Recently Namco Bandai announced the title of their next entry in the Tales franchise, Tales of Xillia, at the Tales 15th Anniversary Commemoration Party, on the official website and via a leaked scan from Shounen Jump. The game will take place on the world of Liese Maxia, a place in which humans, spirits and demons live in harmony. The theme song will be sung by Ayumi Hamasaki and the anime sequences will be done by Ufotable. The game is slated for a 2011 release on the PS3.
Interestingly the game has two main characters this time around, a hero and a heroine. The player gets to choose one of them at the beginning of the game and see the story through his or her eyes. Sounds like more incentive than ever to use that new game+.
First is the doctor-in-training Jude Mathis voiced by Yonaga Tsubasa and designed by Kosuke Fujishima (Symphonia, Abyss and Vesperia). Looking at the battle footage and artwork it looks like Jude will primarily be a close-range fighter utilizing gauntlets and hand-to-hand combat. As I was watching the footage I couldn’t help but think of Dragonball as he teleported behind the enemy and comboed into a series of punches and kicks to finish off with the Beast Arte. Given that he’s also a medical student I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to guess he’ll have at least a few basic healing artes as well. In a sense he kind of reminds me of Graces‘ Sophie who also uses bracers and healing artes assuming that in fact he can heal.
Next is the main heroine Mira Maxwell voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki and designed by Mutsumi Inomata (Destiny, Eternia and Graces), a spirit master who has control over the four elements, fire, wind, water and earth. Unlike in many of the past games the role of the primary swordsman goes to a girl which is a plus in my book. Judging by the video she’s fairly fast with the sword and mixes magic in between her swordplay. Of important note is the fact that her family name is Maxwell which is a reference to the summon spirit Maxwell who controlled the elements in past games. It also seems that the plot revolves around the fact that the summon spirits are dying. Putting everything together I can’t help but think that just maybe summoning will make its way back into the game. As for what other kind of artes she may have, I can’t really make any guesses right now.
As usual the battle system has once again undergone some change. The Double Raid Linear Motion Battle System (DR-LMBS) incorporates two characters teaming up in combat. As can be seen in the trailer the system allows for players to link together attacks for big combos and unique moves. From the PV we can see Mira invoking elemental versions of Jude’s punches as well as transferring electricity to Jude for an attack of his own. We’ve seen a little of this before in past games such a Yuri and Flynn’s combination Mystic Artes in Vesperia PS3 but Xillia should bring things to a new level. It looks like it’ll be quite fun to mix together different characters and multiple artes to find the best and coolest attacks.
Speaking of which I’m very disappointed that we don’t get to see any other characters yet. We get glimpses of multiple locals yet the only one we see beside Jude and Mira is a random enemy. One of Tales‘ strengths is its cast of characters so I’m sad that we don’t get to see the rest of the crew. It also means less speculation fuel and less to talk about in terms of combat. What kind of crazy attacks do will they have? I kind of doubt they’ll be as silly as Graces‘ combo weapons but really I want to know since I don’t really ever play the main character unless the plot requires it. At its core Tales is also a multiplayer affair so it’s also fun to speculate with friends as to which character we’d want to play as. Judging by my use of Presea, Anise and Estelle in past games and my desire to play Sophie when I get around to Graces, it’s safe to say I like to play cute tanks in Tales games for some reason. I wonder what the equivalent character will be like in this game.
In terms of art and graphics the visuals look pretty good. The style seems to be a little darker than either Vesperia and Graces though. Also, bringing together the two lead artists for the franchise in a single game really does make Xillia feel kind of grand.
Will this make it’s way outside of Japan? I don’t know but I’m not going to worry about that right now. For now I’ll just sit back as new information leaks out and hope that it makes it stateside. Besides I still got my copy of Graces waiting to be played.
[Thanks to Abyssal Chronicles for all the news!]