Realizing the Series' Current Silence in Japan + What to Do as Fans

As a fan of the series, I felt that I wanted to express some recent feelings regarding the direction of its releases/localizations both past and present, along with what we as fans can do in the meantime:

Disclaimer: I'd first like to preface this piece by stating that everything mentioned here is all based on my own opinion, and anything mentioned about Bandai Namco's future plans are based on the perspective of fan who is just making observations, nothing more.

These past ten years, I've been on top of the franchise's news and changes, and I felt that the recent silence we've been witnessing with major Tales of news in Japan was something that I wanted to comment on. It’s been odd, and quite frankly jarring. A series that I would follow a news routine with which includes (but is not limited to) checking out the official Tales of websites daily for each new game, the Japanese news websites, forums, keeping an eye at Tales Festival every year and the occasional anniversary announcement in December. To suddenly go from that frequent activity to this odd lull period where the most we got from Tales Festival this year was news on the mobile apps, is surreal.

Tales of Link's new scenario reveal at Tales of Festival 2017.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the success and appeal of those mobile games, I was just expecting… More. Tales of has always been a home console series to me primarily, and a mobile/escort market second. To not get any announcement related to that primary market created an odd hollow feeling after the Festival was over. While I understand that it’s almost been a year since Tales of Berseria’s localization, it's already been more than a year since that games initial release in Japan, and this where things start to feel a bit different from the routine. Back in the day, titles would constantly be announced left and right. Whenever a new Mothership title is about to come out, another game would be announced just weeks before in order to keep the community hungry for more. It's one of the keys that helped keep the franchise (and AC, for that matter) active throughout the years. Bandai Namco’s Japan branch being this silent for this long regarding their next major title in the series has been off putting. Due to the lack of any hint for the future, I get the feeling that I may be drifting away from the series. Not only that, but other franchises that I'm interested in are also throwing in new products to get me hyped about that I almost forget about this series at times. These events made me wonder: When was the last time I felt a silence like this with this series, and it brought me to the year 2008. There is one difference however, It wasn't related to the Japanese releases at all. It was happening in an entirely different region altogether, and it was within the localization community.

ataleoftworichards (c. 2011)

In 2008 (2009 in Europe), the last localization was Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. After a slew of consistent localizations since Tales of Symphonia in 2004, the community did not receive any new localizations since Dawn of the New World. Meanwhile, Japan continued to get new titles like Tales of Graces, Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X, and Tales of Xillia. This resulted in the localization community experiencing its own silence during this time until early 2011. It was then that I remembered when the internet was buzzing over this puzzle (pictured above) that Bandai Namco posted for their next game to be localized. This one was peculiar as it led to a website that very much hinted to a Tales of title. Days later, they've confirmed that it was in fact Tales of Graces f, the last game we could've got on the Wii but was recently ported on the PS3. This marked the first time that we were getting a fresh Tales of localization since 2008 and once again, the community was rejuvenated with that familiar spark of excitement and activity. This spark was nurtured and flourished within the community thanks to the all of the combined efforts of the hardworking people at Bandai Namco who proceeded to shell out multiple localizations. The localizations were focused on games that we've missed out on such as Tales of Xillia 1/2 & Tales of Hearts R, as well with new games that we got within a year of Japan's initial release like Tales of Symphonia Chronicles & Tales of Zestiria. It was the spark that marked the current boon period we’re in which is quite honestly, the largest we’ve ever experienced in the history of this series’ localization periods.

2009: Tales of Graces, one of 4 major announcements all on the same day.

So why did I bring this up? Maybe it's because Bandai Namco’s Japan branch needs a bit of a break. After a very good track record of releases in Japan, the absorption of Tales Studio by Bandai Namco, and certain staff members leaving, this current silent period may be the cause of these factors finally catching up to them as a business. If this silence means that they’re just readjusting with these changes as they plan for the future, then I don’t mind the wait. Heck, if the localization community can go through something as long as the drought between Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World & Tales of Graces f, then I'm sure we can also practice the patience for the Japanese branch to take that much needed time to step back, breathe, and figure out what to do next with the series.

I can tell you what I will be doing during this time, I'll still be active in the series, and I hope that everyone else will too.

Tales of Rebirth, a game that I am hoping to finish by the end of this year.

There's no better time to explore and express your fandom for the series than now, and there are a ton of things that you can do as a Tales of fan. Some things that I'd suggest is to try looking into other titles in the series from the past or present that you might've missed out on due to the time when you became a fan of the series, or try out the import titles if you've finished all of the localized titles--where there are some material online to help you through the games that I'll be linking to below. Look into some fan translated side materials of your favourite titles and you might surprise yourself with some of the hidden depths to world building that you might've missed in the game. If you prefer to challenge your gameplay prowess, you can try out self-imposed boss runs without items or with a single party member. Maybe even look into interacting with the growing community by attending one of the Tales of fan conventions that have started making a presence in recent years, or start an entirely new community project altogether. There are plenty of ways to express your fandom for the series besides waiting in anticipation for the latest game in the series. However you express your fandom in the community, now is the good time to explore that expression as a community while Bandai Namco continues to prepare for the future of the franchise. Seemed to have worked for us back in 2008, and now the call has surfaced again but with the Japanese branch this time.

Just wanted to close this post with some people/groups who have kept themselves busy with the fandom throughout the years:

Tales of Fan Translators

  • Taleslations  (Tumblr)
    • A site that contains translations & summaries of several side materials from the main games.
  • Absolute Zero
    • Provided translation patches for several old Tales of games/versions that didn't receive a localization.
  • Tales of Vesperia PS3 Fan Translation
    • Tales of fans who have come together and released a fully translated English patch of Tales of Vesperia on the PS3. Also includes an online translation guide for those who may not be comfortable with the patching process.
  • Kouli's Guides (Some featured in our Guides section)
    • Kouli has created guides for several Tales of games in the past that were released in Japan fairly quick so that non-Japanese speakers can go through the game without worrying about understanding the language or plot.
  • lanyn (GameFAQS Account)
    • Has a ton of material such as translations/battle guides that cover Tales of Rebirth, making the game easily accessible for those who can't read Japanese.
  • Keslations
    • Uploaded videos of the skits from Tales of Eternia that were missing from the localized release. English subbed.

High Level Tales of Players/Events

  • dagoldenclip2 (Old Channel)
    • Very dedicated Tales of player who has covered practically every Tales of game in the series. My personal favourites so far are the Tales of Innocence R & Tales of the Abyss runs.
  • Muctales
    • Tales of Player who has shown passion for high level play with Tales of Graces f & Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X, among other games.
  • MrVesperia101
    • Shows off several Party NIND (No Items, No Death) boss fights and solos primarily featuring Tales of Martial Artists & Archers.
  • Magnus Blade
    • Focuses on solos for various characters in the series including Jude (W/o Snap Pivoting), Guy, Rokurou and currently, Judith.
  • Tales of Marathon: 2017 | 2016
    • An event featuring Speedrunners from across the world who complete the games from start to finish through skillful speed & play. Hosted at RPGLimitBreak.

Tales of Fan Conventions in North America

Other Tales of Fan Works

If you know of some people who would fit in this list or if you'd like to share your own works, feel free to comment below. I'm definitely interested in learning about how other people have expressed their passion for the series~

PS: I'm well aware that Tales of the Stage & the Tales of Orchestra Concert happened in Japan this year as well--which may have been where most of Bandai Namco's resources were geared toward. I just wanted to comment on a topic that primarily made me become a fan in the first place and at the end of the day, it's the games.

PanbanRichard
About PanbanRichard 110 Articles
PanbanRichard has been a part of team AC since November 2006. While not as active as he used to be, he still appreciates the series for how far it's come. Responsible for various Tales projects including the Tales of Marathon Stream, Tales OP Chorus Medley and the Tower of Tales.
  • Sorata Yuu

    An important point to note is that Hideo Baba (our favourite series producer) has since left Namco Bandai for Square Enix :/

    • ED Cantú

      Talk for yourself, Baba brought many things I dislike to the series since he became the series producer, some examples are having multiple character designers per game making an incohesive art style for the games, using the same graphic style 4 games in a row, excessive reuse of assets and almost removing any type of side reward (mainly costumes) making all of it DLC.

      Yasuhiro Fukaya did a better job as Berseria's Producer IMO, and hopefully he'll keep that position for the next games.

  • Zappa

    Sad, Hideo Baba killed the best serie ever 🙁

    • Jesse

      No, he didn't. Leave him alone.

      • ED Cantú

        Well he didn't technically killed the series but if we are to believe some things that came to light about Zestiria, it was his meddling with the game what caused the bad reaction the japanese fanbase had for that game.

        Berseria, where he wasn't involved, was step in the right direction but it seems the series hasn't regained the full trust of the japanese fans (the biggest chunk of the sales for the series)

        • What meddling with Zestiria though? If it's the Rose having his favorite VA and such wasn't that all just fan speculation?

          Honestly I don't dislike Hideo Baba, but I'm also feeling excited he is gone. Still no reason to harass him..

  • erica256

    Some folks at tumblr are doing a secret santa this year! https://talessecretsanta.tumblr.com/

  • Touma

    Let's be real, the reason they haven't announced anything in Japan is because of Zestiria's poor reception, Berseria improved things a little but didn't fix the fundamental problem: the engine. My guess would be they're developing a new engine that's better optimized, hence the silent.

  • ksabbie

    Personally I think it's because they are developing for the switch - we know a title is coming...we just don't know when. I hope they take this period of silence to write a really deep and immersive story again (not that recent titles didn't have depth but more the depth shown during the "golden age" of tales.) If the team's silence means we'll be getting a better game....I'm all for it.

    • Shadowysea Clearwater

      Typically there's a gap of about 3 years inbetween games so it's quite possible we'll see whatever the new switch game is by 2019-2020.

      • GraysonXIV

        The only issue with that logic is that a Bamco financial presentation included the Tales Switch title as coming before March 2018. This is the reason most people are just expecting a port.

        • Shadowysea Clearwater

          Its possible that it could release in Japan by q4 2018. I should have been more specific and said that na will see the game sometime by then.

        • Peach Gummy

          I won't lie, I'm lowkey hoping it's that Legendia remake that was rumoured forever ago.

  • fisico

    Tales of Vesperia remaster, probably PS4/Switch, should be announced at Jump Festa this december, there are too many reasons for that to not happen at this point, it will be the same short announcement -> release schedule that Symphonia UP had a few years ago.
    As for the next mothership title I'd still wager it's gonna happen either by the end of 2018 or Q1 2019, they are most likely transitionning to UE4, as all main Bandai Namco IP did, and waiting until the last moment to see when they will be comfortable enough to give a first rough release date

    • Shadowysea Clearwater

      I'm not sure if vesperia would get a remaster due to the ps3 debacle.

      • fisico

        I think that instead that makes it a big missed opportunity that they will not pass on, it's a old enough story to not put salt on fan's wounds, but not old enough to have been completely forgotten (talking only about western markets here, in Japan they don't care about that)

        Next Jump Festa is the 10th anniversary of the title announcement, next year is the 10th anniversary of the game's release, it's a title that still hold more than decently from a graphical point of view as of today and it's just the logical continuation of a stream of ports they did for the last few years with Abyss on 3DS and Symphonia UP on PS3, both having more than good enough results considering the small investment and that porting development was handled by external studios (namenly Tri-Crescendo for Symphonia UP, and I fully expect that it's the case again for Vesperia).

        PS3 version not being released outside Japan makes it a good value offer considering the extra content that westerners weren't able to enjoy in the first place.
        720p handheld mode and 900/1080p docked on Switch, 900/1080p base PS4, 1440p PS4 Pro, probably a half decent port on PC as well for the west, slightly cheaper than a new game (10-20$ less for base SKU) some collector at 80-100 bucks to still maintain a good ARPU and that should seal the deal.
        Mind I don't get into too much details regarding technical hurdles (which I'm sure they encountered, Vesperia PS3 being in sub HD on PS3 to begin with) but that's a secondary concern in regards to the whole picture.
        In Japan this is the Tales of that had the craziest legs in the series, selling extra thousands new copies every year since its relase, a feat it's the only one to have achieved, which iirc puts him at more than 500 000 copies only behind Xillia for a Tales released in the last 10 years and what was a late port to begin with.

  • Good post, and I feel the same.

    The silence is weird, but I can only guess because there's so much going on.

    Baba left, One Piece's anniversary is taking a lot of attention, and the series has been in a weird place sales and/vs reception wise for a little while.

    I'm excited for any bit of news, but it also just feels so off.

  • TheLastBattalion

    Thank you very much for the several links and a great article to boot! ^_^
    I have a feeling that despite the silence (which is killing me in anticipation for the new Tales Of game on the Switch), the series is doing fine as they are trying to figure out what to do with the series and to break new ground.

    I myself, have a humongous amount of progress that I need to get on like Tales OF Eternia, Hearts R, Xillia 2, etc. that I haven't finished due to playing the other games but as I have ran out of the others, it is a great time to go back and finish them.
    Heck, I started to get the manga and the novels so I need to complete those as well!

    (Man, I wish we got Innocence R but AbsoluteZero did a fantastic job with Innocence on the DS so I can't complain.)