New outfit designs for Atelier Ayesha Plus are out!
We know of three clear things for this Spring 2014: Atelier Escha for PS3 is slated for an English release on March 7 in Europe and March 11 in North America, Atelier Ayesha Plus will release on March 27 for the Playstation Vita in Japan, and Atelier Escha is getting an anime in April.
As clear as the release dates are, what confuses me is actually the marketing. The execution is a bit odd, as the news doesn’t quite match with what is currently available.
Regarding the English Release of Atelier Escha:
Back in 10th December 2013, pre-order bonuses for Atelier Escha in North America were announced, along with the grand opening of the European and North American websites specializing in Atelier games from Tecmo Koei. The news mentioned DLC bonuses, stating that pre-ordering through Amazon will get you Escha’s Enchanted Witch costume, while GameStop (GAME in UK) will get you the Apple Pirate costume.
For Amazon pre-ordering is currently available, but there is absolutely no indication on the description of the item that the Enchanted Witch pre-order bonus is included at this time. This move to provide two different DLC bonuses on pre-order was a fairly good idea, as the English release of Atelier Ayesha lacked any DLC bonuses. This pre-ordering tactic split between Amazon and GameStop has been done before by Tecmo Koei with Dead or Alive 5 Vanilla back in September 2012 with Devil and Angel Bikini costumes.
As much excitement and torment deciding between the two Escha DLC’s may be, there’s a very simple problem: GameStop doesn’t even have Atelier Escha up for pre-order. At GameStop’s website, you won’t find Atelier Escha on the search function, nor on the pre-order section. It’s possible that GameStop has simply not put up Atelier Escha information yet, but December 10 was over a month ago and the game is releasing within two months. A local GameStop store has notified us that Atelier Escha does not exist in their system at this time, and we were suggested to check back tomorrow. For those in Europe, GAME in the UK also does not have Atelier Escha available online for pre-order at this time. We expect pre-order to be available within a month of release sometime in February at latest.
Update: As expected, when we stopped by the local GameStop on January 31st, Atelier Escha did show up on GameStop’s main site on January 30th. There was no information on pre-order DLC bonuses whatsoever. GAME UK’s banner on the EU Atelier games site is still not linked as of early February, even though GAME does have Atelier Escha for pre-order available online at this time.
Update on 2/12/2014: As of mid-February, GameStop in North America does indeed have the Apple Pirate and Fox Logy preorder bonuses visible on their site now. As far as other sites go such as Amazon, displayed information remain unchanged. EU Atelier games still does not have GAME UK linked, though there’s still no visible sign of DLC bonus on said site.
Update on 2/24/2014: Tecmo Koei Europe has notified us that the GAME UK link is not up because GAME UK has not displayed their exclusive pre-order bonus yet. At this time, GAME UK still does not have their bonus displayed, so the European atelier games site still does not have an active link to GAME.
We inquired both GameStop and Amazon in the United States regarding pre-order bonus information. Both places gave the same type of response where they were unaware of the bonus and no active pamphlet or file notifies them of any bonus details regarding Atelier Escha. While we expect the bonus to be applied correctly by the release date of March 11 (March 7 in Europe), as a consumer it is difficult to get excited over a pre-order bonus exclusive to two vendors that are unaware the bonus even exists.
The European site of Atelier Escha is also very different. The Apple Pirate Escha costume is used for the Amazon.de banner, while the Enchanted Witch costume is used for the GAME banner. More recently we spot that Smartoys has a pre-order bonus for Fox Logy. We find it rather interesting that the DLC pre-order bonuses in Europe are much different than North America.
Although there is much more noticeable marketing efforts to promote Atelier Escha, whether it is the anime or game, the pre-ordering of the Japanese version of Atelier Escha back in June 2013 did provide a downloadable copy of Mana Khemia 2. Mana Khemia 2 did have a US release, so it is surprising to see that the game is not included with the English release of Atelier Escha.
The Japanese Release of Atelier Ayesha Plus:
More screenshots have been released, and we know of the new outfit designs for the Vita version of Atelier Ayesha. Visually, it is clear Ayesha, Wilbell, and Linca follow a Disney-looking/fantasy theme, with the three looking like equivalents of Alice in Wonderland, Mulan, and Ariel. The designs are pretty nice and complement the characters well, matching components of their personality. For Ayesha, she’s like Alice, in searching for the White Rabbit (Nio). Similar analogies can be made up with Wilbell about how she’s special but also initially an outcast, while for Linca, we can derive similarities such as standing up for what she believes in. We don’t think Tecmo Koei actually thought that far, but it’s not far-fetched to think the mindset was like this when deciding which outfits to use for what characters. These are all speculations anyway.
As of February 24, more Atelier Ayesha Plus screens have spawned, where other new costumes are also showcased. The costumes are very themed, and some designs, such as Ayesha’s green swimsuit, derives a combination of her outfit in an ending, and her existing swimsuit.
Although the Japanese release of Atelier Ayesha Plus is unrelated to the English release of Atelier Escha, this does give consumers of the English releases the impression of the games’ consistent release patterns. Since the Atelier Vita Plus games in English have been releasing within half a year after the Japanese release thus far, Atelier Ayesha Plus could be expected to release any time between September 2014 and March 2015.
This also sets a clear assumption that Atelier Escha will also have a potential Atelier Escha & Logy Plus version on the Vita within the next year or two. Vita releases are nice as they provide the user with a complete Atelier experience with game balances and all DLC available, but since the releases are coming so quickly, there’s less incentive for Vita owners to want to buy the PS3 version to avoid double-dip purchasing at this rate.