It was only a short, few months ago that Namco Bandai released a few pieces of artwork for their next “mothership” Tales game to celebrate the franchise’s 15th anniversary (which coincidentally is today!) and they even launched a site counting down the days to the next Tales game.
Well, the clock finally hit ZERO and we now know that this new Tales game is Tales of Xillia and it will be the first PS3-exclusive Tales game thanks to the minute and a half long promo that was posted with the game’s reveal. So what’s so new and unique about Xillia? Well for one thing it features two main characters, not one, but TWO! Gamers familiar with the Tales franchise will remember that all the previous games featured only one main character surrounded by an interesting cast of supporting characters; this time however, you get the chance to choose either the hero Shuto or the heroine Mira, both designed by veteran Tales franchise character designers.
Apparently the story might actually differ based on your choice, which reminds me of a lot of Star Ocean 2, where your choice of main character changes the story a little and changes the cast of characters you can recruit into your party.
What I personally find appealing about this game, so far, is the in-game graphics, I think it looks very pretty despite the low quality of some of the images available. Throw in the ability to choose 1 of 2 main characters and you’ve got extra hours of enjoyment as you complete the stories for both the hero and heroine. I am hoping Namco Bandai does this concept justice as Tri Ace seemed to have done with Star Ocean 2 and not like Square Enix’s poor attempt at having 2 main characters in Final Fantasy VIII.
Although there are no details so far, according to the official website and Anoop Gantayat (of andriasang.com fame), the game’s genre (as is common with the Tales franchise) includes a phrase that indicates the game’s main theme and is translated as, roughly, “RPG of Steadfast Convictions”, whatever that might mean.
The only thing that worries me about this game is despite this being a PS3-exclusive title, I worry that Namco Bandai will continue its tradition, as of late, of ignoring this franchise’s fan base outside of Japan and not localize the game. It’s not like the discussion of Namco Bandai’s ignoring fans who had hoped to play Tales of Vesperia for the PS3 (as it was released for the 360 outside of Japan) or the more recent upgraded port of the Wii title Tales of Grace, but it’s getting silly how Namco Bandai is ignoring their fans on all fronts. It would be nice for Namco Bandai to at least acknowledge and respond to the thousands of comments on Twitter and Facebook directed at them, or posted in response to Namco Bandai’s post on their other titles, and at least give fans a reasonable explanation as to why they are choosing not to localize the game or at least explore the possibility of outsourcing the localization with companies like X-Seed Games or even partnering with Sony; it’s not like Namco Bandai is a stranger to this concept, as they have partnered with Nintendo in the past to distribute and localize Tales of Symphonia for the Nintendo GameCube.
Coincidentally enough I tried to post a nearly 1000-word post on their Facebook page concerning this issue and it disappeared from their wall as soon as I pressed the post button, but it still appears on my wall, I hope I didn’t come across as too much of a jerk, I did try to be reasonable. I’ve since done what any other Tales’ fan does, post a comment in response to something totally unrelated on their Facebook wall.
I just hope this behaviour on Namco Bandai’s part doesn’t catch on with their competitors, such as Nintendo or Sega, and convince them that localizing and publishing such great titles like Xenoblade, Mistwalker’s The Last Story or Sega’s latest Valkyria Chronicles game outside of Japan. It’s a shame really, when you think about how Namco Bandai expected Ninja Theory’s Enslaved, which in my opinion is a fantastic game, to sell incredibly well, yet it has just barely surpassed Tales of Vesperia’s North American sales numbers, especially in light of it having been on a relatively JRPG-weak X-Box 360.