Originally scheduled for a 2020 release, Tales of Arise now has a firm release date: September 10, 2021. Alongside that announcement is a substantial chunk of footage from the instalment—and it’s a marked visual improvement over 2017’s Tales of Berseria.
While the series has always flaunted an anime-inspired art style that doesn’t exactly aim for realism, the footage above is definitely more detailed and elegant than we’ve seen before. The ground textures in particular are more ornate (the sand and rocks don’t just look like carpet), and the combat UI far less busy than the usual JRPG fare.
Arise is meant to be a reboot of sorts for the series: speaking to Famitsu back in 2019, producer Yusuke Tomizawa acknowledged that new Tales Of games needed to work harder to appeal to “young users,” hence the move to Unreal Engine 4. That said, the move wasn’t born of a desire to embrace photorealism. “It is completely new in order to draw unique graphics that look like watercolors and models of familiar characters while having rich lighting and a feeling of air,” Tomizawa said (via Famitsu, Google Translate).
But despite those seeming improvements, I don’t think you could mistake this for anything but a Tales of game, which is fine: these things are nice palate cleansers, and tend to come out at a steadier clip than new Dragon Quest games do.