The Atelier series has been the go-to niche JRPG for many gamers. The series has managed to stay prominent in the gaming community for it’s consistently evolving systems to give fans something new in each entry. When it comes to the newest entry, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy we get the first sequel that features the same main protagonist. In the past, there’s a new protagonist for each title, but there’s just something so special about Ryza that demands she gets a follow-up.
We had the opportunity to interview Junzo Hosoi about this newest entry and some of the improvements added to the adventure that fans can look forward to.
Azario Lopez: In the first entry, Ryza had many roadblocks preventing her from following her dreams, such as her parents and some townspeople. Now that she is on her own, are there other external forces hindering her that she must overcome, or does she run purely on self-motivation?
Junzo Hosoi: In this game, it starts with Ryza leaving for the city, which was triggered by a letter from Tao and her feeling at an impasse with her alchemy. Ryza heads out to the city by her own motivation, and it connects to her new adventure.
AL: In the three years that have passed for Ryza, how has she changed as a character? Does that match the other returning names such as Tao, who has gone through a significant growth spurt?
JH: In the three years that have passed, Ryza has grown to the extent that she has the role of a teacher on Kurken Island. Also, I think you can feel that her previous personality of rushing headfirst into things has become a bit milder, and the points in her words have a grown-up dignity to them.
AL: The battle system is more streamlined in this entry, which utilizes an active timer where characters can chain together attacks. It’s far different from the turn-based systems that other entries in the series use, but it still feels familiar. Is this just a natural evolution of the series in terms of a battle system? Or do you plan to revisit the traditional turn-based system in the future?
JH: I think that the battle system in this game is the result of adjusting it to make it easier to use based on our experience with the previous game. The AP and CC cost flow has been restructured so that it’s more natural, and from that, the hassle of using the system has been resolved. With regards to revisiting the turn-based system, it is one of our options, but we’re planning on seeing the player feedback before considering it.
AL: Ryza’s goal to become an alchemist seemed to run alongside her true passion of being an adventurer. In Ryza 2, we see her chasing new legends, but how prominently will her role as an alchemist play in this entry?
JH: Ryza’s adventure is purely out of interest and also has the goal of leaping forward as an alchemist. In addition, at the end of the previous game, the goal that Ryza set for herself had not been achieved yet, so her training as an alchemist still continues.
AL: There are some quality-of-life features added to Ryza 2, such as a difficulty option and an auto-play option. Are there any other features that have been added that make the game more accessible that may not be as visible as these two examples?
JH: We have implemented auto-save, which has been requested for many of our previous games. And we have made some minor functional adjustments related to synthesis.
AL: Ryza 2 introduces some new characters. Do you feel that their inclusion enhances the adventure? Was there ever a time where you thought to just make a game with only returning characters? Do you have a particular favorite out of the new cast?
JH: We did have the thought that having only returning characters would fit nicely. But then that would mean that only “that summer” would be replicated. So by adding new characters, there would be different sets of values added and not just those of the childhood friends, and through that we wanted to make it a story where they grow even more.
Patty’s battles are really cute and cool!
AL: Are there any post-game offerings such as a New Game+ that you can talk about?
JH: While we don’t specifically have a New Game +, there are post-game offerings.
AL: Is there a particular character from the previous Atelier titles that you’d like to return to, such as what you did is Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland?
JH: We are coming up with many ideas, so look forward to them!
AL: What enhancements can players expect from the PS5 version of Ryza 2? And moving forward into this new console generation, do you have plans to take advantage of the more powerful hardware for future entries in the series?
JH: For the PS5 version, in addition to being native 4K compatible, various loading times have become faster making gameplay more pleasant.
AL: With the development of Ryza 2, do you feel like fans will understand Ryza more in this entry? And is it possible to play Ryza 2 without playing the first entry?
JH: For those playing the series for the first time, we have prepared additional things in the game so that they can understand what happened in the previous game.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy releases on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on January 26.
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