It has been quite some time since the last mainstream Tales Series game, Tales of Berseria, launched on consoles in August 2016 (January 2017 internationally). For a series which has been continually in development since Tales of Phantasia in 1995, this represents the longest gap since a new game has been released in its 25+ year history. Fortunately, a new instalment is just around the corner, with Bandai Namco Entertainment confirming Tales of Arise is due to hit store shelves on 10 September 2021.
Tales of Arise will launch on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Windows PC, in addition to the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. This will be the first time since Tales of Vesperia, which for the longest time was exclusive to the platform, that a Tales game has been available on the an Xbox console. Players who buy the game on PlayStation 4 will be able to upgrade for free to PlayStation 5. For Xbox players Tales of Arise will be a Cross-Generation Double Pack that contains both Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S versions. The exception to the former is those who own a PlayStation 5 Digital-Only unit, who will be unable to upgrade due to lack of a Blu-ray Disc Player.
In Tales of Arise, players will follow the story of Rena, the star that has been ruling the Dahna planet with an iron fist for the past 300 years. Renans have been depleting Dahna of its natural resources, enslaving most of the planet’s population in order to do so. This tale follows the fight to free Dahnans of their fate and will be experienced through the eyes of Alphen, an iron-masked Dahnan fighting to free his people, and Shionne, a girl from Rena, who’s on the run from her countrymen. They will be joined through their journey by various characters, such as Rinwell and Law, that will help them in their fight for freedom.
According to Bandai Namco, Tales of Arise “carries the DNA of the franchise”, and pushes things further using their ‘Atmospheric Shader’, which they claim “[adds] new touch to the graphics making them look like hand-drawn”. Combat will also receive some changes from past chapters, aiming to add “more direct effects and attacks, to provide a better sense of spectacle and more direct player feedback based upon their actions”.