Miyajima talking about Kratos and Zelos

Translation of a column written by Tales of Symphonia’s scenario writer Takumi Miyajima in the 2013 November issue of Viva Tales of Magazine.

“It’s a bit sudden, but I will start this month’s column with some announcement.

The novel I wrote for Symphonia will be published by Dengeki Bunko on November 10. It is a story from Kratos’s point of view. It is meant to be read by players who have already finished the game, so I would recommand you to play Unisonant Pack before reading. There will be more details about it in further announcements.

This month, I would like to talk about the protagonist of this novel, Kratos - as well as the other side of the coin that goes together with him, Zelos.

I feel I’ve been repeating myself on the subject, but what first comes to mind when the topic of Kratos is brought up is the day when we in the development team received Fujishima-sensei’s design. There were many calls of "wow, so cool!”, from grown-ups, most of them men, even. I think that is when Kratos’s role was set in stone. That’s how good his design was. I had already been writing the scenario with a rather clear idea of the character, but the power of images is certainly impressive.

When it comes to Zelos, on the other hand, while I personally found his design appealing, the men in the team seemed convinced that though they themselves liked the characters, the female fans would probably not be very interested in him. Poor Zelos… Since I did my best to tell them it would not be the case and that he would be well-recieved, I was really happy to see how loved he was after the game came out.

I suppose that what you want to know the most about these two magic swordsmen is why you had to pick one between them.

That is because Symphonia is a game about choices. In Symphonia, you can visit towns and dungeons in different order up to a certain extent, the battle system is divided into S-Type and T-Type, and the player often has to make choices. The plan was to have the player form their own “Symphonia” in their minds with the choices they made. That is where, for example, the affection system comes into play.

Since there was to be an affection system, I wrote a scenario where the plot would change depending on which character the player chose, and Zelos was put into a special position. Originally, Zelos was going to die unless he was the one with the highest affection.

Yes, Zelos was destined to die in any other character’s route.

If his affection was the lowest, he would leave the party and die in the middle of the story. If he was ranked from 2 to 7, he would stay until the end and die in the ending. And if he was first, he would live.

That is how I started writing the story, but then the development staff suggested that if I was going to make Zelos leave, why not put Kratos in his slot? We then started discussing how such a scenario would be interesting if it was possible to implement, and in the middle of development we suddenly decided to make Kratos come back. The affection requirements were changed, and that is how the game ended up as it did.

That means that if someone had not said “let’s bring Kratos back!”, Zelos’s death would have become the official route. Now everyone thinks that Kratos means the death of Zelos, but in truth Kratos is Zelos’s savior.

I am running out of space, so we will continue talking about them another time. Till next month’s issue!“

- Takumi Miyajima @ Viva Tales of Magazine 2013 November Issue, p.100