The happy coincidence of Tales of Xillia’s release and the 15th anniversary of Namco Bandai’s RPG series inspired the development team to take the series back to its origins.
“If this was going to be the anniversary title, we thought we should return the series to its fundamentals,” producer Hideo Baba told Siliconera.
These fundamentals included a setting with strong similarities to that of Tales of Phantasia, the SNES title which started it all.
“For example, have the game take place in a world where spirits and humans could coexist,” Baba noted. “As for the story, we wanted a theme where each character’s actions reflected their ideals, responsibilities, and unwavering beliefs.”
It also provided an excellent excuse to bring together at last two of the franchise’s chief creatives in a collaborative project.
“We were able to have both Ms. Inomata and Mr. Fujishima work together and collaborate on this title. With both Ms. Inomata and Mr. Fujishima on board for Xillia, naturally, we were also able to have both of them do the artwork,” Baba said.
Kosuke Fujishima provided character designs Tales of Phantasia, as well as Tales of Symphonia and the more recent Tales of the Abyss. Mutsumi Iomata lent her talents to Tales of Destiny, Tales of Innocence and Tales of Graces F, which was recently confirmed for Western release on PlayStation 3 in March.
Baba also revealed that the September release wasn’t originally intended as such an important affair.
“In the early stages of planning, we initially did not plan on having a 15 year anniversary title, but as we progressed further along in the planning stage we decided that because of the timing Xillia should be the anniversary title,” he admitted.
It’s a shame Namco Bandai is yet to committ to bringing Xillia across the pond(s), but the game has only been available in Japan for three months. Tales of Graces F will have been out for 15 months before it arrives on English-speaking shores.