Exclusive to IGN, Bandai Namco and Koei Tecmo Games have revealed first images from a special upcoming collaboration update between Tales of Arise and Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream. Tales of Arise was released in September 2021 and Atelier Sophie 2 will follow on February 25, and since both series are celebrating their 25th anniversaries, a set of collaboration items will be made available in each game via an update.
It is not yet clear whether the update for each game will be free or require a fee, and the exact dates of the updates are also yet to be confirmed.
Players of Tales of Arise will get the Atelier Sophie 2 Collaboration Pack, which includes multiple items, the first of which we can reveal is Sophie’s Flower Hair Clip, allowing players to decorate the Arise character of their choice with a Sophie flavor. Below are images of the hair clip as worn by Plachta, Olias, Alette and Diebold.
Similarly, players of Atelier Sophie 2 will have access to the Tales of Arise Collaboration Accessories set, including Alphen’s Iron Mask, which can be equipped to the Atelier Sophie 2 character of their choice. In the images below you can see the mask as work by Rinwell, Law and Kisara.
Four illustrators from both series, along with the Blue Reflection series that is also made by Atelier series developer Gust, worked together on a collaboration illustration that celebrates the series’ 25th anniversaries. The picture features four women characters from each game posing together, each drawn by a different artist: Minoru Iwamoto, Yuugen, Noco and Mel Kishida.
At a recent panel event held in Tokyo to celebrate the collaboration, the four illustrators told IGN Japan about their design process and how they worked together on the new piece of anniversary artwork.
Speaking about the collaboration illustration, Minoru Iwamoto, the art director and character designer for Tales of Arise, said, “In Tales of Arise, Shionne doesn’t usually appear in a group of only women, so this is an unfamiliar setting for her. I wanted to show her surprise at being surrounded by Sophie and the others, as she tries to fit in with them.”
Yuugen, artist on Atelier Sophie 2, said, “Having four illustrators working together on one picture resulted in a work with lots of hidden depth.” Meanwhile, artist Mel Kishida reflected that “Blue Reflection is different from the other games because it has a modern setting, so I wanted to embrace that dissonance. I hope the girls will get on well together!”
Iwamoto explained how series such as Dark Souls and Game of Thrones inspired his designs on Tales of Arise.
“Given the recent trends for open-world games, it was hard to decide how the team wanted to depict the action sequences in Tales of Arise. We thought about going for a Dark Souls-like battle style with realistic movements, or a moreanime/manga inspired style. In the end, I feel we found a style that really fits the image of the series.
“Personally, I like things like Dark Souls and Game of Thrones, but it wasn’t possible to bring that style to Tales of Arise exactly as it is. That said, I believe the sense of excitement you get from Dark Souls or Game of Thrones is reflected in Tales of Arise.”
Noco, another character designer on Atelier Sophie 2, said she toyed with changing the design of the lead character, who was already established in the previous game. “I came up with about 15 designs, including some unusual things, like dressing her in men’s clothing. But in the end I decided I liked the original design the best.”
Further information about the collaboration update will be announced on February 22 during a livestream (in Japanese only) broadcast by Koei Tecmo Games.
Daniel Robson is Chief Editor at IGN Japan and is on Twitter here.
Ryuchi Kataoka is a freelance writer for IGN Japan.