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Interview | Bandai Namco Talks Tales of Symphonia on Nintendo Wii

Tales of Symphonia proved to be a breakout success for Bandai Namco when it launched on the GameCube in North America and Europe, actually out-performing the Japanese edition and becoming the biggest selling entry into the franchise in the West. Now the developer is bringing a direct sequel to that game exclusively to Wii, called 'Dawn of the New World' and Cubed3 was lucky enough to get the chance to chat to the team about various details related to the project...

Image for Interview | Bandai Namco Talks Tales of Symphonia on Nintendo Wii

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?

Image for Interview | Bandai Namco Talks Tales of Symphonia on Nintendo Wii

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

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12.04.2008 03:22

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Box art for Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Developer

Namco Tales

Publisher

Namco Bandai

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (317 Votes)

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Article

Another excellent interview Raz. I am glad that they are putting a lot of thought into ToS2, as well as listenting to fans to see what was popular in ToS and keeping it in ToS2. It's also good that they are not just implmenting motion controls every but just sparingly. It's a shame about ToI though.

Very much looking forward to this game.
Theres much good confirmations there.

Also, while I would prefer a proper overworld map I am very pleased with their honesty;

"At the same time, we were also limited by the production schedule."

Seriously, how many interviews have we heard the lamest of excuses for missing features?
I am glade they had the honesty just to tell us straight.
As long as the rest of the game is good, I dont mind.

I only hope the length and puzzles are as enjoyable as before.
ToS had a puzzle density much higher then most RPGs which is what made me like it so much.
I cant stand RPG's which are just running around fighting in different locations non-stop for the whole game.

Please give our little random review show a try;
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We have special effects and umm...stuff...
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I'm pleased Baba-san clarified the matter of the Tales of Abyss rumour...better than the usual 'no comment'.

I wonder just how well ToS: DotNW will do in Japan, since the Tales series has lately been underperforming over there in general. The Tales of Rebirth remake on PSP has bombed terribly in recent weeks and looks to be one of the lowest selling games in the franchise. Tales of Innocence, on the flip side, is nearly the biggest selling handheld edition to date...(and yet isn't bloody coming over! :rollSmilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

A very honest interview. Well done...
I like it a lot, that this 'salesman' talks so openly about the game and he says a lot of things I look forward to. I think this game will be great! And I like the artwork a lot, a great lot!
It's amazing, that they just took the characters from the opening-anime-intro and put it to ingame-graphics which show limitations of Wii, but are very well done. It makes you kind-of play the anime. Wonderful.

Is there a release date yet? And one for Europe?

I find your lack of faith disturbing!
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Whereas Namco Hometek is bringing it to the US, we'll likely have to wait until Nintendo announces a European/Australian date since Bandai Namco doesn't have official distribution lines in PAL territories.

Good news that the whole crew from the original ToS will be returning in some form. Should keep fans happy!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

To be honest, I just noticed they have changed the rendering style a bit.
The old ToS had subtly lines around the charecters didnt it?
Think I prefered that, but no biggy.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...

Darkflame said:

"At the same time, we were also limited by the production schedule."

Seriously, how many interviews have we heard the lamest of excuses for missing features?

That's also a lame excuse on Namco's behalf; Soul Calibur legends also suffered from those "production schedule" problems.

We'll never hear them saying that crap about vesperia.

Darkflame said:
To be honest, I just noticed they have changed the rendering style a bit.
The old ToS had subtly lines around the charecters didnt it?
Think I prefered that, but no biggy.
Most likely because they ported the Abyss engine for the flex range and all that rather than use and upgraded ToS GC engine.

Seriously, this game is half assed; stupid Namco

jesusraz said:
I'm pleased Baba-san clarified the matter of the Tales of Abyss rumour...better than the usual 'no comment'.
Who cares about a Tales of the Abyss port now though? I want new games; the guys should have been pressured like hell to make Vesperia for the Wii; not on the Abyss matter.

Not that they will, but at least know that we care a lot about it; rather than Abyss.

Abyss port would be a insult too; when they're doing their next big thing elsewhere, what are we? their "biggest hits" console that only gets pre-2005 "best of's"?

"That's also a lame excuse on Namco's behalf;"

Not really.
Its just being honest...they havnt enough time to put the feature in.

From that we can assume they should purhapes set more time/budget to the project, sure.

But its not like "We left it out for your benifit", which we get from a lot of developers being interviewed.
(advanced wars comes to mind)

"Most likely because they ported the Abyss engine for the flex range and all that rather than use and upgraded ToS GC engine."

Dont think so.
Using the GC engine would be the cheaper, faster option for them. Even an upgraded one.

Really, they can just smack the whole ToS source code, and start changing assets and scriptings straight away for the new game.
Adding the code for the elemental battles and such probably isnt more effort then porting the other engine to the Wii.


If they are on a restrictive budget this is the option they will probably be going for.

The look is probably some lame marketing reason (charecters looking with these preportions are more appealing), or maybe they just prefer it.

As I said, I dont really mind.
As long as the puzzles and humour is still there.
If the game is just, like lots of RPGs, a big charecter-battle loop, then I'll give it a miss.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...

Darkflame said:

Not really.
Its just being honest...they havnt enough time to put the feature in.

From that we can assume they should purhapes set more time/budget to the project, sure.

But its not like "We left it out for your benifit", which we get from a lot of developers being interviewed.
(advanced wars comes to mind)

They sound like that to me ("We left it out for your benefit")while saying:

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.

So they said the truth and then tried to mask it.

Darkflame said:

Dont think so.
Using the GC engine would be the cheaper, faster option for them. Even an upgraded one.

Really, they can just smack the whole ToS source code, and start changing assets and scriptings straight away for the new game.
Adding the code for the elemental battles and such probably isnt more effort then porting the other engine to the Wii.

Dunno, but the cell shading is out, monsters modeled for Abyss are in, and the flex range is in... seems a lot closer to the Abyss engine running on the Wii than the opposite. It would also explain how the first images managed to look 20 times worser than Symphonia ever did.
Darkflame said:

If they are on a restrictive budget this is the option they will probably be going for.
cheap bastards, it's not like they're doing us a favor you know, they're milking us with recycled assets, while they use 90% of Team Symphonia on X360 due to moneyhats. This crap towards the Wii has to stop.

If we lead, actually sell in japan and they don't use the excuse "it's for PS3 because we started development beforehand"... we are preferential, not X360 by a thousand miles.

We are getting the short end of the stick on this one, and we could be getting both and they weren't doing us a favor.

X360? that's a joke

Darkflame said:

As I said, I dont really mind.
As long as the puzzles and humour is still there.
If the game is just, like lots of RPGs, a big charecter-battle loop, then I'll give it a miss.
I do mind, I'll still getting it and I'm boycotting Vesperia, but I just can't help but being pissed at Namco, they've been crap, their decisions are stupid and they deserve to be slammed by them.

jesusraz said:

Tales of Innocence, on the flip side, is nearly the biggest selling handheld edition to date...(and yet isn't bloody coming over! :rollSmilie

That's Because if Japan has a good game, (such as Monster Hunter 2, Final Fantasy 3, 4, 5, Dragon Quest 4,5,6, and a few others) They never send it outside the country. Jerks.

Lord of Darkness
Brawl FC: 1160 9412 7621

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