The latest issue of Weekly Famitsu includes new information on Atelier Ryza, the upcoming game in Gust’s Atelier series, including an interview with producer Hosoi Junzou.
— ファミ通.com (@famitsu) 2019年6月5日
The game takes place mainly on the island of Keuken, found in the middle of a great lake. Protagonist Ryza is a normal girl who lives in the village of Rasenboden on the island. She and her friends Tao and Lent, tired of life in the village, form a plan to leave it to seek adventure, and succeed. Outside they meet a man who uses the mysterious power of alchemy, and Ryza chooses to learn it from him, taking her first step to becoming an alchemist, while her friends take their own first steps towards fulfilling their dreams. Meanwhile, a threat approches the island, which sets the children off on a summer adventure that no-one else in the village will know of.
Tao Mongarten (voiced by Kondou Yui) is a boy and childhood friend of Ryza who carries an old book which he is constantly trying to decipher around, who is considered by the village to be eccentric. Though shy and bad around people, he values his friends and would never abandon them.
Lent Marslink (Terashima Takuma) is a young man and childhood friend of Ryza who is ostracised in the village due to certain reasons. His dream is to show the villagers what he can really do, and wishes to become an adventurer and explore the tower to the north of the village. He constantly reigns Ryza in with common sense.
Klaudia Valentz (Oowada Hitomi) is the daughter of the successful merchant Lubert Valentz (Hamada Kenji), who follows her father around the world and thus does not have any close friends. She hopes that she can become true friends with Ryza, Tao and Lent, and wishes to join them on their adventures, but Lubert, who is very protective of his daughter, does not approve of this.
Interview with Producer Hosoi Junzou
The interview begins with Hosoi being asked about how Atelier Ryza’s aesthetic is clearly different from previous games’. Hosoi says that in terms of aesthetic, they consider Atelier Lulua to be a perfected form of what the Atelier series has built up on all this time, and that they thus felt that they had to do something entirely different with Atelier Ryza.
Hosoi is next asked about the designs of the characters, and he says that Ryza’s gave them a lot of trouble. They needed a “normal” girl, but everyone had different ideas of what this meant. She is the daughter of a farmer, but giving her farmer-like attributes felt wrong, and they spent a lot of time discussing what “normal” meant. They actually once decided on a design which had a miniskirt, but designer Toridamono said it felt wrong and wanted to make changes, and came back with an entirely new design. Hosoi says that ultimately he feels that the final design with shorts was the right choice.
Hosoi says that Lent and Tao’s designs went smoothly. Lent is the son of a mercenary, and uses his father’s armour, while Tao is simply a bookworm. Klaudia’s design was the last to be completed, as they needed Ryza’s design to be decided on first. Klaudia’s design was done as “a girl of high upbringing who wishes to be more tomboyish”, and the slits in her skirt and her exposed shoulders are indicative of that wish.
Hosoi says that the characters go on adventures with things on their mind that are typical of children around high school age. For example, Ryza feels uneasy about how she has nothing of her own, while Lent wants to show everyone that he’s more than what he seems.
The interviewer asks Hosoi what lead to the theme of “normal boys and girls”, and he says that they wanted to return to doing a more empathetic story, and came up with the idea of “the everlasting memories of accomplishing something alongside friends”: Even if this accomplishment is not a great one known to the world at large, it is something that will remain previous to Ryza and her friends, that will keep them going for the rest of their lives. Hosoi says that they felt that this would be the sort of story that the Atelier series would be great for telling.
The interviewer points out how AAA titles usually tell stories on a large scale, about becoming heroes and saving the world, and Hosoi says that it is harder for games with larger scales to tell empathetic stories, and that the Atelier series has a structure that allows it to naturally have small-scale themes, and that he thinks that this is what players want as well.
The interview concludes with Hosoi saying that the story is about Ryza and her friends doing the best that they can, which he thinks many will be able to empathise with, and that he is sure that players will be moved by the ending.
Atelier Ryza is scheduled for an 26th September 2019 release for the PS4 and Switch in Japan, with a PC (Steam) release to follow later.
(Romanisations of names prior to official statements are tentative)