Atelier Series Producer on Popularity Polls, Smooth Battles, and Returning to Sophie

Image: Koei Tekmo

In 2022, Koei Tecmo and Gust Co. turns 25 years old. Studio RPG series. It debuted in 1997 on the PlayStation with Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburgand Switch owners have several entries in its library to choose from, including the highly successful Atelier Ryza and its direct sequel, which broke with the series’ tradition by moving one entry’s protagonist (in this case, Ryza) into the sequel. .

Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream – the latest in the “Mysterious” branch of the series – will release on Switch on February 25, with series producer Junzo Hosoi returning to the ever-expanding Atelier canon. We previously spoke with Hose back in December 2020 ahead of the release of Atelier Ryza 2, but to find out more about this new game, we caught up with him again…

Nintendo Life: Could you briefly explain to Atelier newcomers (or those who have only played one of the Ryza games) the main differences between the “Secret” and “Mystery” branches of the series?

Junzo Hosoi: The Secret series has a relatively high amount of action compared to other Atelier games, while the Mysterious series has more emphasis on careful consideration and reflection. The differences between them become even more obvious when looking at their combat systems. The Secret series uses a real-time system, while the Mysterious series uses a turn-based system.

The turn-based battles provide a high level of strategy and great combat animations, so I really feel that this style of battle also has a lot of charm. We want to take the best aspects of turn-based combat and expand on it.

Junzo Hosoi
Image: Junzo Hosoi

After the success of Ryza and its sequel, why did you decide to go back to the earlier Atelier Sophie in particular (rather than any other game or new sub-series launch)?

I’m really so grateful that the Atelier series is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. We’ve been thinking a lot about what the first new Atelier game will be for this event.

we studied the reactions we received on social media to each of the past games, as well as online character popularity polls.

Since many of our fans have been with us throughout the long history of the Atelier series, we’ve taken a look at the reactions we’ve received on social media to each of the past titles, as well as online character popularity polls. We then took into account how popular a direct sequel with the same protagonist was, in the case of Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout, and began to consider creating a story featuring Sophie and Plachta.

Sophie started out as an aspiring alchemist at Atelier Sophie, rose to become an alchemy teacher at Atelier Firis, and then became an eminent alchemist at Atelier Lydie & Suelle. Between these titles, Sophie and Plakhta had many other events, so this sequel / new title is dedicated to one of these periods. We decided to bring this new installment to the series to life because we thought players would really enjoy it, as well as experience a few surprises along the way.

Did the feedback from the first Atelier Sophie or later Ryza games influence your approach to the sequel?

We use all the knowledge and skills that we gained while designing the graphics for Atelier Ryza 2 in Atelier Sophie 2. From there, we’ve refreshed the fantastic game elements that are typical of the “Mysterious” series.

In addition, we’ve used all the feedback we’ve received for the three Mysterious games to freshen up the various systems in the game, adding new combat and synthesis gameplay elements, and improving overall usability. the game.

What would you say is the most significant addition that Atelier Sophie 2 will bring?

I have to say that it will be a solid combat system that we have added. Up until now, loading times have gone from the moment you explore the field to the moment you enter the battle zone, but now you can enter battle much faster than before. This complements the turn-based combat system well, making this new feature indispensable for this game.

By implementing this feature, we have achieved a greater sense of realism and immersion in the world of the Mysterious series, as you can go directly from the vast field area directly into combat.

As far as we understand, this is the first game in the Atelier series to launch almost simultaneously in all regions. Could you elaborate a bit on the challenges involved in achieving this?

We always consider the amount of time it takes to localize each Atelier game and include it in our development schedules at a very early stage. We need to start all of this as quickly as possible, since the story elements make up the majority of each title, and the volume of each story itself is quite large. Whenever there is a change in the development process, we can step in and periodically fix things where necessary, and by doing all of this in parallel, we can ensure that games run all over the world at the same time.

For new players, do you think it’s better to start with Sophie 1 before playing the sequel? Do you think fans of the Ryza series will also enjoy Sophie 2?

We’ve prepared a video that summarizes the story of Atelier Sophie for players who haven’t played any of the games yet. Of course, it would be great if players could try out the game before Atelier Sophie 2 was released, but this video will allow players who haven’t played the previous game to enjoy this new installment in the series.

This new title is sort of “episode 0” and serves as a starting point for the story of the “Mystery” series. Each character meets each other for the first time, so this won’t be a problem unless the player has prior knowledge of the story.

Now that the door for Atelier sequels with the same protagonists as previous games is now truly open, is there any chance you’ll be returning to earlier entries and characters for future sequels?

Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ and Atelier Sophie 2 were special occasions when the timing was just right for the development team and illustrator, along with many other marvels that were perfectly timed for these games to happen. In terms of new titles and sequels to past entries in the series, if the stars align correctly, I think there is room for more to be done in the future!

Once you’ve completed Atelier Sophie 2, what’s next for Junzo Hosoi?

Atelier Sophie 2 is just the start of everything we have planned for the 25th anniversary of the Atelier series, so things will continue to heat up as we go. Please look forward to our future announcements.

Finally, if you play on Switch, do you play more in handheld mode or docked mode?

There are a lot of elements in the Atelier series that require you to really focus when you play them, so when I play on the Switch I like to use handheld mode and just relax.

We thank Junzo Hosoya. Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream is out on Switch on February 25th.

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