For me, Atelier Sophie was one of the best entries in a series that I felt was relying too heavily on its cute characters without evolving the series enough across each entry. After this release, we received some truly ambitious titles, that eventually delivered Atelier Ryza. Now, it seems the developer wishes to capitalize on this new formula by blending it with the old in Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream.
To learn more about this new adventure, we interview the Producer and Head of Gust Junzo Hosoi.
Azario Lopez: It’s crazy to think about, but Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book was released six years ago. So following the conclusion of the Mysterious trilogy, when was it decided that there were more stories to tell revolving around Sophie and Plachta?
Junzo Hosoi: I am always thinking about what we can do continue to expand the series, and what to do in order to delight fans. And in these thoughts, I’m looking at the entire series from a broad perspective. Within that, I have ideas for the Salburg games, ideas for the Mysterious series, and just a lot of things that I want to do with the various series. But even if I want to do it, if it’s not something that the fans who have continued to support us are looking for, then we won’t make it.
So when thinking about what to do for the Atelier series 25th anniversary, well since the new format we took with the latest Secret series was widely accepted, I thought if there might be a way we can take that and incorporate it into the Mysterious series, which was key to evolving the Atelier series while retaining the core Atelier-ness of the series.
And so we were finally able to proceed with this project between the summer and fall of last year.
AL: I’ve always felt like Atelier Sophie was a bridge between classic and new Atelier systems, paving the way for the series moving forward. Am I correct in feeling that way, and will Atelier Sophie 2 try to do something similar?
JH: The Atelier series consists of titles that retain the “Atelier-ness” of the games but continue to evolve and try new things. Maybe 10 years from now the Mysterious and Secret series might be called the classic Atelier games. With any Atelier series title, we incorporate the good points from previous games in some form into successive titles, and take a hard look at the bad points and transform them into something new.
AL: Sophie and Plachta have been through a lot in their adventures. What trials will they encounter in this new entry that they haven’t experienced before?
JH: Up until the start of this game, Sophie and Plachta have been traveling together, and when they enter the dream world of Erde Weige they become separated. What experiences with Sophie encounter? Well, look forward to future updates to find out!
What I can say is that this story is an episode that shows the origin of the Mysterious series.
AL: The battle system has dramatically evolved in this entry. Can you explain some of the more significant features in this entry for those looking forward to knowing more?
JH: It will be seamless and stress-free transitions from the field to battles. And unlike Atelier Ryza, it is turn-based and we created it with the goal of showing how it has evolved. I can’t get into details yet, but the battle system this time is ‘multi-link turn-based battles’. As you can imagine from its name, linking with party members becomes a key point in battle.
AL: I know this might be controversial in the office, but what are the chances we get to see a return of chubby Oskar Behlmer?
JH: He’s probably still living in their hometown!
AL: Did you build off the original Atelier Sophie game or opt to create an entirely new system when it comes to synthesis?
JH: The synthesis system uses the one in Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book as a base, but it’s not exactly the same. We’ve taken the panel synthesis that has improved and been adjusted throughout the Mysterious series (Atelier Sophie, Atelier Firis and Atelier Lydie & Suelle) and further evolved it.
AL: I’d like to know if the story of Atelier Sophie 2 will be more adult in theme by featuring emotional and series story moments, or can we expect a more light-hearted adventure in this entry?
JH: I’m not sure if this is the answer you’re looking for, but I think it can be considered a more adult story that retains the parts that are popular with the Mysterious series and shows a story that becomes the origin of the Mysterious series. But it is not a dark story.
AL: Is there anything you’d like to say to fans awaiting Atelier Sophie 2?
JH: We are finally able to bring to you the announcement of a new Atelier series game this year, Atelier Sophie 2, which is part of the Mysterious series featuring Atelier Sophie, Atelier Firis, and Atelier Lydie & Suelle. This is all thanks to everyone who has and continues to support the Atelier series. I hope everyone will look forward to this nostalgic yet new Atelier game that is different than the Secret series, and this new adventure with Sophie and Plachta.
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