Tales of Zestiria
|Tales of Zestiria|
Japanese cover art for Tales of Zestiria featuring the main cast.
|Developer(s)||Bandai Namco Studios|
|Publisher(s)||Bandai Namco Games|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Tales of Zestiria (Japanese: テイルズ オブ ゼスティリア Hepburn: Teiruzu Obu Zesutiria?) is an upcoming Japanese role-playing game for the PlayStation 3. It is the fifteenth core product in the Tales series, developed by Bandai Namco Studios, and published by Bandai Namco Games. It is to be released on January 22, 2015 in Japan. Revealed during a special festival in December 2013, it was designed as the 20th anniversary title for the Tales series, with a revamped battle system and an open-world. It features multiple staff members from previous entries in the series: they include producer Hideo Baba, battle programmer Tatsuro Udo, designers Kōsuke Fujishima and Mutsumi Inomata, and composers Motoi Sakuraba and Go Shiina.
Returning to a high fantasy setting similar to the first Tales game, Zestiria is set on the fictional continent of Greenwood, which is divided between two warring empires. The story follows Sorey, a man blessed with powers by a mystical race known as the Tenzoku who act as a stabilizing force in the land, as he travels to free Greenwood from the threat of the Hyoma, creatures spawned by negative emotions. The game's central theme is Sekai o tentō jōnetsu no RPG (世界を点灯情熱のRPG?, lit. "RPG of Passion Lighting the World"), with its story focusing on the characters' passion and drive.
Tales of Zestiria is a console action role-playing game set in a fantasy world with three-dimensional characters rendered to scale with the areas around them. The game's main world employs an open world-style layout in contrast to previous entries in the series, which Hideo Baba compared to "moving along a highway". Skits, extra conversations between characters that can be either dramatic or comical, also return: their full-body representation of characters is carried over from Tales of Graces. As in that game and Tales of Xillia, they are fully voiced. During exploration of the field area between locations and while a specific Tenzoku character is assigned, the player can execute special commands: they are slicing through minor obstacles (all characters), smashing large obstacles (Edna), temporarily shielding themselves from enemy view (Mikleo) igniting special lights in dungeons (Lailah), or teleporting to a far-away location (Dezel). A changeable second character also accompanies the lead character, and story-relevant or trivial conversations can be started with them.
The battle system will be an evolved version of the series' trademark Linear Motion battle system, and carries over multiple elements from the battle system of Tales of Graces. It is titled the Fusionic Chain Linear Motion Battle System. The battle system, like previous entries in the series, incorporates special skills called artes. There are two types of battle artes: human characters specialize in close-quarters melee combat and artes, while Tenzoku characters employ mid-to-long range magical artes. These artes are further divided into multiple categories for each character. While in battle, characters status is displayed in special windows on the battle screen: their window shows their current health, their Blast gauge (an energy bar linked to special abilities), and Spirit Chain (SC) gauge, the bar beneath the health display which fuels the ability to link characters and perform special attacks. Characters have the option to side-step (dodge left or right to avoid enemy attacks), and precisely timed dodges can allow characters to stagger enemies and fill the SC gauge. The Blast gauge Characters can trigger a blast of energy which knocks enemies back and heals injuries while draining the gauge. The SC gauge allows for a maximum of four linked attacks, and any remaining points in the gauge can be used for later linked attacks. There is a maximum of four party members allowed in battle, with one human being linked with one Tenzoku.
The character Sorey also has the ability to fuse with a Tenzoku, producing a powerful hybrid form in battle which can perform magical attacks indicative of the element the Tenzoku represents. While in this form, Sorey's stats are boosted, and he gains special abilities unique to the fusion: Sorey can wield a large sword and Fire-based magic (Lailah), shoot water arrows using a bow (Miklio), use stone fists and summon stone pillars (Edna), and gain blade-like wings and summon whirlwinds (Dezel). Sorey can swap out Teozoku characters while not in Kaimu form. New special abilities for characters are gained by performing side-quests for creatures called Dormins scattered through the land. Unlike previous entries in the series, which featured a separate battle screen, combat in the open field and environments like towns and dungeons take place in the same space as exploration. These encounters are called "Real Map Battles". The player characters' fighting ability during this battle can be affected by the topography and features such as ponds and rocks. Preemptively attacking enemies also grants the player an advantage during the battle.
Tales of Zestiria takes place on a fictional continent named Greenwood. Greenwood is divided between two warring countries: the Highland Kingdom, which is ruled by a constitutional monarchy, and the Laurence Empire. Throughout the land, an impurity generated by the negative emotions of humanity periodically creates monsters called the Hyoma, who pose a threat to the people. Along with humans, one of the main races of the world is the Tenzoku (天族?, lit. "Heaven Family"), supernatural humanoids who can only interact with humans with sufficient spirit energy. Though once an abundant people in Greenwood, the Tenzoku have become scarce. The people of the world call those who interact with the Tenzoku "Monks", and they are both hailed as saviors and feared because of their power. The Monks have frequently appeared during times of crisis, and have entered into common folklore along with the Tenzoku. Tenzoku can also form contracts between themselves, with one dominant figure and a number of partners who act as supports for them. The game tells the story of the Monks during the "era of disasters", when the Hyoma are running rampant across Greenwood, attacking both the countryside and cities.
The game revolves around Sorey, who wishes to return peace to the land, setting out on a quest to become a Monk, gain the power to calm the Hyoma and defeat their mysterious leader, and save both humanity and the Tenzoku. He also wishes to bring about a new "legendary time" when humanity and the Tenzoku lived in harmony. Dragons will play an important role in the both the lore and main story arc, but will not follow their traditional representation as beings of good and evil or symbolic creatures.
- Sorey (スレイ Surei?)
- Sorey was raised by the Tenzoku and possesses high levels of spirit energy, allowing him to interact with them. Due to becoming a Monk after entering into a pact with Lailah, Sorey holds the power to calm the Hyoma. In battle, he wields a ceremonial sword he found in some ancient ruins. Sorey is designed by Kousuke Fujishima and voiced by Ryōhei Kimura.
- Alisha (アリーシャ Arīsha?)
- Alisha is a princess to the Highland empire. Due to her mother's low status and the decreasing importance of the kingdom's monarchy, she is treated poorly by the royal family, and decides to become a knight. While initially unable to see and interact with the Tenzeoku as Sorey can, she enters a pact with him to become a "thane", a servant of the Monk with limited magic and the ability to see the Tenzoku. Alisha wields a long spear in battle. She is designed by Daigo Okumura and voiced by Ai Kayano.
- Mikleo (ミクリオ Mikurio?)
- Mikleo is a Tenzoku aligned with the element of Water, and Sorey's childhood friend. He acts as a contrast to Sorey, being cool and considerate, but because of this he has a strong bond of friendship with him. Mikleo fights with a long fighting staff and Water-based heavenly artes. He is designed by Mutsumi Inomata and voiced by Ryōta Ōsaka.
- Edna (エドナ Edona?)
- Edna is a Tenzoku aligned with the element of Earth. While she has a pretty and petite exterior, she has a cool personality and distrusts humans. However, when it comes to her brother, she is prone to outbursts of emotion. Edna uses her parasol in combat and utilizes Earth-based heavenly artes. She is designed by Minorushi Iwamoto and voiced by Misato Fukuen.
- Lailah (ライラ Raira?)
- Lailah is a Tenzoku aligned with the element of Fire. She acts as a tutor to Sorey, and forms a pact with him when he wishes to become a Monk. Lailah also forms pacts with Mikleo, Edna and Dezel, being the senior member of the partnership. Though she is knowledgeable, she is prone to delusional outbursts. Lailah fights with book pages and Fire-based heavenly artes. She is designed by Inomata and voiced by Miyu Matsuki.
- Dezel (デゼル Dezeru?)
- Dezel is a Tenzoku aligned with the element of Wind. Working in secret among the human population, he seeks vengeance against the Hyoma after they killed a close friend. He is also considered an outlaw by the humans and the Tenzoku. Dezel uses whip-like pendulums and Wind-based artes in battle. He is designed by Okumura and voiced by Daisuke Ono.
- Rosé (ロゼ Roze?)
- A young human woman who joins Sorey's quest. Her cheeriness sets the mood for the group. Rosé is designed by Fujushima and voiced by Mikako Komatsu.
- Zavied (ザビーダ Zabīda?)
- Zaveid is a Tenzoku aligned with the element of Wind. Though he also fights the Hyoma, is generally a prankster and shares some form of connection with Dezel, he is also dangerous due to his uncertain allegiance and his willingness to fight Sorey. Zaveid fights with twin pistols and Wind-based heavenly artes. The character is designed by Iwamoto and voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda.
- Maltran (マルトラン Marutoran?)
- Maltran is a character from the Highland Kingdom who plays a large role in its story. A female knight known as the "Blue Valkyrie", she is Alisha's mentor, having taught her all her combat skills, and one of the few important figures in the kingdom who supports her. Maltran is voiced by Mami Koyama.
- Sergei (セルゲイ Serugei?)
- Sergei is a knight of the Laurence Empire and leader of an elite group of knights whose combat ability is great enough to fight both humans and the Tenzoku. Both loyal to the Empire and concerned with the welfare of the people, an incident between him and Soray causes the two to cross swords. Sergei is voiced by Hideyuki Hori.
The game was conceived as a 20th anniversary title for the series, incorporating classic elements with new gameplay ideas. Bandai explains the "zest" in Zestiria refers to passion and that the game will return to a fantasy setting with dragons, as opposed to the previous recent entries such as Tales of Xillia and its sequel. The story will focus on the theme of passion, in contrast to other entries in the series where the theme was justice or faith. Baba also wanted to return to the themetic roots of the Tales series first explored in Tales of Phantasia to celebrate the series' anniversary. The characters are designed by Kosuke Fujishima, Mutsumi Inomata, and Daigo Okumura, all of whom worked on previous Tales titles, and Minoru Iwamoto. Tatsuro Udo, battle programmer for Tales of Graces, is working on the battle system. The battle system was intended to combine familiar elements from previous installments with new ideas intended to refresh the series. Ufotable is creating the game's opening and anime cutscenes. The PlayStation 3 was chosen as the platform of release as the next generation of gaming hardware had yet to take off in Japan in terms of sales, and Bandai was unwilling to take the risk.
The Tales of Zestiria trademark was registered in Japan, Europe, and North America between August and September 2013. Bandai launched a website in November as a teaser campaign which counted down for December 12, 2013; A live stream date for Niconico revealed after the countdown. The game was revealed through the live stream and localizations for North America, South America, and Europe were announced afterwards. Shortly after the game's announcement, it was revealed that character designs and story writing were complete, while the battle system and graphics were still being finalized. In April, the game's themed sub-genre was unveiled as Sekai o tentō jōnetsu no RPG (世界を点灯情熱のRPG?, lit. "RPG of Passion Lighting the World"). As part of the localization process for the game, Bandai Namco is working towards releasing the game across all regions within the same year, with the localization starting after the game had released in Japan. The game's planned year of release in Japan was revealed at a Tales Of Festival in June 2014. In addition to the game, figurines of Sorey and Alisha are being produced, and Ufotable is creating a made-for-television anime titled Teiruzu Obu Zesutiria: Dōshi no Yoake (テイルズ オブ ゼスティリア: 導師の夜明け?, lit. "Tales of Zestiria: Dawn of the Monk"). For the English release, Namco are considering including the Japanese vocal track as in Tales of Symphonia Chronicles.
The music for Zestiria is being composed by Motoi Sakuraba, the main Tales series composer, and Go Shiina, the composer for Tales of Legendia. Due to the title's status as an anniversary title and the popularity of both composers with the Tales series fanbase, it was decided that they should co-compose the soundtrack. The game's theme song, "White Light" (白色光 Hakushoku Hikari?), is being composed and performed for the game by J-pop group Superfly.
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