This month Game Informer featured Tales of Arise, the upcoming JRPG in the long-running series, as their cover game. Like usual with featured games in Game Informer, the publication sat down with several people from Bandai Namco to discuss the upcoming title.
Producer Yusuke Tomizawa, when discussing Tales of Arise, told the publication:
This is a huge revival after 25 years of the Tales series, and we really wanted to bring a Tales title to the next level. We wanted to elevate and push the envelope. We wanted to focus on really brushing up the quality, making sure it’s polished. And also, for the game concept, we want it to be really exciting for both new players and for existing fans, preserving what everybody has loved about Tales but also appealing to a new audience.
After playing the demo I was very impressed by the updates they made to the game to bring it into the next generation. While the game franchise has often improved itself, the last few games offered minimal gameplay changes. While longtime fans of the series will not feel lost jumping into the upcoming game, they will definitely find that the franchise has a new lease on life.
After discussing the basics of the franchise, the conversation turned to influences that helped shaped the game. Several other RPG games came up, including that Director Hirokazu Kagawa has recently been playing Dark Souls, though fear not he did not point to that as an influence.
It was at that point that Tomizawa turned the conversation onto the hipster paranormal franchise Life Is Strange. Discussing this topic he stated:
Initially, when we were considering what sort of art style and direction that we wanted to take this game, at the time, I was playing Life is Strange a lot. I was a big fan due to the art direction, which was a very good balance between photorealism and animation. It was very impactful. And Life is Strange is an adventure game with a very beautiful story, and that story really inspired me to deliver that same level of beauty and quality into the Tales of Arise story. So I would have to say Life is Strange was a very big influence and inspiration in planning and developing Tales of Arise.
Much of the upcoming Tales game will see the signature style of the franchise being retained, while still maturing the game. This is reflected in the art style which, while still having anime influence, also toes the line with photorealistic artwork. There has also been stated to be a deeper focus on making the characters feel more human. As long as they don’t constantly say ‘Hella’ I think they will do just fine.
Tales of Arise will release September 10, 2021. It will be available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Microsoft Windows.