In May 2022, the Atelier series will celebrate its 25th anniversary. For 25 years, fans have been crafting bombs, bashing punis, and excitedly identifying barrels. Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream was revealed in early October 2021 as the 25th Anniversary title to celebrate this milestone. While the release is still a couple weeks away, we recently shared a hands-on preview with the first few hours of the game. Now, to make the wait even harder, we also got a chance to interview series producer Junzo Hosoi about Atelier Sophie 2 and the series as a whole.
RPGFan: Atelier Lulua showed that Gust was willing to create a new entry in an established trilogy many years later. Atelier Ryza 2 showed that Gust was also willing to create a direct sequel to a game with the previous protagonist reprising her role. With Atelier Sophie 2 being a mixture of these two ideas, what was it that prompted the team to return to the Mysterious series?
Hosoi: I’m really grateful that the Atelier series is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. As a result, I put a lot of thought into what the first new Atelier title would be to mark the occasion.
As our fans have always been at our side throughout the long history of the Atelier series, we looked through the reactions we received on social media for each of the past titles, as well as online character popularity polls. From there, we took into consideration how popular having a direct sequel with the same protagonist was, in the case of Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout, and began to consider making a story featuring Sophie and Plachta.
Sophie grew from being a novice alchemist in Atelier Sophie, to a teacher of alchemy in Atelier Firis, and then an extraordinary alchemist in Atelier Lydie & Suelle. Of course, between those titles Sophie and Plachta had many other experiences. This sequel/new title focuses on one of those periods, so we set out to make this new entry in the series a reality as we believed players would really enjoy it and also experience a few surprises along the way.
RPGFan: Atelier games have always had unique and exciting combat alongside fun and engaging synthesis systems. Atelier Sophie has my favorite alchemy system along with one of my favorite progression systems in the series. With Atelier Sophie 2, all of the systems that we’ve seen so far look fantastic, especially the gathering minigames. What would you say the development team is most proud of with Atelier Sophie 2?
Hosoi: The Multi-Link Turn Battle System that allows all 6 party members to get thrown into the mix, and puzzle synthesis, one of the iconic aspects of the “Mysterious” series, definitely come to mind. However, I think we especially put a lot of effort into the weather control gameplay elements.
This was the first time we had implemented such a big change to the field, so there were a lot of things to overcome and problems to deal with that came up during the development process along the way. However, we were eventually able to implement this into the game thanks to all of the support from everyone on the development team.
RPGFan: The Atelier series has always had incredible music and I’ve always felt the composers at Gust are some of the best in the industry. With Atelier Sophie having a stellar soundtrack, my expectations for the sequel are rather high. That said, are there any plans to bring the Atelier Sophie 2 original soundtrack to streaming services such as Spotify?
Hosoi: We are currently considering it!
RPGFan: From the trailers we’ve seen along with the gameplay demos, Atelier Sophie 2 looks great, runs smoothly, and the production value also seems to be quite high. Could you share how long Atelier Sophie 2 has been in development, and how does that compare with the average Atelier title’s development time?
Hosoi: Thank you! We created the concept for the game quite a while ago, but we got the official go-ahead to make the game after Atelier Ryza 2 was released and we saw all of the positivity it received. Taking that into consideration, the development of the game began around August or September of 2020.
RPGFan: Recent Atelier games have introduced new downloadable content alongside season passes. We’ve seen new playable characters, returning favorites, new maps, music, and costume packs. What kind of DLC can we expect to see with Atelier Sophie 2?
Hosoi: This time we will be releasing a variety of different DLC that includes BGM and costumes! Please look forward to them!
RPGFan: The Atelier series has had a fair amount of crossovers and cameos in crossover RPGs like Cross Edge and Trinity Universe, musou/Warriors games like Warriors All-Stars and Warriors Orochi, and the series-wide crossover game Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists. Can we expect more crossovers in the future? Perhaps an Atelier Musou / Atelier Warriors game?
Hosoi: If we receive a lot of requests from all of our fans, we can potentially make that a reality.
RPGFan: With Atelier Iris being the first title released in the West in 2005, there are five mainline Atelier games that have yet to be released over here. Have there been any plans or considerations to bring over the Salburg (Marie, Eli, Lilie) or Gramnad (Judie, Viorate) games in some form?
Hosoi: The Salburg series is a nice idea! I’ve thought about wanting to remake the first games of the series.
RPGFan: The recent DX ports and remasters of the Arland, Dusk, and Mysterious series have been well received. As a longtime fan of these series, I was incredibly happy to receive modern versions of the 3D Atelier games. Has the team considered giving the same DX treatment to the Iris and Mana series?
Hosoi: That’s another idea that if we receive a lot of requests for, we can potentially make that a reality.
RPGFan: The Dusk series is one of the most beloved series in Atelier, especially Atelier Escha & Logy. With Atelier Lulua announced shortly after the Arland DX ports and Atelier Sophie 2 announced after the Mysterious DX ports, is there any consideration for a fourth Atelier Dusk game?
Hosoi: Well, in the case of Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland and Atelier Sophie 2, there were various aspects that miraculously fell into place like the timing of development and the illustrators, which resulted in these games being created. For entirely new entries or sequels of previous games, there might be a chance if yet again various aspects miraculously come together!
RPGFan: With the explosive success of Atelier Ryza and its sequel, the Atelier series is growing larger by the day. Do you have any words or thoughts you’d like to share with the Western fans of the Atelier series?
Hosoi: The Atelier series is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and it’s all thanks to you, our dedicated fans. As a continuation of the “Mysterious” series, which includes Atelier Sophie, Atelier Firis, and Atelier Lydie & Suelle, we are able to release Atelier Sophie 2. In contrast to the “Secret” series, the Atelier in this game is both nostalgic and new, so we hope everyone looks forward to a new story featuring Sophie and Plachta.
RPGFan would like to thank Junzo Hosoi for taking the time to answer our questions about the upcoming title and the Atelier series as a whole. Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream launches on February 25th, 2022 for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.
To learn even more about the Atelier series, be sure to check out our So you want to Start An Atelier… feature by Patrick Gann! Finally, keep an eye on the official Atelier Series 25th Anniversary website for more updates during 2022.