Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book

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Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book
Atelier Sophie boxart.png
Developer(s) Gust Co. Ltd.
Publisher(s) Koei Tecmo
Director(s) Yoshito Okamura
Artist(s) Yuugen, Noco
Series Atelier
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows
Release PlayStation 3
  • JP: November 19, 2015
PlayStation 4,
PlayStation Vita
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: February 7, 2017
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book (Japanese: ソフィーのアトリエ~不思議な本の錬金術士~, Hepburn: Sofī no Atorie ~ Fushigi na Hon no Renkinjutsushi ~) is a 2015 Japanese role-playing video game developed by Gust Co. Ltd. for the PlayStation 3 (only in Japan), PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita (only as Digital Download)[4][5][6][7] and Microsoft Windows. It is the 17th main game in the Atelier series and the first game of the Mysterious storyline, as well as the debut of Koei Tecmo taking over publishing rights for Western regions in place of NIS America.

Gameplay[edit]

The game features a completely reformed world view from earlier titles within the series, in addition to a new alchemy-centric system. Sophie is able to obtain ideas for recipes from activities such as harvesting, exploring, battling, or from events,[8] and these ideas are used as a basis of improving her knowledge of alchemy. When she performs alchemy, the player is presented with various predetermined shapes representing the ingredients used, and arranges each shape on a puzzle board that represents the cauldron. This process involves visual trial-and-error, and if the shapes are arranged perfectly, the player receives a bonus. The materials selected affect the quality of the item synthesised.[8][9] This system is intended to offer a high degree of freedom based on the player's own play style.[8]

Once the player gathers the required ingredients, the alchemy process involves a five-step process which consists of selecting a cauldron, applying ingredients, arranging shapes to receive bonuses, reviewing the bonuses acquired, and finally selecting which bonuses they player intends to keep. After crafting, the player is able to progress the story, in addition to equipping up to four categories of items using the "Dollmake" feature.[10]

The "Dollmake" feature allows the player to freely customise Plachta using costume items crafted by the player via alchemy. As the number of items crafted via alchemy increases, the possible customisation options widen.[9][11] The game's new weather system affects how the game world changes based on the current time and weather; for example, items receive shop discounts and specific types of enemies appear at certain times and under certain conditions.[8]

Plot[edit]

The game is set in the small town of Kirchen Bell, a location with a warm atmosphere and occasional rainfall, during the dawning era of alchemy prior to it becoming a widespread art.[8] Within the outskirts lies an atelier studio run solely by a girl named Sophie, who has a mysterious power that allows her to combine items together to form entirely different items. Without a mentor or reference guide to teach her, her alchemy attempts repeatedly fail time and time again. One day however, she comes across a mysterious book that moves and talks by its own free will.[9] Sophie's goal is to restore the book's memories and its former human form.[12]

Characters[edit]

Sophie Neuenmuller[13]
Voiced by: Yuuka Aisaka (Japanese); Christine Marie Cabanos (English)
The protagonist of the game, who is an alchemist that runs her own atelier studio. Although she is popular and bright, she is also sloppy and is terrible at housework.[11][14]
Plachta[13]
Voiced by: Yuka Iguchi (Japanese); Ryan Bartley (English)
A silver-haired girl with amnesia, who is originally an old book from the atelier's bookshelf. Plachta teaches Sophie alchemy, and as more recipes are written within her, she regains her memories. The player can customise her appearance via synthesised costumes using the game's "Dollmake" feature.[11][14]
Oskar Behlmer
Voiced by: Seiichirō Yamashita (Japanese); Erik Scott Kimerer (English)
A greengrocer's son who has a passion for plants. Although he is lazy and physically unfit, he has an optimistic personality and the unusual ability to hear the voices of plants. He is also knowledgeable about grass and flowers.[15]
Monika Ellmenreich
Voiced by: Aya Suzaki (Japanese); Erica Lindbeck (English)
A talented woman born to a well-respected family who excels at swordsmanship and her studies. As Sophie's childhood friend, she often looks after her and scolds her. She has a serious personality and prioritises politeness, though she enjoys singing.[15]
Corneria
Voiced by: Yui Kondō (Japanese); Brianna Knickerbocker (English)
An alchemist girl who works as a volume seller, and has the special ability of being able to replicate things, at the expense of shrinking her own body size.[16]
Harold Siemens
Voiced by: Tarusuke Shingaki (Japanese); David Vincent (English)
A clocksmith who prefers making guns over repairing watches. He has a sarcastic personality.[17]
Horst Basler
Voiced by: Yōji Ueda (Japanese); Marc Diraison (English)
An old man in charge of the Kirhen Bell café, which operates as a bar in the evening. He is responsible for brokering requests, and shares information with Sophie.[17]
Leon
Voiced by: Mayumi Iizuka (Japanese); Erica Mendez (English)
A tailor who fights with a spear and utilises jamming items.[18]
Julio Sebald Leidenschaft
Voiced by: Genki Okawa (Japanese); Robbie Daymond (English)
A young knight from the country of Adarett studying alchemy.[18]
Fritz Weissberg
Voiced by: Kenyu Horiuchi (Japanese); Keith Silverstein (English)
A former mercenary who now performs puppet shows during his travels as a doll-maker. He utilises dual swords in combat.[19]
Makelet (メクレット)
Voiced by: Sachi Matsumoto (Japanese); Brianne Siddall (English)
A young boy with an interest in alchemy who can see into the true nature of things.[20]
Atomina
Voiced by: Hina Kino (Japanese); Reba Buhr (English)
A young girl who is often silent. She accompanies Makelet.[20]
Tess Heitzmann
Voiced by: Sayaka Nakaya (Japanese); Reba Buhr (English)
The simple-minded and troublesome showgirl for the Kirchen Bell café.[20]
Logix "Logy" Fiscario
Voiced by: Kaito Ishikawa (Japanese); Jason Baker (English)
A blacksmith who provides assistance to Sophie by crafting equipment for the party, he is based on a character of the same name from the Dusk series.

Development[edit]

The game was first announced to the public through pre-publication previews of Weekly Famitsu and within the 593rd volume of Dengeki PlayStation, and is directed by series director Yoshito Okamura.[21][22][23] Prior to the game's official reveal, trademarks for the names "ソフィーのアトリエ" and "不思議な本の錬金術士" had been filed by Koei Tecmo on May 20, 2015.[24] The character designs are illustrated by Yuugen, an illustrator from Chiba Prefecture who has prior worked on Bravely Default, alongside Noco from Saitama Prefecture who has previously illustrated for KanColle: Kagerou, Setting Sail!.[11]

Yoshito Okamura states that the choice of experimenting with two illustrators aims at creating a mysterious image for the game's setting and allows people with different artistic directions to design different characters which provides greater significance to the character designs. This is the first game in the series to utilise multiple artists.[8] Musicians involved in production for the game's opening, ending and insert songs include Rurutia, Ami, Haruka Shimotsuki, Tsukiko, Okazaki Anna, and TynwaldMusic.[15] The game, along with the other initial Social Gust game, Nights of Azure, experienced delays in release, with Atelier Sophie's delay being graphics quality enhancement.[25]

Reception[edit]

The game received a Famitsu review score of 33/40 across all platforms.[26] The game sold a total of 68,106 physical retail copies across all three console platforms within the first week of release in Japan.[27] Koei Tecmo stated the game to have sold 170,000 units in Japan/Asia alone in their late 2016 report[28], making it the most sold single release Atelier games on the continent in the franchise's history.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Atelier Sophie Heads to America on PS4/PS Vita". Anime News Network. March 18, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Yoru no Nai Kuni and Atelier Sophie delayed in Japan". Gematsu. August 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Atelier Sophie coming west for PS4, PS Vita in June". Gematsu. March 18, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Atelier Sophie announced for PS4, PS3, PS Vita". Gematsu. June 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ ""Atelier Sophie" in the Works for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita". Crunchyroll. June 24, 2015. 
  6. ^ "【先出し週刊ファミ通】新作『ソフィーのアトリエ ~不思議な本の錬金術士~』をスクープ! 岡村Dインタビューも(2015年6月25日発売号)". Famitsu (in Japanese). June 23, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Atelier Sophie coming west for PS4, PS Vita in June - Gematsu". 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2016-08-10. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Weekly Famitsu, 9 July 2015 issue, page 46-47.
  9. ^ a b c Dengeki PlayStation volume 593 (9 July 2015 issue), page 84-85.
  10. ^ Dengeki PlayStation volume 594 (23 July 2015 issue), page 16-17, page 18-19.
  11. ^ a b c d Dengeki PlayStation volume 593 (9 July 2015 issue), page 86-87.
  12. ^ "PS4/PS3/PS Vita「ソフィーのアトリエ ~不思議な本の錬金術士~」錬金術を軸としたコンセプトや物語の中心となるソフィー、プラフタを紹介". Gamer. June 29, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "『ソフィーのアトリエ ~不思議な本の錬金術士~』メインキャラクターの"ソフィー"と"プラフタ"、変化に溢れた世界を紹介(1/2)". Famitsu. June 29, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Weekly Famitsu, 9 July 2015 issue, page 44-45.
  15. ^ a b c Dengeki PlayStation volume 594 (23 July 2015 issue), page 20-21.
  16. ^ "Atelier Sophie reveals new character Corneria". Gematsu. July 21, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Atelier Sophie details battle system, new characters Corneria, Harol, and Horst". Gematsu. July 26, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Atelier Sophie introduces new characters Leon, Julio, and Fritz, Chase Link system". Gematsu. August 10, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Atelier Sophie details Plachta in battle, new characters, and Chain Links". Gematsu. August 26, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c "Atelier Sophie introduces Makalet, Atomina, and Tess". Gematsu. August 25, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Sophie no Atelier Game Revealed". Anime News Network. June 23, 2015. 
  22. ^ "【電撃PS】『ソフィーのアトリエ ~不思議な本の錬金術士~』ファン待望の『アトリエ』シリーズ最新作が公開!". Dengeki Online (in Japanese). June 23, 2015. 
  23. ^ "【先出し週刊ファミ通】新作『ソフィーのアトリエ ~不思議な本の錬金術士~』をスクープ! 岡村Dインタビューも(2015年6月25日発売号)". Famitsu.com (in Japanese). June 23, 2015. 
  24. ^ "アトリエシリーズ新作は『ソフィーのアトリエ 不思議な本の錬金術士』?コーエーテクモゲームスの商標出願が確認される". Gamestalk.net. June 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ http://gematsu.com/2015/08/yoru-no-nai-kuni-atelier-sophie-delayed-japan
  26. ^ "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1406". Gematsu. November 10, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Media Create Sales: 11/16/15 – 11/22/15". Gematsu. November 25, 2015. 
  28. ^ https://www.koeitecmo.co.jp/e/ir/docs/e9f97ade7ad9323a3804ff315f553290258ed1c4.pdf

External links[edit]