We recently spoke to the Head of Gust, Junzo Hosoi, about the upcoming JRPG Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg, a revival of the first-ever game in the Atelier series.
We discussed the work that went into this remake, design decisions, and what fans can anticipate from the Atelier franchise’s future.
The full interview is quoted below:
Q: The systems of an Atelier title are constantly evolving across each entry. When developing Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist Of Salburg, how did the systems of this entry hold up when compared to modern game design and recent entries of the series?
A: Because it is a title from 25 years ago, all the specs were simple compared to the recent Atelier series. However, the simplicity of the specs and the high degree of freedom are characteristics and what give Atelier Marie depth, so we decided not to change those aspects of the game. We have improved the parts that were difficult to understand at the time and have make them easier for newcomers to understand, based on our experience with the recent Atelier series.
Q: For the release of Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist Of Salburg, you chose a chibi art design for the characters. GUST has done this before with the release of Atelier Rorona on 3DS, but why was this art direction chosen for this release?
A: This game is being developed based on the concept of remaking the visual image of the time of the original in a modern way. So, since the original used mini-characters, we are following that style and feel.
However, we did initially discuss the possibility of making the characters full-size as in the Ryza games, but we felt that this would give the impression that the game is like a current Atelier series JRPG. And “Marie” has more of a simulation game feel to it compared to the more modern games, so there would be a gap based on the image one would get from the way it looks. And so we thought it would be best to create a 3D version of “Marie” with character proportions similar to the original version of the game.
Q: The original Atelier Marie had a strong simulation aspect, with the deadline being an important aspect of its design. However, Atelier Marie Remake features a mode without deadlines. Do you feel this feature affects the intentions of the original game’s design?
A: Even though deadlines are an important part of the gameplay in Atelier Marie, many recent Atelier fans and RPG fans may not be comfortable with having a deadline system, so we have made it possible to choose to have no deadlines in this game.
So while the difficulty of clearing the game or completing various features becomes a bit easier, I think that the fun of playing Atelier Marie remains unchanged.
Q: Even though this trilogy hasn’t been released in the West, Atelier Marie has been featured in games such as Cross Edge and Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists, giving the impression that she is the face of the series. However, when considering Ryza’s popularity, do you think the recognizable face of the series has changed? Also, is it fair to assume there’s a gap in this perception between Western and Japanese fans, given that Marie has not been released outside of Japan?
A: Well it is similar for each region, but I get the feeling that the face of the series changes for each age group.
Q: Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist Of Salburg features a few additional scenarios. Can you tell us more about those and how the script length compares to the original game? Is the purpose to provide more depth to the characters?
A: Compared to the scenarios of the original version, the additional scenarios add about 30-40% more content. It includes more interaction with characters and the teachers’ evaluations of Marie’s performance. In general, the additions are intended to increase the portrayal of the characters and to increase immersion in the game world.
Q: Atelier Marie Plus, an enhanced version of the original game, is also receiving a Western release, the first time it will be released in English. Can you tell us the reaction of Shinichi Yoshiike when he heard this news?
A: He was happy to hear that the game would be localized and enjoyed by players overseas, since not that many people overseas know about Atelier Marie. And he also said that he wants everyone to experience the changes between the remake and the original version, as well as the fun aspects of “Atelier” that have remained unchanged throughout the series.
Q: Atelier Marie Ramake: The Alchemist Of Salburg will feature a new soundtrack. Are these remastered or rearranged versions of the old tracks? Will the original tracks also be available?
A: Atelier Marie Remake contains all the songs from the original version all given a different arrangement. It also includes the original versions of the songs, so players can freely switch between the remake and the original version.
Q: There are some videos of fans beating Atelier Marie in under 5 minutes. Is this still possible in this release? We’re asking for the speedrunning community.
A: Some specs are different in the remake version, so it can’t be played exactly the same, but we hope people will try to complete the remake as well.
Q: We gotta know, is a new Atelier title already in development?
A: Although I can’t say anything at this time, Gust will continue to create new titles that will meet the expectations of our players. Please look forward to the future developments of the Atelier series.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to share with fans awaiting Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist Of Salburg?
A: Thanks to everyone’s support, last year we were able to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Atelier series.
Atelier Marie Remake has been remade in a way that is easy to play for people today, while taking care in keeping the atmosphere and enjoyment of the original. This is the first time that Atelier Marie has been localized, so we hope everyone will take this opportunity to experience the origin of the Atelier series.
Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg will launch for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam on July 13, 2023.
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