Tales of the Abyss (テイルズ オブ ジ アビス Teiruzu Obu Ji Abisu?) is a role-playing video game developed by Namco Tales Studio as the eighth main title in their Tales series. Originally released for the PlayStation 2, the game was published by Namco in Japan in December 2005, and Bandai Namco Games in North America in October 2006. Its development team included director Yoshito Higuchi, producer Makoto Yoshizumi, and character artist Kōsuke Fujishima. The game features music by series composers Motoi Sakuraba and Shinji Tamura, and includes the opening theme song "Karma" by Bump of Chicken. Namco has given Tales of the Abyss the characteristic genre name To Know the Meaning of One's Birth RPG (生まれた意味を知るRPG Umareta Imi o Shiru RPG?). A port for the Nintendo 3DS handheld was released in Japan in June 2011, with North American and European English versions following in November 2011 and February 2012, respectively.
Taking place in a fantasy world, the story focuses on Luke fon Fabre, a young swordsman whose pampered life turns upside down when he unwittingly becomes the target of a military-religious organization known as the Order of Lorelei, who believe him to be the key to an ancient prophecy. Together with his companions, Luke attempts to discover the truth and significance of his own birth, as well as unravel the mystery of The Score, the prophecy that has bound humanity's actions for thousands of years.
Reviews for both its original console and handheld releases were mostly positive, with critics praising the title's combat system yet remarking that the game's plot had a tendency to move slowly and adhered to many stock Japanese role-playing game conventions. The PlayStation 2 version has sold approximately 734,000 copies worldwide. A 26-episode anime adaptation by Sunrise was also produced, which first aired in Japan on MBS between October 2008 and March 2009.
The game's "Flex Range Linear Motion Battle System" (FR-LMBS) is real-time. The game controls are very similar to other Tales games, especially Tales of Symphonia, except with increased maneuverability. The player can attack, defend, perform a skill or call up a menu with multiple functions, such as using items or commanding an ally to perform an action. This system offers multiplayer co-op battles, and the camera for this mode is improved over the one found in Tales of Symphonia, zooming out as characters move away from each other so that other players are now always on screen. A new feature, "Free Run," allows the player character to run in any direction, unlike previous Tales games.
The game features many skills and spells to unleash upon enemies. Characters can learn "AD Skills," which can be equipped and unequipped at will, to help them in battles. The game features a large number of these skills, acquired through the use of "Capacity Cores" — items that give stat bonuses when a character levels up. Once a certain statistic has a large enough bonus, the AD skill is learned automatically. A new addition to the system is the "Field of Fonons" (often abbreviated as FOF). Whenever a character uses a spell or battle technique that features an elemental alignment, a circle will appear on the ground, corresponding to that element. After being reinforced with more techniques of the same element, the circle will light up in that element's color to signify that an FOF change is available. Finally, if a character stands in the circle and performs a specific skill that corresponds with the FOF circle, the skill will be upgraded into a more powerful version. Enemies can also use and create FOF fields. As with other Tales games, characters can engage in "Over Limit" mode when their green OVL bar is full. This can be filled by completing combos and making critical hits. During Over Limit, characters can use their Mystic Artes (Hi-Ougis), powerful skills that can only be performed when certain conditions are fulfilled. Every character has one standard Mystic Arte, along with an additional hidden one unlockable only on repeat plays. Enemy boss characters have Mystic Artes as well.