Tales of Arise is only a few days away from being released worldwide, and we’re more than a little excited to sit down and find out more about the game. Thankfully, there are more than enough interviews going around, particularly with Tales of Arise producer, Yusuke Tomizawa.
In an interview with TheGamer, Tomizawa-san was asked a question about queer representation in their last game, Tales of Berseria. As we’ve talked about previously, Tales of Berseria is a JRPG that can be read as pretty damn queer due to the societal limits and restraints that Velvet Crowe – a protagonist who never shows interest in the male characters around her – and her companions go through. There’s also her strained, but arguably fulfilling relationship with Eleanor, and her tension with Magilou – both female characters who keep Velvet on her toes.
Tomizawa-san couldn’t comment on the “[queer] themes of Berseria,” however he didn’t shy away from talking more about the Tales series and how it handles relationships as a whole.
“The Tales series has always featured parties of male characters, female characters, and the relationships between them are really important,“ Tomizawa-san told TheGamer’s Jade King. Fans who have played previous Tales games will know that as much as the game has combat and thrilling stories, one of the key things that make it stand out from the crowd are the ‘skits’ between characters. These help the characters get to know one another even outside of the main storyline, and also allows fans to know which characters get on with one another, which don’t, etc.
Because of these skits, as well as some features such as Tales of Symphonia’s relationship meter – which allowed Lloyd to form close relationships with everyone in his group – the fandom around the Tales series has often made the series their own personal playground on how they view the characters and their relationships with one another. Fandom – queer fandom especially – isn’t anything new, but it’s nice to see it surround a beloved JRPG series like Tales.
“Whether you think of those relationships as friendship or romance is completely up to you, but I’ve always thought of the Tales series as very non-discriminatory,” Tomizawa-san said. “In terms of whether those queer themes are in Tales of Arise, I think I’ll leave it for people to play and make up their own minds.”
The Tales of Arise producer certainly has intrigued about what we can expect from the series in the future.
Tales of Arise will release on September 10 for Xbox One, Xbox X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC.