Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is Gust’s latest installment of their popular RPG series. This time around, there are two main character designers, and they recently spoke with Famitsu to talk about their latest work.
Famitsu starts the interview by asking the two designers about their thoughts upon first being asked by Koei Tecmo to design characters for the new Atelier title.
“I’ve always known about the Atelier series and admired it thinking ‘I’d like to design one of those characters someday,’ so I was delighted” says NOCO. “Personally, I felt that it was too soon, so I was a bit nervous as well…”
“I was also really happy,” says Yuugen. “I’ve known of the Atelier series since seeing Atelier Marie in the stores when I was a child, so I’ve known that it’s a series that has been loved for a long time, and it felt like an honor. However, knowing that this time we’d have double illustrators, I did feel a little uneasy at first.”
“I, too, felt a little uneasy. I was pretty sure that we’d get into arguments or something…” adds NOCO with a laugh.
“We both felt uneasy, so I first thought ‘let’s get along!’ and decided that we should start by doing away with honorifics,” says Yuugen. “From there, after talking I felt that my thoughts and flow of feelings were really similar to NOCO’s. I believe that we both have something ‘very nice’ to offer.”
Next, Famitsu asks what they find best about each other’s art.
“Yuugen’s art has a very delicate touch to it, and also some energy,” says NOCO. “I think its mix of delicacy and power makes it very charming. I felt that he’s been writing with all his heart out, and it has been stimulating.”
“When I first saw NOCO’s drawings, I thought to myself ‘oh wow, she’s good’,” responds Yuugen. “Her ways of detailing some parts, and leaving other parts without [as much details] in the best way possible, made me think about how wonderful it is to have such technique that no one else has. Being able to draw pictures in such way must come from NOCO-san’s charming nature. NOCO-san may appear gentle, but she’s open-hearted, and can also be emotional, so I find her to be a very charming person, and I’ve very much enjoyed working with her.”
Famitsu asks the two illustrators if they’ve been working on their designs on their own thus far.
“At first, it was made so that I couldn’t look at NOCO-san’s pictures,” shares Yuugen. When you look at another person’s designs [in this case,] you can’t help but be influenced by them. Gust also decided ‘let’s not be influenced by each other’ as well.”
Famitsu then asks NOCO what parts she struggled in the most.
“Getting the likeness of the Atelier series we’ve come to know, with a design that’s different from the Arland series, took a while to capture,” responds NOCO. “Sophie’s design was especially difficult, and I thought about different directions for her while advancing on the designs of other characters. On that subject, Corneria’s was the first completed design.”
NOCO continues, “Corneria is a unique character with a bit of a Chinese style to her, but since I already had a proper image [in mind] for her, she was easy to design. The next one that was decided on was Monika. It was a long road until Sophie’s design was decided on, and I believe it took about fifteen different drafts. There was even a time when she looked like a magic girl (laughs).”
“I was really troubled by it, and looking back at some of the rough drafts, there’s one where she’s wearing a coat,” says NOCO. “With that coat in mind, and giving it a bit of an unrefined look, that’s how we got Sophie’s current appearance (her first outfit).”
Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book will release in Japan on September 25, 2015 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita.