Tales of Arise is a series rebirth that aims to be ‘a highly immersive experience’

First producer interview following the game's announcement.

Tales of Arise

Famitsu has published the first interview with Tales of Arise producer Yuusuke Tomizawa following the game’s announcement, who shares new information on the upcoming revitalization of the series.

Here are the notable tidbits:

  • The Tales of Arise project started long before Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, which was announced one year ago.
  • As you might be able to tell from the video, this is a considerably challenging title, and when creating it we first had to take some time to rethink what the Tales Of series is and what it should be.
  • Our goal was “succession and evolution” while also confronting the traditions of the series.
  • As we were analyzing the main appeals of the Tales Of series, there were many parts that needed to evolve for the future. In order to maintain and expand the brand from here on out, we need to also attract the attention of young players. That being said, we are challenging ourselves to present something that dares to step back from the traditional conventions of the series in order to attract more players.
  • There will probably be some fans who only watch the trailer and feel a sense of uneasiness, but we had discussions regarding fundamental appeal of the Tales Of series and the points to carry over, and decided and planned our points of evolution based upon that. We will explain the details for each element at some point in the future.
  • With Tales of Arise, we cast away the dedicated engine we have used thus far. In order to realize rich lighting and atmosphere accompanied with unique, watercolor-like graphics and approachable character models, we based the game on Unreal Engine 4 while developing our own completely original shaders and the like.
  • The theme is to hopefully offer “a highly immersive experience.” As one representation of that, we are further enhancing things such as the performance and actions of the characters in order to have players feel as if, “this character lives in this world.” With that approach, we’re combining fields and characters depicted in a watercolor style, as well as increasing the body size of characters to look more human. We’re putting a particular amount of effort into motions. Like even if you turn around, the character will not instantly rotate—it’s more realistic in that the character will first twist their body before turning around.
  • Minoru Iwamoto, who works at Bandai Namco Studios, is the main character designer and head of art direction. This is the first mothership title in the series where both of those roles are filled by a single person. But because of that, there is a sense of unity in the game’s art in various respects. For example, by simultaneously working on both the world and costume designs, we can have a sense of unification even up to the cultural level. This is also part of the plan to offer “a highly immersive experience,” which is again the theme of this game.
  • For areas related to performance, such as a character’s facial animations or the camera work, we’re aiming for a level of 3D anime comparable to television and theater.
  • While it may appear that 2D anime is unnecessary with the upgrade to 3D anime, 2D anime is an important element of the Tales Of series, and plays a part in the great balance that is “succession and evolution.” While looking for a more effective utilization, we are designing the drama to be more exciting on both ends.
  • Development is being handled entirely by Bandai Namco Studios. Among our ranks are staff from Tales of Berseria, and some of them even worked on Tales of Phantasia. We have staff both new and old who love the series and are working on the game while discussing the “succession and evolution of tradition.”
  • The composer is still a secret, but will be introduced at a later time. We will have a theme song.
  • The planet on which the protagonist lives is Dahna, and the planet that floats in the sky above it is Rena. Dahna is a naturally rich planet, but is equivalent to the Middle Ages in cultural leve. Rena, on the other hand, is developed in science and magical arts, and invaded Dahna 300 years before the events of this game. With its overwhelming difference in power, Rena defeated and enslaved the people of Dahna. That has continued for 300 years, which is where our story begins.
  • The protagonist is from Dahna. How to over turn his people’s state of oppression is one direction the story takes. The protagonist’s armor and helmet are equipped due to his physical features. It should be noted that he has more than just his armor outfit, and will change to various costumes according to the situation.
  • The heroine is from Rena, and is a confident and attractive woman. With the power relationship between Dahna and Rena, she and the protagonist are not very good friends from the start. Their relationship begins in a setting where the people of Rena discriminate against the people of Dahna, and eventually leads to a great drama.
  • Battles are Tales-esque action battles against enemies and encounters. The theme here is to give new users the feeling of “an exhilarating battle.” We’re going for battles with more intuitive and speedier action that makes you think “this seems fun” just by looking at it.
  • In battle, you can unleash various actions according to the situation. There are also elements that raise skill level through long time use.
  • We’re upping the intimidation of enemy designs. This comes from the idea that “you should get a greater feeling of accomplishment from defeating an enemy.” While there is also the idea that some female players might not like it if we make the enemies too scary, it is nevertheless important for RPG battles to evoke a sense of accomplishment when defeating an enemy.
  • That’s not to say that there won’t be cute-type enemies. It’s still a secret, but there is something like a mascot in this game.
  • The Tales Of series has many traditional elements, and the same can be said for action battles, but there are also dialogue scenes called skit and chat. Regarding those, we’re making each element while constantly having detailed discussions such as, “Why is that popular?” and “What kind of evolution do players want to see?”
  • We thought it was necessary to report on the team’s hard work and launched a blog to bring the series together. From here on we will communicate in detail via social media.
  • I can’t make any promises, but I would like to offer more opportunities to go hands-on with the game before release than we have before.
  • (Why did you choose the name Tales of Arise, when the “TOA” abbreviation is already attributed to Tales of the Abyss?) The code-name for this project was “Arise.” It is a word that came from the strong desire to revitalize to the series during development. After that, we discussed title ideas with our worldwide development and marketing staff, but everyone was in general agreement that “Arise,” the code-name that held our convictions, was the most appropriate title. So we decided that we should go with it to convey our enthusiasm for the series’ rebirth, even if we had to change the unspoken rule of the series’ abbreviation. Of course, it is also linked to the themes expressed in the story, and the word “Arise” adds to the sentiments of the protagonist and company who rise up to overturn their suppressive environment.
  • We want the abbreviation for this game to be “Arise” or “ToArise.”
  • I can’t say anything regarding the release date yet. While things are complete to a certain extent, there are still things that need to be brushed up, and there are many sections such as battles and drama parts that still need to be built.

Tales of Arise is due out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020.

Thanks, Games Talk.

Update 06/14/19 at 2:20 a.m.: Updated the line regarding enemy designs for better context.

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