Recently at Anime 2014 in Netherlands at Q&A, producer of Tales series Hideo Baba was interviewed and questioned involving on what platforms, he plans to release Tales series. More importantly, Baba was questioned about a possible release of Tales games on the Wii U. He, in turn, replied that it depends on the platform which has most users not only in Japan, but in other markets, and as such currently have no plans for a Tales game on Wii U, but that nothing is not impossible. Last year in an interview for Destructoid, Hideo Baba told Destructoid that their main target audience of Tales franchise is still ultimately Japan thus when they make their game they target their mainfanbase.
From these interview’s, we can get a good picture of how Tales series could be switching to Nintendo’s platforms in the future…
As Hideo Baba have said that main factors for choosing the platform in which they release their Tales games, is where their main fanbasewhich, which so happens to be in Japan. Another factor is the amount of users each console has not only in Japan, but also in the rest of the world while it still primarily depends on the amount of users for each console in Japan because of their main fanbase. Thus lets first look at all known sales numbers for Tales franchise.
Tales Of Phantasia
[SNES; Japan 15th December 1995 - 0.40M] [PS1/ Japan 18th December 1998 0.54M]
[GBA; Japan 1st August 2003 0.17M/ Europe 6th March 2006 0.03M/ North America 31st March 0.08M]
[PSP; Japan 6th/7th September 2006 0.11M]
Tales Of Destiny
[PS1; Japan 23rd December 1997 0.83M/ Europe ? ? ? 0.06M/ North America 30th September 1998 0.09M]
[PS2; Japan 30th November 2006 0.52M]
Tales Of Eternia
[PS1; Japan 3rd March 2000 ?.??M/ North America 10th September 2001 ?.??M]
[PSP; Japan 3rd March 2005 0.25M/ Europe 10th February 2006 0.01M/ Australia 9th February ?.??M]
Tales Of Destiny 2
[PS2: Japan 28th November 2002 0.80M/ South Korea 27th March 2003 ?.??M/ China 14th August 2003 ?.??]
[PSP: Japan 15th February 2007 0.12M]
Tales Of Symphonia
[NGC; Japan 30th August 2003 0.31M/ Europe 20th November 2004 0.21M/ North America 14th July 2004 0.54M]
[PS2: Japan 22th September 2004 ?.??M]
[PS3: Japan 10th October 2013 0.13M/ Europe 25th February 2014 0.06M/ North America 25th February 2014 0.12M]
Tales Of Rebirth
[PS2; Japan 16th December 2004 0.59M]
[PSP; Japan 19th March 2008 0.07M]
Tales Of Legendia
[PS2; Japan 25th August 2005 0.35M/ Europe ? ? ? 0.05M/ North America 6th February 2006 0.07M]
Tales Of Abyss
[PS2; Japan 15th December 2005 0:57M/ North America 10th October 2006 ?.??M]
[3DS: Japan 30th June 2011 0.14M / Europe 25th November 2011 0.13M/ North America 14th February 2012 0.31M]
Tales Of Innocence
[NDS; Japan 6th December 2007 0.26M]
[PSV; Japan 26th January 2012 0.10M]
Tales Of Vesperia
[360; Japan 7th August 2008 0.19M/ Europe 29th June 2009 0.16M/ North America 26th August 2008 0.29M]
[PS3; Japan 17th September 2009 0.43M]
Tales Of Hearts
[NDS; Japan 18th December 2008 0.24M]
[PSV; Japan 7th March 2013 0.09M]
Tales Of Graces
[Wii; Japan 10th December 2009 0.22M]
[PS3; Japan 2nd December 2010 0.43M/ Europe 1st September 2012 0.13M/ North America 13th March 2012 0.25M]
Tales Of Xillia
[PS3; Japan 8th September 2011 0.67M/ Europe 9th August 2013 0.13M/ North America 6th August 2013 0.25M]
Tales Of Xillia 2
[PS3: Japan 1st November 2012 0.45M]
Tales Of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (notable spin-off)
[Wii:: Japan 26th June 2008 0.24M/ Europe 13th November 2009 0.04M/ North America 11th November 2008 0.20M]
[PS3: Japan 10th October 2013 ?.??M/ Europe 28th February 2014 ?.??M/ North America 25th February 2014 ?.??M]
As you can see when we narrow to titles that have been released in both Japan and West(Europe/North America), you can see that there is more interest in the Tales franchise in Japan while for some the interest is equal while Tales Of Symphonia is the exception as it sold most in North America, on Gamecube none the less which was regularly outsold by PlayStation 2 by 5 to 1 ratio in worldwide. Tales Of Symphonia is one of best-selling game in Tales franchise, which frankly surprises me that Nintendo’s Gamecube didn’t receive the same as Sony’s PlayStation that had several Tales games. Essentially ignoring the fanbase that was created with Tales Of Symphony on Gamecube, rather than continually nourish it and nurture an established fanbase on Nintendo’s Wii and now the Wii U.
Now let’s observe current home console and then handheld market share also the overall market share…
PlayStation 4 is selling extremely well in North America and Europe, but in Japan it is the complete opposite as PlayStation 4 is behind the pace of the Wii U since launch and has been outsold by Wii U since launch of Infamous: Second Son the same week. Currently, Wii U is outselling PlayStation 4 on a weekly basis for now five weeks straight or putting it bluntly, for one entire month by now. There are currently just over 610 thousand PlayStation 4′s and over 1.8 million Wii U’s sold in Japan as of June 22nd, 2014. On the handheld front, Nintendo’s 3DS reigns over Japan and dominates PlayStation Vita with close to 15800000 units while PlayStation Vita is just now nearing 3000000 units. Interestingly, for every single Vita owner there are five 3DS owners in Japan and the gap is obviously increasing by each week.
Current market share in 8th generation home and handheld consoles shows that Japan is heavily Nintendo oriented. The Wii U has consistently outsold the PlayStation 4 for five weeks straight, on the other hand; the dominance of the 3DS will never be questioned with its overwhelming lead over the PlayStation Vita. Unfortunately, western games can not stimulate sales for Sony’s over westernized consoles, and lackluster library for Japanese audience in Sony’s homeland will assure Nintendo’s firm iron grip.
With this information’s we can conclude that Tales franchise fanbase is indeed in Japan and is consistent compared to North America and Europe, another important fact is that there is a similar level of interest on Nintendo’s platforms and in some cases is equal. These examples are Tales Of Symphonia that despite much lower install base is the best-selling Tales game in 6th generation and Tales Of Abyss 3DS version that performed well for a launch window title. With Nintendo ruling over Japan with 3DS and Wii U in now 8th generation of consoles, it should be a no-brainer for Bandai Namco to support Nintendo’s platforms with more Tales games, like the updated versions of recent Tales games that were on PlayStation 3. Much like they did previously when they released updated ports of titles that were previously exclusive to Nintendo’s platforms ported to Sony’s platforms.
Games such as Xenoblade Chronicles X, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem and The Legend Of Zelda Wii U will create and establish a JRPG fanbase on Wii U, with the Xbox One and even the PlayStation 4 falling behind, with no meaningful and impactful JRPG’s scheduled for 2015, as the no show of Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Heindart 3 icated. In my opinion, the chances of them being released 2015 are extremely slim and highly unlikely.
Bandai Namco should now know very well where they should start making games for, if they indeed cared about the Japanese fanbase, as it is clear that Sony’s Vita will never catch up to 3DS and that Wii U will continue to increase its lead over PlayStation 4, which could be as large as 2 million units by middle of 2015 in Japan.
Bandai Namco is currently developing Tales of the World: Reve Unitia for Nintendo 3DS with a release date for Japan on October 23rd this year with no western release plans for now and hopefully this will be the start of a trend for Bandai Namco when comes to support of Nintendo’s platform and its userbase.
**Written by contributor Kurenai**