- Symphonia highest selling Tales game in the US and still selling better than Abyss - originally planned as a spin-off, but plans changed into full-fledged, direct story sequel - dev started in 06, before the Wii casual market was established - Nintendo specifically asked for a game that would cater to the core audience - Monster system was added for casual appeal - no specific changes were made after it became clear that the Wii was clicking with casuals - Wiiimote uses, button shortcuts, pointing at what you want to shoot with the Sorcerer’s Ring; click and drag the world map and select destination with the pointer. - more motion controls may be added for NA release - Scenario writer for DotNW wrote the original game. There are others on-board from the original project, but most of the staff is new. - Character proportions changed to stay faithful to new designs - Fujishima was too busy to do the character designs, so Daigo Okumura (art director for Symphonia and Abyss) did it. - Monster capturing system intended to be strategic, and also provide people with something to collect. It’s a difficult task to collect all the monsters first time around. - Affection system present in the monster attraction aspect, no story changes as there were with the original game. Optional side quests available. - Cooking system returns, but now the Wonder Chef teaches you recipes for monster food, which will change your monster parameters or aid their evolution. - Ratatosk was in the original game but was dormant, and has now awakened. - Whenever Emil et al find a new spirit, Lloyd is there trying to stop them - why?
Spoilers after the jump
- 8 surviving characters are all playable at some point. - Zelos in, Kratos out (but he’s the narrator of the intro). Emil and Marta are the only permanent human characters, the rest of the party of 4 is made up of monsters and guest appearances. - About half of the locations and dungeons are rehashed from the original game (though quite a bit different due to changes in the world) - Monsters recruitment is determined by the element of the battlefield compared to the element of the monster, and influenced by the monster from your party you use to sway them. - 11 hours of voiced event scenes and character skits. Event scenes feature realistically proportioned characters, cinematic camera angles and motion-captured character animation. “Prospects looking good for fully voiced skits and perhaps even actual theme-song vocals in the game’s North American version.”
It's almost entirely speculative at this point, but I have a suspicion that Richter/Aqua will act as rivals for Emil/Marta/Tenebrae, in which case it'd make sense for Richter to not be a party member (or at least not a permanent one).