Tales Runner is making a comeback in the American market, and it is no surprise given the popularity of the previous version which was abruptly closed. OGPlanet is the new publisher, a portal with much experience handling casual games including SD Gundam Capsule Fighter and Rumble Fighter.
MMOGames’ Robert had a chance to have an interview with Mr Bryan Omang, the Publishing Manager for Tales Runner. What has changed since the last time we saw the game? What are the plans for the new version? We find out.
Q: Hi there, this is Robert from MMOGames. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers and talk a little about your company?
A: Hello Robert and MMOGames.com! My name is Bryan, however I’m more commonly known as Furiouz within the OGPlanet community. I’m excited to share news of our latest title, Tales Runner!
Q: Why did OGPlanet choose to publish Tales Runner now? I mean, it is a pretty old game, and it seems that the F2P market is pretty saturated now even for fancy and flashy new titles.
A: Tales Runner is a very unique game as it sets itself apart from your typical MMO Racer. The game includes various elements such as farm development, animal/pet racing, mini-games, boss raid modes, card collection and more. Players aren’t only restricted to racing, as there are other game features for them to enjoy. Overall we wanted to introduce a title which is bright, cheerful, and casual with a slight competitive edge.
Q: This may sound like an odd question, but did localization take place using a new client (start from scratch), or were the localization files from the previous version used?
A: In a nutshell, the localization was redone entirely from scratch. After reviewing the previous localized files, we noticed there were a lot of oddities in the text. Because of this we decided to redo the entire localization, while considering character/item name changes to better cater to the North American market. Players may have already noticed some of the changes in our localization, especially with some of the character names.
Q: I used to play Tales Runner, and the main issue I had was the lack of bigger screen sizes. The maximum screen size was around 800 x 600 if I remember correctly, looking pretty weird on my 1920 x 1080 monitor. Has this changed?
A: This was a question most commonly asked by many of our returning players (those who’ve played on the previous service). We’ve upgraded the client resolution to 1024 x 768 which is a significant difference looking back to the 800 x 600, and will be looking to integrate various resolution options in future updates.
Q: I understand that OGPlanet will be deploying servers located in both western and eastern sides of North America. Is this a necessity and the first time OGPlanet has done so?
A: Not the first time OGPlanet has set up servers on both coasts. We’re currently working with the developers to tweak and optimize our game servers and their locations, ensuring a strong network performance, and providing our players with the best gaming experience possible when playing Tales Runner. We’re also planning to set up more servers to cater to the users playing from mid/southern sides as well.
Q: For those who did not know, Tales Runner had many characters to choose from, each with unique stats. Will the sequence of new characters release be the same from the previous version?
A: Can’t say for sure if the sequence of release will be the same, but players can expect to see some familiar faces released in the future! I hear Troy is a very popular character… Also, one thing we can promise is that the updates will be very frequent, and filled with new and revamped contents, instead of re-releasing same contents already released on other regions.
Q: How long is OGPlanet intending to take to release a new character? Possibly a monthly thing?
A: We may or may not be including new characters with every content release; however players can expect to see new content release every two weeks or so. Don’t want to spoil too much, but we’ve already planned a schedule for our first content patch after commercial launch. During that patch, players can expect to see more maps, modes, costumes, game items and… A NEW CHARACTER!
Q: It came to my attention that new characters, normally requiring cash purchases, will have unique stats. Does it mean players who keep on playing with the starter character will always be on the losing end?
A: Players can expect our existing and future basic characters to be available for in-game currency (TR Points), which will guarantee a level playing field. Players can also count on us to ensure game balance between special and basic characters. A simple example can include adding a form of durability or timed duration when using a special character. In the end we want to provide our paying users with some form of benefit, whether it be cosmetic, convenience, or gameplay, without affecting the overall game balance.
Q: Can you briefly introduce the various game modes? And what are some of the newer ones veteran players can look forward to?
A: During the first beta we introduced single, team and 30-man races. For the most part it was survival of the fittest – let the best man win kind of mentality. This time around, players will be able to participate in mini games, relays, bigger team battles, and a mode where players will need sharp mind and extreme skills!
Without spoiling too much, veteran players can also look forward to more co-op and versus modes, new relay type modes, animal/pet racing, additional mini games, boss raid modes and more.
Q: Are there any changes made during localization to cater the English market? If so, what are some of the examples?
A: It’s probably easier to point out what HASN’T been changed since the previous service as the localization was done from scratch. The in-game currency is still referred to as TR points and the game is still called Tales Runner. Some of the character names remained the same, but that’s about it.
Also, instead of forcibly trying to “Westernize” the game from its original version and forcing various current “hip” trends down the players’ throats, we simply reviewed the game contents, and then basically localized as we saw fit. For example, there is a character called “Narcissus” (previously known as Apollo) that’s basically full of himself. Narcissus was a perfect name for the character as in Greek mythology, Narcissus is a man that was so fixated with his own beauty that he saw his own reflection, fell in love with it, and basically stared at himself until he died. We saw no reason to change the name to an arbitrary “American” name since the name Narcissus perfectly described his personality.
You will notice more examples like this in game where some contents that are meant to be foreign and mysterious remain that way. Of course, another thing that the players will notice is that the grammar/spelling has been VASTLY improved since the last version and all of the awkward writing has been wiped clean as well.
Q: I understand that there is a farm system, accessible to all Tales Runner players. How does it actually work? Does it give players unfair bonuses during races?
A: Each player is provided their own individual farm. You can decorate it to your liking, and serves as a place for players to relax. You can invite up to 20 players into your farm, where you can hang out, have fun and even throw a barbecue. For those who want to take their relationship to the next level, couples can use their farm to get married (congratulations! – hope you don’t get divorced shortly after).
Currently, the farm system has no effect on your character as you race. Future farm improvements will include additional terrain choices and the ability to grow crops, which will help develop your pets and animals.
Q: The card system in Tales Runner allows players to craft special gears. How does the process work? Similar to the farm system, will this give players unfair bonuses during races?
A: The card system ties in with the game’s alchemy system. There are special alchemy gears that can be crafted with specific card ingredients. These cards drop randomly at the end of each race, and each map contains its own unique set of cards. All players are able to craft gear within the alchemy system, provided they have the required card ingredients, and sufficient TR Points.
Q: How will the cash item shop affect gameplay? Tales Runner is a racing game, and I am sure players are worried about players who spend more having the upper hand all the time.
A: We want to avoid a pay-to-win type environment to our players. As gamers ourselves, we understand the importance of fun and overall impressions. Nobody wants to have to continuously pay just to enjoy the game, that’s just not fun at all.
We intend to introduce cash items as a method for users to obtain contents at a much quicker rate, while avoiding giving them an absolute edge during races. Basically these items will mainly focus on providing users individual bonuses, such as bonus TR points and experience.
Q: What are some of the community and social features in Tales Runner?
A: To start off we have an open park plaza system that includes interactive features such as alchemy, a musical xylophone, mini-games and more. Next we have our farm system, where players can unleash their building creativity. It includes a chat farm feature where players can open their farm to the public, and holds a maximum of 20 players. Tales Runner also includes a guild system for players to team up and form unique groups. Players can expect a lot of features in future updates that will require the contribution of an entire guild. Examples include guild battles, developing the guild’s farm, upgrading a guild to provide bonus buffs, and more. Lastly, we have a meeting system where players can randomly match up and chat. Players accumulate attraction points, which can be used to achieve rare emblems. There are a lot of social elements in the game that will allow our players to easily interact with one another, make new friends, and enhance their playing experience.
Q: Beta recently ended. How was the player feedback thus far? Any particular features which got much hammering or praise?
A: We were very pleased with the result of our first beta. There were very minimal issues which allowed us to quickly prepare, and transition into the second beta & commercial launch. Overall player feedback was extremely positive and they continue to show a lot of excitement while counting down towards the second beta. Many players praised the higher resolution, redesigned UI and game design, balance changes, and of course, the new localization. There also were lots of requests for Rough (SPOILER: renamed to Troy) and the Alchemy Systems, so we’re making sure they’ll both be available in the next OBT (April 22 @ 12PM PT).
Q: In case I missed out anything, what are some of the features you will like to highlight to potential players and to our readers?
A: Other than the regular racing features to the game, Tales Runner offers a lot of other elements for our players to enjoy. You can be a competitive player or a casual player; don’t worry as the game can cater to both! Do you like to build up your own place and invite friends or guild members over and relax? Do you like the social aspect of games and want to meet all kinds of interesting players? Tales Runner caters to those players as well. If you haven’t already tried Tales Runner I definitely recommend it (and I’m not just saying that because I work on the game.. it’s actually extremely fun and addicting).
Q: On to something more serious. I found out that there are still quite a number of Tales Runner private server out in the wild. How serious is OGPlanet looking at this issue?
A: We’re aware of some of the more well-known private servers, and are already working alongside the developers to try and shut them down. Also, the client protection has been improved and it will be impossible to get new contents that are released onto the private servers, so it gives the players more incentive to play on the official server and enjoy the new contents. On a more positive note, we’d like to let the readers know that we’ll continually be releasing content on a biweekly basis. Some of the content will already be familiar to some of the veteran players; however we plan on releasing exclusive content that you may not be able to experience in other regions servicing the game. Include a bunch of planned events lined up, and you can expect OGPlanet and the TR Team to not let up on the fun throttle!
Q: Tales Runner is obviously a competitive racing game with a casual touch. Is OGPlanet looking at regular competitions, something close to eSports?
A: We already plan on hosting various competitive events like seasonal rankings and tournaments. We don’t want to make the game too competitive, as the casual vibe it emits is one of the key factors that keep this game fun and exciting. But yeah, players can expect us to host competitions from time to time. We want to add some challenges for our more hardcore players, and hope that some of our casual players will partake as well.
Q: I have a wild idea. How about partnering with major sports brand such as Nike, Adidas and sell their shoes and apparel in digital form in the cash item shop? Sounds really cool!
A: That’s an awesome idea! We’ll definitely be considering it as it has been done on some regions with great success. Alternatively, I’d also want Tales Runner designed apparel. How cool would THAT be? #TalesRunnerSWAG
Thank you for the answers! Tales Runner has just ended its beta phase, so keep a lookout for any game updates over that the game’s official Facebook page!Related: Interview, OGPlanet, Tales Runner, Update