NYCC: Exclusive Interview with Baba-san

While enjoying the crowds and games at New York Comic Con this year, we took the time to check in with Hideo Baba, Chief Producer on the upcoming Tales of Xillia.

SelectButton: First off, let me ask this right off the bat. How do you pronounce the title “Xillia” as I have people online going back and forth on how it is correctly pronounced?

Baba-san: “Ex-sillia”, not “zilla”. (laughs)

SelectButton: What are the key additions to the Tales formula since Tales of Graces f?

Baba-san: Actually, every aspect has changed and we are excited to show you the new characters and world we have designed. As for the battle system, in Xillia we have implemented a brand new one.

SelectButton: I believe you call it the Double Raid Linear Motion Battle System. What can we expect in this battle system especially after the robust combat system from Tales of Graces f?

Baba-san: Regarding the battle system from Tales of Graces f, it was called Style-Shift Linear Motion and one of the biggest features in Xillia is the very unique and improved battle system. In Xillia, the two lead characters can link together to form one massive attack.

SelectButton: Do they – Jude and Milla – have different play styles and do you have a favorite between the two?

Baba-san: Each if the two characters have a unique battle style. Jude focuses on hand-hand combat, while Milla uses a sword and is able to generate combos in the air. Actually I love both of them. (laughs)

SelectButton: Do either of the characters use magic?

Baba-san: Yes, both of the characters are able to use magic.

SelectButton: Are you able to choose between the two characters at the start of the game?

Baba-san: The game will play out from the view of your chosen character. For example, if you select Jude, you will see everything from his perspective, but to see everything the game has to offer you need to play through it again using Milla.

SelectButton: Do you believe this will make Tales of Xillia the biggest Tales game to date?

Baba-san: I think every Tales of title has tons of replayability including Xillia, which can be enjoyed for well over 100 hours.

SelectButton: How do you decide which games in the series receive localization especially after Tales of Vesperia didn’t hit PS3 in North America, but did release on the Xbox 360?

Baba-san: While making a new title for the Japanese market, we need to look at the title with a limited amount of people and decide which title can be localized in this process. I know the Western fans wait a long time for the localization to occur from the Japanese version so we need to work on shortening the time between the two versions.

SelectButton: I was thinking exactly that; as the second Tales of Xillia title will be hitting the shelves in Japan this year, while North America is still waiting for “sometime next year” for the first title.

Baba-san: Tales of Xillia will be available next year, so since we decided on bringing the first game to Western fans, I believe it is important to bring Xillia 2 to them as well. Of course, I can’t make any announcement as of now, but please stay tuned.

SelectButton: Will it be dependent on how well Tales of Xillia sells here?

Baba-san: Of course! If more and more users enjoy Tales of Xillia, it becomes easier to bring the second one to the western audience as well. So please enjoy the game. (laughs)

SelectButton: Because there are many purists out there, can we expect to see the option to play the game with the original Japanese voice track? Is it something that is being considered?

Baba-san: As of now I can’t make a promise, but I have received so many requests from Western fans about the Japanese voice-overs so I really want to consider it.

SelectButton: With a near perfect famitsu score of 39/40, what improvements have been made since Tales of Graces f to merit such acclaim?

Baba-san: So I think every feature in the game were improved from the previous titles, especially the battle system. I believe the big theme for the story line, makes Xillia the best in the series.

SelectButton: Visually and artistically Tales of Xillia is very different from the previous titles, featuring more mature character designs. Do you believe this will help you appeal to a wider audience while still staying true to the core Tales of series fans?

Baba-san: Many users started played the Tales of series from Xillia, so I believe that it has helped to broaden the fan base.

SelectButton: Tales of Xillia is releasing exclusively on the PlayStation 3, do you feel you will have a better chance of success focusing on one platform?

Baba-san: It is easier to develop a game on a single platform, but the main reason we released it on only the PS3 is due to the majority of the fan base are already owns a PlayStation 3. Fans want the game on PS3.

SelectButton: Are there any changes being made from the original Japanese release that will be added to the Western release, such as the inclusion of DLC?

Baba-san: The localization process takes a long time due to the difficulty releasing the game in different languages. We want to keep the quality of the translation intact so it takes more time.

SelectButton: If sales improved, can we expect anything on the PlayStation Vita?

Baba-san: If more and more of our fan base buy PlayStation Vita’s, we would have to increase the number of staff to work on a Vita version.

SelectButton: Any chance you can narrow down the release date for us?

Baba-san: Sorry, I can’t make any promises, but I really want to release it as soon as possible.

Tales of Xillia 2