Interviewing ‘Tales of’ Series Producer Hideo Baba

Originally Published for MCM Buzz on the 3rd of November 2014

MCM Buzz managed to catch up with the producer of the Tales of series, the ever-wonderful Hideo Baba. Talking about what fans can expect from the latest Tales’ adventures, delve deeper below to discover more about the upcoming PS Vita release Tales of Hearts R and the game’s graphical overhaul, as well as the fluid battles in the brand new Tales of Zestiria.

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Me: What can fans of the Tales of series expect from Tales of Hearts R?

Baba: Every Tales game has a key theme in the storyline, and the theme in the Tales of Hearts is hearts. At the beginning of the storyline the Kohaku’s Heart is broken into pieces and the pieces fly all over the world. Kor Meteor decides to go on a journey to pick up all of the pieces to get Kohaku’s heart back. Whenever she reclaims a piece she receives an emotion and remembers what joy, or sadness, or fear is. I wanted to describe every emotion throughout this journey.

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Me: It’s an incredible concept, and the characters themselves are completely charming. How did you develop the character design from the Nintendo DS to the PS Vita?

Baba: In the Nintendo DS version there are 2D sprites, whenever a player plays this kind of game they have to imagine how these characters look because the information is really limited. When we created Tales of Hearts Rfor the PS Vita we recreated everything from scratch with 3D graphics, so the amount of information on the screen radically increased when compared with the 2D style. We paid attention to the characters movements and actions to show the characters emotions truly and clearly to the users.

Me: Tales of Zestiria marks 20 years of the Tales of series, and it’s been said that the gameplay style combines classic elements with brand new gameplay. How does the game celebrate its 20th anniversary?

Baba: Firstly, when it comes to the storyline, the characters and the real-time battle system, these are very traditional features that most Tales fans expect. Every time we create a brand new story and characters and improve the battle system, and this has become tradition in the Tales series. We also have some brand new features for Tales of Zestiria this year. The atmosphere of adventure is really important, and I really wanted to capture the sense of interaction in the previous adventures, so I introduced a vast map in Tales of Zestiria. In the previous games of the series, when the player encounters an enemy the loading screen appears and the player moves to the battlefield, but in Tales of Zestiria there is no loading screen and the player battles on exactly the same field.

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Me: How has the combat system changed since the previous games?

Baba: Every game in the Tales series has a linear motion battle system, this is a very fundamental feature. Tales of Zestiria has a new linear motion battle system which is the Fusionic chaining linear motion battle system. This allows players to infuse human and Tenzoku into one different character, changing their appearance, attack and weapons.

Me: Will Europe be able to experience the Japanese voice acting as we did with Tales of Symphonia Chronicles?

Baba: Tales of Hearts R will hit Europe with its original Japanese voice-overs. I understand there are many western users who want to have the original Japanese voice-overs in the western version of Tales of Zestiria. But there are a lot of issues we need to solve to use the original Japanese voiceovers in the western versions, but I really want to make it happen. I cannot make any promises, I can only try.

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Me: Could we see Tales of Zestiria come to PS4 in the future?

Baba: Our strategy when selecting a platform depends on which platform our users want to play these games on. More and more users are enjoying the Tales of series in the western world, but actually it is true that the Japanese market is the biggest for us. So in the same way as Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2 we recognise that most of the Japanese users want to play the new game with the PlayStation 3. But we understand that the transition to PlayStation 4, especially in the west, is quicker than we expected. Not for Tales of Zestiria, but in the future of the series, we need to consider games for the next generation consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If the same amount of users in the west are enjoying the Tales of series and we receive so many requests about the next gen consoles it may be a big help when it comes to making it happen, so thank you for this coverage!

Tales of Hearts R came to PS Vita on the 14th of November and Tales of Zestiria is expected to be released in Europe for PlayStation 3 in Summer 2015.

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About RobAFretwell

Occasionally interesting writer on gaming, literature, film and various fanatical obsessions for MCM Buzz.

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