EXA_PICO Universe Wiki
EXA_PICO Universe Wiki

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Interview with the Producer and Director

The Director, Mr. Tsuchiya Akira from Gust, who created such an unique world and such charming characters.
The Producer, Mr. Kawachi Atsunori from Banpresto, who gave the support that this project needed to come out to the world. We talked to both of them about the feelings they filled this project with.

Atsunori Kawachi

From Banpresto, Chief Producer of the Second Production Team and in charge of the Cosmospheres' development, Worked on the [Konjiki Gash Bell!] GBA games. He was in charge of the overall production for Ar tonelico.

Akira Tsuchiya

Works as a Sound Creator at Gust. He used to be the section chief that aurally supported the [Atelier] series. He was in complete charge of Ar tonelico's development and has demonstrated how far his obsession as a "composer" can go.

A way of expressing the bonds, a system that appeals to the heart. That is the [Girl Synthesis][]

It has been around 10 days since the game was released. What reactions did you have in regard to its reception?

Kawachi - Now is as good a time as any, as we gave everyone a chance to show us what opinions they had about the game, though we also have some vague fears. After all, people were always thinking it was an eroge on the Internet when it was first unveiled.

Tsuchiya - That was really shocking, huh?

Kawachi - As for the romantic and sexy, we kept in mind the more graphic parts as we kept going through the game's development, but we never intended to make it a galge. And given there were many things we weren't trying to achieve, this was something unexpected to everyone.

Tsuchiya - On the converse, I had my own share of surprises when I saw the reception the game got and muttered to myself [I see, so that's how they see it.]

Kawachi - The fact it's categorized under a genre called [Girl Synthesis] caught the attention of everyone, and while it might have been due to mistakes on our part that it ended up having elements that seem taken from a galge or eroge, that's not the idea we initially had for it. We just were making something more like an adventure RPG.

Tsuchiya - While there are parts that can be easily thought as coming from a galge, Girl Synthesis is no more than a method: one we actually made for the players to truly empathize with the characters. Its purpose is representing both the [bonds] between players and characters, and between fellow characters. In other words, it is made to allow players to empathize with the characters while at the same time enjoying the game as much as possible. These were the ideas that led to the current Dive System's development, as we felt it would be the method that would allow players to receive the feelings we put into the game.

Kawachi - I had timid feelings such as [Will anyone have played it?] while wondering if it was good enough to be put up for everyone to get it at first, but as I said [I'll be glad if anyone gives it a chance] and it started being well-valued, I got really happy.

From its conception as a Tabletop RPG to the current [Ar tonelico][]

How did Banpresto and Gust join hands for [Ar tonelico]?

Kawachi - We had previously made with Gust a GBA version of the Atelier series (Atelier Marie, Elie & Anis -Message from the Gentle Breeze- (1)). Gust made the characters Marie and Elie as well as everything systems-related, while Banpresto was involved in several respects with the characters' creation, so at one point we mentioned it would be interesting to create characters together again, and that we should work on another project together. Time passed, and we could finally start that project: the [Ar tonelico] we just released. The characters were mostly ideas that Tsuchiya-san had thought up, but when he told me about [making a game like this], I thought we had several essences that would fit it, something like the [colors] that would be the central part of it, and that maybe we could pull off something different from the characters we created for the [Summon Night] games. That's how we came to work together.

Tsuchiya - Even though the plans I had at the time were more for a pure fantasy RPG, right?

Kawachi - The Tower was already there, but the Soulspace was no more than a small idea back then.

Tsuchiya - We were still at the [Should we do it this way?] stage, so either way it'd have resulted in a normal RPG.

Was at that stage that the setting for the Knights and the Reyvateils was established?

Kawachi - Yes, they were there by that point. While the part of the setting dealing with the relationship between them has been changed, the part about existing alongside the heroines in the Tower's world was there already. As for the world setting itself, most of it already existed among Tsuchiya-san's ideas, and the part that I thought was the most interesting was that Songs served as the core that structured everything, and that there were Songs for battles. Another essential point was the Soulspace. This part was what made it into a very refreshing title, but as we thought that its bold charm could end up buried under other things, Banpresto started working on it as soon as it was decided we would undertake this project together. And as Tsuchiya-san envisioned, it ended up becoming something about which it can be said [See, isn't it interesting?]

Tsuchiya - Yes, that's right. Well, I do remember it being like that. While it hasn't actually changed from the initial concept, elements such as [bonds], [belief] and [loving someone] aren't just for the story: given we're making a game, we should present them with interactive methods, which was the point we kept consistent from the very first design documents we wrote to the game's completion. And similarly, if we had to mention something that makes feelings go through people with the same intensity, we would say it's [music]. The music was present ever since we wrote the first design documents as well, and I puffed with pride as I said [This is a project that has music as its core] when I submitted it. I submitted it because we had these many singers, these people had this amazing track record, and we would put over ten songs into it, but in the end, it seemed it was still lacking, as I was told [Hmm, is this all? It might end up being a pretty weak product. Besides, we want it to sell]... We were especially in need of an artist that could draw charming illustrations.

Kawachi - And that was how Nagi Ryou-san was hired as the artist.

Tsuchiya - I have had my eye on Nagi Ryou-san from pretty long ago... From about 2002. I always thought that I should ask him whenever I got to make a RPG of my own. So well, I publicly asked him to be the artist for the project, but Nagi Ryou-san replied [That he wanted to work in an RPG] too, which made me clear that he was interested, and then he said "Okay, let's do it!" as we shook hands. Well, that was long. I think it was a pretty sudden request for Nagi Ryou-san too.

Tsuchiya - Ah right, there's one more tidbit I want to share (*laughs*). Ar tonelico started being made as a PS2 RPG back in 2000 (2). Secretly... And yes, the Reyvateils still didn't exist in the setting back then. It was truly a pure fantasy RPG. Still, the songs existed already and the concept of them being magic hasn't changed either. It had a magic creation system that gave players an incredibly large degree of freedom, though back then I was not only someone who liked the high-difficulty Ateliers: what's more, I was a maniac. I was already having problems locating an artist back then, as I couldn't find anyone good enough. I had been trying very hard to find someone all that time.

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As for the multiple elements that make up the world setting of [Ar tonelico], they all existed from long ago, right?

Tsuchiya - From around '95. I first made the prototype for this world when I was in my fourth college year. Back then, the Tower didn't exist yet and there was a sea, and it was set in an era where the planet was still round, but Firefly Alley, the Wings of Horus and Platina all existed at about the same height as they are now. There were two races: the Sky People and the Sea People, with the former being the rulers of the world while the latter were a race that went back to living with nature. Both were members of the same race originally, but after the world was destroyed in a disaster that caused the land to sink into the sea, they split off and ended living each on their own.

Did you actually play that tabletop RPG with any of your college classmates?

Tsuchiya - I did, but it seems as the setting was far too unique, as the players got bored from it. They told me they didn't understand it. It was then that I thought that, when it comes to tabletop RPGs, players can't play if they all aren't grounded on a common world, and I realized... that this world wasn't fit for that sort of purpose. We played three sessions before this world came to an end.

So it would be interesting to present these classmates with [Ar tonelico], don't you think?

Tsuchiya - Yes. Characters like Lady Shurelia existed already on it, so I think it would be a great shock to them if they saw her name.

Did she have the same personality and story back then?

Tsuchiya - She only had the same name. She had as her story being a Goddess worshiped by the people of an original world called [El Kador], different from the current [Sol Ciel] world. To be more specific, she was the Goddess of Magic who ruled over Runemancy, and her role was crafting magic through the combination of Runic Spells. So while the world was quite different, the job she had back then was quite similar to her current one. So we could say I ported her over from the tabletop RPG. The image I had of her is completely different from how she looks now, but her personality is relatively the same.

How did you make the history and chronology for this project?

Tsuchiya - It was made starting with the Third Era. Originally, the Third and Second Eras were to be considered as part of the same time period, but due to several circumstances I ended up splitting them in the manner they are now. As for the First Era, I decided to make it because I wanted to flesh out the game's backdrop: matters such as where Song Magic came from or how the world ended in its current state. So I just made that time period as mere backstory to the setting.

It was then that you established the details of Shurelia's past, correct?

Tsuchiya - The stories that took place during the Second Era were pretty popular among the staff. I don't think any of the players will know anything about them until they open this book though. Ah right, I remember writing down about the episode in which Tastiella was dying from starvation and Shurelia saved her life by giving her a lunch box when we were carrying out the [Dokkoi Festival (3)], and that story was written as taking place during the Second Era. It is such an enormous contrast from how Shurelia and Tastiella are in the Third Era, that it surely stood out from how strange it was and brought some timid smiles to the players. Tastiella is now more philosophical and farsighted despite being like that in the past, and the Second Era is the period where you can bear witness to all sorts of contrasts.

How did you make each one of the regions?

Tsuchiya - Most places already existed from the tabletop times, but after I made the Tower, I started creating other places: the Plasma Bell, the Musical Corridor, and the Sylva Horn. In other words, all the Tower mechanisms. It was by that point that I wrote them as being created at the same time as the Tower. But excluding them, places like Platina or the Wings of Horus were also regions that existed from the tabletop days. As for the Prism Garden, it is now located at a very high altitude, but long ago it used to be inside the ocean, and the setting for it was that it was a rather peculiar place: when looked from afar, you would see a shining palace, but when looked up close, it would become invisible. The Prism Garden name comes from the fact that it was a crystal temple located in the sea, so it would become visible or invisible due to the refractive index of light. Back then, it was necessary to dive into the sea to explore it.

So it was relocated to be the highest area of the Tower during the game's creation?

Tsuchiya - Yes, that's right. When the time came to make vertical all the elements that used to stretch horizontally, it went to the highest area. There was a place called Ar tonelico in the tabletop times too, but at the time it truly was a World Tree. It was a living, enormous tree that rose from the ocean.

So, would you say that you managed to completely integrate all these elements from the past?

Tsuchiya - I feel like I managed to present every single thing I wanted for this project. I feel I have really accomplished something. But you know, making something for the first time is truly hard. I even thought many times I would die in the attempt. Sequels have difficulties intrinsic to them, but the difficulties of bringing something into the world for the first time are incredible.

Kawachi - We had the setting, but we still had to make everything from zero. So we were pretty much fumbling around while trying to figure out what the correct way for handling the project would be.

Tsuchiya - We actually didn't know at which point there would be too much information for first-time players to handle or which roads we shouldn't traverse while we continued fumbling our way like this until the release date went by. But it was because I believed in this project that I drove myself to make it for this year and half. And ultimately, it all came down to me believing in it, because I didn't want to say that I couldn't because circumstances didn't let me. It all started because I thought that maybe I could make everyone happy if I did this project with this sort of idea, presenting what I wanted, and while it went through many turns and twists, generally speaking I could put in all I wanted.

Kawachi - Tsuchiya-san has truly worked very hard in the creation of this game from the time we had the first talks, but initially it was all a trial-and-error process. I received a large share of explanations and I replied [Is it like this?] from the understanding I could glean from them, but the next time I came, I was greeted with another explanation that seemed shocking to me due to how far removed from the previous one was. I truly had to think about a lot of things during the first six months, and from the time we hypothesized about the world to the time it finally got materialized in ROM, there were many things we could make just as we envisioned them, but there were also too many things that caused a great shock due to how we were forced to betray their concepts. While we ultimately tried to stay completely faithful to the world, we quickly noticed there were many factors at work and that we needed to balance things out between the keywords painful and [nice-feeling]. This goes for the Dives, and also for Grathmelding and the Installs, and even though I had my doubts about making the story as long as it was, given its division structure in chapters one, two and three; when we played it we noticed that storywise it had good pace for its developments and that the multiple elements miraculously had the right timing when they connected with each other, in more than a sense. The time the release date finally came was a period in which I was kind of excited (*laughs*), but it ultimately was settled nicely, and I feel that we managed to finish it in a shape that exceeds our expectations by far.

The Hymmnos Language is something that expresses emotions as they are through sounds. Emotions are everything[]

I think the setting for the Hymmnos Language was quite something, but how did you make the words that were needed for the vocal Songs' lyrics?

Tsuchiya - We basically employed the [If it exists, we'll use it. If it doesn't exist, we'll make it] philosophy for their creation. When we stated developing Hymmnos, we had about four or five people working on its creation. I had already created the scenario opening song [Singing Hill] before we started working on the music, so the Hymmnos Language (4) I made for it was handed over in its entirety to the artists in charge of the Songs. Of course, I had already set rules for the vocabulary, so the newer words were created following them.

(1) [Atelier Marie, Elie & Anis -Message from the Gentle Breeze-]

Released on January 24th, 2003. A GBA version of the [Atelier] games that was released by Banpresto. This game served as the chance for both companies to embark on the creation of an original product together. (The image shows the Banpresto Best version that was released on March 23th, 2006).

(2) RPG concept from year 2000

The predecessor to [Ar tonelico] that was made in secret. It was an RPG in which magic Bels were synthesized. This game is talked about in more detail on the [Firefly Alley Citizen BBS], so don't miss it.

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So the emphasis is placed on the sounds for each word?

Tsuchiya - Correct. After all, we made into a theme that the Hymmnos Words are basically the transformation of emotions as they are into sounds. While there are several cases in which we couldn't follow through with this due to there being emotionally-neutral and robotic words, we made words that would allow people to express the emotions and the like they put into them. All of these words were made in a way that would allow emotions themselves to come out as sounds. For example, it is frequent for us to emit sounds like [ga gi gu ge go] when we aren't in a good mental state, as we frequently do utter things like [Kya!] or [Gah!] whenever we lose our temper. On the converse, sounds such as [ma], [ra] or [na] have a feeling of stopping and stagnation, don't you think? Therefore, Hymmnos is to make these expressions into sounds in an honest way. There is a scene where Aurica says [Was yant gagis exec suwant Lyner] during the game. There Aurica is saying that she will save and rescue Lyner. The emotions that this sentence contains are only [sadness], [impatience] and [screaming]. Let's take as an example the phrase [Ma num ra]; it would be very difficult to shout [ma num ra] no matter how you tried saying it, but in the case of [gagis], it could be easily shouted as [gyagis!]. So we made the words following an emotional approach, keeping in mind which sounds would be the easiest to emit whenever one is feeling a particular emotion. While there are many among the players that ask [What language did the base on the make Hymmnos?], we didn't do anything like that. Emotions are everything it was built upon.

Setting-wise, Hymmnos is divided into several [Notes], correct?

Tsuchiya - It is fairly detailed in how it was divided due to historical and geographical reasons. For dividing them using the Time Axis, we could take as examples the Ancient Metafalss Note and the New Testament of Pastalie, which are entirely separated by era. As for the Central Standard Note, it has nothing to do with historical divisions and was instead made the standard for being so frequently used, while the oldest one would be the Kurt Ciel Note. That's the simplest way of explaining it. This Note saw the greatest flourishing in this time period, and it was derived from afterward, while we would get the Cluster Note that serves as a dialect if we went to a different region. That's how all the Notes came to be.

Was it a great deal of trouble deciding how you would categorize the new words as they were made?

Tsuchiya - Unexpected as it might sound, that is decided beforehand. Whenever we decided on making Song, we had already decided on its historical background. This goes for the entirety of the twelve Songs in the game, all of which started with the question "Why does this Song exist upon this world?"

Kawachi - And in what era they were made, right?

Tsuchiya - That is why every single Song has characteristics such as us deciding to use only a particular Note for it, or having a greater preference for a certain Note. The easiest to understand example would be the [Harmonious] that Mir crafted. Mir was born during the Second Era, but she holds a great admiration for the ancient Metafalss civilization. It is because of this that the Songs she crafts are mostly in the Ancient Metafalss Note, which are Hymmnos Words that were created by the Metafalssian civilization. The Ancient Metafalss Note has the following peculiarities: each one of its words produces a great amount of energy and it is dramatically difficult to use. Mir loves it, and that's why she almost exclusively uses it. On the converse, Songs like [Linker] and [Suspend] are both in the Central Standard Note. The reason for this is that the Tower of Ar tonelico was its center, and it is composed entirely of the common language for controlling the Tower. As for [Linker], it is a far more ancient Song than the others, but it was later standardized as part of the Central Standard Note. Still, it does contain several words that weren't included in the standard, which would be called the Kurt Ciel Note.

Kawachi - Whoa, that's difficult! (*laughs*)

Tsuchiya - As for the Kurt Ciel Note, it is an obsolete language, more or less like what classical Japanese is in Japan. The words from it that became part of the modern language are the Central Standard Note. Therefore, regionally speaking they are the same language. If we flew to the regions on the other side of the planet, we would find the Cluster Note, which is like the Osaka dialect to us. Next, we have [Chronicle Key], which is a relatively new Song in that world, but as it was something that was created by Shurelia to only work in the Tower of Ar tonelico, it belongs to the Alpha Note. The Alpha Note is a group of customized words that can only work in the Tower administrated by their creator. Therefore, [Chronicle Key] would have no meaning anywhere else even if someone tried Singing. It would only return an error. That is because that Tower is the only one that has a compatible compiler for it. So well, that's the gist of the Notes.

I wanted people to say that [this music is inseparable from this game][]

How was the creative process for the music?

Kawachi - Basically, Tsuchiya-san first told us what the orientation would be and later we let him listen to what we made with the sort of feelings he described until he said [Okay, this one is good enough]. To be honest, the images describing how each Song would be made were grasped very easily from the beginning, so there was almost no need for the Banpresto side to say we had to change anything in a particular way.

Tsuchiya - I could say it was a great honor for me that everyone complied with my selfish whims when it came to the Songs. But maybe they just did because causing trouble wouldn't have benefited anyone? Anyway, I wrote a music design document together with the project design documents at the very beginning, which was the starting point for everything. As a sound creative, this was a dream I had from a long time ago. When it came to songs, I didn't just want to make insert songs, opening or ending themes, but a world, and a story that awakens and moves feelings through the songs that are actually sung in that world. In short, they are [songs that have a history and tell a story]. Normal game music has a lot of themes that are handled just as BGMs, right? Even when talking about RPGs, we frequently come to the level of thinking that [sounds excite emotions when they are present, while the game still works even if they are absent]. When it comes to the artwork, everyone does have some great discussions, but when it comes to the sounds, all everyone says is limited to just [They're good, yeah?] and [They're crap], so you might be imagining how that makes me feel. Being a sound creative, I really hate that, which is all the more reason why I wanted to make one work through music. I wanted people to not just give replies of the [the music is so good, yeah?] level, but actually say that [this music is completely inseparable from this game]. I think that this is the first product that greatly awakens emotions through the combination of these four elements: story, world, artwork and sounds. And among them, the music is the one I'm particularly obsessed with. I thought I wanted you all to feel just how important an element it is, to the point where you all would say that "the music is an essential factor in this game!" or something to that effect. Again, this is something I've thought ever since I worked in the sound division. Due to several twists and turns from fate ever since I worked on Iris, I was introduced to the people I know now and I finally felt [Yeah, maybe I can pull it off now], which finally allowed me to make this game. Therefore, in that sense it is the compilation of the feelings I've had from a long time ago.

It seems there were also people that cried when they replayed the game and heard the Songs after reading the lyrics

Tsuchiya - As for that... I really don't know what to say. If you could receive my feelings just as they are, nothing would make me happier.

Kawachi - It feels as if everyone accepted the things you wanted to convey perfectly.

Tsuchiya - That's right. That's right! I want you all to play the game while listening to the Songs! If you do so, it's possible you might be moved three or even ten times more. This is something I didn't actually write down in an explicit way, but I approached it from several ways. Now this topic has been raised (?), that has been present in everything: in the column at the last page in the sheet music collection (6) and in the director's comments in the [Hoshiyomi] and [Tsukikanade] albums, and then in the comments that people would be able to read upon filling the questionnaires for the CDs. These songs are part of the game... and that's why they have feelings hidden within themselves, they have the lyrics they do because Aurica and Misha are singing while holding the feelings described in them! That's what I wanted you all to see. That's why I wanted so much for you all to not just listen to the Songs by themselves, but to actually listen to them as you go through the game. If you do, I'm absolutely sure that you'll be moved much more than if you listened to them on their own. As for what inspires this confidence, it is the fact that these songs' creation, from their lyrics to their images, and up to their final versions were all made alongside the game's own production, so we tried to take care of them down to the smallest detail. We went to the level of writing the events in the scenario script down to a per second level to make sure everything went well: even the exciting points, even the calmer points, and even the points where we did our best for the voiceovers and lines to not cause any sort of interference.

(3) Dokkoi Festival

A project corner created inside the official [Ar tonelico] homepage for stirring up excitement in preparation for its release. Within the [15 Questions] corner in which even the singers got roped in, you can read comments overflowing with love for the game.

(4) Hymmnoserver

A Hymmnos Language database that was established to be used by the creative staff as reference material. Contains setting information and a word dictionary, and it is also possible to download the font from it. The meanings of several words that weren't published on this book can be perused here.

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Shurelia was the least popular heroine among the project staff. What was the real reason for that...?[]

Which of the three heroines was the most popular among the project staff?

Tschiya - It was pretty rare for us to bring up this topic inside Gust, so we pretty much decided to settle it through majority rule at the year's last meeting. People went all like [Aurica supporters, here!] during it. But well, it was because some of them were drunk too. Misha was the most popular heroine in the company. Actually, both Aurica and Misha had about the same number of votes, but Aurica ended up having the lesser amount, while Lady Shurelia didn't get even a single vote.

Is that right?

Tsuchiya - Looks like she was too complex for the company staff. They say it was [because her tasty parts were taken away] and because [she wasn't even a tsundere, but a dorodere]... Well, these reasons do feel like a collection of idiocies though.

Everything was made so she would confess to Lyner through Misha's and Aurica's Cosmospheres from the beginning, right?

Tsuchiya - She doesn't do it on purpose. I had heard ideas like [Shurelia having manipulated their information for it] from the players previously, but nothing like that happened here. Lady Shurelia might not have a Cosmosphere, but she has a deep psyche too, and that deep psyche does leak out. It is the same case as Aurica and Misha, who can't notice the existence of their own selves from Levels 8 or 9. This might be part of the deepest recesses of the setting, but we made this according to the existence in the setting of the [Reyvateils' collective unconscious]. All the Reyvateils basically have the roots of their consciousness connected to each other. Shurelia is the Tower itself, so she is equally adhered to all the Reyvateils in that place. Therefore, it is easy for her feelings to leak out. Shurelia would have to go through one path to have an effect upon Misha, while Aurica would have to go through more than two paths for the same thing. This means she would need to go through at least two doors, which makes it impossible for her to do it. However, as all the Reyvateils are in fact connected through their deep psyche, they all can come and go into each other. They can also connect and craft the strong feelings each one has, said connection making it possible for them to produce extremely powerful magic. None of this is depicted in the game itself though, but the world works in this way. And while this doesn't mean that Shurelia is the only one capable of doing this, not even her is capable of coming and going like that consciously.

We want to convey one more theme through the [realizations] Lyner made: [Coexistence][]

How was the reception for everything unrelated to the heroines' charms?

Kawachi - Fortunately, we got the opinions of many players saying the game had [moved them]. It might have been the genre name of [Girl Synthesis] what initially drew them in though.

Storywise, Bourd seemed no more than an extreme villain, right?

Kawachi - Yes, because we made him play the part of the easy-to-understand villain.

Tsuchiya - Maybe we could say we ultimately made him a scapegoat so Lyner could [realize] what he did, that he had that sort of story to him. Bourd fought with all his effort to keep living in his own way. My pet theory is that there are no people among the humans who only think and live to commit evil acts from their very core... Though we could say I'm being [lenient] depending on the person. To give an example, there has to be a reason why someone says things such as [I'll destroy 'em!], [I'm gonna kill him!] or [I'm going to put this evil plan into motion!]. The motivations that lie at the core of them shouldn't be evil at all. Still, even if we could understand them with our head, it would be extremely difficult to accept their essence and come to a mutual understanding. People don't tend to open their hearts easily, and they easily hurt others and themselves in the process of doing so... But by opening myself, the other person will open themselves, and once we come to know the other person and understand the reasons that move them, we might end up sympathizing with them, we might end up being able to coexist with them. However, that's something that very rarely happens in the current world. We tend to put on rose-colored glasses and try to justify ourselves by saying it's [because that person is this sort of people], or even worse, we say [they're no good because they're part of that group!]. But that's not how things are supposed to be! That's what I wanted to tell everyone through Lyner. Bishop Falss had a very similar role to Bourd, but they both differ in one point: Falss ultimately said himself why he had done the things he did, while Bourd didn't do anything like that. Therefore, Bourd died as no more than a villain. As for Falss, was he truly evil? Did he just want power, or something else...? Such are the mysteries he left behind with his death. Therefore, this got Lyner to think. He gradually started thinking on his own about why he had the [if I beat someone, I win] philosophy, the truth that said philosophy entailed, and thus he matured. And the conclusion to which he arrived through this was [if we coexist, we all win]. He wasn't looking at others through rose-colored glasses. What I wanted everyone to arrive at was the conclusion that all people must have a reason driving them whenever they do something, and that we need to understand that reason no matter what. This is the theme into which we earnestly put the strongest feelings for this game.

The conclusion that [coexisting] is impossible could also be drawn from clearing the game by defeating Tastiella and Mir, right?

Tsuchiya - Yes. But it seems that because it was possible to fight the final boss at an early point, there were some players that ended up on the receiving end of a fight hard enough to freeze them with fear gameplay-wise. That ending means that you can finish the story while giving up on solving the problem entirely, but we still wrote the lines that can be read after defeating Tastiella and Mir to be very harsh. In fact, we wrote them to be this harsh because we wanted to convey to the players that choices do have this sort of consequences. That's the harshest lesson that can be learned from that ending, and the meaning it holds.

Finally, any messages for all the players out there?

Tsuchiya - Something warm and fuzzy will remain within the hearts of those who played through this game... That's the greatest joy for me. Playing games isn't something anyone actually needs to keep themselves alive, right? But that a person plays one means that they believe in it and that they will always make room in their schedules to play it. That's why as a creator, I want to present these people with something nice. These were the feelings I had as we created this game. And I'll always be thankful to you all for playing it. No matter what I might make in the future, that concept will never change. I'll always continue keeping the feelings of wanting to bring out the warm and fuzzy things that remained within those who played my games as I keep creating them!

Kawachi - While it's true that we started this project in part because [making characters is fun], the fact that you all accepted Aurica, Misha and Shurelia, and that you feel so much love for them, it makes me think that maybe our initial goal of making characters was a step on the right direction. All the non-Heroine characters will also receive further development in all of sorts of non-game media, and while I don't know yet in which shape these characters will be reaching you all, as I want to keep expanding the Ar tonelico world and see these characters continuing with their lives, it would be great if you could keep loving these children.

(Date: February 6th, 2006)

(5) Firefly Alley Citizen BBS

A corner in the official website in which Director Tsuchiya and Producer Kawachi to give talks fully loaded with secret development stories. The episodes in which they met the singers that form part of this project are talked about at length in it.

(6) Sheet Music Collection [Hymmnote]

A booklet that was distributed as a first-print bonus for the [Original Soundtrack] CD, which has the scores to [Singing Hill] and [Phantasmagoria] printed in it. It also fetches shockingly high prices in online auction sites...