General Logo for the Tales series, each title has its own styling of the text.
|Genres||Role-playing video game|
|Developers||Namco Bandai Games
(2012 – Present)
Namco Tales Studio
|Publishers||Namco Bandai (formerly Namco)|
|Platforms||Super Nintendo, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, GameCube, Wii, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Mobile phone, Xbox 360, iOS, Android, Web browser, Microsoft Windows|
|First release||Tales of Phantasia
15 December 1995
|Latest release||Tales of Symphonia Chronicles
10 October 2013
|Official website||Namco Tales Channel|
The Tales (テイルズ Teiruzu?) series is a franchise of fantasy Japanese role-playing video games published by Namco Bandai Games (formerly Namco), and primarily developed by its subsidiary, Namco Tales Studio. First started in 1995 with the development of Tales of Phantasia, the series now spans fourteen games in the main series. Additionally, while primarily role-playing games, the series features an extensive line up of spin-off games that often span other genres, and four stand-alone animated productions based on the video games. While many of the spinoffs contain crossover appearancees of characters within the main series, the main series games are largely unrelated to one another unless denoted with their names. (For example, Tales of Xillia and its sequel Tales of Xillia 2.)
Nine out of the fourteen entries in the main series have been localized for North America and Europe, although almost all of the spinoff titles have not been released abroad. While seen as a niche series in English speaking regions, the series is considered very high profile in Japan, just behind other series such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. By December 2007, the series had sold over ten million copies, and by May 2011, it had sold 13 million units worldwide.
- 1 Main series video games
- 1.1 Tales of Phantasia
- 1.2 Tales of Destiny
- 1.3 Tales of Eternia
- 1.4 Tales of Destiny 2
- 1.5 Tales of Symphonia
- 1.6 Tales of Rebirth
- 1.7 Tales of Legendia
- 1.8 Tales of the Abyss
- 1.9 Tales of Innocence
- 1.10 Tales of Vesperia
- 1.11 Tales of Hearts
- 1.12 Tales of Graces
- 1.13 Tales of Xillia
- 1.14 Tales of Xillia 2
- 1.15 Tales of Zestiria
- 2 Spinoff video games
- 3 Common elements
- 4 Development
- 5 Anime adaptations
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Main series video games
The games in the series have been divided into two types – the main series of games, called "Mothership Titles", and the side story games, titled "Escort Titles".
|1995 –||– Tales of Phantasia|
|1997 –||– Tales of Destiny|
|2000 –||– Tales of Eternia|
|2002 –||– Tales of Destiny 2|
|2003 –||– Tales of Symphonia|
|2004 –||– Tales of Rebirth|
|2005 –||– Tales of Legendia||– Tales of the Abyss|
|2007 –||– Tales of Innocence|
|2008 –||– Tales of Vesperia||– Tales of Hearts|
|2009 –||– Tales of Graces|
|2011 –||– Tales of Xillia|
|2012 –||– Tales of Xillia 2|
|2013 –||– Tales of Symphonia Chronicles|
|2015 –||– Tales of Zestiria|
Tales of Phantasia
Tales of Phantasia is the first game in the series, originally developed by Wolf Team. It was originally released exclusively in Japan in 1995 for the Super Famicom. In 1998, it was remade for the PlayStation video game console, although this version remained in Japan as well. The game wasn't officially released in English-speaking regions until the 2003 version of the game for the Game Boy Advance was finally translated and released in 2006, although an unofficial translation of the Super Nintendo version had been circulated on the internet by DeJap Translations. The game was later ported to the PlayStation Portable and iOS as well.
The game is known for its difficult development cycle for the original Super Nintendo version of the game, in which many creative disagreements arose between developer Wolf Team and publisher Namco. It led to most of the Wolf Team staff leaving after the game in order to start a new company, tri-Ace, which would go on to make the similar Star Ocean series of video games. Remaining members would continue to develop games in the Tales series, eventually helping to form Namco Tales Studio.
In the game, the player controls the character name Cress Alvein, whose town is destroyed by the Dark Knight named "Mars". This leads him, and a group of friends, on a quest through time to stop the evil Dhaos from destroying the world.
Tales of Destiny
Tales of Destiny is the second game in the series, originally released in 1997 on the PlayStation. It was later remade for the PlayStation 2 in 2006, and then saw a third version, a "Director's Cut" of the remake, released in 2008. Only the PlayStation original was released outside of Japan; the remakes did not receive official English translations. Since Phantasia was not released in English officially until 2003, the original release of Destiny was the first Tales game in the series available for English-speaking regions.
The story follows the tale of a country-boy-turned-adventurer Stahn Aileron, who seeks fame and adventure. Upon stowing away on a ship, Stahn stumbles upon a sacred sword that can communicate with him, leading him on an adventure to defeat a large evil force.
Tales of Eternia
Tales of Eternia is the third game in the series, originally released in 2000 on the PlayStation. While eventually released in English in the North American region, the game was retitled to Tales of Destiny II. Some speculated the game was retitled to avoid trademark infringement on the word "Eternia", owned by Mattel in North America for the Masters of the Universe toyline, but the game's creators stated it was done strictly for brand name and brand recognition reasons; Tales of Destiny was the first of the Tales game to be released in North America, and they wanted to draw a clear connection between the two games. Despite the North American name, Tales of Eternia has no specific relation with Tales of Destiny, or the future Tales of Destiny 2 for the PlayStation 2 in 2002.
It was later ported to the PlayStation Portable in 2005, with mostly the same content, but largely improved load times. It was released under its original title, Tales of Eternia in Japan and in Europe, but not released in North America at all.
The story follows the tale of Reid Hershell and his childhood friend Farah Oersted. They live in a world where two planets face each other closely, but typically do not interact. One day, they are visited by Meredy, an inhabitant of the other planet, who warns them of the Grand Fall, a cataclysmic event that would destroy both planets. The journey takes them across both planets, as they seek out those responsible for this movement towards the brink of annihilation.
Tales of Destiny 2
Tales of Destiny 2, the fourth entry in the series, became the first to be released on the PlayStation 2 when it was released in 2002. It was ported to the PlayStation Portable in 2007. It has no relation to Tales of Eternia and is a direct sequel to Tales of Destiny. Neither versions of the game were released in any English speaking regions.
The plot is a direct continuation of the original Tales of Destiny. The game takes place 18 years later and is centered around Kyle Dunamis, the son of two main characters of Tales of Destiny. A mysterious girl, Reala, believes in a prophecy of a hero, and believes Kyle is it. Together, they fight against a new movement led by Elraine that seeks to revive the goddess Fortuna.
Tales of Symphonia
Tales of Symphonia, the fifth entry in the series, was released in 2003 for the GameCube, and was subsequently ported to the PlayStation 2 with additional content. Only the GameCube version was released in English speaking regions, the PlayStation 2 version, while rumored for translation by websites like IGN, was ultimately not translated.
The game follows the story of Lloyd Irving, who must help and protect one of his best friends, Colette Brunel, who is a "Chosen". As a "Chosen", she must travel to different locations to awaken Spirits, in efforts to bring back the Mana (life force) to the dying planet.
A direct sequel, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, was first released for the Wii in 2008. The game explores the aftermath of the first game's events through the eyes of two new characters, Emil and Marta, who interact with all of the main characters from the original.
Tales of Rebirth
Tales of Rebirth, the sixth entry in the series, was originally released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2. The game was later ported to the PlayStation Portable in 2008, with graphical upgrades and different camera views. However, neither versions of the game were localized for English speaking regions. While Symphonia was the first game to possess full three dimensional graphics, Rebirth returns to a two dimensional graphical style more similar to the first four games in the series.
The game follows the journey of Veigue Lungberg, a swordsman with an emotionally scarred past. While he has never stepped foot outside of the village, he feels he has no choice to leave after his familiar surroundings and family, including Veigue himself, come under attack from a mysterious outside military force. The game's world consists of two races, Huma (intellectuals) and Gajema (physical strength), who have existed since ancient times, but go through periods of war and peace.
Tales of Legendia
Tales of Legendia, the seventh entry in the series, was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005 in Japan. An English localization was released in North America in 2006. It was the first Tales game not to be made Wolf Team/Namco Tales Studio, and the only game in the series to be developed by "Project Melfes", a then-newly formed internal development team at Namco. It is one of few titles in the main series to not have been re-released as a port or remake of any form.
The game follows the tale of Senel Coolidge, a young expert of eres, which is essentially "the essence of life", or chi. One day, he is drifting in the ocean on a small boat with his younger adopted sister, Shirley, and as food runs out, an island suddenly appears. They make it ashore to realize that the island they are on is actually an enormous ship called the Legacy. Upon exploring it, they learn of their own ties to the ship, and their responsibility to protect it from falling into possession of evil powers who would use the ship for wars.
Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss, the eighth entry in the series, was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005 in Japan. An English localization was released in North America in 2006. It was released relatively closely to the last title, Tales of Legendia, because they had different teams; Legendia by the new "Project Melfes", and Abyss by the same team within Namco Tales Studio that developed Tales of Symphonia. The game was later re-released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 in Japan. English localizations were released as well, for the game's first time in Europe in 2011, and in North America in early 2012.
The game revolves around Luke Fon Fabre, who has been confined to the family mansion ever since being kidnapped seven years ago by the neighboring Malkuth Empire. The shock of the kidnapping has erased all of Luke's memories prior to the event. One fateful day, a mysterious woman breaks into the mansion and sets off a chain of events that drag Luke into the center of a massive conflict between the different countries. The game focuses on Luke and his struggles to understand, adapt, and eventually change the new world around him.
Tales of Innocence
Tales of Innocence, the ninth entry in the series, was released for the Nintendo DS in Japan in 2007. It was the first of two main series games (The other being Tales of Hearts) developed only for a handheld video game console, and the only one developed by Alfa System. A remake of the game, Tales of Innocence R, for the PlayStation Vita was released on 26 January 2012. Both games were only officially released in Japan, although an unofficial English translation for the DS version was released on the internet.
The game follows Ruca, a teenager who finds out he is the reincarnation of an ancient demon king Asura, and Ilia, who is the reincarnation of Inanna, Asura's lover. The two go on an adventure where they meet up others who have been reincarnated, and try to prevent issues that occurred in their past life from happening again.
Tales of Vesperia
Tales of Vesperia, the tenth entry in the series, was originally released for the Xbox 360 in 2008 in Japan and North America. It was released in Europe a year later in 2009 by Atari. Shortly after the European release, it was also ported to the PlayStation 3 exclusively in Japan. The PlayStation 3 version contained new content such as with additional main characters, full voice-acting, and many extended scenes or additional items to collect. A full-length, anime film, Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike, was created based on the game as well. It was released in 2009 in Japan and 2012 in North America.
The game follows the tale of Yuri Lowell, an ex-Imperial Knight turned vigilante, who was arrested while attempting to catch a thief and is jailed in the Imperial Castle. During his escape, he meets a young princess, Lady Estellise, who is searching for Yuri's best friend and Imperial Knight Flynn Scifo. The two of them then set out from the Imperial Castle to find both Flynn and the thief.
Tales of Hearts
Tales of Hearts, the eleventh entry in the series, was released on the Nintendo DS in 2008. An updated remake was released on the PlayStation Vita in March 2013. It was the second of two games in the main series to be released on a handheld video game system and on the DS (The other being Tales of Innocence). The game was not localized or released in any regions outside of Japan, despite a North American trademark on the title. The game's original release did come in two different forms, the "anime" version and the "CG" version. The game's content is identical with the exception of the art style in non-interactive cutscenes; one has anime-styled videos, while the other has 3D computer graphics videos.
The game follows the story of Shing Meteoryte, who lives in a world where everyone has a spiritual power called "spiria", but very few have a "soma", which is an ancient artifact that allows people to use that energy to fight, and even other people mental state. When he feels his actions cause a person's "spiria" to be crushed, he goes on a quest, using his "soma" to fight battles and right his prior wrong, and help people who have their mental state affected by Despir, a disease that affects people's "spirias".
Tales of Graces
Tales of Graces, the twelfth entry in the series, was originally released on the Wii in Japan in 2009. An enhanced port, Tales of Graces f, was later released in 2010 in Japan for the PlayStation 3. This version included an additional storyline taking place six months after the end of the original game. After a few years passed, only the enhanced PlayStation 3 version was localized for English speaking regions. It was released in North America on 13 March 2012 and was released in Europe on 31 August 2012.
The game follows Asbel Lhant, the eldest son of the feudal lord Aston; he is a bright and cheerful boy with a normal childhood. However, after an unknown incident occurs, a strong determination awoke within him, which led him to enlist himself in a knight's academy in the capital. The game takes place seven years after the incident. Asbel becomes caught in between nation's warring and politics, and also tries to figure out the mystery behind the amnesiac character Sophie.
Tales of Xillia
The game features two main characters, a teenage boy named Jude Mathis and a young woman named Milla Maxwell. Both characters live in the world of Rieze Maxia, where humans and spirits are able to reside together in harmony. The two cross paths, and end up as fugitives together when they happen across an army conspiracy.
Tales of Xillia 2
Tales of Xillia 2, the fourteenth game in the series, is a direct sequel to Tales of Xillia. It was released on 1 November 2012 in Japan and will be released in 2014 in North America and Europe. Due to Namco Tales Studios being merged into Namco Bandai Games in 2011, the game will be the first to be developed by the latter company, albeit with largely the same staff as before.
The game follows new character Ludger, who is working to repay a large personal debt of 20 million. Ludger will come across characters from the original while working on raising money towards his debt.
Tales of Zestiria
Tales of Zesteria, the fifteenth game in the series, is in development for the PlayStation 3.
Spinoff video games
In addition to the main games of the series, there are many "spinoff" titles, referred to by the company as "Escort Titles". Many of these games are crossover games, which involve combining characters from different games from the main series, and having them interact together in a game. Other games have different or more experimental game play aspects compared to games in the main series. Some have developed into sub-series, where others have been one-off games.
Tales of the World
Many of the spinoff games fall under the name of the Tales of the World titles, which typically contain crossover appearances of various characters, and dungeon crawling. Consisting of nine games, only one, Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology, has been released outside of Japan.
Three games of the series fall under the Radiant Mythology subgroup of games: Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology, Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2, and Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3. All three games were released for the PlayStation Portable system in 2006, 2009, and 2011 respectively, although only the first one was released in English in North America and Europe. The games were role-playing games that involved the player creating a new, customizable character, and exploring the world while meeting characters from past Tales games. Each game played largely the same, but would add increasingly large numbers of characters in each installment.
Another subgroup are the Narikiri Dungeon games: Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon, Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 2, and Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3. The first Narikiri Dungeon was released in 2000 for the Game Boy Color, and then remade to the PlayStation Portable in 2010. None of the Narikiri Dungeon games have officially released in any English speaking territories.
Three unconnected Tales of the World games exist as well. Tales of the World: Summoner's Lineage was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, only in Japan. Tales of the World: Dice Adventure is a web browser-based board game in the Tales series of video games. It was released on 26 April 2012, in Japanese language only, though it is playable in any region with a Bandai Namco ID. Tales of the World: Tactics Union was released in July 2012 for Android phones only in Japan.
Tales of Mobile
Six games have also been released under the Tales of Mobile sub-series, for playing on cell phone systems. The first, Tales of Tactics, was released for the DoCoMo, FOMA, au, and WIN services in 2004. None of these titles have been available outside of Japan.
Tales of Fandom
Two video games exist under the Tales of Fandom name, although both were only released in Japan. Tales of Fandom Vol.1 was released for the PlayStation in 2002, and featured interaction from characters from Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Destiny, and Tales of Eternia. The second volume, Tales of Fandom Vol.2 was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2007, and featured interaction from characters from Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Phantasia, and Tales of the Abyss.
Tales of the Tempest
Tales of the Tempest was released for the Nintendo DS in late 2006. The game was co-developed by the usual Namco Tales Studio, and a development team new to the series, Dimps. It was only released in Japan, not any English speaking territories. It is the only spinoff title that is a completely original game, opposed to the rest of the spinoff games, which are either sequels or possess crossover elements of other games' characters and/or settings. Because of this, the game was originally considered part of the main series, but in 2007 with the formal announcement of the two classifications of Tales games, "Mothership Titles" (main series) and "Escort Titles" (spinoff series), series producer Makoto Yoshizumi officially delegated the game's status as a spinoff.
The game follows a boy named Caius, who has his village attacked by the Imperial Army, who is after creatures resembling werewolves and lycanthropes. Since Caius's foster father is one of these creatures, he sneaks out of the village with his childhood friend, Rubia, and explore the world, looking for answers regarding his family and past.
Tales of Eternia Online
Tales of Eternia Online is a spinoff of Tales of Eternia, played online, but within the original game's fictional universe.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, released for the Wii in 2008 in Japan and US, and in 2009 in Europe, is a sequel of Tales of Symphonia. The game takes place 2 years after the first game and tells the story of two heroes: Emil and Marta. It was released in high-definition on the PlayStation 3 as part of Tales of Symphonia Chronicles in October 2013 for Japan and it was released in early 2014 internationally.
Tales of VS.
The game takes the basic fighting engine present in much of the main series of games, and uses it in a crossover fighting video game in the vein of Dissidia Final Fantasy and Super Smash Bros. It was released for the PlayStation Portable in Japan on 2009. It featured 35 characters from the first 13 games in the main series. The game also featured its own unique story mode featuring a crossover story in the vein of many of the Tales of the World subseries of games.
Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave
Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave is a video game similar to the Musou/Dynasty Warriors games, where as the player will be able to control one of the characters while the AI controls the other as backup. The playable characters range from Tales of Phantasia to Tales of Xillia, featuring characters such as Jude and Milla from Tales of Xillia, Lloyd and Zelos from Tales of Symphonia, and Yuri and Flynn from Tales of Vesperia. Each pair has their own story line to participate in. This game was released in Japan on 23 February 2012.
Tales of Link
Every game in the main series, and many of the spinoff games, possess a battle system called the "Linear Motion Battle System". In most entries in the series, there are not random battles, but enemies visible on the overworld, with whom a battle begins when the character comes into contact In this system, the player moves on a horizontal plane while executing attacks in real time. In later 3D games, the player is also able to move freely in the 3D plane, but can only attack while locked into a horizontal 2D axis (with the exception being Tales of Vesperia, where a Free-Run Attack can be performed). By pressing the attack button along with a directional button in different directions, the character can perform various kinds of attacks. While up to four characters can participate in the battle, the player has direct control over only one character. However, some games in the series do allow up to four players to play, albeit strictly in the battles, not the rest of the aspects of the game. The battle system, especially in the earlier game's iterations, was compared to fighting video games, especially the Street Fighter series of video games.
At any time, the player can view a menu which pauses the action and allows them to select an item or an ability to use, choose a spell to cast, change a character's AI tactics, pick an attack target, or escape from battle. Some later games included added shortcut options to items and/or skills, or allowed the computer controlled characters to use items.
"Grade", first introduced in Tales of Eternia, is another common aspect of Tales battle systems. "Grade" is awarded to the player based upon the player's performance in a battle. Doing well gains it, while doing poorly can subtract from the value. After completing the entire game, this accumulated Grade can be used in the "Grade Shop" to buy certain bonuses for the next playthrough.
Most Tales games gives each character unique skills or magic/artes. For example, in Tales of Phantasia, only the character Cress can use sword skills, while only Mint is capable of learning healing magic. In most games of the series, when a skill or spell is used it consumes TP (Technical Points). In more recent games, other systems were introduced, like the CC (Chain Capacity) and AP (Action Point) systems.
In later games of the series, after the basic melee attacks are used, a skill can be linked into that attack to do a larger amount of hits and damage, which has been expanded on in differing ways by each game. Magic is usually divided into two categories: attack magic and healing/support magic. Attack magic is used for dealing damage to the enemy, while healing magic is used to heal the party or to provide support. In particular titles of the series, some characters are able to use Summon Spirits, powerful forms of magic that usually are one of or the strongest attack or healing spells.
Another common abililty is known as the "Hi-Ougi," (秘奥義) or "Mystic Artes" in the English versions. Usually they are secret special attacks that have one or more requirements and are often the most powerful attack in a character's arsenal, capable of large amounts of damage or healing power.
Items and equipment
The series usually has a large number of consumable items that can be used to affect characters status during battle. For example, common ones include "gels" or "gummies" that are often given the flavor of various fruits and help heal/recover characters. There are also many status-curing items labeled as various types of "Bottles".
Many games employ the use of "cooking" to mix and combine unusable raw food items into new usable items. Usually, a player must first find a recipe, which give ingredient requirements. Once found, the player choses which character will cook them, and if successful, it results in food items that will restore power to characters once consumed.
Many other, non-consumeable items affect gameplay in other ways as well. Commonly an item called the "Sorcerer's Ring", is used to affect the environment. For instance, it could be set to have the ability to shoot fire outwardly, which could set certain objects on fire. Additionally, many titles of the series there are various "recording" items to acquire, such the Collector's Book, which records the various items the player collects.
Like many role-playing video games, there is commonly equipment to buy, sell, find, and equip to characters. Most equipment are weapons, which affects attack power, armor, which affects defense, and accessories, which vary in how they affect the character. Some equipment only affect a characters statistics, while others, like weapons or shields, physically change the character's in-game appearance.
Partaking in various sidequests, events, and minigames throughout the games may award a character with a new "Title", which are essentially nicknames. Sometimes titles serve no gameplay purpose, while other times, titles may alter a characters stats, stat growth, or which abilities are learned. Titles sometimes award characters with new physical appearances in games as well.
Most Tales games have skits, which shows side conversations between different characters, as they progress through the game. They are commonly portrayed as character portraits or profiles, with text on the bottom. Most Japanese versions are fully voiced, while, due to the large amounts of text, most English versions are not voiced.
Namco and Namco Tales Studio often use unique terminology when referring to the games of the Tales series. In 2007, series producer Makoto Yoshizumi announced two classes of Tales games, "Mothership Titles" and "Escort Titles". "Mothership" essentially means "Main series", where as "Escort" essentially means "Spinoff". The games are also frequently given what is called a "Characteristic Genre Name", which is essentially a short subtitle or phrase that outlines the game's overall theme. While the terms are rarely used outside of Namco's Japanese Division and region, they are frequently used to describe, promote, or classify the games in Japan.
Every game in the main series of Tales games has used character designs of either Kōsuke Fujishima, Mutsumi Inomata, or Kazuto Nakazawa. Motoi Sakuraba has been the primary composer for the series, along with Shinji Tamura and Go Shiina. Spinoff titles often deviate from typical staff members though.
Four anime series have been produced and released in Japan based on games in the series. The first, Tales of Eternia: The Animation, had 13 episodes and is loosely based on Tales of Eternia and was released in 2001. The next two anime series were released as original video animations, Tales of Phantasia: The Animation being released in 4 parts from 2004–2006, and Tales of Symphonia: The Animation being released in 11 parts from 2007–2012. Tales of the Abyss was adapted into a full 26-episode anime television series that was originally broadcast from 3 October 2008 through 20 March 2009.
The first theatrical anime film of the series, Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike, was released on 3 October 2009 and was a prequel to Tales of Vesperia. It featured new characters as well as provided backstories to existing ones from the game.
While keeping a lower profile in English-speaking regions, in Japan, it is regarded as one of the biggest role-playing video game series. 1UP.com refers to it as the third biggest RPG series in Japan behind Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Gamasutra echoed these sentiments, stating that "While the series doesn't have quite the cultural cache of Final Fantasy in the West or Dragon Quest in Japan, it's still a very popular brand worldwide". IGN additionally referred to it as the third biggest Japanese role-playing series in regards to sales.
As of the end of 2012, the series has collectively sold over 15 million copies worldwide.
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