Tales of Phantasia was based off of an unpublished novel by Gotanda Yoshiharu called Tale Phantasia. I've looked and looked, but have found nothing more about it than a few differences between the game and the book.
I'm trying to find a manuscript (Japanese or English) of this work. Everything I've read calls it "unpublished," so I am assuming it remains that way even today, but there is information about it on the internet that makes me think it may have been released.
I would very much like to find it (and might could get it translated), but so far I have found nothing. Does anyone know of any leads that I might follow?
- There is no direct manuscript for Tale Phantasia. It is essentially a scriptset in novel form, and it was never published because they decided to use its story as the base for what they felt would have been a great game.
- Several changes exist between the initial concept of Tale Phantasia and the published game, due to Namco's interference with Wolfteam's efforts, eventually cutting them out of the process and removing them from the credits towards the end of development. This includes changing the character artist from Yoshiaki Inagaki to the now-familiar Kousuke Fujishima, resulting in entirely redesigned and renamed characters (these are the original ones) with in-game sprites that are based on original artwork and not Fujishima's revisions, which are shown in the status art, along with several alterations to key chars and plot points. A grand majority of the story was cut from the game, and no attempt was made to close the plot holes that were created by Namco's actions.
- The closest thing that you will find that matches the original vision of Tale Phantasia can be seen within the novel "Katararezaru Rekishi" (語られざる歴史?), released only in Japan. It can be considered as a prequel novel to the game, detailing the story of the original four who went on to defeat Dhaos during the Valhalla War, led by Edward Morrison and, much more importantly, Winona Bigford, the only human to learn of Dhaos's true motives. She's the archer (actually a "bowgun" user) who is already dead in the opening cutscene battle, and that's not just for aesthetic purposes.
- More additional information on the backstory can be found within the game "Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon", currently released on the original Game Boy, with a full remake coming this August for the PSP. Ignoring the newly inserted boob-girl Londrine (lol Namco further distorting Wolfteam's story), this game shows more about Dhaos's past within Derris Kharlan and the circumstances that led to him being sent against his will to Aselia due to the sacrifice of his wife Karion and other sorcerers of his court, after Dios and Meltia, the past embodiments of the main characters Dio and Mel, accidentally depleted the planet's mana to bring about its destruction. Keep in mind that the other Narikiri Dungeon games are not related to this first one, since those are just crossover spinoffs.
- No English translation exists for KataReki, since I believe Cyllya never finished and released her translation of the novel. Cyllya is still around on many Tales-related sites and forums, but she rarely posts anymore outside of the Phantasian Productions forums. Still, her personal website has some good timeline information that you might find helpful. As for NariDan, only a menu patch exists at this time, released by ChangeV on his own website, and he also disappeared quite a long time ago, though he only ever posted on Phantasian Productions even back then. (In other words, don't expect an update to the patch.) It may be more advantageous to wait for the PSP remake of the game, since I expect the root story to be unchanged even with the silly things that Namco decided to add, like a talking closet/wardrobe... thing.
- And finally, on the official Namco Tales Forums, we have had some very in-depth discussions on Phantasia's story, making extensive use of the information within KataReki and NariDan. I can give you a couple of thread links here, and you can read the threads if you're interested. Look for Elion's posts, and ignore the trolling. (Though even the trolling is amusing to read once you get used to how annoying our resident Junko Iwao fanboy can be.) There are other threads with similar discussions, but they don't last very long compared to these two.
- And finally, I should apologize for how we have little to no info about any of these things on this wiki. I wish to avoid creating new pages on the extra materials like drama CDs and novels so we can focus on fixing the pages that we already have, but Phantasia is one of the only games where these side things actually contribute massively to the world and its story. The other game in which the side stuffs expand the timeline in such detail is Tales of the Abyss, due to all of the information that exists in relation to the Float Project and Yulia Jue, Flail Albert, Valta Sigmund, and Francis Daath. The fact that I know so much about these things is depressing, but I truly have other things I want to work on first. As important as these side materials are, there are too many things related directly to each game that are badly written and hardly edited that need to be fixed, and I don't want to worry about sidetracking myself yet again.
- Thank you very much for all of your help, I had no idea about a lot of that. You're quite knowledgeable :3
- Question though: is there a publicly available copy of KataReki (in Japanese)? My Japanese is severely lacking, but I would still like to take a look at it.
- I don't think so. If it exists, I haven't seen it, but you might find something if you look around online. I know you can buy the actual novel through eBay and Amazon, though you're more likely to find it through their Japanese server forks (*.co.jp). I'm sorry I can't help any further with this.