The tale behind Atelier Iris 2

Coming later this month is Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, the second entry in the alchemic RPG series by Gust. There are some interesting design changes in the game formula, like two different worlds one with each of the main characters inside and a battle system refinement that is more similar to other console RPGs. To get the facts straight we speak to Yuji Higuchi, the manager of the Atelier Iris directing team.

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Siliconera: Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny opts to bring in a new set of characters instead of continuing the adventures of Klein and Lita. Can you tell us a little bit about the story in The Azoth of Destiny?

Yuji Higuchi: Atelier Iris 2 focuses around the main characters Felt and Viese as they struggle to save their homeland.  Felt travels to another world to investigate and stem the decay of their world, and Viese stays home to support him with her alchemy.

The theme that we try and convey is that of two lovers torn apart by circumstance.  These two will eventually be reunited to confront the ultimate evil.

What was the inspiration behind having two worlds?

Well, the previous Atelier games have always focused on alchemy and item crafting.  Those games always focused on the “Atelier” part of the title and did not play like RPGs.  However, with the Iris series, we wanted to focus more on the adventuring part of the previous games.  While the previous games all took place in a very limited setting, Iris takes on a much greater scale and allows you to fully adventure in the world.

For Iris 2, we wanted to reincorporate the concept of the workshop back into the series without sacrificing the sense of scale that the full RPG adventure gave us.  Therefore, we settled up on the dual world scenario: one world for adventuring, one world for alchemy.


The battle system changed from the turn based battles in Eternal Mana. This time around you have individual time bars for each character instead of selecting attacks and watching them play out. Where did this idea come from?

Fans of Atelier Iris 1 mentioned that the battle system felt very slow compared to most modern RPGs.  Since we felt the same way, we decided to change our original system to the ACTB (Active Cost Time Battle) System.  Because of this, the battles have become much more enjoyable and fast.


The art direction for the Eternal Mana games feels like a throwback to the 16 bit RPG era. Why did you choose this and who does the art / character design?

The reason why we chose the more “classic” graphics of the 16-bit era was because of the depth of expression that we can place into our characters.  Although doable with the current 3D graphics, it is much more difficult.  This time we allowed the company who worked on the Opening Animation to do the character designs.


A couple months ago, Sony Music published Deceitful Wings, which is an arrangement of music from Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana translated into rock ballads. This disc is excellent, which makes it a shame that it wasn’t released outside of Japan. Are there any plans to bring this over to release this in the USA or at least some of the tracks as a pre-order bonus? And is Gust planning to make a follow up album for Azoth of Destiny?

No, we currently have no plans to release such an album.


How do you feel about the Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana series coming to the USA?

Gust is a company that specializes in making games about gameplay, not just about flashy graphics.  The fact that the American gamers accepted and appreciated our games has really delighted us.  We hope to release many more games in the States that gamers will appreciate.


Regarding the localization of the series how far is Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny coming along? Do you feel that voice acting is up to par and is the story the same as the original game?

Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny is coming along very well and is nearing completion.  Like the previous game, we feel that the voice actors and the script writers have done a very good job at preserving the spirit of the series.

The Atelier series has a much larger catalog than Eternal Mana. Plenty of games were released for the PS1 too. What’s you favorite game out of the series?

From “Atelier Marie” to “Atelier Iris 2,” I have enjoyed all of them.  Whenever someone asks me this question, I would always say that my favorite one is the one we are currently working on.  In this case, my favorite game from the series is “Atelier Iris: Grand Phantasm.”  I feel that it is a wonderful game that will introduce new elements into the wonderful world of our Atelier series.


Look for Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny on April 25th and everyone that pre-orders the game at NIS America’s store will snag a bonus soundtrack. Also their store has a points system where shoppers can earn discounts towards future games. Below we’ve got a couple more screenshots of Atelier Iris 2 in action.

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