Tales fans interview series producer – part 2

Hideo Baba on next-gen Tales, more.

Namco Bandai has gone live with part two (part one here) of its fan-powered interview with Tales series producer Hideo Baba. In it, he answers questions regarding more Tales games this generation, the potential of character customization, the future of animal party members (like Tales of Vesperia‘s Repede), and more. Watch it below. Or, view our transcript under the clip.

Jordan Marsman: What’s the most fun thing about making the games?

Everything. Let me elaborate. Making games is hard work. Every person has a role and works hard to fulfil expectations. If you don’t enjoy the process, you wouldn’t be able to stick around 3 or 4 years to make one game. And you can’t make a good product if you’re unhappy or stressed. Loving what you do is critical in making a good game.

Kathryn Turner: Were any of the Tales of characters, themes or stories inspired by real life people or events for example?

I mentioned this briefly earlier, but everything we make is original. So we don’t get inspiration from things like movies or novels. Our characters and scenarios are uniquely developed by ourselves.

These are figurines we sell in Japan to accompany the games.

[shows Tales figurines]

This is Asbel. All you people abroad will get to know Asbel’s journey soon. I like these small cute ones with the exaggerated proportions.

Kathryn Turner: When designing characters for each game, do you leave most of it up to the artist’s interpretation of how the character should look or do they have to follow guidelines that you set?

We design the entire background of the character first before giving it to the artist. Age, height, weight, even how the character had been living up until the age he is now and the environment he grew up in are designed beforehand. We take all of that and explain it to the artist. From there, the artist can use their imagination to design the character. However, we do ask the artist to tweak things, such as facial expressions and costume designs here and there.

Jeffrey N Thai: What is the first process of making a Tales of game? Do you start with the characters or with the story?

It depends on the title. But most of the time, the characters, the hero and the heroine, and the story’s setting are developed simultaneously. How the character will proceed his journey depends greatly on the world he’s in. The setting and the characters are closely intertwined. That is why we must approach both at the same time.

I don’t know if you would know what this is, but this is Mabo Curry.

[shows curry]

In Japan, we sell and instant version of curry, especially Mabo Curry. Mabo Curry appears in the Tales of series so we made it into an actual product. We try to come up with products like these that players can enjoy outside the game.

Sean Lozier: Will there be more Tales of this gen, or is the Tales Studio going to wait for the new systems?

Our team is always doing our best to improve the Tales of series. In that sense, what hardware we use is a very important issue to us. For know, we are looking at making better Tales of games with existing hardware. Of course, when the new generation of consoles appears, we will develop for those as well.

Joe Jones: Will there be a Tales of game with character customization on consoles like Xbox 360 and PS3?

That’s a difficult question. We may see the ability to change the clothing of characters. For example, we would like to add the ability to attach cute accessories and such like. Changing the characters’ physical appearances would affect our design of the heroes and heroines. Given the nature of the Tales of series we don’t think we will see that sort of “character creation” feature in the future.

This is an illustration by the staff of anime production company Ufotable.

[shows illustration]

It was right after the launch [of Tales of Xillia], around November last year. They gave it to us as a gift. I’m very happy about this. It’s very valuable to me and there’s only one.

Kuhile Brodeur: Will there ever be another playable animal like Repede? Animals are fun to play as.

I don’t know about this. I can’t say [laughs]. We may have some with animals and some without. It depends on the story and the characters in the party. If we feel that an animal, a mascot character, will add to what we want to express, we would add one. However, I can’t promise anything.

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