The Atelier series celebrated its 25th anniversary just over a year ago, and Gust has continued to keep the cauldron turning. As part of the 25th anniversary celebration, we’re being taken back to where it all began with a fresh and gorgeous remake of the first game in the series: Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg. Last month, we were able to get our hands on a preview build of Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg, so make sure to give our preview a look to see how the game is shaping up. With the full release just around the corner, we had a chance to interview series producer Junzo Hosoi once more about Atelier Marie Remake and the Atelier series in general.
RPGFan: Atelier Marie Remake has the original gameplay mode with time restraints, but also includes an unlimited time mode for fans that don’t like them. I personally always enjoyed the time limits because it made the series feel more unique and kept me on my toes! How faithful did you want to be to the original game for the mode with a five year time limit? Is it created almost 1:1 in comparison to the original game, or has the time limit been made a little more lenient?
Hosoi: Overall, the difficulty level is easier than the original version because of changes in the gathering specs which make it easier to obtain items players want, as well as adjustments to the balance of battles. On the other hand, the addition of new elements such as social events have added more things to do in the game, so players can enjoy playing a game similar to the original version with a time limit.
RPGFan: The new art for the remake is very reminiscent of Atelier Marie‘s original illustrations by Kohime Ohse, but with a more modern feel. Who is the new illustrator for Atelier Marie Remake and why did you choose them? It’s really cool that we’re getting the dialogue illustrations back that haven’t been seen since Atelier Meruru, and in a more dynamic fashion!
Hosoi: The illustrator of this game remains unrevealed. We approached them because we thought the atmosphere of their illustrations would match this remake. And I think that the illustrations we have are a great fit for this game.
RPGFan: The new chibi style for the gameplay segments is really charming, and has a similar feel to the original sprite work that Atelier games used to be known for. Why did you decide on a chibi style as opposed to trying to make it more similar to the modern Atelier games?
Hosoi: The concept we have for developing this game is remaking the visual image of that time in a modern way. Since the original also used mini-characters, we are following that style and feel. We did initially discuss the possibility of making the characters full-size as in the Ryza games, but we felt that this would give the impression that the game is like a current Atelier series JRPG. And Marie has more of a simulation game feel to it compared to the more modern games, so there would be a gap based on the image one would get from the way it looks. And so we thought it would be best to create a 3D version of Marie with character proportions similar to the original version of the game.
RPGFan: Is there any chance of this Atelier Remake series continuing? It’d be great to see Elie and Lilie again too, if not even the Gramnad games. Western fans of the series would absolutely love the chance to play the games released before Atelier Iris!
Hosoi: There is a chance. One of our goals is to have the entire Atelier series, starting with Atelier Marie, available in the digital stores.
RPGFan: It’s amazing that fans in the Western countries are also getting the original PlayStation Atelier Marie Plus! What made you decide to localize Atelier Marie twice? It can’t have been an easy decision.
Hosoi: The Secret series have led to a big increase in the number of people around the world who are interested in the Atelier series itself. And I think that some of those people who may have been interested in Atelier Marie couldn’t play it because it wasn’t localized. So we chose to remake Atelier Marie in order to convey the origin of the series especially for them.
RPGFan: Atelier games are known for their incredibly creative synthesis systems and mechanically complex yet rewarding battle systems. With Atelier Marie being the first in the series, and much simpler in system design compared to recent Atelier games, what changes have been made to modernize the remake for longtime fans and newcomers?
Hosoi: For those playing for the first time, we put a great deal of effort into providing guidance in the game. The original version of the game had very little in-game guidance, so some first time players were unsure of what to do. In this version, we’ve added tutorials for each feature and also made it easier to understand what to do by presenting a goal for a short period of time called “Professor Ingrid’s Task.”
In addition, we’ve made major rearrangements to the gathering system. In the original version, there was no field for gathering, and instead, choosing the “Gather” option would result in obtaining a random item. If we kept it like that, we felt that it would be lacking for those who enjoy the modern Atelier games, so we changed the specs to a modern style of gathering where players can walk around in the field, making it easier to get the items they’re looking for. And so we also adjusted the game balance accordingly.
RPGFan: Here at RPGFan, we absolutely love Gust soundtracks — especially the Atelier OSTs! With Atelier Marie‘s remake, what can fans look forward to regarding the soundtrack? Will it be a re-recording of the beloved tracks or a re-imagining of songs with a modern twist? Can we expect new music to be added to the remake that didn’t exist in the original?
Hosoi: Atelier Marie Remake contains all the songs from the original version all given a different arrangement. It also includes the original versions of the songs, so players can freely switch between the remake and the original version.
RPGFan: In the original Atelier Marie, gathering fields couldn’t be fully explored. With the remake, it looks like the development team has brought the world to life by creating fully rendered and explorable fields to gather materials and battle monsters. What was the most difficult part of remaking Atelier Marie? What is the team most proud of?
Hosoi: Since mini characters like the ones in this game are not common in recent Gust titles, we struggled to make them look cute. However, the trial and error paid off, and I feel that we’re able to express the characters’ cuteness through facial expressions and gestures. I am confident and proud in our ability to deliver this.
RPGFan: With the Atelier Ryza anime being recently announced, alongside the 2014 anime adaptation of Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, is there a chance that we could see more Atelier games getting the anime treatment?
Hosoi: Depending on everyone’s support, it might be possible in the future. We would appreciate everyone’s continued support. But please start by watching the Atelier Ryza anime!
RPGFan: Over the past 25 years, we’ve created extremely dangerous bombs, battled gelatinous punis, and correctly identified barrels. Do you have anything to share for longtime fans of the series or any words for potential newcomers who might get started with this entry? When can we expect to hear more about the future of the Atelier series?
Hosoi: Thanks to everyone’s support, the Atelier series celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
The Atelier series has grown little by little, always with new goals. We will continue to take on new challenges and bring you new and exciting things to play, so we hope you will continue to support us.
RPGFan would like to thank Junzo Hosoi for taking the time to answer our questions about the upcoming title and the Atelier series overall. Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg launches on July 12th, 2023 for Playstation 5, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.