During Namco Bandai Games' Manhattan press conference last week, where they showed off the likes of Armored Core: Verdict Day and Dark Souls II, I had the chance to sit at a round-table with Tales series producer Hideo Baba.
Baba, showing off the upcoming Tales of Xillia, said in passing that GameCube's Tales of Symphonia was the most successful Tales game in the West. Naturally, I asked why he felt that particular game resonated so well with western gamers, and asked what his thoughts were on the Wii U.
"I believe the success of Tales of Symphonia has multiple factors to it," Baba said, "the first being that it was the first Tales title that was rendered in 3D polygons, so we believe that was a huge component to its success. Another huge component was that we had a lot of support from Nintendo, so that allowed us to reach out to a broader audience that we weren't able to reach before."
Baba added that external forces were not the entire reason for Symphonia's success; he said Symphonia was also a "solid title with a solid story."
Learning that Nintendo provided immense support to the release of Tales of Symphonia -- with a follow-up released on the Wii -- I inquired what Baba's thoughts were on the Wii U, and if past Nintendo experiences would translate to a potential Wii U Tales game.
"Our main target audience for the Tales franchise is still ultimately Japan, so when we make a game we want to target our main fanbase," he said, adding that, after doing extensive research in Japan, the team found that their audience is centered around the PlayStation 3. As a result, the team's focus remains there.
"So we like the idea of the Wii U -- we think it's a great system -- and if it becomes more and more successful in the future that's a console we would like to tap eventually, but for the time being we don't have any plans and we are focused on maintaining our fanbase on PlayStation 3," Baba said.
"It's not really about our opinions on whether or not it's a good system; ultimately it becomes a question of, 'What consoles do our fans have?'"
Tales of Xillia will release on PlayStation 3 August 6, and has a snazzy Collector's Edition to boot.