A summary of info from Nintendo Power…

– Symphonia highest selling Tales game in the US and still selling better than Abyss
– originally planned as a spin-off, but plans changed into full-fledged, direct story sequel
– dev started in 06, before the Wii casual market was established
– Nintendo specifically asked for a game that would cater to the core audience
– Monster system was added for casual appeal
– no specific changes were made after it became clear that the Wii was clicking with casuals
– Wiiimote uses, button shortcuts, pointing at what you want to shoot with the Sorcerer’s Ring; click and drag the world map and select destination with the pointer.
– more motion controls may be added for NA release
– Scenario writer for DotNW wrote the original game. There are others on-board from the original project, but most of the staff is new.
– Character proportions changed to stay faithful to new designs
– Fujishima was too busy to do the character designs, so Daigo Okumura (art director for Symphonia and Abyss) did it.
– Monster capturing system intended to be strategic, and also provide people with something to collect. It’s a difficult task to collect all the monsters first time around.
– Affection system present in the monster attraction aspect, no story changes as there were with the original game. Optional side quests available.
– Cooking system returns, but now the Wonder Chef teaches you recipes for monster food, which will change your monster parameters or aid their evolution.

– 8 surviving characters are all playable at some point.
– Zelos in, Kratos out (but he’s the narrator of the intro). Emil and Marta are the only permanent human characters, the rest of the party of 4 is made up of monsters and guest appearances.
– About half of the locations and dungeons are rehashed from the original game (though quite a bit different due to changes in the world)
– Monsters recruitment is determined by the element of the battlefield compared to the element of the monster, and influenced by the monster from your party you use to sway them.
– 11 hours of voiced event scenes and character skits. Event scenes feature realistically proportioned characters, cinematic camera angles and motion-captured character animation. “Prospects looking good for fully voiced skits and perhaps even actual theme-song vocals in the game’s North American version.”