Tales (テイルズ) series
The Tales series is a Namco Bandai Games Inc. published and until 2003 Telenet Japan developed popular RPG series with a Fighter style battle system. With main entries consistently selling over 300,000 units in the past decade the series is one of the few steadily popular RPG series in Japan.
The origin of the Tales series has a somewhat twisted history: Now a popular RPG series in Japan and usually solely credited to Namco, the original Tales of Phantasia game is actually the work of the late Wolfteam, furthermore the brainchild of Yoshiharu Gotanda who solely wrote its story as well as programmed the whole game (save for the sound programming by Hiroya Hatsushiba as well as the game design by Masaki Norimoto). The game initially started as a side game to Hiouden SFC and was originally completed in 1994 as Tale Phantasia. But after acquiring Namco as publisher the game was delayed for one year to get heavily expanded and renamed to Tales of Phantasia. In the meantime the development staff already left Telenet and founded tri-Ace, but mostly continued to be involved in the game's development until its completion. While longtime Wolfteam director and producer Joe Asanuma left to lead the new-formed tri-Ace company, former longtime Telenet/Riot graphic artist and director Eiji Kikuchi retained this job for Tales of Phantasia and keeps this duty up to today.
Eiji Kikuchi also ensured the continued development of Tales games by Telenet with financing by Namco, with the sole mention of Telenet involvement being development sometimes credited to Wolfteam in the staff roll listings. More staff continued to leave for tri-Ace and tri-Crescendo. The remaining Telenet members, together with the composers Motoi Sakuraba and Shinji Tamura, form the stable core of the Tales development staff, while the many Namco contributors tended to change between the games.
Once the Tales staff was stabilised with Tales of Eternia, the formation of the Telenet/Namco joint subsidiary Namco Tales Studio was prepared and finished in March 2003, which from there on handles the development of future main Tales games and ports. It is probably safe to assume that after this event, ten years after its collapse but still used to refer to the development team like for Cybernetic Empire, the name Wolfteam finally disappeared for good.
After the merger of Namco with Bandai in 2005 the parent company prepared company wide restructurings, starting with the formation of the game publishing unit Namco Bandai Games Inc. (NBGI) in 2006, renamed to Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. (BNEI) in 2015. At the end of 2011, together with Namco Tales Studio, all remaining separate development subsidiaries were dissolved and staff absorbed into NBGI. Four months later in 2012 the development staff was split off from the publishing unit into the newly formed Bandai Namco Studios Inc. (BNSI), Bandai Namco's now unified internal development department.
Other registered names (with no further information released yet, may remain unused): Tales of Harmonia (テイルズ オブ ハルモニア), Tales of Mirage (テイルズ オブ ミラージュ), Tales of the Voice (テイルズ オブ ボイス, ToP PSP?), Tales of Howling (テイルズ オブ ハウリング), Tales of Two Faiths (テイルズ オブ トゥーフェイセズ), Tales of Doom Sign (テイルズ オブ ドゥームサイン), Tales of the Manes, Tales of Valoria, Tales of Strife, Tales of the Nexus (テールズ オブ ザ ネクサス), Tales of the Genesis (テールズ オブ ザ ジェネシス), Tales of Floria (テイルズ オブ フローリア), Tales of Glacier (テイルズ オブ グレイシア), Tales of Uniteair (テイルズ オブ ユナイティア), Tales of Blessea (テイルズ オブ ブレセア), Tales of Unifics (テイルズ オブ ユニフィクス), Tales of Battle Fandom (テイルズ オブ バトル ファンダム), イクシリア, Tales of Faithus, Tales of Zestia