Welcome to the “History of the Tales RPG series” feature. But first let’s go over the future Tales game announcement for… Tales of Zestiria is coming to PlayStation 3 (Not PS4, but PS3) just in time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Namco Bandai’s long-running Tales series of JRPGs.
Check out this Tales of Zestiria Japanese Commercial Trailer.
It will be released, in Japan, on January 22, 2015, and will be released in America, Europe, Australia and the rest of the world in the Second Quarter of 2015, possibly receiving a simultaneous worldwide release in all major territories.
Tales of Zestiria plans to put the zest back in the series with a return to a High Fantasy genre ala the original Tales games, a much more open-world setting, and a revamped battle system that feels like you are fighting in the overworld itself; instead of transitioning to a battle scene.
Whereas previous games were extremely linear, with producer Hideo Baba describing their world layout as that of “moving along a highway”, this new game will attempt to have an open-world setting, or at least something much closer to it.
Skits between characters will also return, and feature both comical scenes & dramatic scenes to add extra disposition & character development. They will also be fully voiced as in Tales of Xillia & Tales of Graces F, and the English versions may include the Japanese vocal track as fanservice ala Tales of Symphonia Chronicles (PS3).
The game was named after the word “Zest” as another description for “Passion”, which is one of the game’s main themes. Dragons also return to the world of Tales with this entry. Previous themes for the Tales games included Justice & Faith.
Because this latest game celebrates the 20th anniversary of the series, longtime fans can look forward to lots of references and throwbacks to elements from previous games that they will recognize, including going all the way back to the original Tales of Phantasia to drive that point home.
I’ve never played a game in the Tales series but I’ve always wanted too. I’m a big RPG nut who considers Japanese Role-Playing Games to be amongst his favorite genres, so these type of games always catch my attention. Sadly I haven’t played any Tales games… It’s on my very long “someday I will play all of these” list. lol. One day…. One day….
How excited are you about Tales of Zestiria?
Here’s the Tales of Zestiria & Tales RPG Series History Boxart image gallery.
Click on any of these image thumbnails to see the full-size photos:
— HISTORY OF THE TALES RPG FRANCHISE —
The long running Tales series has FIFTEEN core-entries in the series.
1. Tales of Phantasia (GBA)
2. Tales of Destiny (PS1)
3. Tales of Eternia (PS1, PSP)
4. Tales of Destiny 2 (Japan-Only, PS1)
5. Tales of Symphonia (GameCube)
6. Tales of Rebirth (Japan-only, PS2/PSP)
7. Tales of Legendia (PS2)
8. Tales of the Abyss (PS2/3DS)
9. Tales of Innocence (Japan-only, DS/PS Vita)
10. Tales of Vesperia (Xbox 360)
11. Tales of Hearts (PS Vita)
12. Tales of Graces (PS3)
13. Tales of Xillia (PS3)
14. Tales of Xillia II (PS3)
15. Tales of Zestiria (PS3)
1. TALES OF PHANTASIA (first entry in the core series)
It all began in 1995 with “Tales of Phantasia”, released in the West for Game Boy Advance in 2006, as well as for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) in 2014. Tales of Phantasia was released in Japan for Super Famicom (the Japanese SNES) in December 1995, and Japanese ports later hit PS1, GBA, & PSP (only in Japan).
If you want to play this game in English, you’ll need to track down a GBA copy as the mobile versions were discontinued, and featured annoying in-app purchases for extra save points & the like due to it being a “Free to Play” title.
A short anime (OVA or Original Video Animation) version called “Tales of Phantasia: The Animation” of four 30-minute episodes was released in Japan from November 2004-February 2006. It was localized into English with an official American release by Geneon in January 2007.
Synopsis:A TALE FOR THE AGES — When young swordsman Cress Albane returns home to find his village destroyed, he sets out on a quest for revenge that will send him through the reaches of time & space. Experience the first chapter of the popular “Tales” saga, never before released in the US!
Key Tales of Phantasia GBA Features:
* Take up the swordfighter’s quest, and battle in real time, attacking your enemies head-on with a fast-paced, action-packed combat system.
* Cook up a healthy meal with the innovative Cooking System! Collect ingredients and recipes to prepare food that restores your health & magic!
* Explore this updated classic, featuring an expanded storyline and all-new Monster Encyclopedia that details your enemies’ strengths & weaknesses!
2. TALES OF DESTINY (second entry in the core series)
Tales of Phantasia from 1995 was followed in 1997 with Tales of Destiny for PS1. It was released in the West in 1998 on PS1, and has never been re-released in any form. If you want to play this game, you’re going to have to track down a PS1 copy!
Hopefully Namco Bandai will come to their senses and re-release this game and other Japan-only Tales games for the PlayStation Network in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the series for their international fans.
Tales of Destiny is only available in it’s original PS1 version, and in Japan in a PS2 updated version called Tales of Destiny – Director’s Cut, that was never released outside of Japan.
Synopsis:GO ON AN EPIC JOURNEY
AS YOU SEARCH FOR THE LOST SECRETS OF THE AETHERIANS
IN THIS FANTASTIC RPG — Stahn Aileron, a stowaway on a giant dragon ship, finds a mysterious sword and becomes involved with a chain of events that threatens to destroy the very existence of his planet. Join Stahn and his friends as they travel the world seeking fame & fortune, while uncovering the secrets of an ancient civilization.
Key Tales of Destiny Features:
* Soar through the skies to your next destination on a fantastic Dragon Ship.
* Gorgeous anime-style opening & ending sequences set the mood of the adventure.
* Over 100 different spells to cast during real-time battles.
* Weapons so powerful they have developed their own intelligence & will.
– 1 Disc – 1 Player – 1 Memory Card Block to Save
3. TALES OF ETERNIA (third entry in the core series)
1997’s Tales of Destiny was followed by a second PS1 entry in 2000 called “Tales of Eternia” in Japan & Europe, and known as “Tales of Destiny 2” in the U.S. where it was released for PS1 in 2001.
It’s worth noting that Europe got an English version of Tales of Eternia for PSP that was released in 2006, but that version did not come to the U.S. The game is only available in it’s original PS1 version and the PAL PSP version.In a very interesting twist, an MMO version of Tales of Eternia for PC in 2006 was released exclusively in Japan, where it failed and was discontinued after one year.
A 13-episode “Tales of Eternia” anime produced by “Production I.G.” & “Xebec” and loosely based on the games events was released in Japan in 2001. An official English release was picked up by Media Blasters in 2002, but the deal fell through and thus the anime was never official localized.
EMBARK ON A HEROIC JOURNEY
TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH BEHIND
AN ENIGMATIC STRANGER
& THE OMINOUS MESSAGE SHE BRINGS — For years, life in the sleepy village of Rasheans was routine & peaceful… That is, until the day a spacecraft crashed in a nearby forest leaving nothing but wreckage, a mysterious girl, and a desperate warning of catastrophe. Join Reid, Farah, and other valiant heroes as they set out to discover the origin of the stranded girl and the truth behind the fate of their worlds.
Key Tales of Destiny 2/Tales of Eternia Features:
* Beautifully Animated CG Sequences
* Large Cast of Unique Personalities
* Intriguing Sub-Worlds & Mini-Games
* Realtime Combat System With Combo Moves & Skills
* Hundreds of Powerful Spells, Enchanted Weapons, and Arcane Items
– 3 Discs – 1 Player – 1 Memory Card Block to Save – Multitap Allows for 1-4 Players
PAL PSP Version (Tales of Eternia)
Tales of Eternia — Follow the amazing adventures of two friends, Reid & Farah, in the legendary RPG Tales of Eternia.
* Dynamic realtime combat where you can combine hundreds of powerful spells and enchanted weapons.
* Discover the Eternia universe, where the surfaces of two worlds meet, in breathtaking 2D graphics.
* 60 hours of gameplay & tons of mini-games.
4. TALES OF DESTINY 2 (fourth entry in the core series. Not to be confused with Tales of Eternia)
Following the 1995’s Tales of Phantasia, 1997’s Tales of Destiny and 2000’s Tales of Eternia, development moved from the PS1 to the PS2 with the fourth entry in the series, Tales of Destiny 2.This game is a direct-sequel to the 1997 Tales of Destiny, and is not to be confused with Tales of Eternia (which was called “Tales of Destiny II” in the USA, but Tales of Eternia everywhere else).
Sadly Tales of Destiny 2 was never released in Western territories. It was originally released in Japan for PS2 in 2002, then in South Korea & China in 2003. An updated PSP version was released in 2007.
Thus, Tales of Destiny 2 remains one of the few core entries in the series that was never released for English speakers. Thankfully, as a direct-sequel, it isn’t as missed as later games.
5. TALES OF SYMPHONIA (fifth core-entry in the series)
Following Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Destiny, Tales of Eternia & Tales of Destiny 2 — Tales of Symphonia is the fifth entry in the series and is the most-well known to English speakers, as this is the game that most people are familiar with and was the introduction to the series for many RPG fans who owned a GameCube. Tales of Symphonia was the first game in the series to feature modern, polygonal 3D graphics for characters & environments instead of sprite-based.
Originally released in Japan in 2003 for GameCube, it was also ported, in Japan, to PS2 in 2004 with additional content.
Thankfully, the GameCube version was released in America on July 13, 2004 & Europe on November 19, 2004.
It’s worth noting that this game was re-released in HD form via PlayStation 3 as part of the “Tales of Symphonia Chronicles” collection. This HD re-release hit Japan in October 10, 2013, America on February 25, 2014 & Europe on February 28th.It features both the Tales of Symphonia & Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World in one package, the latter being the Wii game, the former being the updated PS2 Japanese release, with all its extra content playable in English for the first time. This PS3 version featured new illustrations & costumes as well as both English & Japanese voice-overs.
An anime series and two anime series sequels were released in Japan known as “Tales of Symphonia: The Animation”. This game also spawned many other media works in Japan from Manga to Novels to Drama CDs.
Synopsis:THE EPIC BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL — In a dying world, legend has it that a Chosen One will one day rise from amongst the people and the land will be reborn. The line between good & evil blurs in this epic adventure where the fate of two interlocking worlds hangs in the balance.
Key Tales of Symphonia Features:
* An Epic Adventure: Over 80 hours of gameplay in this epic, emotionally charged storyline.
* Real Time 3D Battle System: One of the fiercest, most action-packed battle systems ever created where up to four players can fight simultaneously. Combine hundreds of special attacks and magic spells.
* A 3D Masterpiece: Enter a world of high-quality anime cutscenes and become absorbed in endearing cel-shaded characters designed by renowned artist Kosuke Fijishima.
– 1 Player or 1-4 Players Simultaneous – 3 Memory Card Blocks to Save
6. TALES OF REBIRTH (sixth core-entry in the series)
Following Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Destiny, Tales of Eternia, Tales of Destiny 2 and Tales of Symphonia, the sixth entry in the Tales franchise is “Tales of Rebirth”.
Sadly this game was never released outside of Japan, where it was released for PS2 on December 16, 2004 and in updated form on PSP on March 19, 2008.
7. TALES OF LEGENDIA (seventh core-entry in the series)
Tales of Legendia was released in Japan in 2005 as the seventh core-entry in the Tales series, following: Tales of Phantasia (’95), Tales of Destiny (’97), Tales of Eternia (2000), Tales of Destiny 2 (2002), Tales of Symphonia (2003) & Tales of Rebirth (2004).
After hitting Japan for PS2 on August 25, 2005, it was released in America on February 7, 2006, but not in any English-speaking region.Synopsis:
FOR AN ANCIENT RELIC BEGINS
WITH THE HUNT FOR THE ‘MERINES’ — Adrift on an endless, raging ocean, Senel Coolidge and his sister Sherly find themselves drawn ashore a mysterious ship. Known as the Legacy, it is an ancient relic that conceals countless dangers, including those who life in wait for Shirley. To save his sister, Senel and his party uncover the deepest secrets of a legendary ship, and in the process, discover the ties that bind them all. Take strength from friendship. Take pride in love. Take everything that you believe in – and turn it all to power.
Key Tales of Legendia Features:
* A New Cast of Endearing Characters in A Stunning 3D Setting
* Fast-Paced Realtime Battles. Throw Massive Enemies for the First Time.
* Over 70 Hours of Gameplay in a Stirring Tale of Love & Heroism.
8. TALES OF THE ABYSS (eighth core-entry in the series)
Tales of the Abyss is the 8th entry in the series following: Tales of Phantasia (’95), Tales of Destiny (’97), Tales of Eternia (2000), Tales of Destiny 2 (2002), Tales of Symphonia (2003) & Tales of Rebirth (2004) and Tales of Legendia (2005).Tales of the Abyss was released for PS2 in Japan on December 15, 2005 and in America on October 10, 2006 for PS2.
An updated version of Tales of the Abyss was re-released in modern times for 3DS, hitting Japan on June 30, 2011, Australia on November 24, 2011, Europe on November 25, 2011 and America on February 14, 2012.
A 26-episode Tales of the Abyss anime was released in Japan in 2008 and in America on October 11, 2011 by Bandai Entertainment, with rights to the Tales anime series then being sold to Funimation after Bandai Entertainment closed in 2012.
A TALE OF HONOR & SACRIFICE
OF DUTY & CHOICE
OF WHAT IS WRITTEN & WHAT WILL BE — Luke fon Fabre, sole heir to a family of aristocrats, has led a sheltered life within the family’s residence, learning little of the world beyond the palace walls. Suddenly thrust into the outside world, Luke is caught in the workings of the Order of Lorelei, keepers of the prophecy known as “the Score”. Finding himself in a confusing and often hostile world, he has not yet noticed the evil that is drawing close to him.
* Use Fields of Fonons to transform strikes and spells into devastating displays of power.
* The most realistic character models to date in the series, with characters designed by renowned artist Kosuke Fujishima.
* Detailed expressions and innovative camera angles immerse players into the story like never before.
WHY WAS I BORN? WHY AM I ALIVE? Planet Auldrant – a world ruled by an ancient prophecy known as “the Score”. As a child, Luke fon Fabre, sole heir to the throne of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear, was kidnapped by a rival kingdom. The trauma of this incident caused him to lose all memory of his childhood. Since his return he has been confined to his family’s manor for his own safety, completely unaware of the evil that now draws close…
9. TALES OF INNOCENCE (ninth core-entry in the series)
Tales of Innocence was never released outside of Japan and is the ninth installment in the series following Tales of Phantasia (’95), Tales of Destiny (’97), Tales of Eternia (2000), Tales of Destiny 2 (2002), Tales of Symphonia (2003) & Tales of Rebirth (2004), Tales of Legendia (2005), and Tales of the Abyss (2005).
Following the series of PS2 installments (all five of them), development on the series moved to the Nintendo DS for the 9th entry. It was released on DS in Japan on December 6, 2007, with an updated port released for PlayStation Vita on January 26, 2012.
The Vita remake included a graphical overhaul, two new characters, new opening & ending songs, new gameplay elements, re-imagined scenarios & areas and all-new cutscenes produced by Production I.G. No anime for this game was produced but it did get a manga in Japan.
10. TALES OF VESPERIA (tenth core-entry in series)
Marking the first 7th-generation videogame console entry in the Tales series, development moved from the SNES to the PS1 to the PS2 to the DS and finally to the Xbox 360 (and PS3 in Japan). Tales of Vesperia is the tenth core game in the series following: Tales of Phantasia (’95), Tales of Destiny (’97), Tales of Eternia (2000), Tales of Destiny 2 (2002), Tales of Symphonia (2003) & Tales of Rebirth (2004) and Tales of Legendia (2005), Tales of the Abyss (2005) and Tales of Innocence (2007).
Tales of Vesperia was released for Xbox 360 in Japan on August 7, 2008; America on August 26, 2008 and Europe on June 26, 2009. A PS3 updated version with new content was only released in Japan on September 17, 2009. A downloadable digital version for Xbox Games on Demand via Xbox Live Marketplace was also released on April 6, 2011 in America & Europe.
Due to Tales of Vesperia being an a modern console, this is the entry that most young gamers will remember and was an extremely popular Japanese RPG for the Xbox 360, Microsoft’s American game console that didn’t recieve as many JRPGs as Sony’s PS3 system. Making it notable.
It’s also worth noting that Tales of Vesperia got a Collector’s Edition known as the “Tales of Vesperia – Special Edition” which featured a 10th Anniversary Music CD, 52-72 page manual/artobook, and a collectable Steelcase. It’s a very limited edition that is hard to come by and can cost upwards of $150 used (online) and $280 new.
A FANTASTIC TALE READY TO BE TOLD — A power struggle begins in a civilization dependent on an ancient technology, the Blastia, and the Empire that controls it. The fates of two friends traveling separate paths intertwine in an epic adventure of justice, trust & friendship.
– 1 Player – Co-Op: 2/4 Players – 416KB to Save – HDTV 720p/1080i/1080p – Ingame Dolby Digital – DLC – Leaderboards
11. TALES OF HEARTS (eleventh core-entry in series)Moving from Xbox 360 to handhelds once again, the eleventh entry in the series is Tales of Hearts for DS and later PS Vita. This game followed Tales of Phantasia (’95), Tales of Destiny (’97), Tales of Eternia (2000), Tales of Destiny 2 (2002), Tales of Symphonia (2003) & Tales of Rebirth (2004) and Tales of Legendia (2005), Tales of the Abyss (2005), Tales of Innocence (2007) & Tales of Vesperia (2008).
Tales of Hearts was originally released on DS exclusively in Japan (December 18, 2008), as well as on October 9, 2013 for iOS (Japan-Only). It was released for PS Vita on March 7, 2013 in Japan, and will finally be hitting Western countries as “Tales of Hearts R” on November 11, 2014 in America & November 14, 2014 in Europe.
12. TALES OF GRACES (twelve core-entry in series)
Once again moving from handheld to console, Tales of Graces is the twelth entry in the series, moving from DS & PS Vita to Wii & PS3.
Tales of Graces follows: Tales of Phantasia (’95), Tales of Destiny (’97), Tales of Eternia (2000), Tales of Destiny 2 (2002), Tales of Symphonia (2003) & Tales of Rebirth (2004) and Tales of Legendia (2005), Tales of the Abyss (2005), Tales of Innocence (2007), Tales of Vesperia (2008), and Tales of Hearts (2008).
Tales of Graces was originally released for Wii in Japan on December 10, 2009. It was then ported to PS3 as “Tales of Graces f“, where it was released in Japan on December 2, 2010; America on March 13, 2012 and Europe on August 31, 2012.
There was no anime for this game, but like with a few of the others, Japan got Manga, Novels and Drama CDs.Synopsis:
BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP ARE ETERNAL — Follow Asbel and his friends as they test the bonds of friendship and unravel the mystery behind the war of the kingdoms.
Key Tales of Graces f Features:
* Introducing a new battle system which gives each character two unique fighting styles.
* Battle in realtime and change your combos & strategy on the fly.
– 1/4 Players – 4300MB HDD Space to Save -720p/480p HD Video Output – Dual Shock 3
13. TALES OF XILLIA (thirteenth core-entry in series)Synopsis:Exclusively for the PS3, the thirteenth game in the Tales series is “Tales of Xillia“, it follows Tales of Phantasia (’95), Tales of Destiny (’97), Tales of Eternia (2000), Tales of Destiny 2 (2002), Tales of Symphonia (2003) & Tales of Rebirth (2004) and Tales of Legendia (2005), Tales of the Abyss (2005), Tales of Innocence (2007), Tales of Vesperia (2008), Tales of Hearts (2008) and Tales of Graces (2009).
Tales of Xillia was released in Japan on September 8, 2011; America on August 6, 2013; Europe & Australia on August 9, 2013.
TWO HEROES, TWO NATIONS
TWO IDEOLOGIES, ONE STRUGGLE —
* Choose from one of two distinct heroes & experience the story from their point of view.
* Beautiful world with dozens of locations to explore.
* Action-Packed Realtime Battles
– DLC – Trophies – 1/4 Players – 2300MB HDD Space to Save
– 720p/480p HD Video Output – Dualshock 3
14. TALES OF XILLIA 2 (fourteenth core-entry in series)
Taking the franchise in a different direction is the second core game in the franchise to be a sequel (after Tales of Destiny 1 & 2). This is the fourteenth game in the franchise following: Tales of Phantasia (’95), Tales of Destiny (’97), Tales of Eternia (2000), Tales of Destiny 2 (2002), Tales of Symphonia (2003) & Tales of Rebirth (2004) and Tales of Legendia (2005), Tales of the Abyss (2005), Tales of Innocence (2007), Tales of Vesperia (2008), Tales of Hearts (2008) and Tales of Graces (2009) and Tales of Xillia (2011).
Tales of Xillia 2 was released exclusively for PS3 in Japan on November 1, 2012; America on August 19, 2014 & Europe on August 22, 2014.
THE POWER OF CHOICE
TAKE CONTROL & SHARE YOUR OWN STORY!– Every choice can change the future. Take control of your destiny and explore the wondrous world of Elympios & Rieze Maxia with new friends and familiar faces.
Key Tales of Xillia 2 Features:
* An Enhanced Realtime Battle Experience
* Create Friendships With New & Returning Allies
– 1/4 Players – 2972MB HDD Space to Save – 720p/480p HD Video Output – Dual Shock 3
15. TALES OF ZESTIRIA (fifteenth core-entry in series)
Tales of Zestiria is currently in development for PS3 and will be released worldwide in 2015. It is likely to be one of the last major last-generation (PS3/360/Wii) console games to be released.
— SPIN-OFFS & SUBSERIES —
There are tons of spin-offs & subseries titles in the Tales franchise, too many to list. Thankfully for this writer however, that list is very small in the West, as we have only received two out of over 15 spin-off titles released in Japan.
They are: “Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World” for Wii (2008) and PS3 (2014, as part of the Tales HD compilation “Tales of Symphonia Chronicles“) and “Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology”, a 2007 Action RPG for PSP.
Another notable game (Japan-only) is Tales of VS., a fighting game for PSP featuring characters from throughout the Tales series. Sadly it’s import-only.
Are you a fan of the Tales series?