The Atelier Series

The Atelier series has been Japanese developer Gust’s flagship franchise since its first installment in 1997.

Not every Atelier game has come West, sadly — but a significant number have done. So throughout this MegaFeature we’ll be taking a look at all the subseries we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy since Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana in 2005.

The Atelier MegaFeature: Prelude - What's this MegaFeature thing all about... and why Atelier? Let's look at the plans for this ambitious endeavour together... and you can wish me luck if you like! I'm going to need it...

Atelier Iris Trilogy

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – It’s an Alchemy Thing - We kick off our exploration of the Atelier Iris trilogy with an examination of how first installment Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana handles the series' core concept of alchemy.
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – The Craft of Combat - Kicking off an exploration of how Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana might initially seem like your common or garden turn-based, menu-driven RPG, but its combat and progression mechanics quickly show it to be something with plenty of intriguing creativity about it.
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – Life at 45 Degrees - While many developers were fully embracing the new age of 3D graphics, Gust was proudly continuing the tradition of the isometric perspective role-playing game with Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, giving the game -- and series -- a distinctive look and feel.
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – Narrative, Themes and Characterisation - While structurally different from many games in the Atelier series, Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana remains true to many of the series core themes: matters of cooperation, collaboration and working together for a greater good.
The Music of Atelier, Vol. 1: Atelier Iris – Eternal Mana - Gust's sound team is one of the best in the business. So why don't we celebrate that fact with a look at the soundtrack for Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana?
Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – Alchemy Evolution - Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny takes the things that worked about Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, tosses out the things that didn't... and fixes a few things that needed a few tweaks along the way. The result is a very strong sequel.
Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – The Fight for Eden - Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny revamps its combat and progression systems considerably from its predecessor, making for a slick, streamlined game compared to the somewhat experimental-feeling Eternal Mana.
Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – Worlds Apart - Atelier Iris 2, like its predecessor, makes use of an isometric perspective to present its world to the player. How does exploration and the overall game structure differ from Eternal Mana?
Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – Narrative, Themes and Characterisation - The world of Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny is one very different to that seen in its predecessor... but there are still connections to be found, and some universal, always-relevant core themes to explore in its narrative.
The Music of Atelier, Vol. 2: Atelier Iris 2 – The Azoth of Destiny - Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, much like its predecessor, has an excellent soundtrack that combines moments of high drama with endearing, catchy whimsicality. Let's listen to some highlights!
Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm – A Step Forward - Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm kicked off a new age for the Atelier series in more ways than one -- but went rather underappreciated in its own time. Let's take a closer look at how it moves the series onwards.
Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm – Bursting Into Battle - Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm is a fairly combat-centric installment in the series, so it's fortunate that there's both an immensely satisfying battle system to enjoy alongside deep progression and customisation mechanics.
Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm – A Dazzling Place I Never Knew - Delving into Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm's quest and mission-based structure, and the core design philosophies behind its various "Alterworlds".
Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm – Narrative, Themes and Characterisation - Nobody's perfect, or so they say. This is very much the case in the world of Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm -- but a lot of how your own life plays out is determined by what you choose to do about your own imperfections and flaws, if anything.
The Music of Atelier, Vol. 3: Atelier Iris 3 – Grand Phantasm - It's time to dive once again into the wonderful world of Atelier music! This time we take a look at Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm's soundtrack which, much like many other aspects of this game in particular, really helped push the series forwards and carve out its modern identity.

Mana Khemia

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – The Ninth Atelier - Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is the beginning of a whole new chapter in Atelier history. What's new... and what's stayed the same?
Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – School of Hard Knocks - Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis may be a lot more alchemy-centric than its immediate predecessors in the Atelier Iris series... but it also has one of the most satisfying combat systems out of all the PS2-era games in the franchise!
Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – A Learning Experience - Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis has one of the more unusual progression systems in the Atelier series -- but one that makes good use of the core alchemy theme as a means of measuring your character's overall level of knowledge and power.
Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – Narrative, Themes and Characterisation - The PS2-era Atelier games tend to explore the question of how a power such as alchemy isn't "good" or "bad" in and of itself; it's all about who is using that power. Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is no exception, albeit from a slightly different angle.
The Music of Atelier, Vol. 4: Mana Khemia – Alchemists of Al-Revis - We've established the fact that Gust's sound team is a force to be reckoned with pretty firmly by this point -- so where does Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis fit into its repertoire? Let's listen!
Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Back to School - It's time to return to the world of Mana Khemia for the first direct sequel in the Atelier series for quite a while. Bring on the tenth Atelier -- and let's see what makes this one unique!
Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – One Must Fall - The Atelier series' mechanics often reinforce a core theme of the series: togetherness and cooperation. This is especially apparent throughout Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy thanks to its combat mechanics, themed around the idea of "unity".
Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Making the Grade - Like its predecessor, Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy puts alchemy and the crafting of items at the very core of its character progression mechanics. Let's take a closer look at how this works in the context of the game as a whole.
Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Special Measures in the Darkness - Mana Khemia 2 explores some fascinating subjects over the course of its narrative. In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we explore female protagonist Ulrika's side of the narrative, and how it provides commentary on tolerance, acceptance... and the modern education system.
Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Doing New Game Plus Right - Let's go round again! How does Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy encourage its players to enjoy two full playthroughs -- plus a bit extra after that -- without feeling like they're going through the motions or retreading old ground?

Atelier: Arland Trilogy

Atelier Arland: Introduction and History - The Atelier series is one of the most long-running franchises in gaming. Where did it come from?
Atelier Rorona: Arland’s New Beginning - Atelier Rorona was a new beginning for the Atelier series in many ways. Appropriately enough, this is also what its narrative is all about!
Atelier Totori: Arland’s Middle Child - Atelier Totori is a favourite installment in the Arland series for many people, thanks to its adorable heroine, its adventurous spirit and its feeling of a truly "living" world.
Atelier Meruru: Arland Comes Together - Atelier Meruru brought the original Arland trilogy to a close -- and, appropriately enough, is one of the most substantial, satisfying games in the series. You poopyhead!

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