Atelier Ryza 2 Interview – Producer Talks About Development, English Audio, and What’s to Come
Koei Tecmo has a long list of series that they’ve been supporting since the early 90s. One of these is the Atelier RPG series that tells fantasy stories of alchemists and their adventures. In recent years, we’ve seen a shift in the tone of the adventures as each entry tells the story of an alchemist and its successor would act as a sequel while focusing on a completely new protagonist.
However, that’s all changing with the release of Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy, which expands on the adventures of the alchemist Ryza and acts as a direct sequel. We had the opportunity to interview Gust brand manager and producer Junzo Hosoi to discuss the development and release of this new adventure.
Azario Lopez: Atelier Ryza 2 is the first entry in the Atelier series that has received a direct sequel focused on the same protagonist, was their hesitation before in doing direct sequels?
Junzo Hosoi: We made the decision the moment when many players accepted Ryza as a protagonist in the previous game. So there really wasn’t any hesitation. And we had been thinking about the possibility of a direct sequel from the planning phase of the previous game. Come to think of it, a lot of my favorite movie series have continued with the same protagonist! (laughs)
AL: How long after the release of Atelier Ryza did you begin work on the sequel?
JH: Development began right after the release of the previous game. Although it began to take a more concrete shape at the beginning of this year, there wasn’t much of a break between the games.
AL: Ryza can now do more adventurous things such as climb and swim. Is this something that we will see in future entries of the Atelier series? It seems like a natural extension of the exploration elements that the series features.
JH: The theme of this game is the exploration of ruins, and we wanted players to feel the different elevations and sense of adventure in the exploration features, so we decided to expand upon them. And so with each title, we plan on searching for the ideal solutions so that we can provide players with a game that they will be satisfied with.
AL: Fans seem to really like Ryza. During her design phase, did you think there was anything special about her that stood out when compared to the other alchemist?
JH: No, we didn’t think there was anything special that stood out because we are always putting all of our energy into every single character design! But we are very happy to hear fans really like her!
AL: The synthesis system is vital in any Atelier entry. Do you find it challenging to enhance the mechanics of this system across each title? Do you find it difficult to change them, especially if fans seem to enjoy one in particular?
JH: With each new series, fans are aware that the system will change, so we don’t hesitate when it comes to making changes. However, we know that it can be stressful when good things from the previous game can’t be done in this game, so we are extremely careful about this point. It is a series with a long history, so coming up with new synthesis features is something we find difficult to do every single time.
AL: When it comes to Ryza’s story, what can fans expect in this new entry? Will we learn more about her that we previously didn’t know?
JH: A new character named Fi will be added in this game. It is a character that gets Ryza in touch with her maternal feelings, giving a glimpse into a new side of Ryza. Also, three years have passed and everyone has grown, so I think a new side of each character will be felt by players.
AL: What are your thoughts on a photo mode feature in games, and can fans expect Atelier Ryza 2 to include the feature?
JH: It was added to the previous game in an update, but in this game, it can be used from the start. There will be enhancements to the features, so I think a more variety of scenes can be taken.
AL: Do you feel that even after the release of Atelier Ryza 2 that there will be more stories to tell within this universe? I guess what I’m asking is, do you think we will see Ryza again in 2021? I don’t want to say goodbye.
JH: There are still stories I want to tell!
AL: Given that next-generation hardware is around the corner, can fans expect to see the Atelier series on PS5 and Xbox Series X? (This interview was conducted before the announcement of the PlayStation 5 version).
JH: As we announced recently, we will be releasing the game on the PS5, so please look forward to it.
AL: Would you consider adding English voice audio to the Atelier series again?
JH: We do continue to consider adding English voice audio, but due to various circumstances, we haven’t been able to include it.
AL: Is there anything you’d like to say to fans awaiting the release of Atelier Ryza 2?
JH: Thank you for always playing the Atelier series. This is the first game in the Atelier series where the same protagonist is featured in the sequel. I hope you will enjoy the adventure of an older Ryza and friends, the encounters with her new friends, and the many evolved systems. I think that it is a game that new players will enjoy even if they haven’t played the first Atelier Ryza game, so if you have even the slightest interest in this game, I hope you pick it up. Finally, if you can continue supporting the Atelier series and the Gust brand in general, all of us in the Gust brand will be delighted.
AL: I probably won’t get this chance again, so I thought I’d ask, will we ever see more of Blue Reflection? Or do you have any idea of what a possible sequel would like for that title?
JH: To this day, I am very good friends with Mel Kishida.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC-via Steam this winter.
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