Getting to know… Tales of the Abyss

Japanese game stores are full to the brim of excellent RPGs that will never see the light of day on European or American shores. Luckily Tales of the Abyss is not one of those, and as it is currently scheduled for an EU release later this year.

Handheld systems have always been home to some of the best RPGs out there, including the Golden Sun, Dragon Quest and of course Pokemon franchises, giving me high hopes that Tales of the Abyss will be the vast, action-filled adventure that 3DS owners are longing for.

I have been speaking to our friend at Namco Bandai, Executive PR Peter Oliver, to bring you the latest information about the upcoming 3D instalment of the Tales Of… series:

Katy: Tales of the Abyss was originally released on the Playstation 2 in 2005. For those who didn’t play the game first time round could you tell us a little bit about the story? 

Peter:Tales of the Abyss is the story of Luke Fon Fabre, the son of a Duke and sole heir to his family’s fortune. Seven years ago he was kidnapped and the stress of it all has brought on a rather unwelcome bout of amnesia! After being returned to his parents, he is, for his own safety, confined to a life of solitude and tedium, sheltered from the world outside. That is until he gets caught up with the Order of Lorelei who are the keepers of the Score prophecy and is forced to adapt to the harsh environs of the outside world. He’ll meet dozens of colourful characters along the way and as is often the case with RPGs, it will be his actions which decide the fate of the world!

Katy: What changes have undergone in bringing Tales of the Abyss to the 3DS? Has there been many alterations to the gameplay? 

Peter: The development team have tried to stay as true to the original as possible. Obviously, the addition of that magical third dimension will bring a Tales game to life moreso than ever before and the addition of an Artes shortcut to the touchscreen and enhanced 3DS effects will give players deeper immersion in more strategic battles.

Katy: Will the 3DS version include any Spotpass or Street Pass functionality? 

Peter: I haven’t heard of anything like that being implemented but I could be wrong.

Katy: As you yourself are a huge RPG fan (Peter writes his own RPG inspired blog), what do you think separates the Tales Of… series from other JRPGs? 

Peter: Three things for me separate the Tales of series from other games in the genre. Firstly, the combat system. Tales of titles, for me, have always encouraged active, real-time combat over more traditional turn based combat. Battles are flashy, exciting and fast-paced and would appeal to gamers tired of the turn based system if they’d be willing to give it a chance! Personally, I’m a fan of both combat systems and as a bit of a JRPG traditionalist, love my turn based combat, but Tales has been revolutionary in giving fans of the genre something a little bit different. So much inspiration has been taken from the Tales of combat system in other RPGs and I feel the series has always offered RPG fans something a little bit different because of this.

Secondly, the art style. Playing a Tales game is like watching an anime with ridiculously high production values, especially the more recent additions to the series. The Tales games capture the essence of a highly polished Anime. Everything from the character detail, to the environments, to the dialogue isabove and beyond what you’d expect from the very best of the genre and I really feel that these values set the Tales series aside from more generic RPG series’.

Lastly, it’s the Tales of fans. If there are a more passionate, more engaged, more knowledgeable set of RPG fans out there, I’m yet to meet them. I’ve worked with Final Fantasy fans, Elder Scrolls fans and World of Warcraft fans in the past but these guys are unbelievable. Since working at Namco Bandai it’s become emphatically clear to me that not only does the Tales fanbase know their Tales games inside out, they also constantly strive and lobby for more content and take nothing about their beloved series for granted. They’re wonderfully insatiable and I can only hope that all their wishes for the series come true. They’re an amazingly dedicated bunch and for me, they’re the amongst up there with the very best fans in the industry.

It’s clear after talking to someone like Peter who is so passionate about the games he works on as well as being a connoisseur of the RPG genre, that Tales of the Abyss is definitely a game to watch out for. We at Nintendo Scene will be watching out for a confirmed release date and updating you on all the latest news regarding this title.

Make sure you have a good browse through the gallery at the bottom to take a peek at some of the screenshots as well as the beautiful anime cut-scenes!

Many thanks to Peter and the rest of the Namco Bandai team!

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