Tales and Naruto developers aim to bring Japanese culture west with their games

Tales series producer Hideo Baba and Project .hack director Hiroshi Matsuyama discussed the challenges of bringing Japanese games to a worldwide audience, and shared new information on upcoming localized titles Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 and Tales of Xillia at a panel hosted by publisher Namco Bandai at New York Comic Con today.

Matsuyama revealed that pre-ordering Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 will net buyers a costume based on Dragon Ball Z protagonist Goku's training outfit. He also promised fans that they will see the greatest volume of characters available in a Ninja Storm title, stating there will be well over 72 characters available for play.

Tales of Xillia, announced for North American and European localization earlier this summer, features dual storylines, with players given the choice to play as one of two main characters drawn by two different designers. This collaboration was inspired by the series' 15th anniversary this year, the team wanting to do something special to mark the occasion.

Baba also said that his company is looking into the possibility of porting Tales games to mobile platforms.

"We always put a lot of effort into making awesome cinematic scenes," Matsuyama said through a translator when asked what advantage Japanese developers have in the industry. "Even when the next consoles come up, we will always work to create stunning cinematics with that new technology."

"Rather that worry about the power of the hardware, we like to focus on gameplay, story, and the characters in our games," added Baba. "That will always be the most important aspect for the Tales games. But as hardware developers, we are always looking towards how to take advantage of that as well."

"We deal with Naruto, a very Japanese animated classic," Matsuyama said. "Because the content of Naruto is so Japanese, we would really like to put our efforts towards preserving that kind of game creations. Western studios have a lot to offer and we have a lot to learn from them, but we want to be able to stay off their course and stay on ours, offering everyone in this world something new."

Baba echoed Matsuyama's sentiments on preserving Japanese culture in Eastern-centric games.

"We're really proud of how our games have a unique sense of the Japanese culture," said Baba "That's what really makes them special. We want to continue to focus on bringing that type of unique culture content into our games."

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