Fans of the Atelier series will more than happy to know that a new title Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key has been announced turning over a new leaf for the game’s center girl Ryza and her friends.
Arriving on February 24, 2023, Atelier Ryza 3 will pick up where 2019’s Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout and 2020’s Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy left off and will take place about a year after the events of Atelier Ryza 2. Ryza is sent on a new adventure after the sudden appearance of a strange group of islands just off the coast of their home of Kurken Island.
As the JRPG series is drawing global attention with its cute anime art style and engaging item-crafting systems, our editorial team of QooApp has a chat with the Producer and Head of Gust, Junzo Hosoi, who shares the development process and what has been added to this third installment in comparison to the previous two games.
Q: Ryza is undoubtedly one of the most popular characters in the Atelier Series, but what makes you decide to focus on a single protagonist for the three games?
Hosoi: Right from the start of Atelier Ryza 1, we already had the intention to have a single protagonist for the three games in the series, as we wanted to create a series where we could follow the same protagonist throughout the series.
We noticed that there were many series, such as Harry Potter, where you have the same protagonist throughout numerous iterations of the series, to focus on the full development of a character. Having the same character through three games was important as it allowed players to focus on her changes and growth.
Q: So it is the end of Ryza’s adventure? Would you consider continuing Ryza’s story in other games or a spinoff?
Hosoi: Yes, Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key will mark the finale of Ryza’s adventure, though it is really hard to speak for the future in regards to Ryza and her friends. The popularity of the Atelier Ryza trilogy is undoubtedly a surprise to us. But we know that if a series run for a long time, there will be players that might find it repetitive or boring. So we always add something different to the second and even this third game to keep that freshness to gamers.
The opinions of the players are very significant to us, so if there are interested in seeing more about Ryza’s adventure, we’ll reconsider the decision.
Q: The first two games used similar battle and crafting mechanics. How will Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key set itself apart from the titles that came before it?
Hosoi: As the title suggests, the ‘keys’ become the base of the game system, though obviously things that were very popular in the first two games have been carried over into this game with minor adjustments on details.
In terms of new things, one of the new things that players will find is the open field feature, where all the maps are now tied together seamlessly. It is probably one of the biggest changes players will find in terms of battles and synthesis. The Secret Keys will also play a significant role in the system as players will be able to use them to unlock treasure boxes and gates hidden in the field and even use them as enhancement items.
In addition, there is a big change to the recipes so that there is now a system where players can rewrite them to create the effect they want, so it will be possible to synthesize items with a greater degree of freedom than in previous games.
Q: Atelier Ryza 3 is said to have the biggest map in the series so far. How large is it exactly and can you tell us more about its design?
Hosoi: The map is around ten times bigger than the previous work. There are four major areas and each is differentiated by its own characteristics. As mentioned, all the maps are tied together seamlessly as an open field, so players can approach these regions at their own pace. A lot of players look forward to having more details about the individual characters’ stories, so we do go deeper into each of their stories too. There are a lot of different in-game events that players can enjoy!
Q: While the first Ryza game was built around the bittersweet summer memories, the second game is more about expanding Ryza’s horizons through exploring the ruins. So what would you say is the theme for this upcoming third game?
Hosoi: As the title suggests, “the end” is the theme. In this game, we wanted to completely show the end of a youthful period of their lives. This game tells the journey of Ryza becoming an adult and finding what she wants to spend her life doing, and bidding farewell to the person she has been.
Q: While there are still a lot of things that remain unexplained in the previous two Atelier Ryza games. Will this new game reveals more about the story settings and backstory of other characters?
Hosoi: Once again, we have invited Yashichiro Takahashi to write the script. We’ve discussed in detail with Mr. Takahashi and re-examined the story and settings of the first and two games. This third game will try to explain the content that was not explained clearly before, as well as the foreshadowing that was laid in the past.
All the 11 members in Ryza 3 will have their own side quests and stories, as we hope to dig deeper into their backgrounds and personalities. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve played the previous game or not, you will be able to immerse into Atelier Ryza’s worldview and learn the charm of each character.
Q: Anything you’d like to share with overseas fans about Atelier Ryza 3?
Thank you for always supporting the Atelier series! We have taken all the various feedback received for the Ryza games and are creating a game that is the biggest challenge of the series for us, so I think you can all look forward to it! We hope you will continue to support the Atelier series and Gust.
Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is slated to release for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam on February 24, 2023.