Koei Tecmo's Gust has just recently revealed information for their upcoming new Atelier title, Atelier Lydie & Soeur: Alchemists of the Mysterious Painting, and also opened its Japanese official site.
Meanwhile, this week's Dengeki PlayStation magazine also has an interview about the game with the development producer Keisuke Kikuchi and the general producer Junzo Hosoi, which gives a general idea of how the game will look like. We have translated this interview, and you can read it right below.
Two key-persons leading the development!
Dengeki: First of all, would the two of you please tell us the details on getting to work on this game, as well as your roles?
Kikuchi: I worked as the development producer for Atelier Sophie, the first game in [Mysterious] series, but I left the scene during the second game Atelier Firis. However, since this is the conclusion of the Mysterious series, as well as the title to mark Atelier’s 20th anniversary, I returned as the producer on the development side.
Dengeki: Hosoi-san, you were the producer of Blue Reflection, but in what kind of position are you touching Atelier Lydie & Soeur?
Hosoi: Basically, I’m supervising everything including the development as the general producer. I feel that the Mysterious series so far has been enjoyed by everyone and also received good receptions from users. That’s why I think my mission is to conclude this series properly.
The double protagonists are a necessary thing!
Dengeki: We got the impression that the quality of the 3D models published has evolved much when compared to the past 2 games.
Hosoi: That’s right. This game is the 5th game the current CG team has worked on, so I think them being familiar with it is the biggest point. I feel like the quality has been steadily increasing since Atelier Sophie.
Kikuchi: After all, it’s important to make it better than the predecessor, and we have always made characters’ [facial] expressions and gestures as subjects [for improvement]. We’re focusing even more on taking an overall balance, so it’s not just on the texture.
Hosoi: In addition, we learned from Blue Reflection that the biggest point is to have illustrators supervise the CG models.
Dengeki: Please tell us the details on how you adopted double protagonists in this game.
Kikuchi: After we have decided to employ two illustrators for Atelier Sophie, we distributed [the roles] so that the first game had NOCO-san as the main illustrator, and the second game had Yuugen-san… so in the third game, there’s a flow that we want both of them to be main illustrators at the same time. In a sense, it feels like an established procedure.
Dengeki: By the way, do you get to choose the protagonist here?
Hosoi: This time there is no protagonist selection. You can switch between them on screen, but basically, the image is that the story will progress with the two always staying with each other.
Dengeki: In the prequel (Firis), Yuugen also touched (got involved in) the world settings, but how’s it going with this game?
Hosoi: This game is a title where the two of them (NOCO & Yuugen) are the focus, so we want them to focus on the characters as much as possible. That’s why it’s just ourselves who work in the world settings.
Kikuchi: We are putting an emphasis on the two’s artist skills for the characters. We had earned trust from the past 2 games, so we promptly decided to go in that direction. On the contrary, we shall be doing the world settings on our own.
Dengeki: When you requested the two to design, are there any parts you’re taking particular care of when splitting the work?
Kikuchi: Since it’s the 3rd game, the familiarity of the designs has also become better, so we think there is no need to differentiate the character origins based on their designs. If I had to say, we are aiming to allocate so that each of [the illustrators’] points of appeal and expertise can be pulled out.
Dengeki: It feels great to see the protagonists really look like twins despite having different illustrators.
Kikuchi: This is alchemy indeed (laughs).
The system is built with a focus on paintings
Dengeki: What kind of gameplay will you provide with this adventure of “Mysterious Paintings?”
Kikuchi: Atelier Firis had the concept of having “the biggest volume in Atelier series,” so we enlarged the field maps so that you could continue adventuring without having to return to the atelier. We received a certain degree of responses for this, and at the same time, it also has a stronger feel of a typical RPG. That’s why even if we were to expand more on that concept, I felt it might stray away from the usual Atelier series.
So in this game, we made a situation of ‘directly heading into a world different from reality.’ While putting emphasis on the fun factor of repeated plays, we’re also aiming for players to obtain the sense of adventure by wanting to travel to various worlds. That fits well with Atelier’s cycle of “compounding and adventuring,” and the game tempo is also going well, so you can also have a new way of enjoying [the game] that’s not in past series. Perhaps the part of being able to do adventuring in various worlds may also resound well to those who had fun in going to various places in Atelier Firis.
Dengeki: In that case, for example, if the painting is about space, then you might be able to have a science fiction setting or anything like that (laughs).
Kikuchi: At the first phase of planning, we talked that we may also go to the worlds of Atelier Marie and Blue Reflection. However, what’s most important for us is to conclude the series, so the other worlds ought to be extras. That’s why we intend for the world feel that’s within the range of what can be imagined by characters of the Mysterious series. If the reactions are big, perhaps we could do something (laughs).
Dengeki: By expanding worlds inside paintings, does that mean there will be people you can talk with there?
Hosoi: Of course, the painting worlds will also have dwellers. That’s why events will also occur inside them. People from the real world solving problems in alternate worlds will be the norm of the story there (laughs).
Dengeki: So it won’t be simply a place where you come and go to collect things, but you’ll also prepare some drama properly.
Kikuchi: Paintings have a side view of ‘having stories locked in there’ if you change your way in seeing them. Please kindly feel that right there. There are also gimmicks that will make you think ‘What will happen if we get inside that story!?’ So please look forward to it.
Dengeki: Is the synthesis system going to change majorly?
Kikuchi: While we’re leaving intact the good points of Atelier Sophie and Firis, We’d like to provide a fun factor that is slim yet easy to understand.
Dengeki: Is that like you’re going back to Sophie?
Kikuchi: We’re getting closer to the basic parts on making [the system] slimmer, so there are some parts that are closer to Sophie.
Hosoi: Okamura-san (Yoshito Okamura), who worked as the director for Sophie, thought that the synthesis in Mysterious series should have an emphasis on ‘being light and direct like smartphone [games].’ So as what Kikuchi has said, we’re going in a direction to make it simple yet extending the good points.
Kikuchi: While cutting off the complex parts, we also added 1 new rule, so in overall it becomes something that is worth playing. We could also do trials and errors in the mid-development version, so please think of it as being legitimately evolved while also getting deeper.
Dengeki: Regarding the synthesis, is there a rule on whether [only] Lydie or Soeur gets to do it?
Hosoi: There’s no such thing like that; you can switch between them as you like.
Dengeki: About the battles, [the party] is going to have a total of 6 characters with 3 sets of 2 people, but what will this battle system be like?
Kikuchi: It will be a new battle system where a certain trigger will group and change the front and rear lines in various ways. Since there are 3 teams, it’s OK if you just input commands 3 times, thus reducing the controls, but the patterns of grouping the front and rear lines are also being expanded. The gimmick is that if you think about those groupings, you can aim for more developed ways to battle.
Dengeki: We’re also interested in Battle Mix where you can do synthesis during battles.
Kikuchi: It’s a system that can be used by alchemists, so I think the image is closer to a skill than a finisher move. At the first planning, we talked that ‘It’d be interesting if we can cooperate and do synthesis during battles.’ However, there is no need to do the exact same thing you’d do when returning to the atelier in battles, so it becomes a simpler form, not the same synthesis. Rather than a method of synthesis exclusive in battles, I think Battle Mix could be more like a chemical reaction.
Dengeki: Are there any collaboration features to make it worthy of a 20th Anniversary title?
Hosoi: This game is just part of the Mysterious series in the end, and we think what users desire in this game is for it to be a sequel and conclusion to the series. We feel there is a need to precisely divide that, so at this point, we are not thinking of filling it with “20th Anniversary” features. In the end, Atelier Lydie & Soeur is the compilation of technological powers we have cultivated over these 20 years.
Kikuchi: Like the first-print copy bonuses (costumes of Marie & Elie), I think the festive features will be attached from the outside.
Dengeki: Finally please leave a message to the fans.
Hosoi: Since this is an Atelier being released in the 20th Anniversary milestone, we are earnestly producing this as one of the compilations that we have cultivated in the Gust brand. I’ll be glad if you’re kindly waiting in anticipation.
Kikuchi: This is a title that’s been thoroughly thought for the fun of both people who will play Atelier for the first time with this, and also fans who have played the past 2 games (Sophie and Firis). For the synthesis system, we’re pursuing the interest of being extremely easy to understand; and the battles will also have deep gameplay that will make use of that [previous point]. We’re aiming for this to be felt interesting by all kinds of people, so please wait a bit more. It will be released when [the season] is still cold (laughs).
Atelier Lydie and Soeur: Alchemists of the Mysterious Painting will be released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch in Japan this winter. There is no English localization announced yet. You can also read more information about the game here.