Frequently cited as the third most popular RPG series in Japan -- after Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy -- the Tales series remains a sales champion in the east but something of an enigma in the west. Its sole breakout success was 2004's Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube.
Good news for the series: the team behind that game releases its first next-gen RPG, Tales of Vesperia, in North America this week -- following its record-breaking sales for an Xbox 360 game in Japan. And to be released in North America in November is Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, a sequel to the game that is most closely associated with the series in the minds of U.S. fans.
Here, Gamasutra talks with Namco Bandai's Hideo Baba, the Tales brand manager, and Tsutomu Gouda, the producer of both games, about the development process of the series and how the games are conceived and executed within the studio.