Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg Interview - A Chat with Junzo Hosoi
Much as we've done in the past, with the fast-approaching release for the upcoming Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg, RPG Site had the chance to ask the Head of Gust, Junzo Hosoi, a bit about the upcoming remake, Gust's legacy, and the state of worldwide translations within the company - and more. As always, thanks to Koei Tecmo for facilitating the interview process:
RPG Site: The Atelier series has been no stranger to ports, remasters and re-releases of older titles – but as far as I can tell, Atelier Marie Remake is the first time a game has been fully remade. How has Gust decided what to change and what to adapt closer to the original release?
Junzo Hosoi: The first thing is to make Atelier Marie a comfortable experience for new players. The second is to satisfy fans of the original version. For example, we have adjusted the game so that players can play more comfortably the frequent experiences of battles, synthesis and gathering. On the other hand, the character visuals, scenarios, BGM, and other aspects related to the worldview were remade in a way that would be easily accepted by modern players, while preserving the atmosphere of the original version.
Atelier Marie, like many older titles in the series ran on a deadline system. While the remake will include Unlimited Mode, allowing players to forego the system entirely, does the inclusion of the option of whether or not players want to engage with it mean that Gust might offer a return to the deadline system in future games?
Hosoi: Since many recent Atelier fans and RPG fans are not comfortable with a deadline system, we made it possible to choose to have "no deadlines" in this title. If there are future titles that include deadlines, it could be part of an option that meets a wider range of needs or preferences.
With both Atelier Ryza 3 and Atelier Marie Remake now both targeting worldwide simultaneous releases, what has been some of the challenges that Gust – and their localization partners – have faced ensuring that fans across the globe can play the games at the same time?
Hosoi: Releasing new titles simultaneously around the world has always been one of Gust's goals. Our efforts to improve the quality and speed of localization have continued from previous titles and have paid off with Atelier Ryza 3 and Atelier Marie Remake.
With a scheduled release only a few short months after Atelier Ryza 3 – Gust’s most ambitious title to date – how has it felt for the team returning to the company’s roots to work on a remake of the first title in the Atelier franchise?
Hosoi: The Atelier Marie Remake is of a title from 25 years ago, so we were figuring things out at the beginning of development. Even though illustrations and data from that time remain, we wanted to accurately grasp the intentions behind the creation of those illustrations and data. I asked the director of the original game about what he was doing back then, and I also read a lot of reference materials. Thanks to that, I think it has turned out to be a good remake.
If Atelier Marie Remake sells well, is there a chance for other older titles in Gust’s library to see full remakes?
Hosoi: There is a chance, since one of our goals is to have the Atelier series, starting with Marie, in the digital stores.
On that note; both the Arland and Mysterious “trilogies” both received 4th games in their worlds following re-releases of their earlier titles. With Atelier Marie Remake’s release, is there any desire to return to the game’s world in the future? Or are there any other Atelier sub-series which Gust is interested in returning to?
Hosoi: Related to the previous answer, one of our goals is to remake the Atelier series and have it available in digital stores. At the same time, while we also want to cherish our past accomplishments, we are also eager to try new things. We hope people will look forward to whatever comes next.
I’d like to put special attention on the inclusion of the original game with the Deluxe Edition of Atelier Marie Remake; is it possible we might see re-releases of other classic Gust RPGs going forward? I know that Ciel noSurge Offline and Ar noSurge Plus both saw ports in Japan, albeit with no localization to date for either. It would be awesome to see Gust bring more of their classic library both into the modern era, and particularly to the west!
Hosoi: We have received requests to be able to play older titles on current platforms. It could be possible, depending on the amount of support we receive from everyone.
Finally; for those of us that might have started our Atelier journey with later entries in the series, is there anything you’d like fans to know going into Atelier Marie Remake?
Hosoi: Since Atelier Marie is a game from 25 years ago, there are some differences from the modern Atelier games, but there are also many elements that have been carried over to the current era. We hope you will enjoy playing this game and find out what has changed and what hasn't.