing to western shores after two years of waiting.
With the release now only a few weeks away, we caught up with the game's producer Hideo Baba and asked him to tell us all there is to know about this latest installment in the Tales franchise.
Can you describe the core concept behind the Tales games for any players who are not familiar with the series?
Hideo Baba: I would like to say that the key concept in the Tales series is that it is an RPG that is set in a fantasy world describing the growth of the hero, heroine and other main characters.
We always put a key theme and message in the storyline to convey to players through the gameplay and would like players to feel encouraged and moved, which leads them to take the first step towards a new challenge.
The common core vision for the series is to describe the key word 'coexistence' and in addition to that, each title has a different theme, such as 'conviction' or 'justice'.
While the Tales series is a videogame, the RPG is a special genre that can deeply convey a storyline, a world and the people living in it. This is why we would like to make sure to have a number of important messages in the series. I hope you will find that these messages are the most important concepts in the series.
The second most important concept is the series' unique graphical style and action-packed battle system. We like to keep the anime-style that is based on Japanese culture, rather than a photo realistic style. The battle system in the series is real-time and fast-paced, so players can feel exhilarated. It is so unique and different from any other series.
It's been a long time since the Tales series made its first appearance back in 1995. Is there anyone on your team who has been there since the first game?
Hideo Baba: As many as 18 years has passed since the first installment in the series, and none of the people that were involved in the first installment are actively participating in the actual development. However, those senior members are now mainly working as management while lots of young creators have joined the development team.
Tales of Xillia was released in Japan in 2011. How does the European release differ?
Hideo Baba: Basically, my policy is to bring the same game experience that Japanese players enjoyed to gamers overseas. In other words, I would like everyone to look forward to playing the original content of Tales of Xillia.
Should people have played any previous entries in the series to understand the game's storyline?
Hideo Baba: Except for a few exceptions that have '2′ in their titles and were direct sequels, the Tales games describe completely different worlds and new characters in every title. Thus, no matter which title people pick up to start with, they do not have to play the previous titles to completely understand its story. So I hope lots of people will pick up Tales of Xillia and enjoy it.
What are the key differences between Xillia and Tales of Graces f, that recently came out for PS3?
Hideo Baba: There are many differences between Tales of Xillia and Tales of Graces f. For example, I believe the visual difference is easiest to understand. In previous titles, all the characters and buildings were expressed smaller than their real size, in order for them to look cute.
However, Tales of Xillia has introduced a new visual direction to show characters in more life-like proportions. To correspond to the character size, artificial buildings and natural environments are also expressed in the same way.
By introducing this new way of expression, the atmosphere and scale of the world players can feel is greatly improved. I believe we will develop future Tales titles based on the visual expression of Tales of Xillia.
What can we expect from the future of the Tales series?
Hideo Baba: I would like to keep trying to introduce new ways of expression and new gameplay while keeping the classic tradition of the series. I consider that new experiences are a very important factor in videogames as a type of entertainment.
You can look forward to future titles in which you can enjoy the new expressions and new gameplay, while also being relieved that the so-called basic features of the Tales series are present. I believe RPGs developed by Japanese creators will still keep on going.
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