Tales of Arise & Scarlet Nexus Staff Discuss Enemy Design, Appeal & Development History

Tales of Arise & Scarlet Nexus Staff Discuss Enemy Design, Appeal & Development History

Bandai Namco recently published the first part of a lengthy sit-down involving the producer, director, and enemy designer of the action JRPG Scarlet Nexus, as well as the producer and art director/main character designer for Tales of Arise.

  • Keita IizukaScarlet Nexus Producer
  • Kenji AnabukiScarlet Nexus Director
  • Masakazu YamashiroScarlet Nexus Enemy Designer
  • Yusuke TomizawaTales of Arise Producer
  • Minoru IwamotoTales of Arise Art Director/Main Character Designer

The group discussed various subject matters correlating to enemies in both titles, such as why enemies are just as vital as the protagonists. Some standout statements regard how antagonists help diversify the world by adding “shades” to the game worlds. The Tales of Arise director, Hirokazu Kagawa, wasn’t present during the interview, but he shared two insightful quotes:

“There exists a certain aspect of beauty that only a villain can exude, I feel. The protagonist usually can’t help but walk the straight and narrow. But the antagonist is free to descend into madness—or even play the tragic figure committed to a losing battle. Depending on the villain, the narrative can develop into a gripping epic.”

“It’s the villain that hooks people into the game, even before they’ve bought it.”


Further, enemies should be crafted to stimulate emotion within the player and have clear, concise goals. The heroes’ relationship with the antagonists is inestimably helpful in illustrating the varied relationships, too. Tales of Arise producer Yusuke Tomizawa says, “the enemy itself is a stage,” as player growth should become evident across every encounter.

The talented group discussed countless more ideas, ranging from their experiences with enemy design, battle animations, and reactions to the “Other” enemies in Scarlet Nexus. Yamashiro was a new addition to the staff, so his initial presentation draft of the Winery Chinery foe shocked the development team since they weren’t quite expecting that level of high quality. The Others are talked about to several more avenues, revealing that their designs were greenlit relatively quickly compared to the norm.


As for Tales of Arise, Tomizawa remarks how they wanted this entry to represent an evolution for the series while also inheriting the brand’s spirit. The greater visual immersion and fidelity of Arise helped enhance its identity alongside the numerous unique damage animations.

There is an immense degree of information and conversation shared in this collective interview to an extent where summarizing it all would be incredibly difficult due to five people being involved. Each of these creators offers unique insight regarding their projects, so I highly encourage reading this dense first part of the interview for yourself. The interview’s second part will be shared in the near future, where an all-new Other enemy will be shown alongside a discussion regarding what makes a JRPG.

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Tales of Arise advances the graphics with the new “Atmospheric Shader,” which presents the world as if it were a hand-drawn painting. Further, the combat has evolved, allowing for a better sense of spectacle and direct player feedback based upon their actions. Finally, the graphics, combat system, characters, and story combine to present a vivid and realized world that the developer hopes will immerse players.

Tales of Arise has launched worldwide on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC.


Scarlet Nexus is set in the distant future where a psionic hormone has been discovered in the human brain. This leads to people gaining extra-sensory powers and thus changing the world. Humanity entered a new era, but deranged mutants known as Others begin to descend from the sky with a hunger for human brains.

These enemies aren’t affected by mortal weapons, and so humanity is forced to rely on those with abilities to save the world. Players take on the role of Yuito Sumerage to uncover the mysteries of a Brain Punk future that is caught between technology and psychic abilities.

In case you missed it, check out our reviewScarlet Nexus is currently available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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