This person is JayMota16.
Y'all probably (or idk, maybe not) know that I somewhat-recently took up speedrunning Tales of Symphonia, and very-recently decided to actually try taking it seriously. I exclusively speedrun NG+ because I decided I want to get the best time I can possibly get in that category, a good and respectable time, before moving on. I didn't want to just get something decent and then move on.
Because I'll never beat JayMota16 with that kind of attitude, that's why.
Jay has the world record in the following categories:
- Tales of Symphonia GameCube USA NG
- Tales of Symphonia GameCube JP NG
- Tales of Symphonia GameCube USA NG+
- Tales of Symphonia PS3/PC NG
- Tales of Symphonia PS3/PC NG+
( and 2 GC NG co-op runs that are memes no one actually takes seriously )
But it's not just that he got good enough to get those records - he put effort into routing them himself! The times he has at the top of the leaderboard would not be possible without his hard work.
Just a glimpse at the kind of routing work he did:
* Tested different party compositions with various EX skill combinations to gauge what party is actually effectively faster/stronger versus what the statistics tell you
For example, Colette has pretty low strength in her stats, BUT her "Battle Cry" compound EX skill boosts her stats, she gets a strong weapon early in Sylvarant (Stinger Ring), Para Ball on GC version is one of the strongest moves in the game + has stagger, and if you have a party composed around her, Presea (one of the strongest characters), and Sheena (required for many fights), then you can throw in Zelos who gets a stat boost for every female in the party so he can have a strong Lightning Blade macro. Stats as-written this party looks relatively weak, but the synergy makes it one of the best comps in the game.
Similarly, having Regal with the "Guilt" EX skill gives him a boost for having Presea in the party, plus his Glory skill makes him immune to stagger - this combined with his infinite combo you get by spell canceling makes him have the highest DPS in the game.
Jay was the one who put the work in to testing out every single fight and the menus before each fight and determining the fastest party composition, how much time that composition saves, and whether menuing makes it worth it or not. He practiced and determined optimal party compositions for every fight in the game and is to date the ONLY person to beat ToS in under 6 hours and 20 minutes (GameCube NG+). I'm in third, and I am a solid TEN MINUTES behind that world record.
* Optimized menus and practiced them enough that he completes complicated ones in seconds
As mentioned above, not only did he time and discern whether party composition changes were worth the time it takes to menu and set them up; he then went and grinded them so hard that they are SO ingrained in him that he can practically do them with his eyes closed.
* Tested and implemented different party compositions and battle techniques for EVERY unique category of the game
GC and PS3 have different ideal parties. NG and NG+ have different EX skills available to you and different techs that are viable. Jay did all the above work for EVERY UNIQUE CATEGORY making them all specially tailored one-of-a-kind runs that cater to the tools usable in each.
"AJ this is a lot of text"
GOOD NEWS!!!! A few months back, I gave a presentation at Aselia Con on the history of the ToS speedrun. I tried to make it a good intro to experiencing the game as a speed-game rather than casually, and in it I detail several runners' contributions over the years, culminating in Jay's accomplishments. I interviewed several community members because I wanted to approach it from their perspective as opposed to an outsider's, and I think it does a good job of emphasizing how important each of these people has been to shaping the run over the years.
It is very long, almost an hour, but if you are at all interested a demo of it I recorded in preparation is here. There are a few expletives used at the beginning, so language warning:
Why am I megaposting about him, you ask?
Well, he announced today on twitter that he is going to be moving on from speedrunning for the foreseeable future. Now, I know every WR holder ever has "retired" from their game and came back to it like 4 months later, but I'm inclined to believe Jay will genuinely be moving on because the ToS community is practically dead except for, like, me right now; everyone else retired years ago, and Jay recently did a run at RPGLimitBreak and got comments asking why someone "more personable" wasn't doing the run instead, so a variety of factors has made it simply not rewarding for him anymore.
It's a pretty gutwrenching loss and I'm pretty crushed about it. I was hoping to have the Man Himself TM as a contemporary when I finally get to be a top tier runner. But it's alright, the man's moving on with his life because it's time for him to, but I feel it's only appropriate to honor his legacy and impact and work, even if the community that knows about him is tiny as ****.
NEVAR 4GET JAYMOTA16, TOS SPEEDRUN LEGEND.
Here's his GC NG+ world record. Man is a beast: