The beloved Tales series is one of the most highly regarded JRPG franchises of today, remaining true to the genre’s traditional style of storytelling and gameplay, while adding in new twists to keep things fresh. Series producer Hideo Baba recently discussed his process in developing these games, noting that appealing to a global market is not one of his prerogatives.
Speaking to InsertCoin, Baba made it clear that every Tales game is specifically catered toward Japanese gamers, and that he and the rest of the development team spend little time considering how they can broaden the appeal of the series to a wider audience.
The Tales series has been developed with Japanese players in mind, so achieving success in Japan is a major goal for us. But when the development schedule makes it possible, we do like to create localized versions for some titles in the hopes that players outside of Japan will hear about the series and get to like it.
Could the studio’s focus on delivering a truly Japanese-centric experience have something to do with its popularity among hardcore JRPG fans outside of Japan? With the growing popularity of western RPGs like Mass Effect, we’ve begun to see a drop off in the number of quality JRPGs that make it out of Japan.
Let’s hope that Namco continues to find time to squeeze localization into their list of to-dos as they are one of the few remaining Japanese developers that craft role-playing games that resonate with the western market.