YvoCaro Plays: Chibi Atelier Marie Remake

Welcome to another YvoCaro Plays!

As always, these blurbs are mainly about the video games I’m currently playing. Unedited thoughts spring up in my mind, mostly game-related, sometimes not. Or a random train of thoughts starting with the game and ending somewhere completely different!

If you like these bits of gaming thoughts, you can find the previous ones here.

Preview of Atelier Marie Remake

Recently, I had the pleasure of previewing the Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg and it had me intrigued. Remakes seem to be increasingly popular, with companies looking back to games from their early day and bringing them to the current public. Most of the long-running series have their roots in the first days of video gaming, and it’s a great idea to give them an overhaul and remind us just how good they were.

Atelier Marie is such a game, the first of a series that first saw the light in Japan in 1997. And as it often happened back then, it never made its way over to the West. So, great that we now have the opportunity to experience the game itself after the overhaul. Just a reminder, this is what Marie’s atelier looked like in the original game:

The Atelier as it looked in the original game. We see a big cauldron, bookcases, a table and a globe.
The Atelier as it looked in the original game

It looks very different in the Remake!

Marie in her Atelier, with a large cauldron in the middle and a bed
Marie’s Atelier. It’s small but cosy

Choosing Chibi Form

It’s interesting to see Gust go for the chibi form in the remake, and to me, it makes for very nice graphics. Though I understand not everyone might be overjoyed by this. It looks cute and colourful, and the world around Marie is so detailed and pleasing to see.

I was surprised at the title image they chose to market Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg. It shows a stylized version of Marie that looks lovely, sure, but not like the actual character in the game.

The cameo of a stylised Marie and the chibi form

Not the first time, by the way, that Gust used a chibified form. The first Atelier game I ever played, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland, also has a chibified remake on the 3DS. Sadly, that version never ventured outside of Japan.

If you are interested, I recorded some gameplay below to show you a preview.

Appearances of Marie in the West

Even though we never had the chance to play the original Atelier Marie over here in the West, Marie is no stranger to most of us.

Atelier Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists

The first game that comes to mind, where Marie is featured, is Atelier Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists, released in 2019of course. Not your typical Atelier game but rather a management game where Nelke is charged with trying to develop the small frontier village of Westwald into a thriving trading hub, for which she gets help from many familiar faces.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists pays homage to the history of the Atelier series and celebrates that by bringing all the past heroines and some heroes back to life. The first one to arrive was, in fact, Marlone, or Marie as we know her!

Nelke from The Legendary Alchemists stands at the cauldron while Marie is mixing something up

Cross Edge

But we had the opportunity to see Marie in action in 2008 already, so far earlier. She appeared in Cross Edge, a classic Japanese RPG that encompasses various elements such as a world map, encounters with enemies at random, the need to level up through grinding, and the ability to combine and create items using alchemy. It incorporates beloved heroes and villains from game franchises like Gust, Capcom, Nippon Ichi, Namco Bandai, and Idea Factory. During battles, players must recruit them to join their party and engage in battles together.

We see the game cover for Playstation of Cross Edge with a lot of characters shown.
Marie is even on the cover of the game, on the right-hand lower side.

Atelier Marie and Elie: Zarlburg Alchemist Manga

But did you know Marie even has her own Manga books? Made by Yoshihiko Ochi and originally released as five books in Japan, Tokyo Pop ultimately published them in English. In the series, we encounter Marie and Elie, a girl Marie once rescued using her alchemical abilities (and the protagonist of the second Atelier game, Atelier Elie: The Alchemist of Salburg). Elie’s admiration for Marie’s skills inspired her to pursue alchemy herself. Before long, the two join forces to establish their own shop, where they engage in inventing a flying broomstick.

In an unexpected turn of events, they find themselves responsible for two elf children who express a keen interest in learning the art of alchemy (Elie assumes the role of caregiver, while Marie sees the children as potential low-cost workers). These two alchemists form an intriguing duo, with Marie’s spirited and unpredictable nature contrasting with Elie’s relatively more level-headed approach.

Interesting, by the way, that it’s Zarlburg instead of Salburg! The books are still available, but at a high price; I’m guessing they are pretty rare!

Manga Atelier Marie and Ellie, Alchemists of Zarlburg

World and Costumes in Ar Tonelico

The last levels of the Aurica and Misha’s Cosmospheres in Gust’s Ar Tonelico have a special bonus level called Level E. These levels are inspired by the worlds of Atelier Marie and Atelier Elie. By completing these levels, Aurica and Misha unlock the battle costumes of Marie (Marlone) and Elie (Elfir), which they can wear in fights.

Ar Tonelico Level E costumes are shown for Marie and Elie

So, Marie is no stranger to many gamers. But pretty soon, from July 13, you will all be able to play Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg!

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