Atelier Ryza ended up being a runaway success. It turned into the best-selling entry ever, with over 500,000 copies sold as of August 2020. Now, Atelier Ryza 2 is poised to continue her and her friends’ story in 2020. To help get a better idea of what’s happening and what people can expect, Siliconera spoke again with Gust Brand Manager and Atelier Ryza 1 and 2 Producer Junzo Hosoi about the game, its characters, and its development.
Jenni Lada, Siliconera: When did you first start working on Atelier Ryza 2?
Junzo Hosoi, Gust: Development began right after the release of the previous game. Although it began to take a more concrete shape at the beginning of this year , there wasn’t much of a break between the games.
What is one Atelier Ryza feature that you felt was so important, it had to remain as close to the original as possible in the sequel?
Hosoi: We paid the most attention to the design of Ryza. Thankfully, we received a huge response to the previous game, but it also put a lot of pressure on us. Ryza’s design was born from discussions with Toridamono-san that would continue late into the night for several days in a row, so it makes me very happy that she has been accepted by the players.
Finally, I think that "the story of one summer" is very important to the game, so I wanted to continue this point.
Is there any game element that you felt didn’t work as you wanted and is being retooled for this new entry?
Hosoi: The field action. We weren’t able to do everything we wanted to with it in the previous game. Although there were actions such as going through narrow openings between walls, we greatly expanded these features so that players can feel the adventure even more in this game.
How do you expect Ryza and Klaudia’s relationship to grow in Atelier Ryza 2? What do you most want fans to take away from it?
Hosoi: Ryza and Klaudia kept in touch through letters for a while. And when they unexpectedly reunite in the Royal Capital, their relationship deepens. Truly, best friends can transcend time spent apart. I think that their bond continues to remain the same as it was during their time spent together. I hope fans will feel these things.
Atelier Ryza was very much a coming-of-age story for Ryza, Klaudia, Tao, and Lent. How will you build on that and how will that change in the sequel, where the four are starting to be more established?
Hosoi: At the end of the previous game, they faced the unknown path they are meant to follow, and head off towards it. In this game, players can see the results of how they have grown up and their struggles. Ryza chose to stay for the island; Klaudia began her journey as a merchant; Tao went to study abroad for knowledge; Lent left to gain skill in combat. Seeing how each of them have grown is a highlight.
Clifford, Patricia, and Volker are three of Atelier Ryza 2’s new characters. What was the goal with each one and how do you feel they add to the cast and story?
Hosoi: Since they are from the city, their given role is a different stance from the previous characters. In particular, Patricia is the daughter of a privileged family and has a high standing within the Royal City, so she has a contrasting perspective to that of Ryza who is from the countryside. Seeing how they change once they meet Ryza and her friends and then join them is also a highlight.
Atelier Ryza eschewed the relationship-building elements of past Atelier games and only had a single ending. Will we see relationship-building return in Atelier Ryza 2?
Hosoi: Our thought is that their adventure is not from the personal relationships among characters, but something that came about from everyone getting together. So we thought it was best to have a story that ends with Ryza and her friends instead of Ryza and another character. However, it is a fact that we have heard substantial feedback from players that want to see more character events, so we are greatly increasing the content in character events.
How will the Klint Kingdom and its ruins factor into Atelier Ryza 2‘s story and gameplay?
Hosoi: The ruins are from a time long before the Klint Kingdom. The Klint Kingdom has also changed, so look forward to seeing how it has changed.
What are your goals with the Atelier Ryza 2 alchemy system this time around?
Hosoi: The synthesis in this game is based on system in the previous game, but our goal was to make adjustments to make it easier to understand. For example, the minimum required ingredients was unclear, so we have introduced the Base Material Loop, which is a special type of Material Loop. We have also added many new features, including the Essence which strengthen Material Loops, and Evolution Link which strengthen completed items.
Atelier Ryza had a number of extra add-ons focusing on other party members. What sorts of Atelier Ryza 2 DLC would you hope to release?
Hosoi: DLC is still in the conceptual phase, but we are thinking about adding in content that can be played even after the game is cleared, similar to the previous game – the addition of maps of a higher difficulty, recipes, etc.
What do you hope people take away from Atelier Ryza 2?
Hosoi: I simply hope they will enjoy it. We have included various messages into the game. However, I also think that games are entertainment, so if in the end if people gain something from playing it, it will make us happy as the developers.
What was the fan response like to the Atelier Ryza battle system, which is quite different from past installments, and how will that influence Atelier Ryza 2?
Hosoi: The battles in Atelier Ryza had a very different system than previous games, but it was well received. However, we are aware of the unrefined spots pointed out by many.
Our core approach hasn’t changed, but we are making adjustments with the goal of making it even easier to play. Increasing the Tactics Level had to be done manually but is now automatic, and time will pause when selecting items. Also, the Item Rush, where Core Charges are used at once to allow for the consecutive use of items, and the Core Drive that is activated by the Item Rush, are some of the strategic skills have been added.
Hosoi: It seemed like there was a larger response to Atelier Ryza outside Japan than usual. Did that happen and, if so, why do you think that happened?
Hosoi: I think a big point was the alluring character designs by Toridamono-san. We were really happy that a very wide range of players welcomed her. Another reason may be the inclusion of many new features such as the renewed system and the revised field image. Since its release, it has continued to sell and I think the system has a big influence on this.
Will the overwhelming response to Atelier Ryza, which made even finding physical copies difficult, influence Atelier Ryza 2‘s distribution?
Hosoi: Really! We’re happy to hear that Atelier Ryza was positively received! We hope this will have a positive influence on the distribution of Atelier Ryza 2, so please be sure to pre-order it!
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy will come to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, in Japan on December 3, 2020, with the PC version following. It will arrive on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC in other regions in Winter 2020. Koei Tecmo said the game will not be censored outside Japan.