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Tales Team Discusses New Tales Projects

Hideo Baba and other Tales VIPs detail Graces F, the new PS3 title and Radiant Mythology 3.

New Graces F and Next Tales of details, straight from Famitsu.

This week brought some long awaited good news for PlayStation 3 owners who happen to be Tales fans. Namco Bandai announced two entries in the series for PS3, suggesting a shift in focus to the Sony platform.

As detailed on Monday, PS3 will be getting Tales of Graces F and an all new untitled "mothership" entry, currently referred to as just "Next Tales of." Meanwhile, Namco Bandai will be continuing with the Radiant Mythology line on PSP with Tales of the World Radiant Mythology 3.

This week's Famitsu has a close look at all three games along with a lengthy interview with series general producer Makoto Yoshizumi, Graces F and Next Tales of producer Hideo Baba, and Radiant Mythology 3 producer Ryuji Odachi.

First up, Graces F. As announced during the Tales series briefing earlier in the week, the PS3 port of Wii's Tales of Graces will be updated with HD visuals, new outfits for the characters, a new post-game scenario, and new skills for combat.

Famitsu has a few additional details on the new scenario, whose Japanese name can be translated as "Lineage to the Future." Set six months after the end of Graces (I'll spare you the details on the ending, in the hope that Namco Bandai is still considering an English release), the scenario begins as monster attacks are increasing throughout the world. Asbel and his party gather once again to wipe out the monsters.

Outside of this, the magazine's look at the game is mostly a summary of the basics, which anyone who was keeping up with the Wii version should be familiar with.

In the interview, the staff discussed how Graces ended up coming to PS3. Following the release of Graces on Wii at the end of last year, the staff heard a variety of opinions from users through online surveys and other means. They usually take these ideas and refine points into consideration when making the next entry in the series. However, this time, many users asked for a PlayStation 3 version of Graces. They ended up deciding to make the PlayStation 3 version in February.

While the development time may seem short, Yoshizumi noted that the staff had been conducting research from before the port decision was made, so things like converting the visuals to HD and keeping the load times short went relatively smooth.

The new outfit that was revealed for heroine Sophie was created by Tales character designer Mutsumi Inomata, the magazine reveals. Said Baba, this costume is meant to be indicative of a "normal girl" who resides in the game's world of Efinia. Other characters will also be receiving outfit changes to go along with the new scenario.

Regarding gameplay changes, Baba said to expect one new "hi-ougi" (special attack) for each character, along with a number of new skills. They're working on some systems that will better bring out the unique characteristics of your allies as you use the game's Style Shift combat system. "The evolution is not just in the visuals," said Baba.

The magazine's coverage on the "Next Tales of" project was limited to just the artwork that can be seen (in tiny form) at the newly opened official teaser site, and a paragraph of text from Baba.

Namco Bandai has only shared one full resolution concept art image of the new PS3 Tales game.

According to Baba, the development staff plans on putting to use the technical knowhow they've gained in 15 years of Tales development. He said to pay attention to the contrast between light and shadow. They're aiming for a completely new type of visual expression, something that's different from the anime touch of Tales of Vesperia and the watercolor touch of Tales of Graces.

Baba says that when he saw one of the concept images running on actual hardware, he was stunned by the feeling of scale. The image he's referring to is the one that looks like the entrance to a cathedral. I've taken it from the official site here:

Regarding current progress, Baba said that the basic framework has been almost completely finalized, and they're now at the step where they'll add in the game elements. "While we can't share screenshots and characters yet, the staff is putting its full effort into development to produce a game that's suitable for the 15th anniversary."

Famitsu's previews end with a percentage indicating how far along in development the game is. The percentage for Tales of Graces F, which is due for release this Winter, is listed as 65%. The percentage for the Next Tales of game is just "??"

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