Cubed3's Adam Riley: First of all, why make a sequel to Tales of Symphonia on Wii, rather than create a brand new 'Tales of' storyline?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: The original Tales of Symphonia was very well received both by our domestic fans and fans overseas. We feel that the wonderful characters (both in terms of design and personality) and the enchanting world that the game took place in are two of the major reasons for the critical acclaim.
For Dawn of the New World, we aimed to create a game that is set in the same world as Symphonia, so our fans can find out what happened to their favourite characters since the previous title. At the same time, we felt bringing a brand new Tales adventure to the Wii would be the best way to show our appreciation to our fans.
AR: How has the in-game world changed since Symphonia on the GameCube? Will there be many surprises for fans of the original?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: From the visual aspect all the character models have been remodelled with a more realistic body proportion. Taking advantage of the more powerful new hardware, the background textures for all towns and dungeons were all newly created, allowing for higher quality visuals and a much more sophisticated game overall.
Another big addition to the game is the ability for players to tame monsters. Not only will monsters be able to fight along side the player, but the monsters can also evolve into more powerful monsters with new skills and abilities as they gain experience.
AR: Why did your team choose to use a point-and-click map for moving around the world, rather than keeping the traditional format and letting players explore the world on foot?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: There are many reasons for this choice.
First of all, considering that Dawn of the New World is being released on the Wii, we wanted to take advantage of the Wii remote in a way that would not compromise, but enhance the unique gameplay that the Tales series is known for. The point and drag format was one of the ways in which we were able to achieve this.
At the same time, we were also limited by the production schedule. Overall, we felt that the new, more compact interface would allow the game to flow between story-telling and battles much smoother, creating a much better experience on for our players.
AR: There have been cases where developers have forced motion controls into games when they should not have. Will you be keeping motion control to a minimum for this game?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: As we mentioned earlier, we wanted to bring the Tales experience to the Wii in a way that takes advantage of the Wii's uniqueness, yet at the same time would not interfere with the core gameplay mechanics that our fans have come to expect from a Tales game.
The Tales series has always been known for its deep, fast- paced, action packed battle system. We didn't want to compromise this by forcing our players to swing the Wii remote endlessly. Instead, we chose to stay true to the action packed battle system by utilising the motion control to activate shortcut commands during battles.
AR: Can you please explain how the new battle system works?
Teruaki Konishi-san, Producer: The battle system is based around the Free Run System, which has been the basic system for all of our recent Tales games. For Dawn of the New World, we've introduced a new system called the "Elemental Grid".
The Elemental Grid allows the player to affect the dominant element of the battle field depending on the skills they use. The dominant element affects everything from the effectiveness of the character's attacks, to which characters will participate in Unison Attacks, to whether the player can tame enemy monsters at the end of each battle.
Although we are balancing the gameplay so that players can enjoy the game without taking any of this into consideration, we also want to make the battles enriching enough as to reward even the more hardcore gamers.
AR: Will cooking and skits return? And what will be available in terms of side-quests