RPGamer Feature - Interview with Haru Akenaga

Atelier Iris ~ Eternal Mana
Developer: Gust
Publisher: NIS America
ESRB: Teen
Yay! A hammer!!

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A thingamabobber


They looked so cute

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Imagine a world where creatures known as "Mana" live and co-exist with human beings. In this world, sustained by the Great Spirit Mana, Mana is just as much a part of nature as the wind and the trees. This is the world that Haru Akenaga and Nippon Ichi Software has created for Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~, the sixth title in the long-running Atelier series, and the first to be released outside of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Haru Akenaga is the president of Nippon Ichi Software of America, in addition to producer of Eternal Mana. Recently, RPGamer was given the pleasure of sitting down with Mr. Akenaga to discuss his work on Nippon Ichi's upcoming "Alchemic Adventure RPG," Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~.

RPGamer: First of all, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Now, if this Atelier title garners a significant new North American fan base, would you consider bringing more alchemy goodness (future titles and/or older ones) to this side of the Pacific?
Haru Akenaga: Hello, thank you very much for this opportunity, my name is Haru Akenaga and I am the game producer for Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~. Atelier Iris is the first of its series from Japan to ever make it to the United States. Therefore, we have high hopes for this title. If we can, we would love to make it into a new alchemy series for the US market.

RPGamer: Atelier games have soft, feminine graphics and female lead characters. Are these "girly" games or will guys enjoy them a lot as well?
Haru Akenaga: Graphics may appear feminine, but game certainly is not. Atelier Iris has a strong solid RPG system that any RPG fan would love once they try it out. As long as players do not shy away because of the graphics, they will realize that this is a true player’s game and not just another movie-oriented title.

RPGamer: What sort of background will someone need (ie, knowledge of the rest of the series) to enjoy this one?
Haru Akenaga: Fortunately Atelier Iris requires no knowledge of previous Atelier games. Of course you might enjoy the game more, since there are some guest appearances from other Atelier games, but overall you can still fully appreciate the game.

RPGamer: What sets this Atelier title apart from the others?
Haru Akenaga:Previous Atelier games were more of a simulation game then a RPG. Therefore, we were a bit hesitant to bring over the older games first. We figured we should establish a solid fan base before we begin our all out assault.

RPGamer: What does this Atelier title share with the others?
Haru Akenaga: The awesome alchemic synthesizing system! Like previous Atelier series, Atelier Iris has a great item/weapon creation system called synthesizing. Players will collect various ingredients (materials) during the game to create something extraordinary. The system is quite hilarious because you can create a musical instrument out of couple of rocks and plants. Now who would have expected that!

RPGamer: What makes the Atelier series different from other RPGs?
Haru Akenaga: Alchemy, alchemy and alchemy! You can run, jump, and destroy objects to extract elements for creating various alchemic items/weapons. There is no such thing as magic points in this game, instead you use the extracted powers to caste spells and do special moves. If you run out of valuable elements, you go running around towns/dungeons destroying what you see as elemental sources.

RPGamer: Who is the most interesting character in the game, and why?
Haru Akenaga: That has to be Delsus, he is one of those smooth talking, social wiz's, that just cannot keep his mouth shut. His lines are particularly hilarious when he is talking to Lita, so look out for them!

For more information on Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~, refer to the title's game page on RPGamer, or check out the official website, which has been freshly updated with new information.

Many thanks to Haru Akenaga for sitting down with us. Next week, look forward to part two of our NISA expose, where we chat it up with Yoshitsuna Kobayashi, the director and designer for Nippon Ichi's Newest entry into the Marl Kingdom Simulation RPG series, Makai Kingdom. Furthermore, expect RPGamer's hands-on impression of Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~ shortly after. Until then, keep your browsers locked on RPGamer.

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