AC Weigh-In: August 2019

For August 2019's edition of the weigh-in, we'll be talking about skits in general!

For this edition of AC Weigh-In, we have:

a745
Head Admin,
Site Designer,
Founder
DimensionSlip
Admin,
News & Content Writer,
Backend Support
Grace
Content Writer
Flamzeron
News Writer
Khayyaam
Content Writer,
Social Media
Snapp1eApp1e
Patron
Returner7
Patron

What do you like the most about Tales' skit system?

a745
A lot of the skits are hilarious, so that's one. In addition, I really love the different emotions the characters can give in the skits, as well as giving it a more comic-like feel.
DimensionSlip
The insight and humor they provide is very much awesome, and I think it's a creative way of inserting those said tidbits into the story.
Grace
I really like how it gives insight to world and character building that we wouldn't see in the main story.
Flamzeron
I love getting insight into who the characters are through the skits. By the end of the game, I feel like I know the characters much more than in other role playing games. It's a feature that I think perfectly represents what makes the Tales series stand out among the pool of JRPGs.
Khayyaam
The thing I like most about Tales' skit system is making player choices and decisions feel alive. Being able to just do things and have characters comment on it as if it's something the characters decided to do themselves rather than an arbitrary player choice. It really encourages you to play all sorts of ways, explore everything and do everything, because doing so characterizes your party just that much more. Don't use gels? Use a lot of gels? Get a big combo? Cook noodles in the desert? Ice cream in the tundra? Wear your bathrobe in public? Can't solve a puzzle? Get lost? The characters actually take notice and talk about it! It's fantastic.
Snapp1eApp1e
I love the lore building and extra character content that the skits provide. I feel like the skits give the characters a ton of extra personality about themselves and the world that they are traveling through. There are so many small, but important nuggets of detail that they just don't have time for in the main cut scenes of the game that really help flesh things out.
Returner7
The extra bit of characterization, post combat banter, lore, fourth wall breaking (Innocence's comments about the DS comes to mind), and most of all the non plot relevant "day-in-the-life" details they add to the party members.

If given the choice, is there anything you would change about it? Why or why not?

a745
Probably make the animations smoother. So far the ones I found with really smooth animations would only be a -bit- of Berseria and may I daresay, Legendia? The rest seems frame-y.
DimensionSlip
Balance them with the use of cutscenes, and not to overdo them or use them in substitute of that. Berseria had this problem and it was a little tedious to slog through, even if the content was great.
Grace
I'd reduce the amount given in a playthrough. Excessive skits can be annoying to deal with especially since getting all of them is an achievement in itself. I don't have time to unlock 300+ skits and there might be skits I am not even aware of.
Flamzeron
Depending on the game, I've noticed skits have been either too frequent or not frequent enough. So I suppose the one thing I would want to change is just to make sure we're getting enough skits without it being too over bearing.
Khayyaam
Honestly? No. The system on its own is fine, I'd only ask for them to keep the focus on skits you unlock by doing side stuff over plot related skits that could have been cutscenes.
Snapp1eApp1e
There isn't much I would change about the skit system other than maybe giving us more skits about some of the details about the world we are traveling that help the player get immersed in the world the developers created. It would be akin to descriptive sentences used by authors in books to help describe the environment they have created for their characters. The more lore about the world the better IMO.
Returner7
I'm not the biggest fan of the pacing of the skits in Berseria and Zestiria in some cases too many were clumped together back to back, in others it seemed like they were standing in for the in engine cutscenes. I like the skits best when they focus on the day to day aspects and extra characterization. Also I'm glad that they are now fully voiced in the English dub.

Which Tales game has your favorite skit portraits?

a745
For the smoothness, Legendia. For the design, I really loved the ones in Tales of Xillia that tried to integrate it while walking on the field and in battle, too.
DimensionSlip
Graces, I love how dynamic everyone was and the chibi cut-ins were a nice touch.
Grace
Zestiria, honestly. Ufotable doing the full body portraits really makes the skits look pretty.
Flamzeron
That's a tough one. For the portraits themselves, I'd have to say Tales of the World Radiant Mythology 3. I always get a kick out of seeing all my favorite characters chatting it up with each other, and I liked that some characters even got new skit faces made specifically for the game.
Khayyaam
Definitely Graces F! Not only are the portraits so full of life and so versatile, there's also SO MANY unique portraits done for skits, there's a lot of work put into them.
Snapp1eApp1e
I think vesperia had the best portraits. They conveyed a lot of emotion in only a limited number of frames per character. Plus it was the first time that they were voiced, so that was a great addition!
Returner7
Tales of Graces f

The classic question--which do you prefer more, full body portraits or just the faces?

a745
I actually like the faces more with a mix of the full body portraits that will portray any funny interactions or meaningful emotions. I happen to like the transition. And I guess it'd be easier to do for the animators? Haha.
DimensionSlip
Both have their appeal, but I find the face portraits less distracting and they allow me to focus on character expressions better.
Grace
Full body because they're more expressive. Face and body language are essential in communication after all.
Flamzeron
As old school as it may sound, I kind of like the faces more. I'm not sure why, I just like the way they look. I may just be being nostalgic for the old message board days, though. The face skits always made for good online avatars and profile pictures.
Khayyaam
Despite saying Graces F as my favorite skit portraits... I prefer the square, face only format. I think it's much more versatile and imaginative, the smaller size and more screen space allows greater freedom of movement and placement- and when they need to, they can switch to full body portraits anyway. Some key moments that illustrate this that come to mind is Raven's portrait falling on its side in Vesperia, or Xillia 1 having Alvin's portrait move in such a way that it looks like he's pulling the girls closer.
Snapp1eApp1e
Just the faces. If you have the full body shots, it' harder to fit the entire cast on screen at one time if they developers are doing a skit that in involves the entire cast. Plus I feel like you can't get a wide range of emotions and expressions if you do a full body skit. In the few tales games that have had full body shots, I feel like there were only 2 or 3 poses that each character had, while there were at least 7 or 8 emotions in the games that had portraits.
Returner7
I perfer the full body portraits, though I really like the creatively simple pseudo animations they included with the boxed faces in Vesperia. They are at their best when those fun little details are added in.

Any closing/final thoughts on skits?

a745
The skits is something that's of a personal charm for Tales. It imparts a lot of the story as well as a lot of the hilarity, and I hope they maintain the level of quality the previous games have always had.
DimensionSlip
Skits are a brilliant staple of the series, and I always look forward to them whenever I start a new Tales game!
Grace
They're a Tales classic. If not for skits, Tales would be an ordinary JRPG. They're fun to watch and some classic moments are from skits. I hope that skits will continue to be a thing in future Tales titles.
Flamzeron
I hope that Tales of Arise keeps the skits. I know that the current plan is to "evolve" the series, but I do hope that skits are one of the things they keep. I feel like the series would lose a crucial piece of its identity if they don't.
Khayyaam
In my opinion, skits are half of what makes Tales, well, Tales! The adventures aren't just about achieving their main goals, skits make these characters come alive as people, allows us to see their thoughts on the world at hand and what they've been doing, and rewards us for playing by giving us more of the character interactions we love. They should never get rid of skits, and instead expand their importance and their role in filling in the blanks and rhyme to the main story's reason. Plus, certain other RPG series have begun to follow suit and get skits on their own, so it's doubly imperative that Tales doubles down on skits and cements itself as not only inventor, but also king of the skit system, a brilliant way to bring its world to life.
Snapp1eApp1e
Skits are one of the best features of the tales games compared to other RPGs I've played. They are a welcome additions to any tales game and give the world the developers created a lot more personality and intrigue. I'm glad that they are apart of the series and I look forward to all of the hilarious new skits when the next game comes out!
Returner7
The skits are one of my favorite quirks of the Tales series and part of what I would say makes a Tales RPG a Tales RPG. They are a cheap, fun, and completely player optional way for the dev team to add extra visual novel esque characterization bits and story extras to reward players looking for more story content.

Any suggestions for next month, or anything that you want to respond to? Feel free to share them in the comments below~ Image Credits:

DimensionSlip
About DimensionSlip 25 Articles
Prior to joining AC, Slip has been dabbling in other Tales-related endeavors, including but not limited to scanlating various comics, subbing drama CDs, and writing fanfiction. Currently lives in Japan and presents monthly offerings of the yen variety to the Tales of Shop at Akihabara--if not crying over empty wallets thanks to one Jade Curtiss and his merchandise.