"If there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of men." - Edward D. Morrison
"Tales of" is a franchise of fantasy action role-playing games that have been called the "third biggest RPG series in Japan behind Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest." First begun in 1995, the series currently spans multiple games, spin-off games and supplementary media in the form of manga series, anime series, and audio dramas. Games in the main series are largely unrelated to one another, with different characters and stories. They are commonly linked by their gameplay, themes and high fantasy settings. The series is characterized by its art style, and its action-based fighting system called the "Linear Motion Battle System".
Multiple gameplay elements carry over from entry to entry. The main unifying element is the combat system, the Linear Motion Battle System (LMBS for short). Considered as one of the mainstays and building blocks for every main entry in the series, it undergoes multiple incremental changes and alterations from one installment to the next. Some features introduced in certain games have proven popular enough to remain in future installments like "Free Running" (the ability for a character to freely roam the battlefield). Elements of turn-based combat are also present, though to a lesser degree: an example of this is Destiny's "Chain Capacity" feature (the number of skills a character can perform), which appears in later games in the series.
The prominent narrative theme of the Tales series is the issue of coexistence between different races. Another recurring feature is the plot and characters, which are often rooted in and revolve around themes such as justice or faith. The theme for each entry in the series is decided by the series producer based on current world events. The chosen theme helps dictate what the game will be called: once the theme is decided, the team search through various languages to find a suitable representative word. The settings for the stories are primarily high fantasy worlds, with the producers opting not to use a dark or science fiction-based setting. The way the characters interact with each other during the narrative forms one of the core aspects of designing each game.