I’m not certain if other people who have played Atelier Ayesha have noticed this but it’s fairly clear that for DLC releases, Tecmo Koei has timed it to match how the Japanese release went. Here’s a short summary of dates to paint a picture.
- June 28, 2012: Atelier Ayesha first edition releases.
- July 4, 2012: Atelier Ayesha BGM pack releases. This includes many (1600+) songs of previous GUST games. Priced at 300 yen.
- July 31, 2012: Cow Paradise DLC releases. Free.
- September 9, 2012: Hidden Paradise DLC. Priced at 150 yen. Marion and Odelia character DLC. Priced at 350 yen.
I’m not certain about swimsuit DLC in Japan since they were partly exclusives. It appears to also be a September 9, 2012 release, specifically for Ayesha and Linca. Wilbell’s swimsuit release appeared to be a magazine promotional material, and later implemented on October 4, 2012. Either way, the swimsuit DLC was priced at 300 yen.
Now let’s look at the English release, at least as far as the US goes.
In the United States…
- March 5, 2013: Atelier Ayesha is released.
- March 12, 2013: Atelier Ayesha BGM pack releases. Priced at $2.99.
- April 2, 2013: Cow Paradise DLC releases. Free.
- April 30, 2013: Hidden Paradise DLC, Character DLC, Swimsuit DLC. Rounding causes the price for the character DLC to be $3.99 while the swimsuit DLC would be $2.99. Hidden Paradise itself is $1.99.
As you can see, Tecmo Koei appears to time the release almost identically. The BGM DLC was about a week later. The Cow Paradise DLC was about a month later. The Hidden Paradise + Character + Swimsuit DLC was released on April 30, 2013.
Consumers of the English version can find the timing of the release confusing because the rights to these DLC were obviously already attained, meaning that there was no delay in getting these. Most likely these items were intentionally spaced out to retain interest in the game for longer than a month, since the game itself only takes about an effective week or two to fully finish (never over a month) as it only takes about 50 – 60 hours in general if you try to attain 100% completion of the game. Here’s the other problem: Tecmo Koei never really mentioned anything about releasing these DLC until they pretty much popped up on PSN spontaneously one day. Either that or the Atelier Ayesha website was actually showing the DLC release dates, despite the fact that the site itself still has navigation flaws. I can slightly understand stealth marketing, but given the trend of microtransaction promotions, wouldn’t you at least put greater effort into that?
I don’t quite agree with this strategy when the game already got lauded for being released completely in the dark with no marketing whatsoever. While this method of paced DLC releases was intriguing, not delayed, and nearly identical to the Japanese release, I don’t think there was much of any point to really do this on the English release. The only upside is that the DLC releases did not come with any issues, as opposed to say Tecmo Koei’s Dead or Alive 5 DLC which got nailed by delays and incompatibilities, whether it was actual release dates or cross features. Since I personally went for the “spend $50 in the month of March PSN promotion and get $10”, I can easily use the $10 credited funds to buy the DLC, but I’m contemplating not to get all the DLC since I 100%’d the game and already know that mathematically I can finish the extra map without too many issues.
I’m not comparing the Alchemist of Dusk to the Arland series, because Ayesha was a game purely released after the GUST acquisition in 2011, so this game of the Atelier series clearly had the most Tecmo Koei influence. Also there isn’t as much of an issue with the Arland series because not only is there no lack of dual audio, but the Vita release of Atelier Totori Plus had all the DLC packaged in with extra bonuses the PS3 release does not have. You could even knock Totori over by tapping the back of the touchpad! Unfortunately, while the release of this final DLC for Atelier Ayesha will render the game fully complete, I can’t help but think the English release experience was much of an empty one.
As far as the future of Atelier games is concerned, I feel in the dark, and maybe Tecmo Koei’s non-response to anything synergizes with the dusk theme. Atelier Ayesha was a perfectly reasonable game, but I still feel that the localization was terrible with the publisher trying to meddle with things too much.