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The Tales series, known as the Tales of (テイルズオブ Teiruzu obu?) series in Japan, is a franchise of role-playing games developed by Namco (now Bandai Namco Games). Originally started by Wolfteam, a subsidiary of Telnet Japan that later split off from Namco to found Tri-Ace, the Tales series began with Tales of Phantasia on the Super Nintendo in 1995. Since then, several other "Mothership Titles", or main games, have been released, along with many remakes and ports, an original "Escort Title", Tales of the Tempest, various spin-offs, and the Tales of Mobile subseries of mobile phone games. With the exception of Tales of Legendia and Tales of Innocence, all games in the series have been created by Namco's own internal development staff, now known as Namco Tales Studio.

Common Elements

Battle System

The Tales of series is most notable for its Linear Motion Battle System (LMBS), which each Mothership Title has had some variation of. It is an action-packed battle system, in which the player can only run back and forth on a single line, as the "Linear" suggests, to attack the enemies, in a similar fashion to 2D fighting games. However, not all games limit the player to a single line; in Tales of Rebirth, the character can switch between three lines, and Tales of the Abyss introduced Free Run, or the ability to run anywhere on the battlefield. Various kinds of attacks can be performed by using direction and button combinations, and skills are assigned similarly, though they consume TP, or technical points, in most games. There are also options to guard and even command allies. Most noted among the abilities a character has are their mystic artes. They are powerful attacks unleashed under special conditions, such as being in overlimit. The gauge for Over Limit varies between games. Sometimes, these attacks have extra effects, such as reviving.

There are three settings in many Tales of games for a player to control a character: Manual, Semi-Auto, and Automatic. Manual allows the player to completely control a character. For instance, if the attack button is pressed, the player will have to go up to an enemy to hit. Semi-Auto, however, automatically moves the character to the enemy when a skill or attack is used. Using these two settings, many of the more recent games, excluding Tales of Legendia, have allowed four players to fight at once in the place of the computer-controlled characters. The final setting, Automatic, allows the computer to control characters. However, these Automatic characters have additional settings, such as the distance from the enemy, how much TP they should use, and much more.

Titles

Many Tales games, beginning with Tales of Eternia, have titles for all of the playable characters. Though the effects are always different or have no effect at all, titles always have a sentence describing it. Though some are aquired by story or level, many come through battle, side quests, and more.

Skits

Since Tales of Destiny, nearly every Tales game has used skits, systems in which the player is able to hear conversations between the cast, and sometimes any NPCs that happen to be along with the party. Though they are often presented in various ways throughout the series, they usually use animated character artwork. The Japanese version of almost every Tales game has had at least most skits in the game voiced, while in the localized versions, only Tales of Eternia, Tales of Legendia, Tales of Vesperia, and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World have had all of the skits voiced.

Recurring Characters and Namco Cameos

Spirits are often a common recurring element of the plot and gameplay of several games, and many of them have made reappearances in games of the series. Besides the Spirits, characters that have appeared in more than one game of the series include: Pac-Man, Namco's mascot; Aifread, a pirate, or pirate king; a man with an uncanny love for cats; and the Sword Dancer, a powerful hidden boss that usually fights with the party more than one time within the game. Cheagles, a creature that first appeared in Tales of the Abyss, also makes appearances outside of its original game. Namco characters such as the Valkyrie have made appearances as enemies in Tales games. The series often features extra costumes party members can wear that sometimes reference other Namco characters and games, such as Gilgamesh. Often, characters from other Tales games will make cameo appearances, or be referenced, both inside and outside of battle.

Summon Spirits

Many Tales of games have included Summon Spirits in some form or another. When introduced in Tales of Phantasia, they were nothing but another branch of spell casting, and in Tales of Destiny, they appeared as items to use. Summon Spirits did not require special terms until Tales of Eternia, after that special terms such as being Over Limit in order to summon were required. Summon Spirits have appeared as ordinary characters in Tales games such as Tales of Legendia and Tales of Vesperia. While they also have been names of days as seen in Tales of the Abyss.

Coliseum

Though not quite an established trend, some Tales games have a coliseum wherein one can fight special enemies and in some cases, characters from other games in the series. They are entirely optional, and meant to be a challenge. Some titles and special weapons come from the coliseum.

Cooking

Cooking is a gameplay element used in many Mothership Titles. Usually, a player must first find a recipe, or receive it from the mysterious Wonder Chef, and can then cook it to recover hit points, technical points, or gain temporary stat boosts. In some games, however, HP is recovered either through each step taken or based on certain recipe set ups. Tales of Hearts is the only Mothership Title to not include food in the recovery system, using the similar "Recovery Stones" instead.

Items and equipment

The series usually has a large number of items that can be used to affect both you and/or your enemy during battle. In every Tales game the HP restorative items are called "gels" or "gummies", medicinal snacks that are often given the flavor of various fruits. Instead of recovering a set amount, they often restore a certain percentage of HP or TP, or sometimes have other effects. There are also many status-curing items in the games, usually labeled as various types of "Bottles".

There are many other types of common items in the series, including the Sorcerer's Ring, which makes an appearance in almost all Mothership Titles of the series, and usually plays a primary role in solving most puzzles of the games. In 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.

In every Mothership Title and several Escort Titles, there are several pieces of equipment to buy, sell, find, and equip to your party. Many pieces of equipment, from weapons, to armor, to accessories appear in several titles of the series. Swords are the most common weapon of the series, and to date at least one character in every Mothership Title uses a sword, though several characters of the series have also used weapons such as staffs, axes, bows, gloves, guns, and spears. A common part of equipment in the series is the "oddball" or unorthodox weapon that a member of the party is able to equip, such as straws or paintbrushes. Sometimes in the series there may be a powerful weapon, usually a sword, gained through the plot, such as the Eternal Sword. Many weapons of the series make numerous appearances, like the Last Fencer. Defensive equipment in the series often includes things like armor and robes. Though the number or types of equipment that can be used usually changes from game to game; for example, instead of equipping armor in Tales of Hearts, the player must increase a character's defense.

Character Designs

Only three artists have worked on the Mothership Titles: Mutsumi Inomata, Kosuke Fujishima, and Kazuto Nakazawa. Kosuke Fujishima is the manga artist that design the characters for the first game in the series Tales of Phantasia, he did not return to do character designs until Tales of Symphonia. Since then he only does artwork for Team Symphonia games, excluding Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Mutsumi Inomata is the character desginer that started doing artwork for Tales of Destiny, since then she has done artwork for most of the Tales games on the 2D platforms. Kazuto Nakazawa has only worked on one Tales game being Tales of Legendia he has not donated any artwork for a Tales game since then. Daigo Okumura is often the designer for many of the antagonists and major NPCs of the series, and was the character designer for Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.

Musical Composer

With the exception of Tales of Legendia, which was composed by Go Shiina, Tales of Innocence, which had a score composed by Nakamura Kazuhiro, and other Escort Titles, Motoi Sakuraba has been the primary composer for the series, along with Shinji Tamura. The series has made use of a vocal opening song since Tales of Phantasia SFC, though it has used various singers. To date, only Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Graces ƒ have used a vocal song in the localized version of their games, while the localized versions of Tales of the Abyss and Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology have at least used the instrumentals of their respective opening songs.

Continuities

Beyond simple cameo roles or crossover scenarios, most games and other media in the Tales series have no connection, typically with each representing a unique continuity. However, a few materials are connected as sequels, prequels, or interquels, comprising several distinct continuities within the broader series, some composed of multiple timelines or alternate realities that span multiple worlds.

Aselia/Derris-Kharlan

Destiny

Eternia

Auldrant

Terca Lumereis

Liese Maxia/Elphenious

Triverse Gate

Narikiri Dungeon

Radiant Mythology

Games in the Tales Series

Mothership Titles

Game Characteristic Genre System
Tales of Phantasia
テイルズ オブ ファンタジア
- Super Famicom
Densetsu no RPG
伝説のRPG
"Legendary RPG"
PlayStation
Game Boy Advance
Tales of Phantasia:
Full Voice Edition

テイルズ オブ ファンタジア
-フルボイスエディション-
Koe ga Irodoru, Densetsu no RPG
声が彩る、伝説のRPG
"Legendary RPG, Embellished With Voices"
PlayStation Portable
Tales of Phantasia Mobile
テイルズ オブ ファンタジア モバイル
- Mobile Phone
Tales of Phantasia:
Cross Edition

テイルズ オブ ファンタジア
クロスエディション
- PlayStation Portable
Tales of Destiny
テイルズ オブ デスティニー
Unmei no RPG
運命のRPG
"Fateful RPG"
PlayStation
Unmei to Iu na no RPG
運命という名のRPG
"RPG Known as Fate"
PlayStation 2
Tales of Destiny:
Director's Cut

テイルズ オブ デスティニー
ディレクターズカット
Mou Hitotsu no Unmei to Iu na no RPG
もうひとつの運命という名のRPG
"One More RPG Known as Fate"
PlayStation 2
Tales of Eternia
テイルズ オブ エターニア
Eien to Kizuna no RPG
永遠と絆のRPG
"Eternity and Bonds RPG"
PlayStation
PlayStation Portable
Tales of Destiny 2
テイルズ オブ デスティニー 2
Unmei wo Tokihanatsu RPG
運命を解き放つRPG
"Liberating Fate RPG"
PlayStation 2
PlayStation Portable
Tales of Symphonia
テイルズ オブ シンフォニア
Kimi to Hibikiau RPG
君と響きあうRPG
"Resonating With You RPG"
Nintendo GameCube
PlayStation 2
Tales of Rebirth
テイルズ オブ リバース
Kimi ga Umarekawaru RPG
君が生まれ変わるRPG
"Where You Will Be Reborn RPG"
PlayStation 2
PlayStation Portable
Tales of Legendia
テイルズ オブ レジェンディア
Kizuna ga Densetsu wo Tsumugidasu RPG
絆が伝説を紡ぎだすRPG
"Where Bonds Spin Legends RPG"
PlayStation 2
Tales of the Abyss
テイルズ オブ ジ アビス
Umareta Imi wo Shiru RPG
生まれた意味を知るRPG
"Discovering the Meaning of Life RPG"
PlayStation 2
Nintendo 3DS
Tales of Innocence
テイルズ オブ イノセンス
Omoi wo Tsunagu RPG
想いを繋ぐRPG
"Connecting Thoughts RPG"
Nintendo DS
Tales of Innocence R
テイルズ オブ イノセンス R
PlayStation Vita
Tales of Vesperia
テイルズ オブ ヴェスペリア
"Seigi" wo Tsuranukitousu RPG
「正義」を貫き通すRPG
"Enforcing One's "Justice" RPG"
XBox360
PlayStation 3
Tales of Hearts
テイルズ オブ ハーツ
Kokoro to Deau RPG
心と出会うRPG
"A Meeting Between Hearts RPG"
Nintendo DS
Tales of Hearts R
テイルズ オブ ハーツ R
Arata na Kokoro to Deau RPG
新たな心と出会うRPG
"A New Meeting Between Hearts RPG"
PlayStation Vita
Tales of Graces
テイルズ オブ グレイセス
Mamoru Tsuyosa wo Shiru RPG
守る強さを知るRPG
"Discovering the Strength to Protect RPG"
Nintendo Wii
Tales of Graces ƒ
テイルズ オブ グレイセス エフ
PlayStation 3
Tales of Xillia
テイルズ オブ エクシリア
Yuruginaki Shinnen no RPG
揺るぎなき信念のRPG
"RPG of Unwavering Convictions"
PlayStation 3
Tales of Xillia 2
テイルズ オブ エクシリア 2
Sentaku ga Mirai wo Tsumugu RPG
選択が未来を紡ぐRPG
"Choices That Spin the Future RPG"
PlayStation 3

Escort Titles

Game Characteristic Genre System
Tales of Phantasia:
Narikiri Dungeon

テイルズ オブ ファンタジア
なりきりダンジョン
Dungeon RPG
ダンジョンRPG
Game Boy Color
Tales of Phantasia:
Narikiri Dungeon X

テイルズ オブ ファンタジア
なりきりダンジョンX
Shinjitsu to Muki au RPG
真実と向き合うRPG
"Facing the Truth RPG"
PlayStation Portable
Tales of Fandom Vol.1
テイルズ オブ ファンダム Vol.1
Fan Disc
ファンディスク
PlayStation
Tales of the World:
Narikiri Dungeon 2

テイルズ オブ ザ ワールド
なりきりダンジョン2
Cosplay RPG
コスプレRPG
Game Boy Advance
Tales of the World:
Summoner's Lineage

テイルズ オブ ザ ワールド
~サモナーズ リネージ~
Fantasy Simulation RPG
ファンタジーシミュレーションRPG
Game Boy Advance
Tales of the World:
Narikiri Dungeon 3

テイルズ オブ ザ ワールド
なりきりダンジョン3
Cosplay S-RPG
コスプレS-RPG
Game Boy Advance
Tales of Eternia Online
テイルズ オブ エターニア オンライン
MMORPG Computer PC with Windows XP
Tales of the Tempest
テイルズ オブ ザ テンペスト
Tamashii wo Yobi sama su RPG
魂を呼び覚ますRPG
Nintendo DS
Tales of the World:
Radiant Mythology

テイルズ オブ ザ ワールド
レディアント マイソロジー
Kimi no Tame no RPG
君のためのRPG
"For Your Sake RPG"
PlayStation Portable
Tales of Fandom Vol.2
テイルズ オブ ファンダム Vol.2
Voice Adventure + α
ボイスアドベンチャー+α
PlayStation 2
Tales of Symphonia:
Dawn of the New World

テイルズ オブ シンフォニア -ラタトスクの騎士-
Tales of Symphonia -Ratatosk no Kishi-
Hibiki au Kokoro wo Shinjiru RPG
響き合う心を信じるRPG
"To Believe in the Resonating Hearts RPG"
Nintendo Wii
Tales of the World:
Radiant Mythology 2

テイルズ オブ ザ ワールド
レディアント マイソロジー2
Kimi no Tame no RPG
君のためのRPG
"For Your Sake RPG"
PlayStation Portable
Tales of VS.
テイルズ オブ バーサス
Action
アクション
PlayStation Portable
Tales of the World:
Radiant Mythology 3

テイルズ オブ ザ ワールド
レディアント マイソロジー3
Kimi no Tame no RPG
君のためのRPG
"For Your Sake RPG"
PlayStation Portable
Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave
テイルズ オブ ザ ヒーローズ ツインブレイヴ
- PlayStation Portable

Mobile

Game System
Tales of Mobile: Reversi
テイルズ オブ モバイル リバーシ
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Klondike
テイルズ オブ モバイル クロンダイク
Mobile Phone
Craymel Check
クレーメルチェック
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Craymel Lab
テイルズ オブ モバイル クレーメルラボ
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Groovy Arche
テイルズ オブ モバイル グルーヴィーアーチェ
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Whis Battle
テイルズ オブ モバイル WhisBattle
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Tales of Quiz
テイルズ オブ モバイル -テイルズ オブ クイズ-
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Tales of Wonder Casino
テイルズ オブ モバイル テイルズ オブ ワンダーカジノ
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Tales of Tactics
テイルズ オブ モバイル テイルズ オブ タクティクス
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Tales of Breaker
テイルズ オブ モバイル テイルズ オブ ブレイカー
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Tales of Commons
テイルズ オブ モバイル テイルズ オブ コモンズ
Mobile Phone
Tales of the Abyss: Mieu no Daibouken
テイルズ オブ ジ アビス ミュウの大冒険
Mobile Phone
Tales of the Abyss: Mieu no Fonic Gojiten
テイルズ オブ ジ アビス ミュウのフォニック語事典
Mobile Phone
Tales of the Abyss: Mieu no Jikkenshitsu?
テイルズ オブ ジ アビス ミュウのじっけんしつ?
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Tales of Wahrheit
テイルズ オブ モバイル テイルズ オブ ヴァールハイト
Mobile Phone
Tales of Mobile: Scramble Land
テイルズ オブ モバイル スクランブルランド
Mobile Phone
Tales of the World: Material Dungeon
テイルズ オブ ザ ワールド マテリアルダンジョン
Mobile Phone
Tales of VS. for Mobile
テイルズ オブ バーサス for Mobile
Mobile Phone
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology Mobile
テイルズ オブ ザ ワールド レディアント マイソロジー モバイル
Mobile Phone

Anime

Four anime series have been produced and released in Japan based on games in the series. The first, Tales of Eternia: The Animation, 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 from 2004-2006, and Tales of Symphonia: The Animation being released in 2008, with the second half currently in production. Tales of the Abyss was adapted into a full 26-episode television anime series that was originally broadcasted from October 3, 2008 through March 20, 2009. The first theatrical anime film of the series is based on Tales of Vesperia. It was released on October 3, 2009 It is called Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike and serves as a prequel to the game.

Animated Shorts

When certain Tales games are reserves in Japan the games will come with a bonus DVD the first of these were called Tales of Fandom Gaiden. After with certain PlayStation Portable remakes the games will come with a special DVD called Tales of Viva with skit type conversations and various games.

Trivia

  • Though most stories of the series are unrelated, many of the games have plots that revolve around real themes or topics of philosophy, such as racism and loss or the meaning of life. The antagonists are often considered "evil" even if their intentions are good, usually as as result of specific themes of the story. It is often a group of fairly young heroes who start out with a simple task and are eventually brought into a struggle that determines the fate of the world; thus, they serve as the protagonists of the story.

External links


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