Tales of the Abyss descending on PS2

Namco's popular RPG series celebrates it 10th anniversary with a new game on the PlayStation 2.

Namco's Tales role-playing series is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and to commemorate the occasion, the company is making a new installment titled Tales of the Abyss for the PlayStation 2. No release date has been announced yet, but if it indeed is supposed to be an anniversary title, the game should be out this year.

Some early details on Tales of the Abyss have been released, courtesy of the latest issue of Shonen Jump. Tales of the Abyss will take place in a fantasy world known as Oldland. Two thousand years ago, civilization discovered something known as the "Seventh Phoneme," which detailed the birth of the planet and also foretold what will happen in its future, including its demise. But the discovery of the Seventh Phoneme didn't lead to peace, and Oldland soon found itself in an all-out war between powers attempting to gain possession over it. The long period of battle turned the land to ruins and brought about a lethal miasma. Fortunately, civilization was able to seal the miasma deep into earth by following the words of Yuria, a prophet that can read the Seventh Phoneme. On its road to recovery, Oldland is now being ruled by the Kimraska kingdom, Lambardia kingdom, and Malchut Empire. However, the people follow the words of the religious order of Lorelei and its prophet Yuria, who continues to send messages throughout the world.

Character designs will once again be done by Kousuke Fujishima, who's been working on the series since its 1995 debut title on the SNES, Tales of Phantasia. Shonen Jump has revealed two characters for Tales of the Abyss so far, named Luke and Tia. Luke is a young man who's a son to a baron in the Kimraska kingdom, and he possesses the ability to use power that's drawn from the Seventh Phoneme. Luke is said to be cocky because of his spoiled upbringing, but he's serious about his sword training. Luke was kidnapped when he was young, and the shock has left him repressed memories of his childhood.

Tia is a grown-up-looking female that fights as a solider for the religious order of Lorelei, and, like Luke, she can use the powers of the Seventh Phoneme. Tia lost her parents when she was young, and has been training to become as soldier since she was orphaned. Tia is said to be cold to others since she's quiet and well self-controlled, but she actually has a soft heart. Luke and Tia have no romantic relationship with each other, but they end up adventuring as a pair after getting involved in an incident.

Tales of the Abyss seems to feature 3D graphics somewhat similar to Tales of Symphonia, but the characters look a bit taller. No details on the game system have been disclosed yet, but considering Namco's timing of the game's announcement, it's likely that we'll learn more about it at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show.

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When is it coming to Europe?