Tag Archives: Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 9: Atelier Lulua – The Scion of Arland

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After two full trilogies — Dusk and Mysterious — the Atelier series returned to Arland for one (possibly) last hurrah with Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland. And naturally, that meant a return to the distinctive sound of Arland, too.

Once again, the music for this installment comes courtesy of series regulars Ken Nakagawa, Daisuke Achiwa and Kazuki Yanagawa and, much like the rest of the game, tends to blend elements of old and new to create something that is simultaneously comfortably familiar and recognisably fresh.

Turn up the volume, hit the jump and let’s listen to some selected highlights together.

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – Give Me A Reason to Live

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The nice thing about the original Arland trilogy is that although there was definitely a sense of narrative progression over the course of the three games, each one was self-contained and left things open-ended for future development; there was no “grand finale”.

That’s where Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland comes in, of course. The fact that Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland concluded the story of Meruru’s growth into a talented young alchemist, but didn’t spell any sort of “finality” for the Arland region meant that there was still plenty of scope to tell more stories in these pastel-coloured lands. Perhaps some sort of story that answers a few unresolved questions from the original trilogy — and which lets us see how all our favourite characters are getting along?

Atelier Lulua still doesn’t necessarily feel like a “finale”; if anything it ushers in a bold new era for Arland. Whether or not we’ll see any more games in this setting remains to be seen at the time of writing, but for now, Atelier Lulua provides an interesting, substantial story to tie things together nicely. So let’s take a closer look — bearing in mind that, of course, there will be spoilers ahead.

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – The Fight For What’s Important

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In keeping with how Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland’s alchemy mechanics aren’t just a straight rehash of the other Arland games, the battle and exploration mechanics also feature a pleasing blend of old and new.

By taking the basic structure of battles from the earlier Arland games and then supplementing this with a variety of brand-new tactical considerations, Atelier Lulua provides us with an enjoyable combat system that keeps things consistently interesting for the game’s duration. And some really nice “quality of life” features mean that the whole game feels nicely streamlined and efficient to play without sacrificing any sort of mechanical depth.

That’s how you do a good follow-up — from the perspective of game design, anyway. Let’s take a closer look at these specific elements of Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland.

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – Fourth-Generation Alchemy

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Given that there was a gap of eight years and six games between Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland and Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland, it will doubtless not surprise you to learn that the latter’s mechanics aren’t just a rehash of the former’s.

Instead, upon the game’s initial announcement in Japan’s Weekly Famitsu, Gust revealed that the new game would feature an alchemy system that blended elements of the classic Arland games with more recent additions to the formula — specifically, incorporating some elements that had proven popular from the primarily PS4-based Mysterious series.

The result is a mechanical core to the game that is accessible to newcomers but filled with a considerable amount of hidden depth — and which feels fresh and interesting to series veterans, even if they’re coming to Atelier Lulua directly from the previous three Arland games. Let’s take a closer look.

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – A Trilogy of Four

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Up until this point in the Atelier MegaFeature as a whole, we’ve explored the games in release order.

They were released in clear “sets”, after all — we had the Atelier Iris trilogy, then the Mana Khemia duology and then the three Arland games. And while the stories don’t always follow on directly from one another — most notably in the Atelier Iris series — each game in each series, at the very least, feels like it has a number of stylistic and thematic elements in common with its contemporaries. But in 2018, something interesting happened; after three Dusk games and three Mysterious games, Gust issued the surprise announcement that the twentieth game in the mainline Atelier series would not kick off a new trilogy; instead, it would return to Arland for (probably) one last time.

So with that in mind, we’re skipping forward from 2011’s thirteenth Atelier game Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland to check out 2019’s twentieth installment Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland. Then we’ll go back and look at all the ones in between. Sound good? Good. Let’s get cracking — beginning with an overview of what this game is all about and how it fits in with its predecessors.

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Waifu Wednesday: Elmerulia Frixell

“It’ll all work out… somehow!” is a phrase that can be applied to a wide variety of RPG protagonists from over the years, but Elmerulia “Lulua” Frixell from Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland makes a distinctive effort to make it her catchphrase.

Well, technically speaking the catchphrase is 何とかなるなる (nantoka naru naru), which is a little catchier, but I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with the challenges of localisation. And, as it happens, in this case, “it’ll all work out somehow” is a pretty accurate translation anyway.

Regardless of whether or not “it” worked out (somehow), Lulua is a delightful character to have around. So ahead of our first steps into the fourth adventure of the Atelier Arland trilogy (yes, I know) I thought it’d be nice to celebrate her a bit. So let’s do just that!

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Waifu Wednesday: Keina Swaya

Every self-respecting princess needs a good maid to tend to her needs — even when the princess in question is as determined to do things her own way as Merurulince Rede Arls is.

In such situations, it pays for the maid in question to have a longstanding relationship with the princess in question, as that means the princess might actually listen to the maid at those times when she finds herself frustrated enough to accidentally call a parent a “poopyhead” to their face.

Keina knows how to handle Meruru, in other words. And witnessing their relationship with one another is one of the most heartwarming parts of Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland.

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