When Tales if Arise was announced at Microsoft’s Xbox conference, fans of the series experienced a moment of exhilaration and then hours to days of concerned questions. Ever since the reveal, which showed a more technologically advanced Tales game than the previous titles, fans had been wondering exactly how this title is going to change up a fairly traditional series.
We sat down with Yusuke Tomizawa, the new producer of the Tales series after Hideo Baba left the company, to discuss the newest Tales game. Tomizawa himself had a sticker of Sans from Undertale on his laptop, a game which he professes a fandom for. It has been a few years Tales of Berseria, which crossed generations with both a PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 version, making Tales of Arise the first game in the series completely untethered to the previous generation and built solely for modern hardware. In the trailer, it looked like the game might be leveraging that technology for an open world RPG similar to games like Xenoblade X or The Witcher 3. Not so, according Tomizawa.
While screenshots and the initial trailer somewhat suggested an open world title, the structure of Tales of Arise is similar to other Tales games. Tomizawa pointed out that the reveal trailer had no UI, so suspicions about a lack of world map are not correct.
However, that does not mean everything is staying as it is. Tomizawa would not go into details about the battle system, but he did say that he plans to do exciting new things with it in Arise. When I mentioned the Linear Motion Battle System, he said there wouldn’t be too many changes to its core formula, as he wanted the Tales audience to find comfort in the game’s systems as well.
The subject of audiences was further discussed with Tomizawa, who explained that he wants to grow the Tales series with the western audience. A debut for Arise, and last year’s Vesperia Definitive Edition, at Microsoft’s E3 conferences was no coincidental. It gives Bandai Namco a chance to debut the title on a western stage and detail it immediately after at Japan’s Tales Festa. It allows them to cover their bases for marketing to the game’s multiple audiences while also trying to grow it.
Tomizawa clarified that Arise has two themes: inheritance and evolution, though he said explaining this would be a spoiler for the rest of the game. The main character was an imprisoned slave and the female heroine lives in a country that is warring with the protagonist’s kingdom. Unlike Tales of Xillia, you do not pick from two different main characters, it is one story told with the enslaved swordsman.
Bandai Namco was not willing to talk about other party members yet, but did say you could expect a size similar to other games in the series.
Tales of Arise is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020.