It’s been about two months since Gust’s latest of the Atelier series, in Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, has been released. Now that director Yoshito Okamura has been able to take some time to think about the franchise’s future while looking back at its past, he shares his thoughts in a recent interview with Famitsu.
Famitsu start the interview by asking how the Gust director feels after two months have gone by since the release of Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky.
“I think I might be saying this each year, but the same goes for this year—I feel relieved that we were able to release an Atelier game without any problems,” answers Okamura. “We got to hear reactions from fans who played the game, and there were some thoughts about how great it was, and some about the things that need to be worked on. Having been able to get your honest opinions was really big for us.”
Escha and Logy’s adventure marks the second of the franchise’s Dusk series. Famitsu asks about the concept behind the second installment of the series.
“Well, first I think we should talk about the concept behind Atelier Ayesha,” starts Okamura. “The ‘Arland’ series that was before Atelier Ayesha, had help from Mel Kishida’s illustrations, along with the continuous support from our fans. While I believe we were able to reproduce ‘Atelier’ during the Arland series, this time we’re going in a different direction by trying to lure new fans in to enjoy Atelier.”
As we’ve seen so far from Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, the event scenes display character models in 3D, which is quite a different approach from the Arland series.
“That’s right; however, in Atelier Ayesha, there were some parts that felt rather incomplete, due to the worry of having too many changes,” says Okamura, as he describes it as a learning experience, which was used to improve the system and playability of Atelier Escha and Logy.
“In order to attract the interest of new players, we had two protagonists and their stories, and focused our abilities on creating an easy-to-play system,” shares the director, adding that the dual-protagonist idea was well received by fans, including many who stated that it was quite different than what they had expected, but in a good way.
While both fans and Gust are satisfied with the protagonist Logy, Okamura also believes that it created an additional hurdle for the company.
“For our next title, if we were to make another male lead, I think it would be quite difficult to surpass Logy… that’s just how good of a character he turned out to be,” Okamura expresses.
Famitsu then asks about his opinions on the outcome of Escha.
“Escha, too, has very Atelier-like female qualities, and I believe many fans are fond of her,” says Okamura. “Rie Murakawa (Escha’s voice actress) also did a great job performing as Escha. This time, we concentrated on gathering young voice actors who were not only great matches for the two protagonists, but for every character.”
So far, the Atelier series has followed a pattern of trilogy (Salburg), two parts (Gramnad), trilogy (Iris,) two parts (Mana,) trilogy (Arland). That leaves Atelier Escha and Logy being the second part of the Dusk series, which has left fans wondering if it will be the end of the road for the Dusk series. According to Okamura, Gust will finally be breaking the pattern, as they have no intention to end it now. He also adds that there’s plenty more they’d like to do in the world of the Dusk series.
With regard to that, Famitsu asks if the next Atelier title will be a new Dusk series game.
“We’re currently brainstorming ideas for a non-Dusk Atelier game,” says Okamura. “While I can’t tell you when it will be released, I believe that we’d like to finish the Dusk series without feeling like we’ve left some things behind. Honestly speaking, we couldn’t do 100% of everything we wanted to in [Atelier Escha and Logy]. Visually speaking, we were able to bring out more of a dusk-like feel than the previous title; however, I think that the later parts of the game didn’t exactly show that dusk feel, as much.”
Finally, Okamura shares a message for the fans.
“To those of you who’ve played Atelier Escha and Logy: thank you very much. And those of you who’ve yet to play, please give it a try. It’s a title that is very easy to play, even for those who’ve never touched an Atelier game. We’ll be delivering downloadable content that brings new party members and maps, so I believe the game can be enjoyed for a long time. Also, if there are some parts that make you think, ‘it should be like this,’ please send your thoughts to Gust, as we’d love to be able to respond to your voices in our next title. Thank you for your continued support for Gust and the Atelier series.”
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is currently available in Japan for PlayStation 3.