Tales of Xillia is Namco Bandai’s latest in the franchise, to be released this year in Japan. There hasn’t been a whole lot of details about the title, besides another character being revealed in Famitsu a week or so ago, named Alvin (I don’t think he is a chipmunk, though). But, this week’s issue does talk about a couple interesting game mechanics.
The one that makes me raise an eyebrow is how the game will be designed to reward exploration. In the previous games (and, frankly, most RPGs with an overworld map), there isn’t much to find outside of the main route between story points or side quest target areas. When you get to a “dead end”, like a cliff or water, that’s it, you just have to turn around and go on your merry way. In Tales of Xillia, the developers intend to reward exploration by giving different actions to the player to hop gaps, for example. Exploring the world map fully, sticking your nose into every little crag, will be rewarded with fancy little surprises. It’s likely these will come in the form of new dialog scenes or items.
Also it was revealed that each character will have their own special powers in battle. For example, Milla, being a magic caster, will have the unique power to enhance and power up her spells, turning a regular fireball into a fire bomb that does area of effect damage. Jude will have a side-step ability that allows him to quickly dodge attacks. This isn’t that different from what has been done in other RPGs, but it is nice that they’re making the characters unique, each having their own play style.
Hit the break for some new screens that show off some battle shots and possibly a hint at the exploration motivation I mentioned above.