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Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is the sequal/spin-off to the insanely popular Tales of Symphonia, slated for release sometime in 2008 (maybe September). This far out, publisher Namco Bandai is keeping things close to the vest, but after pleading and begging, Dawn producer Tsutomo Gouda gave up a few goods in our exclusive interview.
GamesRadar: Symphonia didn’t have any of the Pokemon vibe and was already wildly popular with the Nintendo set - why add it to Dawn of the New World?
Tsutomo Gouda: We had originally designed the game as a side story entry in the series, which gave us more flexibility in implementing this type of new gameplay mechanic. However, we later decided to give the game more story elements and a greater tie to the original Tales of Symphonia, but wanted to keep the monster collection mechanic as well. We feel it adds a lot to the game, and hope fans enjoy it.
GR: Is the monster collecting a major part of the story, or is it mostly a gameplay element? If we fill up the party with monsters instead of human characters will dialogue options disappear?
TG: It’s mostly focused on gameplay, but does relate to the story in some instances.
You won’t be able to create a party entirely composed of monsters, but you can have up to three at any time. Because of the game’s emphasis on story, there will be some characters that you will need to have in your party to keep the narrative moving forward and at least one human character at all [times].
GR: In an interview with Nintendo Power, producer Teruaki Konishi said Dawn of the New World aims to please Tales fans and hardcore RPG devotees first before appealing to Wii casual gamers - how does the game deliver on that front?
TG: Our game concept is to create a large-scale RPG that takes advantage of the Wii’s distinguishing features, but doesn’t [...] focus on them unnecessarily. Hopefully we end up with a game that doesn’t have to be put into any sort of “casual” or “hardcore” [category] and is appealing to a wide range of players.
GR: As part of the Tales 10th Anniversary installments, does Dawn of the New World have anything to do with Tales of Vesperia on the Xbox 360. If yes, how so?
TG: The two games are being developed separately for two different consoles and take place in different game worlds, so there isn’t a connection in that sense. However, the 10th anniversary is a big milestone for us as a development team, so we’re very proud to have two games of such high quality launching on different systems this year.
Above: This gorgeous Hi-Def image is from Tales of Vesperia for the Xbox 360