Just recently, we featured an article talking about how JRPGs, outside of the big names, will most likely not appear on the PlayStation 4. If you've yet to read that article, you can do so via this link; we'll wait until you return!
Enjoy the article? Whether you disagree or not isn't the subject of this piece; rather, we're here to talk about a popular RPG series that wasn't named: the Tales Of series, otherwise known as the Tales series. The Tales series rivals Final Fantasy in Japan, appearing on almost every console to date, amassing huge sales at launch and currently on its fourteenth game in the series, the in-development Tales of Xillia 2 for the PlayStation 3. Perhaps you're wondering how you've never heard of this series if it's as big as the Final Fantasy franchise? The answer is simple: while the franchise is huge in Japan, it's regulated to niche status in the United States.
Namco, now Namco Bandai, has never had much faith in the Tales series in the United States, with the Tales story being similar to the early days of Square and Final Fantasy. For those that don't know about this situation, we never received all the Final Fantasy games in the series initially and the ones we did receive had wrong numbering, i.e Final Fantasy VI in Japan being Final Fantasy III in the US. Now, while Square Enix eventually rectified their mistake and properly numbered (and released!) all the Final Fantasy games, Namco has never bothered to do this with the Tales series. Let's take a look!
The first game we received was Tales of Destiny for PlayStation, the second overall in the series. The first game, Tales of Phantasia, was a Super Nintendo game that we did later get on the Game Boy Advance. The third game in the series, Tales of Eternia, was released under the moniker Tales of Destiny II for the PlayStation in the US, despite not having any ties to the previous game. In Japan, the fourth Tales games *was* Tales of Destiny II and *was* a proper sequel to the first, but was never brought over to the US most likely because of the bizarre naming issues. We then received Symphonia on the GameCube, the sixth Tales game got skipped again and the following two games, Legendia and Abyss, were released in the US on PS2 but in very small numbers. Symponia as well got ported to the PS2 but was not released overseas. While we won't detail every release, you can see a pattern here: sometimes Namco Bandai graces us with a new Tales game, sometimes they don't, but there is no real rhyme or reason to why we get what we get. Despite that, the series still has a huge fan following in the US, so let's take a look at why.
Storywise, Tales is your usual JRPG plot: a young boy ascends to herodom while an amnesic girl recovers her memory and realizes she is the key to stopping a giant, evil empire. However, Tales differs in a few ways that make it stand out: the battle system, titles and skits. The battle system plays out similar to an action role-playing game, with battles taking place in real time. This system, called the Linear Motion System, has been featured in every Tales game; it's fast-paced, fun and features a wide range of character specific abilities. At the end of every battle you receive a grade, with your cumulative grade at the end of the game enabling you to buy special items for a second playthrough, encouraging replayability.
Titles are much like the titles you would receive in a massively multiplayer online game: naming awards you can apply to your character, such as Swordsmaster or Chef, after completing special objectives. While most titles are for fun, some change your statistics or confer special bonuses. This title system gives Tales games a large amount of additional content as you'll be compelled to get every last one.
Skits are conversations that randomly take place between two characters during the game, serving no purpose other than letting you get to know each character better. It's the little touches like this that will draw you closer and closer to each character throughout the course of the game.
With this generation, Namco Bandai has realized that there is a built-in audience for Tales outside of Japan. Rarely seen for the series, we've received (or will receive) the last two games in the US for the PlayStation 3: Tales of Graces F and Tales of Xillia, with a strong chance we may see Xillia 2 once it releases in Japan. Tales has always been a predominately Sony franchise, but this generation the series has established strong roots on the PlayStation 3 especially int he US, giving starved western JRPG gamers something to play.
We will likely see Tales continue on the PlayStation 4 after the strong sales of the past Tales games on PlayStation 3. While the general feel of the series won't change, we will most likely see a graphical increase in the next game and perhaps the social element of the PS4 come into play somehow with the titles. Unfortunately for US fans, when Tales shows up on the PS4 in Japan it's not a given Namco Bandai will bring it to the US. If you want to see future Tales games for PS4 in the US, your best bet is to run out and buy Tales of Graces F for your PS3 and preorder Xillia while you're there!
The staff at PS4 Experts are all anxiously awaiting news on Tales for the PS4, so we'll scour the depths of the gaming industry for you to bring you back any breaking news on the series. Just keep an eye on this page and we'll update it whenever news about the series hits!
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 3/25/2013
June 6th 2013 Update: Even More Bad News For Tales Fans
In our previous update, we mentioned how Hideo Baba, producer for the Tales series, had no intentions on making a game in the series for the PlayStation 4 at the current time. Now, in an interview with Joystiq, Baba goes one step further and clarifies that the series' home will remain on the PlayStation 3 for the time being as that is what the fans want.
Baba states "I'm afraid I don't have any plans to release titles for the Xbox One or PS4, because my policy is to release Tales titles to the console which most of the fans want to play on" and that console happens to be the PlayStation 3, according to him.
So bad news PlayStation 4 fans: with the system not backwards compatible and with no future plans for the series on it, it may be awhile before you can get your dose of Tales. While plans can change, it may be years before the PlayStation 4 receives a Tales game if Baba has his way.
Luckily, for fans of the series it was just announced that the Tales of Symphonia Unisonant Pack, which contains both Tales of Symphonia and its sequel, is heading to the US in early 2014 for the PS3.
Update by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 6/6/2013
April 9th 2013 Update: Bad News For Tales Fans
Well, it didn't take long to receive an update on the Tales series on the PlayStation 4. Nestled among the good news, which was Tales of Xillia's August 6th release date for the US, was the news that series producer Hideo Baba had no plans for a PS4 Tales game at this time.
In an interview with Kotaku, Baba stated about the PS4 "It just got announced. I have to say I think the specs are great. I'm sure you're wondering, 'Do you have any plans to develop for PS4 at this time?' Just like the Wii U, we actually don't have any plans."
In addition, Baba stated there were no plans to bring the Tales games released on the Vita to the US.
Keep in mind that just because there are no plans yet doesn't mean we won't ever see a Tales game on the PlayStation 4. As noted in the article above, the Tales series has been on every Sony console so it's just likely development hasn't yet started rather than there will never be a PS4 Tales game. In the meantime, we'll preorder Xillia and remain hopeful for a future PS4 Tales announcement!
Update by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 4/9/2013
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