The Atelier series of alchemy-centric RPGs 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 – 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 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 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. 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: 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 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? Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Life on the Light Side - Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy's two distinct narrative paths provide a very different perspective on the same events that occur throughout a rather turbulent school year. And the Extra scenario that unlocks after clearing them both resolves things nicely!
Atelier: Arland “Trilogy”
Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – Living the Arlandian Life - While Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland's time-limited nature might make you think it would be more restrictive than past installments, you'd better be ready for an Atelier game with a whole lot of freedom, and important choices to be made about how you're going to play this time around! Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland – A Journey to Adulthood - Totori's story isn't just one of tracking down her mother. It's also a tale of her growing as a person, and taking those difficult steps from adolescence into adulthood. But she's far from alone on her journey -- even if it is a tad more difficult than most teens face! The Music of Atelier, Vol. 7: Atelier Totori – The Adventurer of Arland - As we wrap up our time with Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, it's time once again to celebrate the sterling work of Gust's sound team for their considerable role in creating the distinctive audio-visual aesthetic of the series as a whole -- and the melancholy atmosphere of Totori's adventure.
Atelier: Dusk Trilogy
Atelier: Mysterious Trilogy
Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists