Good news for anyone who’s been enjoying Namco Bandai’s enormous JRPG Tales of Graces F since its launch back in August: its immediate successor, Tales of Xillia, is on its way exclusively to PlayStation 3 in 2013.
We’ve struggled our way through an hour or so of the original Japanese version which launched across the seas back in 2011, and the 13th entry in the long-running series brings with it a number of significant new innovations for the much-loved franchise. Duly, we took the time to check in with producer Hideo Baba while in Tokyo last month to find out exactly what fans should expect.
What are the key new additions to the Tales formula since Tales of Graces?
Hideo Baba: There are many unique features in Xillia but I’d like to emphasise that the battle system is very unique and much improved over the previous title. Also, the portrayal of the game world and its atmosphere has also changed a lot too. In the previous games the characters were very deformed – they were much shorter – but with Xillia the team has tried to show the characters in realistic proportions so that we can really convey the huge size of the world more effectively. The player can really feel how large the world is now.
Can you put that into real terms? Just how big is Tales of Xillia?
Hideo Baba: Well, that depends on the player. There are two main characters in the game – if you play through the story from both points of view it will take you more than 100 hours to finish.
Xillia originally launched in Japan over a year ago, while Tales of Graces F took 18 months to make it to Europe. Do you hope to reduce the localisation time for future Tales titles?
Hideo Baba: I recognise how important it is to release a Western version as soon as possible after the Japanese release but sometimes some scenes prove difficult to describe in different languages. It’s very challenging to localise and properly convey the right sentiments to Western players. I would like to start a new method of localisation though – perhaps we could make the cinematic sequences in parallel with language translation to shorten the waiting time.
Many members of the PlayStation community would like to see an option to play the game with the original Japanese voice track. Is this something you’ve considered including?
Hideo Baba: I receive so many requests from foreign players for Japanese voice tracks in the Western version! However, there are some difficulties with the company and the voice actors. That said, I will be considering the feasibility of it.