Like said before, the old ToS cast will be here to assist you, but unlike Emil and Marta who will be with you for the entirety of the game, the old characters will leave you at a certain point (hence, they are merely guest stars). Zelos is there because it's what NamcoBandai sees as the canonical ending of the original ToS. And Kratos, he won't be there at all, save for the recognition he gets as being a hero in ToS, and he will be narrating the start of the game, like in ToS.
Ratatosk's identity is confirmed as the spirit of mana that lords over the world's wild beasts, and hence, he is currently the most widely hunted divine entity on the planet. It is assumed that he is sleeping on that stone on Marta's forehead. Marta, being the emissary of Ratatosk, decides to make Emil her guardian upon seeing his affinity for the monsters in their world.
Character designs this time are done by Daigo Okumura, who was the art director for ToS and TotA. Kosuke Fujishima, still busy with his other works, could not do it this time. But so far, Mr. Okumura's designs seem well loved.
Finally, specifics on Marta's weapons are revealed. It's called a "dual spinner," which straps to Marta's wrist and slices through foes like a circular saw.
From the new group character art, you'll notice two other unintroduced characters there. From one of the design sketches, the girl with golden eyes and in a white costume is named "Alice," but the guy in blue (who people in the Tales Forums jokingly refer to as Kratos and Yuan's illegitimate offspring XD), is still unknown.
About the system:
The article mostly dwells in the game's overall system, mostly about those monsters.
The main battle system constitutes an elemental system. At the bottom left of the screen will consist of elemental icons, the smaller ones representing the elements of the characters in the battle, and the bigger one representing the element of the battlefield. Using certain abilities may help tweak with this elemental balance, and once you are able to match the elemental pattern of the monster you fought, you will be given the chance to recruit it. Once part of your party, monsters are not controllable, but they can be assigned specific AI to do what you see fit.
The Wonder Chef returns, abandoning his love for human cuising and is now focusing on the monster food industry. Recipes gained from the Wonder Chef enables you to make food that will increase your monsters stats, and eventually, evolve them. This helps because boss-type monsters can't be recruited, but you may be able to get them from evolved ones.
The WiiMote will be used primarily for shortcuts, the world map, and the Sorceror's Ring. The producers tried their best to incorporate the use of the WiiMote, but at the same time not interfering with the Tales Series traditional controls.
In terms of storyline, Ratatosk is the one controlling the mana that in turn, controls the monsters. In the game, he is not awakened yet, therefore the monsters are all in a rampage. Making his contract with Emil takes him a step closer to his goals to control the monsters. Hence, everytime Emil creates contracts with monsters, he gradually brings the world back to what it should be.
But, for some reason, Lloyd really is trying to stop what Emil and Marta are doing. The reason for this, is still unclear...