After hearing the hint “Tiger Festival” for Ryukishi07’s next unannounced work, I couldn’t help speculating wildly about it. I already have a whole page of ideas (most of them insane). One theory, though, is beginning to sound more and more likely.
As a child of the Internet, the first thing I did was Google it. I didn’t have to go past the first page before stumbling upon the phrase in the game Tales of Graces. I’ve never played it, but in one of the game’s comedic scenes, a character takes on the conspicuous fake name of “Tiger Festival.” Interesting connection, I thought, but could still be a coincidence. Then I just learned today that the game’s main villain is named “Lambda.” And so the rabbit hole gets deeper.
Ryukishi07 first introduced himself at ACen by saying he never imagined he’d become a script writer for visual novels. Also, he wasn’t even sure he’d found his true calling yet. Maybe that true calling could be “writer for a JRPG?” After all, his pen-name comes straight from Final Fantasy. Maybe he’ll be fulfilling a long-held dream. Plus, we’ve already seen the addition of game play elements to Rose Guns Days.
I couldn’t say for sure he’s actually writing the next Tales Of game. If so, why would he reference Tales of Graces from 2009, instead of the more recent Tales of Xillia or Zestria from 2011 and 2015? Maybe that game just particularly inspired him. Still, I think there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a new JRPG with his hand in it. Or maybe we should all get ready for “When the Tigers Cry.”
Edit: A reader reminded me of one other connection between Ryukishi07 and the Tales Of games: the singer Akiko Shikata has done multiple songs for both series. In fact, her EP “Cocoon of White Dreams” is a crossover between Umineko no Naku Koro ni and Tales of Symphonia. Thanks Matt!