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 Tales Series Traditions

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Yumi-Yumi

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PostSubject: Tales Series Traditions   Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:00 pm

The recent discussion about Tales of Berseria and it's female protagonist has gotten me to think about the traditions found in the series once more. I think it is a very interesting topic and while it may not offer too much to discuss, I wanted to write this up.
(For the record, I don't want to pull the discussion of Velvet's design in here, I may write about Character Design some other time though.)
There be spoilers!


Gameplay
When we think about traditions in a video game series, of course gameplay traditions will come to mind. All main series games in the franchise go about story progression, world exploration and battles the same way, even though details are changed and it is constantly worked and experimented with (for better or for worse).
But then again, if this wasn't the case, the game in question would have trouble being considered a main series game, right?

Protagonists
This is where it gets more interesting, in my opinion.
Games in the Tales series have until recently always had a male protagonist and a major female lead as well.
The male protagonist always uses a sword except for two exceptions (Senel in Legendia and Jude in Xillia), while the female lead varies in fighting style, though she often fulfils a support role via healing for example. She is also often a love interest for the protagonist, be it confirmed or merely hinted at strongly.
The female lead often fulfils a key role in the plot for a stretch of the game, often as a matter of motivation or being special in a plot-important way. Examples are in Tales of Hearts, in Tales of Symphonia and in Tales of Graces.
However, the series has gotten a little more flexible with this in recent years. Sometimes the main protagonist himself would have plot-relevant circumstances as well, like (Tales of Hearts), (Tales of Symphonia) and (Tales of the Abyss)
In Tales of Xillia, a secondary female lead did not exist. Instead, there were two protagonists, one male one female. Interesting in this is that Milla does fulfil the tradition of being a swordfighter, as well as the tradition of being plot-relevant-ly special, while Jude was one of the healers on the team.
Tales of Xillia 2 continued to toy with this by having the new (arguable) female lead not be playable at all.
And now, coming Tales of Berseria, we have our first sole female protagonist. And I am curious to see what the secondary lead will be like...


Now, I know there is more, but I also want to get you in this, in case you're interested, so here's your homework:
What other series traditions can you think of?
Do you think breaking or playing with traditions is a good thing? (Why?/Why not?)

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PostSubject: Re: Tales Series Traditions   Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:17 pm

I like playing with traditions and stuff, but there are certain things I'd like to be more prominent again, like cooking systems and titles which are very neglected in Xillia/2

Some things are better off to be gone away with, unless its just a surface thing, like tropey character things, but that's usually how it is in Tales. Characters appear very tropey but they have more to them.

X2 isn't the first to have a non-playable female lead though, there's also Rebirth.

I've always felt like Tales' strong point was its characters, and the way it made me feel like the whole party was experiencing the adventure and the main character was just the main point of view you start with and go along with when parties split up. For instance, one of the very first things I liked in Phantasia, my first Tales game, was the way you could change your onscreen character to any party member and have them be the lead character in every way, on the field, in battle, for mini-games etc.  I'm saddened but not greatly but still a good deal that you can only walk around as Sorey in Zestiria, especially after feeling so restricted in X2 with the way they decided to do parties for story events. Ludger himself felt very held back by their decisions. A lot of other RPGs leave me feeling that the characters are kind of shallow, predictable, and Tales can be like that too but it always has just enough depth to the characters to make them not annoying. I feel like with just a tiny bit of effort in storytelling technique and doing some more unconventional things it could be phenomenal.

I like when characters have a lot of opportunities to interact as well to create a strong cast, as well as the characters having a good degree of depth. Its those things I feel like Tales has done well and I'd like them to continue to do it, though the pacing in Xillia/2 did disturb me. I'm hoping Berseria brings back some older ways of story telling and finds new ways to showcase the growing ties and disagreements of characters and bring more interesting storytelling elements to the fold. I have yet to find an RPG series with characters that satisfy me as much as Tales, but I feel like Tales has been slacking a bit in that department lately. I'm hoping Zestiria will change my opinion on that, but it has me looking for other RPGs that might offer what I want.

EDIT: Your spoiler tags aren't working and also another tradition I'd like to see brought back CHARACTERS HAVING LAST NAMES

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