AX 2014 – Bandai Namco JRPG panel

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By Mark Marquez

Bandai Namco has quite a few RPGs coming out soon. They took some time to talk about the games at Anime Expo 2014. Humorously, the panel was called the “JRPG Power Hour”, and yet it was over in 30 minutes. They brought out the voice actors for Milla Maxwell and Lea Rhondo from Tales of Xillia 1 and 2 as well as the man in charge of helping to bring over our favorite Tales games.

First they showed off a trailer for Tales of Xillia 2. A direct sequel to Tales of Xillia, this game follows the story of Ludger as he travels with a young girl on a quest that crosses world. The game looks very fast paced in its combat, and the visuals for the game look top notch. If you are a fan of Xillia 1, I’d definitely keep an eye out for Xillia 2.

Preorder bonuses for the collector’s edition were shown as well, and they included a Ludger statue, a replica pocket watch out of the game, and a CD and metal case that includes the game. Any Tales collector worth their salt will own it. They were also happy to announce that Tales of Xillia 1 DLC will work with 2, so all those costumes won’t be for naught. The game drops August.

They briefly discussed the upcoming Tales of game for the PS Vita, Tales of Hearts R. With an interesting battle system focusing on aerial chases and dual attacks, the game looks fast paced and fun, much like any other Tales of game.

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Next Bandai Namco spent some time talking about Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragments for the PSVita. The game focuses on the Aincrad arc of Sword Art Online, and allows you to play as Kirito. This game follows an original story being penned with the watchful eye of Sword Art Online’s author and hopes to deliver a unique experience to those who play it and enjoy the anime. The game is supposedly a “quasi-MMO” to give the feel of being stuck in Sword Art Online. Players will be able to interact with the NPCs as if they were real people, which they hope will allow a level of immersion and a personal flare to each story. SAO favorite characters show up as well, including Asuna, Elizabeth, and Leafa. They announced that the new female protagonist from SAO season 2 will be in the game as well. I wonder what is happening? It seems to be a very interesting game and story. They plan to import any DLC from the Japanese version as well so the American players will feel on equal footing.

After a fun raffle in which yours truly won absolutely nothing (d’aww), they showed a trailer for the new Tales game, Tales of Zesteria. Since the game is still in development in Japan, nothing intensely new was shown. However, the game does look gorgeous, and Bandai Namco hopes to bring the game out in a timely manner after the Japanese release so eager fans aren’t kept waiting the usual period of 1 year +, if at all.

With quite a few interesting JRPGs coming out, Bandai Namco’s game selection is looking top notch. Vita owners are getting quite the treat with SAO and Tales of Hearts R, and those looking for more from Xillia’s story and to play as ProSwagonist Ludger won’t have to wait much longer. Look for the games as they drop this year.

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