Almost 26 years after its original Japanese release, Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg is getting a modern remake complete with its first official English version.
Publisher Koei Tecmo and developer Gust Studios revealed the Atelier Marie Remake today in celebration of the Atelier series' 25th anniversary. That said, Atelier Marie was technically released in Japan for the original PlayStation in May 1997, so by the time this remake comes to the West in July 2023, we'll be nearly 26 years into Atelier's history.
The Atelier Marie Remake is coming to Switch, PS5, PS4, and PC, but its exact release date seems to vary slightly. Steam says July 12, the website says July 13, and Koei Tecmo says July 17, so let's just bet on mid-July and you can check your platform of choice.
In case you've missed this particular niche for the past two decades and change, Atelier Marie is the first game in a long-running series of crafting JRPGs. It's fascinating to see that even the original game has exactly the same premise: a young woman runs an alchemy shop while trying to meet delivery and/or exam deadlines and occasionally negotiating turn-based combat. The series has traditionally been split into disparate trilogies, with the most recent being Atelier Ryza. As it happens, Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is due out March 24 on the same platforms as the Marie remake.
With Atelier Marie being extremely old, it's gotten quite the tune-up for its re-release. Koei Tecmo promises all-new graphics with chibi models for gameplay and lush illustrations for story scenes, and the art does look pretty good, especially for such an old JRPG. The tutorial has apparently been updated to make the game "more comfortable and easier to play," with combat and alchemical item synthesis also getting some balance adjustments.
"Many new elements have also been added for fans of the original version as well as those new to the Atelier series," the publisher adds. "In Unlimited Mode, players can now take their time without the deadline of needing to graduate in five years, benefiting those who want to enjoy a relaxing atelier life without being driven by deadlines. Additional social events have also been added, enabling players to interact with the main characters, uncovering new aspects and charms that were not included in the original game. Also added is the always helpful 'Professor Ingrid’s Tasks.' These tasks help act as a guide, as the question 'what should I do next' can be solved immediately, a unique feature for RPGs with this high degree of freedom."
The Atelier series has been quietly iterating on a winning formula for over 20 games, but the game that started it all has never been (officially) playable in English until now. Logically, it ought to be a decent place to start with the series, but if you're looking to try out some more modern entries, a whole bunch of them are on sale on Steam (opens in new tab) through February 28.
This has been a great month for cult classics, especially with roughly half of everything announced at the February 2023 Nintendo Direct being some extremely niche.