The distinctly Japanese Tales of series has been an RPG staple since the SNES, and developer Bandai Namco has taken the trope-reliant, action-RPG series across a number of platforms throughout its history. Most recently, the franchise came to the PS4 and PC with Tales of Zestiria and Tales of Berseria. The most popular entry, Tales of Symphonia, was originally a GameCube exclusive before being ported years later, but development of mainline titles has recently trended away from Nintendo consoles.
However, back in May, Bandai Namco announced that Tales would return to Nintendo and that a title was being created for the Switch. Surprisingly, no information was given during June's “Tales Festival” in Japan, and otherwise news has been quiet. The only exception is an investors’ meeting where a goal of releasing a Tales for Switch during 2017's fiscal year (by April 2018) was stated. Despite knowing little about what direction the developers will take Tales’ debut on the Switch, narrowing the likely options is a possibility due to the relatively low number of titles that would make sense for Bandai Namco and the series.
Before too long, the speculation will likely be over. On December 16, Namdai will host a Tales of stream, one probably featuring information about the Switch title considering the small amount of time left between now and the end of the game’s supposed release window.
As an enormous fan of the Tales series I have looked at some of the possibilities for the Switch title.
Tales of Vesperia
I won’t pretend I’m not biased in this assessment: Tales of Vesperia is one of my all-time favorite games and certainly in the top-tier of my personal Tales’ rankings. Vesperia’s visual style is a cut above even the newer entries, and the series’ classic reliance on humorous, engaging character interactions is at its peak. From a practical standpoint, Vesperia also makes sense because a significant portion of the American audience never got to play it due to its bizarre Xbox 360 exclusivity. This is a result of Microsoft’s push to acquire a larger Japanese audience during the early days of the 360.
A PS3 version exists but was never localized, which means that many Tales fans still don’t have the means to play this title in English. Saying that a game is “perfect for the Switch” is a meme now, but I genuinely think Vesperia would be an ideal fit.
Tales of Symphonia
The series’ most popular entry was one of the only RPGs actually released for the GameCube, so the title holds significance for Nintendo already. The later HD remaster on PS3 and PC lessens the intimacy of this connection to Nintendo, but Tales of Symphonia, due to its popularity, remains a likely candidate for what the Switch Tales title will be.
Much like Vesperia, this title’s visual style is timeless due to its beautiful cel-shading. While I love Symphonia and I wouldn’t be disappointed by a Switch port, I do feel slightly fatigued by this title's widespread availability.
Tales of Berseria
Berseria is considered a return-to-form by many Tales fans, and its recent release makes it a legitimate candidate for a Switch port. Despite its newness, Berseria is not a graphical powerhouse on the PS4 or PC and is therefore viably portable to the Switch, with some tweaks and adjustments.
Those who have already played through this title may be disappointed by this port, but more people getting to experience Berseria, along with being able to take it on the go, would make it a valuable entry in the Switch’s blossoming library.
Out of the options listed here, this is the least likely because of the lack of news up to this point. As mentioned earlier, the Tales Switch title is supposed to release before April of next year; a new mothership title not yet being announced would be strange, although not impossible. If it is a new title, I hope the series returns to Team Symphonia roots, with stylized graphics and a refined world. To me, the series’ recent attempts at a pseudo-open world have hurt more than helped, and Tales excels when it guides the player down a narrow path through a beautifully crafted adventure.
Do you have any thoughts on what Tales Switch might look like? Let us know in the comments below. Namdai’s plans will become clear before long, and Tales’ fans will eagerly await the decision they will soon share.