Akira Yoshizumi, producer of Namco's upcoming GameCube title Tales of Symphonia, recently sat down with Famitsu for a revealing interview. Yoshizumi, who previously worked on Tales of Destiny 2 for the PlayStation 2, offered a significant amount of information pertaining to his latest project.
Tales of Symphonia is only 30% complete at this point, and it has been in development for quite a while. Both Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Destiny 2 entered development at the same time, and ToD2 was released last November in Japan. The development team is composed of staff members from the previously released Tales of Eternia (known in North America as Tales of Destiny 2).
As previously reported, Tales of Symphonia will be in 3D; however, camera angles will remain fixed while exploring towns. An exception to this is story events, in which the camera angle will change frequently to capture the facial expressions of the characters.
Tales of Symphonia will also be setting another milestone in the series -- it will have the largest cast of any Tales game in the series to date. Players will have the option of altering the cast by selecting different options during events. Their choices will unlock events for certain characters, or cause a character to feel ignored and subsequently leave the party. This means that while the story of Tales of Symphonia is completely linear, it will be impossible to see all the events in the game by playing through it only once. Yoshizumi also hinted at a special feature that involves private conversations between characters, but details regarding that aspect of gameplay are being kept secret.
Another secret that Yoshizumi kept to himself is the identity of the singer who will perform the main theme. All that is known is that a famous J-Pop star has the honors, and he or she won't be alone in contributing vocal talent. Tales of Symphonia will feature a lot of voice acting to help move the story along.
Developers are also enhancing the gameplay of Tales of Symphonia by adding special skills, secrets, grades, and the potential for gaining bonuses at each level-up. They are also improving the cooking system through additional menus.
For those who are interested, Namco has set up an official website for Tales of Symphonia, which will be released in Japan this July.