AN: Please, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been working in the gaming industry and how did you get into it?
AT: In 1998, I joined what was then known as Gust Co., Ltd. I worked as a sound creator on the second Atelier game, Atelier Ellie, and continued working on music for the Atelier series. On Atelier Viorate, I worked on the sound and also shifted into game design. In 2006, I was the director of Ar tonelico Qoga. Since then, I’ve mainly worked as a director or producer. I have a belief that games aren’t only in the screen but by expanding it to the outside (real) world, ‘game life’ becomes enriched. So when in game production, I also plan things such as merchandise or real events and include these in my construction of a single world.
AN: What do you think are the most positive, and most negative aspects of your job?
AT: The positive aspect is being able to deliver a clear message through the content. The negative aspect is probably having to take full responsibility of how it sells 😀 Since I am creating a game that is released to the public and will have a direct impact on the player’s hearts and minds, I take it seriously that I have this immeasurable influence and always think about creating something that will be positive for the player. It is a job where I can do such a thing, and it’s very rewarding to be able to do it while I still can.
AN: Soon the sequel to “Blue Reflection” is hitting the store shelves. The first game was a mixture of everyday school life and magical girl aspects and features. Will this also be the main focus of “Blue Reflection Second Light” or will the game switch things up a little bit?
AT: The difference from the previous game is that in this world the school is completely surrounded by water, and the game proceeds with going back and forth between that world and an alternate world it is connected to. So that makes the gameplay feel very different than the first game.
AN: Will „Blue Reflection Second Light“ continue the story of the first game, or will it revolve around a completely different group of characters?
AT: While the framework of the story adheres to the world that was in the previous game, it is a new story that revolves around a different character named Ao Hoshizaki.
AN: How challenging will „Blue Reflection Second Light“ be to the players?
AT: Compared to the first game, we’ve improved the pace of battles and greatly adjusted the difficulty levels, so I think it will be a good challenge for players.
AN: When did you first have the idea for “Blue Reflection”, and how did it come to be?
AT: This is a story from Junzo Hosoi, the other producer of this game. Hosoi and Mel Kishida were thinking about creating a game based in modern day Japan featuring ordinary female characters and having a Japanese movie style essence to it, then they thought about making it an RPG, and from there they thought that they could create a very unique world, and so Hosoi and Mel Kishida worked together to create this IP.
AN: How long have you been working on the title? Did you start immediately after the Release of “Blue Reflection” or did work begin later?
AT: Development on the game officially began last year, but after the first game was released, behind the scenes we were working on the plan for a sequel.
AN: To which degree were you able to use the experience gathered while working on “Blue Reflection” to make work on the sequel easier? Is it easier to develop a sequel rather than an original game?
AT: We are fully using our experience from the first game. On top of that, we collected the good points and also the issues from the first game. We didn’t limit ourselves to the system of the first game and prepared a new game cycle, and put together a plan where we would retain the feel of the first game while providing a new game experience. It can be challenging to put together an original game, but I think that with a sequel, there is also the challenge of meeting the expectations of the fans of the first game while trying to get them to accept the new challenges we’ve taken.
AN: In your opinion, what are the chances that we will see a third installment in the “Blue Reflection” Franchise?
AT: We don’t know at this point, and need to see the response to the overall BLUE REFLECTION project and then carefully consider it.
AN: This year an anime adaption of “Blue Reflection” premiered. Did you have the opportunity to watch the show? If so, what are your thoughts?
AT: We are involved with the anime, BLUE REFLECTION RAY, from the position of being the source of what it is based on. We made sure that the anime’s director and many other people involved in the project firmly understood the concept of this series, and they put together a new interpretation of the series what didn’t exist in the first game, which is having battles between the Reflectors. In a sense, out of the three titles in the BLUE REFLECTION project, I think it might be the closest to the first BLUE REFLECTION game.
AN: On that note, we want to ask you if you watch anime in general. What are your favorites? Do you have a favorite Magical Girl Anime?
AT: I watch my fair share of anime, but I haven’t watched much magical girl anime. During the development of the first BLUE REFLECTION game, Japan was in the middle of an unprecedented magical girl anime fad. While we consequently planned some of the game around the magical girl trend, BLUE REFLECTION is fundamentally not magical girls, but girls with unusual powers. In this game, we have made that aspect even deeper. If we can talk about the category of ‘unusual powers’, this is one of my favourite genres. Lately it’s “Darwin’s Game” and “Kaiju No. 8”, and even though it’s not an anime, Netflix’s “Alice in Borderland”. Some older titles include “Deadman Wonderland” and “Date A Live”. I also like slice-of-life type animes where the hearts of the characters are well shown like “Nagi no Asukara” and “Toradora!”.
AN: What are your plans for the future? Are there any new projects that you can tell us a little bit about?
AT: Since 2022 is the 25th anniversary year of the Atelier series, we are planning various things, so please look forward to future updates!
AN: One last question: Do you have anything to say to the German fans of your videogames?
AT: In this game, we promise that we can provide the highest quality graphics and an excellent game experience from the Gust brand. I hope you will continue to support us towards the game’s launch and also after its release. Please look forward to the game!