Tales fans interview series producer – part 1

Hideo Baba on western audience, game creation.

Namco Bandai today went live with the first part of a community-powered interview with Tales series producer Hideo Baba.

The questions asked to Baba were gathered from users who submitted their inquiries to the Tales series Facebook page.

Watch the interview below. Find a transcript below the clip.

Hello Tales fans. How is it going?

Hello, everyone. My name is [Hideo] Baba. I work for Namco Bandai and I make the Tales of series.

Today, you are here at my office where I work day to day. I heard that the fan community sent in lots of questions, which I am happily surprised about. I look forward to hearing your questions and answering them.

I hope you enjoy my answers.

Stuart Gannon: How do you feel about the way western audiences react to the anime art style that the Tales of series uses?

I believe Europe, especially France and Germany, has many fans of Japanese culture. They seem to appreciate the unique Japanese culture of anime and comics. Perhaps they get interested because manga and anime are so exotic, even amongst Eastern cultures. When they actually play or read them, they realize how deep they are as well. I think that’s why so many people have taken to it.

This is a poster sample that gaming magazine Famitsu made for us.

[shows Tales of Xillia poster and various Tales promotional goods]

These are promo goods. We make them in Japan to display in the stores and so forth.

Stuart Gannon: Would you ever consider designing a game for western audiences like a lot of other Japanese studios do now, or will you stick with what you are best at?

The answer is simple and clear. The Tales of series is fundamentally an RPG characterized by the strengths of Japanese RPGs. We will continue to perfect our technical abilities and expression this way.

So, we have no intention to make games specifically for Western audiences by, for example, making them more realistic.

Marcos Karal: Is there any Tales of game you guys regret making?

[laughs] That’s a funny question.

Each one of our games we send out into the world as a finished product. Each game is equally adorable to us and we would never think “I should have never made that” about any of them.

Adam Zizman: What’s the experience like, creating each Tales of game?

Working at a video game company is no different from any other job. Through my work I try to gain more and more experience. I work in a team to make games. I gain technical skills, learn new forms of expression, and evolve. Fundamentally, I just want to grow as a person.

Junior Josse: When create the Tales of series, how do you come up with each story line?

In the beginning, everyone gets together and discusses what feelings or roughly what themes or stories we want to convey.

From there we start to polish it and shape it. Coming up with ideas is difficult – as they must come from the heart. We don’t want it to be similar to stories and characters that already exist. It’s a very time-consuming process. We must search hard in our hearts for the idea to shape into the eventual game.

This is a actually an illlustration done by a fan in Japan.

[shows fan illustration of Milla from Tales of Xillia]

Also, at last year’s Japan Expo [in Paris], we held a signing. When I was there, a fan gave me a drawing of Jude. it’s a little bent.

[shows fan illustration of Jude from Tales of Xillia]

It made me so happy. I have it posted here and look at it all the time. When fans do something like this, I realize how much the Tales of series is appreciated abroad. It renews my motivation to work hard.

Jon Louis Smith: What’s your favorite type of comic relief, and is there any example of it in a Tales of game?

Throughout the Tales of series, there are many instances of a character who will say something funny to soften a serious scene. A moodmaker.

At the core, the stories are serious, but we like to put something in to make the player smile. We do it often, but we’re not always planning out when to be funny. It’s just that if it’s too serious, the game would be too heavy. So we like to add the humor in a balanced way.

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