Following a lengthy process of teasing, Namco Bandai has officially announced the fifteenth main entry in their long-running Tales of series, Tales of Zestiria. At this early point, it has been confirmed that it will be getting a worldwide release with the only platform currently announced being the Playstation 3. The unveiling came as part of the publisher’s commemoration of 20 years of the series, the anniversary of which occurs in 2015, making it seem likely that Zestiria is still at least a year away.
As is to be expected, details on the content of the game are fairly scarce, though two characters were introduced during the announcement; a boy named Slay and a girl named Alicia. It takes place in a fantasy-oriented world called Green Wood with exploration being touted as a central concept, leading some to think that it will offer an open-world environment. The story is said to revolve around dragons, in order to really capture that fantasy vibe, as the mythological creature are a mainstay of the genre. Tales of Zestiria will also incorporate a redesigned battle system that was influenced by fan feedback with Hideo Baba, the series’ producer, stating that it will be something new that fans can expect to look forward to.
Following Tales of Xillia 2, it is the second Tales of game to be developed since the dissolution of the dedicated Namco Tales Studio, though most of the core staff remains unchanged from earlier iterations. Character design in the new game will be shared by all four of the series’ traditional artists: Mutsumi Inomata (Graces), Kosuke Fujishima (Symphonia), Daigo Okumura (Dawn of the New World), and Jin Iwamoto (Radiant Mythology). According to Makoto Yoshizumi, Chief Producer of Tales of, Zestiria is also designed to return “to the roots of the series and boldly exclaim to the world ‘this is Tales of!’”
The last game in the franchise to reach Western shores, Tales of Xillia, was well regarded by our own David Nelson, who scored it a 9/10 in his review. With this announcement, it is now known that there are at least three games in the series headed to the Playstation 3 within the next two years with Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, a HD Remaster of the PS2 original and its Wii sequel Dawn of the New World, coming in February 2014, and Tales of Xillia 2 at a later, currently unannounced point in the year.