In the recent Japan Expo 2011, Kingdom of Tales, a French Tales of Series fansite, was able to get an interview with Makoto Yoshizumi, one of Namco Bandai Games' board members and an executive of Tales Studio.
Many thanks to Kingdom-Of-Tales for having this interview (original article here), and many thanks to Kurusu for translating the interview into English and linking it to us.
You can read the whole interview below. For those who don't have the time to read everything, here's the gist of it:
- Tales of Xillia has a chance of getting localized (specifically, in Europe, I think) depending on the enthusiasm of the fans. It does not in any way depend on Tales of Graces F's sales (KoT jokes it's time to pester Namdai via Facebook again, to which Yoshizumi laughs).
- Tales of Graces F will be out by Summer 2012 (for Europe, specifically)
- Whether or not we'll be getting the various DLC content that was available in the Japanese version of Graces F is still unsure. This includes the Code Geass costumes.
- That game which was thought to be related to Tales of Legendia, but then was revealed to be unrelated, has apparently already been cancelled.
- There are ideas to port the older Tales games like Phantasia, Destiny or Eternia to HD consoles. But they are just that, ideas.
- Sakuraba is the main composer for the Tales of Series. Go Shiina is too busy with other projects (God Eater, among others), but Yoshizumi says that in the distant future, maybe he'll have time for Tales again.
- ufotable will not be the main animator for the series from here on out. They were only chosen because Xillia is the series' 15th anniversary game.
- To those who still won't give it a rest, getting an updated Wii version of Graces with the Graces F content is impossible.
Full Interview with Makoto Yoshizumi by Kingdom of Tales
1. KoT: First of all, can you tell us what your role is at Namco Bandai Games / Tales Studio?
Yoshizumi : I'm a Board Member at Namco Bandai Games, and the Tales Studio Executive. I'm in charge of the main decisions regarding the future of the series.
2. KoT: Tales of the Abyss 3DS is scheduled for November in Europe. Will the game be translated in French?
Yoshizumi : I can't answer this question for now: It's still under discussion.
3. KoT: Tales of Graces f offered many downloadable content on the Japanese PSN. Can we expect the same in Europe and the US?
Yoshizumi : We're working on it to offer as much content as possible, but we can't make any official announcements for now.
KoT: What about the Code Geass costumes?
Yoshizumi : *laughs* The same can be said for the Code Geass costumes. Actually, since it's an entirely different license, this makes it even more complicated to do.
KoT: I asked this question because this series is actually very popular in Occident too.
Yoshizumi : Really? We'll do our best then.
KoT: Can a Wii release be expected? Or is it impossible?
Yoshizumi : We wish to deliver the best and most complete experience for US and European fans, therefore we're localizing Tales of Graces f. The game on the PS3 version is on a blu-ray disc. It would be next to impossible to condense all the game's data on a Wii disc, so unfortunately, there will be no Wii release.
KoT: This means you don't intend to release the original Wii version either? I played it and I really think it was an excellent game, even if the PS3 version has more contents.
Yoshizumi : Can you read Japanese?
KoT: No, I can only read hiragana and katakana. However, the Japanese dubs help me understand the game better.
4. KoT: Tales of Xillia has yet to be announced in Occident. Will the decision to release the game solely depend on how well Tales of Graces f sells here?
Yoshizumi : No, not at all. It has nothing to do with Tales of Graces f sales. We will only release Tales of Xillia if we feel fans are really enthusiastic about the game.
KoT: Are we to understand we'll have to spam Namco Bandai's facebook account again?
Yoshizumi : *laughs* Yes, I guess that's one way among others.
Yoshizumi : I would like to ask, regarding the voice over, would you prefer English or Japanese dubs?
KoT: I like both. However, a common complaint about English dubs in J-RPG is that we almost always have the same voice actors again and again. I do not know if you've heard about Johnny Yong Bosch and Yuri Lowenthal, but it almost seems like those two persons appear in about 90% of the J-RPGs released in Occident.
Yoshizumi : This is very interesting information. I didn't know such a thing happened with English dubs.
5. KoT: Are you planning to port older Tales games on HD consoles?
Yoshizumi : This is something we would like to do and we are currently working to see if it would be possible to port older Tales games: Phantasia, Destiny, or Eternia, not only in Japan, but throughout the world. However, I still can't give much information about this. We are still discussing about whether this project can be done and on which game console those ports would be made.
6. KoT: Some Mothership or former Mothership titles, namely Lagendia, Tempest and Innocence, weren't developed by Tales Studio. Ever since Tales of Innocence, which was released in 2007, Mothership titles have been developed exclusively by Tales Studio. Were you dissatisfied with the quality of those three games?
Yoshizumi : Well, it's true that we hear about those three games a lot from the fans. They indeed are quite different from the rest of the series. I think this is what makes them interesting and we tried to aim at a wider audience, rather than those we usually aim at with the rest of the series. I actually liked those three games a lot.
KoT: Even Tales of the Tempest? I am sure you already know about this, but this game has quite the dreadful reputation.
Yoshizumi : Yes, I am aware of this. I agree that the gameplay could have been better, but I enjoyed the story and the characters. It's only regrettable that in the end, the whole thing didn't work out properly.
7. KoT: When we heard about Tales of Xillia for the first time, we expected Mr. Yoshito Higuchi, who worked previously on Tales of Vesperia, to be the producer. However, Mr. Hideo Baba, who worked on Tales of Hearts and Tales of Graces, was chosen instead. Does Mr. Higuchi still work on the Tales series?
Yoshizumi : Ah, yes, Higuchi-san. We still keep in touch with him. However, he now works on a new and important project for Namco Bandai.
KoT: When you say new project, I take it it's not a Tales game, then?
Yoshizumi : That's correct, it's not a Tales game. But don't worry, you'll hear about it soon.
KoT: At the Tokyo Game Show ?
Yoshizumi : *laughs* No, no. You will have to wait a little longer.
KoT: That project wouldn't happen to be Sword of Legendia?
Yoshizumi : Sword of Legendia? I'm afraid that's not the case. This project was canceled several years ago. But I see you are quite knowledgeable about Tales Studio.
KoT: That would be because I'm a huge fan of the Tales series.
Yoshizumi : I'm pleased to hear this.
8. KoT: I mentioned Tales of Legendia a bit earlier. The soundtrack is highly praised by the Tales community. Will Mr. Go Shiina, the music composer, work again for a Mothership title?
Yoshizumi : Go Shiina? But that guy is crazy *laughs*
More seriously, Go Shiina already has lots of other projects to work on with Namco Bandai, and Sakuraba is the music composer for the Tales series.
KoT: Yes I know ,Go Shiina works on God Eater, for instance.
Yoshizumi : Oh, so you've played God Eater?
KoT: Yes, and I must say I really enjoy the game's soundtrack.
Yoshizumi : I see. Well, it's true that Go Shiina still works on God Eater.
KoT: Am I to understand that Namco Bandai is developing a new episode of God Eater?
Yoshizumi : *laughs* Now, now, don't make me say what I didn't.
KoT: So we'll never see Go Shiina composing for a Mothership title again?
Yoshizumi: I never said that. For now he's too busy but maybe in a more distant future.
9. KoT: For the first time in the series' history, Production IG is not in charge of a Tales game's cutscenes. Instead, they will be done by Ufotable. Does that mean Ufotable will take care of the series' cutscenes from now on, or will Production IG still continue to work on the Tales series?
Yoshizumi : We chose to work with Ufotable for Xillia because this episode celebrates the series' 15th anniversary. We still do not know if we will work with this studio again, so I'm afraid I can't answer this question for now.
Yoshizumi : Did you see Xillia's opening? I think it's the best we ever had in the series.
KoT: I don't think the opening has been fully revealed yet. I think we only saw some short parts of it.
Yoshizumi : Ah, yes. That's right.
KoT: However, from what we saw, it's true I enjoyed Ufotable's works on Tales of Xillia a lot.
Yoshizumi : So you like Ufotable's works more than IG's?
KoT: Yes. I've enjoyed their productions so far: Tales of Symphonia: the Animation, or Kara no Kyoukai, among others.
10. KoT: Tales of the Abyss 3DS was released two days ago in Japan. How many copies do you expect to sell?
Yoshizumi : Well, I'd say 250 000 copies. We also hope we will be able to release more Tales games on 3DS.
11. KoT: Which title is your favorite Tales game?
Yoshizumi : This is a difficult question. If I had to reduce the choices to games I worked on as a producer, I'd say Tales of Symphonia and Tales of the Abyss.
12. KoT: Did you enjoy coming to France at Japan Expo? Do you plan to come again next year?
Yoshizumi : Yes, I was surprised to see there were so many people here. It's really impressive and I enjoyed coming to France, so I hope I can come again next year.
Yoshizumi : By the way, what would you like to see at next year's Japan Expo regarding the Tales series?
KoT: Tales of Xillia (instant answer)
Yoshizumi : *laughs*
KoT: Well, I mean, Tales of Graces f should already be released in Europe by then, right?
Yoshizumi : Actually we are planning for a release in summer 2012.
KoT: Now that I think of it, doesn't it bother you that Hideo Baba was introduced as the series producer during the conference?
Yoshizumi : Well, we decided that since he is the producer, he would represent Tales Studio at this year's Japan Expo, so I think it's perfectly normal.
KoT: No, sorry, what I mean is that he was introduced as the producer of the whole series, when he actually became producer only a few years ago.
Yoshizumi : Oh, I see. Well, this is indeed a misunderstanding from the translator.
KoT: Why didn't you show up at the conference together with him by the way?
Yoshizumi : Because he's more good looking than me! *laughs*
Well, as I said earlier, we decided he would represent the Studio here, so I simply backed him up.
Tatsuya (the translator) : Isn't your T-shirt a Tales T-shirt?
KoT: Yes, it's from the Tales of Festival 2010.
Yoshizumi : Oh, so you went to the Tales of Festival?
KoT: No, actually a friend who was there bought it for me.
KoT: Well... Are there any questions you would like to ask me?
Yoshizumi : Who is your favorite seiyuu (Japanese voice actor) in the series?
KoT: Takehito Koyasu, who voiced Jade Curtiss... *pauses* Oh, that's right! And Kana Hanazawa!
Yoshizumi : Yes Koyasu Takehito and Hanazawa Kana
KoT : Well this should concludes this interview, thank you very much Yoshizumi-san!
Yoshizumi : Thank you too, it was a pleasure.
KoT : The pleasure was mine, and I hope we will see you again next year.
Yoshizumi : I hope too!
Interview : Fisico
Traduction/Translation : Kurusu
Dear Tales fans,
We are all working as hard as we can to develop even more exciting games.
Please continue to support the series.