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Comfort and stability: Unraveling the appeal of Tales of Xillia

Jan 23rd 2013 10:00 AM EST

It was around fifteen years ago now that a good friend of mine urged me to try out Tales of Destiny, which had recently come out on the PlayStation.

"I really like the characters, and it's funny," he told me. Pretty soon, he was finding ways to incorporate the characters in his fan-fiction, his favorite being the 16-year-old master swordsman Leon Magnus. He wasn't alone.

The Tales franchise has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, going from bona fide cult favorite to one of the most successful JRPG franchises this side of Final Fantasy. Unlike its competitors, the Tales series has been mostly content to stay the course over the past ten years or so. That remains the case for Tales of Xillia, which will please its now very vocal fanbase, even if it won't make many waves outside of the RPG community.%Gallery-176879%

Its main innovation is that it has two main characters, rather than just the regular main protagonist. Jude Mathis is a 15-year-old medical student, the Neil Patrick Harris of the Tales series, while Milla Maxwell is a guardian of sorts who is investigating the death of a large number of spirits.

According to producer Hideo Baba, the decision to feature two main characters was born partly out of a desire to try something new, and partly out of the decision to have mainstay artists Kosuke Fujishima and Mutsumi Inomata collaborate on the project.

"Because [Fujishima and Inomata] have been prominently involved with the series, we didn't feel right giving one the main character, and the other artist a side character. We didn't want to step on anyone's toes," Baba told Joystiq.

The decision has had a number of repercussions for the battle system and the way that the story unfolds. Among them, it's now possible for two characters to attack together via "Link Artes" combos
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Tags: hideo-baba, playstation, ps3, tales-of-xillia
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