Tales of Arise, which was originally set for release in 2020, now has a definite release date: September 10, 2021. Along with the release comes a large amount of video from the upcoming instalment, which is a significant visual change over 2017’s Tales of Berseria.
Although the series has always used an anime-inspired art style that does not strive for realism, the footage above is noticeably more accurate and sleek than previous instalments. The terrain textures, in fact, are more ornate (the sand and rocks aren’t just carpets), and the battle UI is much less busy than typical JRPG fare.
Arise is intended to be a refresh of sorts for the series: in an interview with Famitsu in 2019, producer Yusuke Tomizawa admitted that new Tales Of games needed to work harder to cater to “young users,” thus the switch to Unreal Engine 4. However, the change was not motivated by a need to accept photorealism. “It is totally new to draw original graphics that look like watercolours and models of recognisable characters while providing rich lighting and a sense of air,” Tomizawa said (via Famitsu, Google Translate).
Among those apparent enhancements, I don’t think you could mistake this for anything other than a Tales of game, which is fine: these things are good palate cleansers, and appear to come out at a more consistent rate than new Dragon Quest games.