Tales of Arise is the latest action-RPG in the long-running "Tales of" JRPG series. It's the 17th game in the main series, but only the last few, starting with Tales of Zestiria, have been on PC. It's been in development longer than expected: Arise was originally set to come out in 2020, but was delayed to 2021. In a gameplay showcase this spring, Tales of Arise finally got a release date: It's coming this September.
Producer Yusuke Tomizawa says he hopes that Tales of Arise will show long-time fans of the series that Bandai Namco understands which series staples are important to players, while still innovating and appealing to a more global audience. It definitely looks like the highest budget Tales RPG in years, and Bandai Namco has confirmed it's coming to last-gen and current-gen consoles in addition to PC.
Here's everything we know about Tales of Arise, including its new release date, details on combat, and bits of story and background picked up from translated interviews.
Will we see Tales of Arise at E3?
It's possible. Bandai Namco has its own event on June 15, as part of the E3 2021 schedule. That could be a good place to show off Tales of Arise, although it's only been a couple months since the developers announced the release date and revealed a new trailer. Check that out below.
What is Tales of Arise’s release date?
After a long gap with no new information, Bandai Namco released a new trailer for Tales of Arise announcing its release date: September 10th for PC and consoles worldwide. Lucky players in Japan will actually get it a day earlier, on September 9th.
Here's the new trailer for Tales of Arise
A spring Famitsu interview included lots of details on Arise
Producer Yusuke Tomizawa spoke to Japanese gaming publication Famitsu and talked about characters, combat, and more. Gematsu translated the interview. Here are some highlights:
- The console version of Arise will have 60 fps and 4K modes (which hopefully means the PC version will support both).
- Anime cutscenes are produced by the studio Ufotable, creator of the popular series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
- Dodging enemy attacks will be a key combat mechanic, but there will be an auto dodge option for players who struggle with the fast-paced combat.
- There's no post-battle victory scene. You'll return to the field immediately. Sounds fast, but also like heresy!
- You'll be able to jump and swim around environments
Who is the hero in Tales of Arise?
We've gotten a good look at Tales of Arise's two main protagonists so far: the fella in the iron mask named Alphen and the pink-haired woman with garter bandoliers (functional and fashionable) named Shionne.
Alphen is the playable character for the game, though it looks like the two characters' stories are pretty intertwined so we'll likely have both in our party for the majority of the game (and if past Tales are any indication, we may be able to control anyone in the party).
Alphen is a slave from the planet Dahna, invaded 300 years ago by Shionne's nearby homeworld Rena. According to the Tales Of blog, Alphen has lost his memory (thank you, RPG traditions) while Shionne is cursed by something called "thorns" that causes pain to anyone who touches her.
Obviously, they don't start out as friends and their relationship is a bit contentious at first. We don't know yet what circumstances bring Alphen and Shionne into their unlikely partnership.
The latest trailer also reveals some new characters: mage Rinwell and fighter Rowe. There are apparently more party members yet to be revealed.
What will combat be like in Tales of Arise?
In his latest interview, Tomizawa described Arise's combat as faster than previous games, with a heavy emphasis on dodging enemy attacks. Expect series staples like Mystic Artes and skills to return, but there are some new systems as well. There are support abilities called "Boost Attacks" that sound like team-up attacks, and there are also finishers called "Boost Strikes." (These details came from a translated interview, so the names may change when the game is localized).
Back in 2019, Tomizawa said that players shouldn't expect major changes to the Linear Motion Battle System that the Tales series is known for, according to a conversation with Game Informer. That said, the same conversation mentions "plans to do exciting new things with it in Arise."
If you aren't familiar with the standard Tales battle system, the gist is that battles take place in a 3D space but characters run in a straight line towards a target. Tales of the Abyss introduced a free run element to the LMBS system that allowed a character to move in all directions while a certain button is pressed and return to linear motion after. Based on the brief glimpse of combat we got in the Arise trailer, it looks like there will be a free running element to its version of the LMBS system. We also spotted at least one dodge roll in the trailer.
Other common features in LMBS are combo meters, special attacks, and control modes ranging from manual (where the player has full control of the character) to automatic (where an AI controls all movement and abilities).
Did that guy just pull a sword out of her chest?
Yes. We're sure there's a very rational explanation for that. Possibly.
Seriously though, it may have something to do with that thorns curse that Shionne has? Or maybe all the Renan people can summon weaponry from their chests.
What is the setting for Tales of Arise?
So far we've heard about the two planets Dahna and Rena in Tales of Arise. Dahna, where the masked hero was born, is a less advanced planet with approximately medieval levels of technology. That's a pretty wide swath of human history but we suspect this really just means that on Dahna people use swords, wear heavy plate armor, and don't have electricity. We'll pass along more details on that as we have them.
In the sky above Dahna is another planet called Rena, more advanced in technology and magic. For instance, the protagonist Shionne is shown wielding some kind of rifle, a technology likely not seen on Dahna. Rena invaded Dahna 300 years ago and enslaved its people. We're showing up on Dahna (or at least we assume that's where it makes sense for this story to start) hundreds of years into Dahna's history of enslavement. They've had stories of Rena handed down for generations "as a land of the righteous and divine," likely adding to rationalization of their own subjugation. Based on the character trailer, it almost sounds like the Dahna people believe Rena is a sort of heaven where the dead and gods live together.
It seems a safe guess that Tales of Arise will visit both planets over the course of its story, meaning we'll likely start out our adventure doing standard medieval chores like killing wolves and making potions before transitioning to the more advanced planet of Rena partway through the story.
What's all this "inheritance and evolution" business?
The Tales series is over 20 years old at this point, starting with Tales of Phantasia in 1995. Although changes and improvements have been made over time, it seems that Bandai Namco feels it's time to really shake things up. Tales of Arise is meant to pay homage to the Tales roots while innovating in important areas and giving the series more global appeal.
We've heard mention of how enemies are more intimidating in Arise, but there will still be some sort of cute mascot character. Tomizawa has also mentioned animated character skits and chats, another common Tales element. The developers are looking at exactly why they're popular and how they can be enhanced.
One big change so far is that Tales of Arise isn't built using Bandai Namco's in house engine used for previous Tales games. Instead, Arise is built in Unreal Engine 4 and the studio is developing its own custom shaders to give characters a familiar Tales visual style.
Tomizawa also goes into a discussion of the Tales of Arise logo on the official Tales blog where he explains yet another "inheritance and evolution" element. While Arise's logo is pretty recognizable as a Tales series mark (yes, partly because it literally includes the words "Tales of") it does away with some older elements like gradients and outlined text common in a Tales logo. Discussions on logo design may be more than most people are in to read about, but you can get the gist of it by checking out the blog post and letting Google Translate do the work for you.