The Atlier series is a long running Japanese roleplaying game franchise that has been developed by the Gust Corporation since 1997. The games in the series have a central focus on problem solving through interaction and creation.
The main plot of each game in the series tends to focus on a female protagonist coming of age and coming into her own as an Alchemist. These women gather a group of friends, go exploring, and fill up a basket full of reagents. They then bring these reagents back to their Atlier, a magical cauldron used by alchemists, to craft items, equipment, and other components.
The core mechanics in the different games in the franchise focus on time management. This helps to balance item creation and adventuring. Everything from traveling in the over world to baking bread takes time. Most quests expire after a certain amount of time (usually a reasonable amount) passes. That creates this neat kind of flow where players are forced to plan their crafting and their adventuring ahead of time and then go out.
The stories in the various Atelier games tend to focus around a single city which serves as quest hub and home base. As time passes, the inhabitants of the city grow and tell their own little side stories. The merchants in town have their own motivations, behaviors, and stories; just like the player characters.
Atelier games are T rated, but they are usually rated that way because of things like animated violence and the occasional questionable costuming choice on a female character. All that said, the games are meant to be positive and almost upbeat stories.
Recent Games in the Franchise:
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book
“Set against a vibrant background reminiscent of a medieval European town, the Atelier series’ latest standalone installment follows the exploits of a young novice Alchemist, Sophie, who discovers she is the owner of an enigmatic book imbued with a soul. This Mysterious Book seems to hold all the secrets to the art of Alchemy, even going on to become Sophie’s mentor. As Sophie improves her Alchemy skills throughout the story she unravels forgotten memories, and eventually sets out to uncover the strange tale of the book’s origin.”
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey
“The second entry in the ‘Mysterious’ saga follows the adventures of the enthusiastic Firis Mistlud and her loving older sister Liane Mistlud. The Mistlud sisters have lived their entire lives in the isolated town of Ertona, where Firis uses her unique ability to see where crystals of materials are buried. By way of a fateful encounter, Firis learns of the Alchemy Exam and decides to take her first step into the outside world, setting off on a grand journey to become a certified alchemist and discover the mysteries that life has to offer! Players will experience a vast world with towns, environments and other locations reaching up to ten times the size of those featured in Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book.”