We're already a week into February after all, so what better time for another preview? As always, check out the video and details from the producer's letter here!
Bandai Namco's Official Youtu-er, the official Tales Of Youtube Channel released this month's preview right when we expected it. February's edition of the monthly producer's letter (Volume 48) also released shortly after, so check out the video here and further details from the producer's letter this month below!
The first bit of news in the video is a new character! You didn't think just because we have every playable party member from the main series that we were done getting new characters, did you? This time we're getting a Rays original character: Baldr. He's been in the story for a short while now, but what makes him special from the stand point of a Tales fan is that his design is actually done by Kosuke Fujishima! The producer's letter gives us a little more detail on his introduction. He'll come in Arc 4 Chapter 5, scheduled for late February, and he'll fight using two elemental swords (perhaps similar to Lloyd's Material Blade?). As you can see, he has a lot of the classic Tales DNA despite being made entirely new for Rays. His fujishima art was actually revealed in a Rays stream a few months ago!
The chapter will also release two new Overray Mirrage Artes: this time for Mercuria and Nazar, the Rays original characters we got at the end of Arc 2. That's the most Overrays we ever got in a month! The story will probably take an interesting direction as it focuses on this group of formerly antagonistic characters and their adventures with Kocis. As for new costumes, the theme for them this time is Pajamas, as Mercuria always wanted to have a Slumber Party. We'll have to see what they look like when the story chapter is released.
Next we have a new batch of Spirit Gears! This makes the 11th group of characters to get Spirit Gears. The group this time is, surprisingly, antagonists. Barabatos comes first, demanding power from the spirit Shadow for his spirit Gear, followed by Gaius who gets Efreet, and Dhaos who appears to have a Light Element Spirit Gear. We also get to see a snippet of the animation for Dhaos' Spirit Gear Mirrage Arte, which naturally involves a World Tree. It also seems to be a support or healing arte unlike the usual Spirit Gears, but we'll have to see when it's released. The producer shares that whenever they design spirit gears, they try to come up with a theme for each group, and this time the theme was "God". They're not literally gods, but they tried to make them look sufficiently god-like for these Spirit Gears. Of course, fans have also observed that Gaius' Spirit Gear looks similar to his look at the end of Xillia 1, and Barbatos has gained a heroic cape, which is very interesting.
The last event shown in this preview (but not necessarily the last event this month) is 4th Anniversary Event #1: new Raid! Since this is the 4th anniversary of Tales of The Rays, the focus this time is the 4th game in the Tales series: Destiny 2! The boss for this raid is Magnadeus, the final boss of the EX Dungeon in Destiny 2, who's also one of the most difficult bosses in the series. This is a huge surprise, as Magnadeus doesn't even have any art to use for the game (the video simply shows his sprite and mystic arte cut-in)! Sadly he will not be playable, but it's not the first time a raid boss wasn't playable. The producer joked that attempting to control him would instead cause Magnadeus to use Last Vanisher on them. He also mused about how difficult he was and promised to make Destiny 2 players relive the bad memories of fighting him.
What we will get out of this event, however, is a new batch of Decisive Mirrage Artes. Since there won't be any new character for this raid, we're getting a total of 4 new Decisive Mirrage Artes, the most we've ever gotten in a single event! In a call back to the 2nd Anniversary's Dhaos raid, which focused on Fujishima designed heroines, this raid will focus on heroines designed by Mutsumi Inomata. They are Kohaku from Tales of Hearts, Rutee from Tales of Destiny, Iria from Tales of Innocence and, fittingly, Reala from Tales of Destiny 2. We get to see the art for all of them, and even a preview of the arte animation itself for Reala (which also looks to continue off of Kyle's Decisive Mirrage Arte animation).
Above is the schedule of events shown in the producer's letter. The events shown in the preview aren't all that's coming this month. As it's the 4th anniversary of Tales of The Rays, we'll also be getting a new livestream showcasing upcoming things for the 4th anniversary. We'll have to wait for more news on when it is and what it will entail, so watch out for that! The producer's letter does give us some details however. The stream will give us more information on Version 4.2 and 4.3 (the latter of which will release in March). He can't go into too much detail due to the livestream's existence, but teases surprising new features that will allow Rays to play closer to the original Tales titles in ways that weren't possible before. We have no clue what he could mean, but we can hope for certain features (Arte sphere? Overlimit?). What do you think it will be?
A few last things that were in the producer's letter: he talks about how he started watching DanMachi (AKA "Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?") in preparation for the curently running collab. He hopes we're having fun with the event whether we're a new or old player. He also thanks the players for allowing the Rays team to keep their promise of bringing together all of the series' party members, and wants to make new promises, starting with the 4th anniversary plans. We'll have to wait and see what he's promised for us, but we're sure we won't be disappointed. Tales of The Rays has given us many great things that are made with love and respect for the original series (and by many of the same people who made the original games!) so we can be sure the future will hold great things for Rays.
That's it for news from this month. We have less than a week left for the current collab event, so check back in a few days for the start of the Boss Spirit Gear event! And keep an eye out for more news regarding 4th anniversary celebrations sooner or later. Until then, see you!