Spanish anime-manga and video games site Koi-Nya has generously provided us with an English version of their recent interview with Tales of Series Producer Hideo Baba at Expomanga 2013. This is mostly where the Tales of Symphonia HD remaster rumor surfaced from, but Baba-san also talks about other interesting topics, like about how voice actors are chosen for the games and a few bits about the anime adaptations and Xillia 2.
Big thanks to Koi-Nya for providing the English version. The original interview can be found here.
Interview by koi-nya.net
koi-nya: How do you feel about the reception of the Tales games in Expomanga? What do you think about Spanish fans so far?
Hideo Baba: I can see the franchise is very successful and popular in Spain. I realize this also thanks to you, as you even cosplayed Tales of characters (TN: one of our editors cosplayed Yuri Lowell the previous day). It’s a pleasure for me to be able to visit Spain and meet so many fans that love our games so much.k-n: One of the most popular features of the franchise in Japan are its voice actors, which are always very popular and talented. But we’ve noticed that they don’t participate twice with a different role. Is this intentional?Baba: We make auditions in order to find the best voice actors and actresses for each character. We choose the ones we think are best based on the mental image we have of the characters as their creators, regardless if they’re popular or not. Both veterans and new voices come to our auditions, and all of them have the same opportunities. We also know that you, the fans, love our characters and in our opinion having the same actor or actress voicing different roles could confuse you or make you think they have something in common. That’s why we always choose different voices. However, sometimes the same voice actor/actress could be used for secondary and minor characters, but never for main ones and/or party members.
k-n: We would like to know which are the factors that influence the fact a sequel will be made for a Tales game. For example, there’s a Tales of Xillia 2 but not a Tales of Vesperia 2. How is this determined?
Baba: When you play and enjoy a Tales game, you play within a world in a limited time frame. But when we create the plot, we build all the story of that world from beginning to end. We ask ourselves what happened in that world thousands of years before and what will happen thousands of years later. And in the end, we only use a fragment of that story in the final product. But sometimes we think it could be interesting telling the fans some other parts of that history in a different game. For example, Tales of Xillia 2 happens after the first game, and some parts of Tales of Destiny 2 deal with what happened before Tales of Destiny.
k-n: We’ve heard rumors about the possibility of both Tales of Symphonia games getting a remastered version in HD for the PlayStation 3 under the title of “Perfect Edition”. Could you give us more information about these rumors or even tell us if there’s a possibility they could be true?
Baba: I'm surprised that such a rumor reached Spain. *laughs* Tales of Symphonia is a very successful sub-franchise and something like that is a representation of the hopes and dreams of fans who have long been wanting to see it come true. Who knows, it may be a rumor, or it may be true. I don't know. *laughs*
k-n: You’ve already declared that you’re working on the next Tales game for PlayStation 3. Some time has passed since that, could you tell us something about it? Which will be its catchphrase? Will we know more information about in the next Tales of Festival 2013?
Baba: It’s true that we’re already working on it, but I can’t reveal anything yet at this point. I don’t know when we’ll be able to show information about it, but I’m sure Spanish fans will really enjoy the theme of this new title.
k-n: We would also like to ask you about the animated adaptations of the franchise, now that the Tales of Symphonia OVAs by ufotable have ended. Have you thought about animating a new project, or even continuing the OVAs with Tales of Symphonia 2: Dawn of the New World?
Baba: It’s true that we always try to get the franchise outside the world of videogames. We’d like to keep producing these types of projects, and I’d personally like to see a new TV animated series in the future, not only OVA adaptations. This way more people would know the franchise not only in Japan, but also in the rest of the world, and it’d become more popular. About the possibility of Dawn of the New World adapted into an OVA series, I’m afraid we don’t have plans for that at this moment. *laughs*
k-n: In another recent interview you mentioned about your liking for WRPGs like Skyrim. We would like to know which are your favourite JRPGs outside your own franchise, or the ones that are most special to you.
Baba: First I’d like to say that my favorite franchise is, hands down, Tales of, and I’m really proud of being involved with it. When I was younger, RPGs started being popular with titles such as Wizardry, and later the Dragon Quest franchise was born in Japan. They had silent main characters, but I liked them very much. Recently, Square-Enix’s Bravely Default really surprised me with its very nostalgic aura. It’s a videogame made with an old-school flavor, and that caught my attention.
k-n: When the first image of Tales of Xillia 2 was shown in the media, some fans saw the glyphs of the elenpios language and guessed it could be a sequel for Xillia. However, in the Famitsu magazine the same image was shown without the glyphs. Did Namco Bandai notice this fact? How did you all react?
Baba: We always check everything before publishing any kind of material, but that time we forgot to check the glyphs. And soon many people started saying “It’s Tales of Xillia 2!” *laughs* Therefore, when we showed the image again we removed them. It’s a very minor detail, but fans spotted it really fast. Actually, when we realized our mistake it was too late and we couldn’t avoid publishing the image like that. *laughs*
Before leaving, Baba-san also left a message for Koi-Nya's readers and the Spanish Tales community in general:
Baba-san with the Koi-Nya staff
Tales of Xillia will be released in the US on August 6, 2013 and in Europe sometime the same year. Pre-orders are now available at the following places:
Tales of Xillia (Regular US Version) - Play-Asia | GameStop | Amazon
Tales of Xillia (CE US Version) - GameStop | Amazon
Tales of Xillia (Regular EU Version) - Zavvi | ShopTo.net | Play.com | Game.co.uk | Play-Asia
Tales of Xillia (CE EU Version) - Namco Bandai