Tales fans rejoiced earlier this week when Bandai Namco announced that one of the best entries in the long-running JRPG series would come to Nintendo Switch, and other modern platforms, by way of a remaster. Now they’re having second thoughts. The publisher has since made it clear that the new and improved version will only run at 30 frames per second, dashing hopes of Tales of Symphonia getting the victory lap it deserves.
The fifth Tales game, Symphonia tells the story of parallel worlds caught in the midst of an energy crisis. In the midst of their travels, players go from exploring an overworld map to fighting enemies in real-time combat battles. A clever gem system allowed for lots of character customisation. At a time when the GameCube was struggling and Nintendo fans were still smarting from Final Fantasy’s exodus to PlayStation, Symphonia was a beacon of pure JRPG bliss.
Now, almost two decades after its original release, it’s coming to PS4, Xbox One, and, most importantly, Switch. But while Bandai Namco promises “graphically enhanced and improved gameplay,” details are currently light. The one thing we do know is that this new version will be locked at 30 fps on all platforms. While that’s a major missed opportunity since modern systems should have no problem running the game at 60 fps (or more on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S), it’s also a bit tragic considering the original version already ran at 60 fps on GameCube, a system that is over 20 years old now.
The outcry from Tales fans has been palpable. A tweet by Gematsu breaking the news filled up with comments and quote-tweets blasting the decision. Some shook their heads at another subpar JRPG remaster. Others said they’d be content to stick with the existing PC version on their Steam Deck. “Truly, nobody asked for this,” wrote one person on ResetEra.
It was 60fps in the good ol’ days.
— Therm0pyle (@Therm0pyle) September 14, 2022
Tales of Symphonia was also released on PS2, but only in Japan. It later received an initial HD port on PS3 and PC about a decade later. Still, the game only ran at 30 fps on every platform but GameCube. Ten years ago this might not have been a big deal, at least for console players. But with the ubiquity of PC gaming and the performance modes on current gen consoles, I want that buttery-smooth 60 fps wherever I can get it, especially when it comes to remasters of older games.
Bandai Namco will be selling the latest version for $US40 ($56). Unless it later reveals some major quality-of-life improvements, tweaked gameplay, or new content, it’ll be a tough pill to swallow. We’re at the point in gaming’s history where there are so many gems to be mined and re-polished. It’s a shame so many of them aren’t getting the treatment they deserve.