The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, October 8, 2021 – You ask, you get

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Good afternoon you lovely people! I was delighted to see we’ve had such a bumper mailbag this week, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to your letters — but first, for the benefit of those who are new ’round ‘ere, the obligatory explanation.

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page is your chance to speak your brains about whatever you feel like — be it something we’ve written on the site, something on your mind or something you’ve been working on that you want to share with the broader community! Comments often get skipped over by reader and staff alike, so this is your opportunity to make sure what you have to say really gets heard.

To get started, look over ➡ there and you’ll see a little blue widget that says “Write to Rice!” — click that, fill in the form (no personal info required — you can use a pen name if you want) and send us a message, then we’ll get to it the following Friday. Best letters win absolutely nothing except the opportunity to see their name on these illustrious pages. Worst letters also win absolutely nothing except the opportunity to see their deranged ramblings mocked mercilessly on the aforementioned (and still illustrious) pages.

All right. Preamble over, let’s get into today’s bulging sack of joy.

Fanart by scarlethy/kaen. Source here

There’s always one

Dear Rice,

Show me your ass

Yogesh


Letters Page: Editor's ass

You didn’t say it had to be a good picture of my ass. Next.

Mysterious stuff

Dear Rice,

Any thoughts on Gust doing a 4th installment in the Mysterious subseries before a 4th installment in the Dusk subseries? Do you think Gust will ever return to Lulua (after the “to be continued” at the end of the true ending)?

I just think it would be interesting to hear the thoughts on these subjects from some of the people on the Rice staff (especially the ones who’re interested in Atelier)

Thank you for your time in advance,

Al


Hi Al, and welcome to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. Yes, the announcement of Atelier Sophie 2 was something of a surprise — I think we were all expecting a Ryza 3 to be the next Atelier game, but I can’t say that Atelier Sophie 2 is an entirely unwelcome sight.

In fact, I was thinking a while back, just prior to the release of the Atelier Mysterious Trilogy’s DX versions, that the Mysterious games didn’t get all that much attention from people for one reason or another. The Dusk games are quite rightly very popular with the fanbase, since they’re excellent titles — yet there seemed to be very little buzz about the Mysterious games (particularly Firis and Lydie & Suelle) in comparison to the other games in the series.

Letters page: Atelier Sophie

I can’t speak for Gust or Koei Tecmo, but it may well be that sales of the Mysterious Trilogy’s DX versions were better than expected or anticipated — new fans who came to the series with Ryza may well have decided to check it out, for example — and thus it made sense for them to capitalise on that by putting out a new one.

It’s interesting that in this case it’s not a sequel to the existing trilogy as Lulua was to the Arland series, but rather it’s sort of “The Further Adventures of Sophie (Before She Met Firis)” and unfolds in a completely different world. In some respects, the fact that it’s not set in the same world as the rest of the Mysterious trilogy might make it a good jumping-on point for new fans — though that “2” in the title might put people off making it their first Atelier game!

I think part of the reason that they haven’t (yet) done a fourth Dusk game is that Atelier Shallie wraps things up quite nicely for that overall story. It doesn’t necessarily “fix” the overall problem that is the core of the setting — the titular Dusk — but it does mark the beginning of a significant new age for that world.

Any follow-up to the finale of Shallie would need to deal with the long-term consequences of what happened there (I’m keeping things deliberately vague for those who haven’t played), and that may well take the narrative into more bleak territory than Gust is willing to do with the typically rather warm and wholesome Atelier series. That said, the Dusk series on the whole is surprisingly melancholy in general, so it would make sense to explore that further.

Letters page: Atelier Shallie

Ultimately I suspect it all comes down to something rather boring like commercial matters. It presumably makes financial sense to do Sophie 2 for some reason, so that’s what we’re getting.

As for whether we’ll see a fifth Arland game following on from Lulua — I certainly hope so! The ending for that game left things nicely open to continue in various ways, but I suspect Gust wanted a bit of a break from Arland before returning to it again. Lulua is still a relatively recent release in the series, after all — so perhaps we’ll get a Dusk sequel before we get another Arland title.

All of the above is, of course, speculation and, regrettably, I do not have any inside information. Should we come into the possession of any, you can expect a full report, of course!

There are two lights

Dear Rice,

So, I’m really, REALLY excited for Blue Reflection Tie/Second Light to release later this month/early next month. Has anyone at Rice had a chance to check out the demo available on the Japanese Nintendo eShop/PSN stores? I played it and loved it. It’s mechanically quite different to (and more interesting than) the first game, but still very fun.

m68ken


Hi m68ken, good to see you on the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page again! We haven’t played the demo, no — we went one better. Koei Tecmo were kind enough to send us some preview code and let us play through the entire first couple of chapters of the game, which gave us the opportunity to experience the beginning of the story, how everything is set up and the introduction of most of the new mechanics.

In case you missed our preview exploring our experiences with said early version of the game, click yourself here and have yourself a read.

Letters page: Blue Reflection Second Light

In short: yep, I feel this is going to be a very special game. I appreciate how it’s mechanically distinct from the original game, yet features plenty of callbacks to that first game — beyond just “Hinako shows up at some point”, I mean. I’m very intrigued to see where the story goes over the long term, and expecting great things after the excellent first game.

The new combat system is really enjoyable, blending real-time elements with turn-based, menu-driven combat; the feeling of everyone “piling on” an enemy before they can get an attack off is extremely satisfying, and gives combat a really nicely dynamic feel. Plus with the fact the game uses a more conventional experience points system, there’s actually reason to engage with the combat beyond absolute necessity in this one, which is nice.

I like the increased focus on crafting, too. They’ve resisted the temptation to go full Atelier, but there’s just a little more depth to the crafting of items in this one than there was in the original, which is good to see. I particularly like the Atelier-style ability to use items of a particular category rather than specific items, which allows for similar end products to have different effects.

Letters page: Blue Reflection Second Light

The characters are all thoroughly likeable, too. Ao is endearingly flawed in a few ways, and there’s a nice dynamic between her, Rena and Yuki, and the way these relationships are explored in both face-to-face conversations and in the in-game Line-equivalent FreeSpace is sure to be a highlight of the experience. Blue Reflection is, at heart, a series about relationships and the bonds between people, after all.

There are a few other things we learned while playing the preview build, too, but we’re not allowed to talk about those. I hear getting hit by a magical girl hurts, so better safe than sorry.

In summary: Blue Reflection: Second Light is emphatically going to be A Good, and you can expect some extensive coverage on these very pages when we have a more final version to fiddle around with.

Enjoy your bath towel when it arrives!

Hi

Dear Rice,

Hi

Rey


Hi. Next!

Vampire repellent

Dear Rice,

If you’re making a mayonnaise you can just replace egg yolks with garlic paste (a few garlic cloves and some salt thrown into a food processor or a blender for a minute or two) and you’ll end up with quite good fluffy garlic sauce.

For best effects, put it in the fridge for the night and press a paper towel against it so it can absorb excess moisture.

Ja


Hi Ja, and thank you for your valuable contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. Anyone hungry for a quite good fluffy garlic sauce this Friday night can now rest easy; no need to order takeout just for the dip pots, because you can just make it yourself!

Some of you might not know how to make mayonnaise, so allow me to help you out there. Start by tipping two egg yolks (or the aforementioned garlic paste) into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk together with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. (You can omit the mustard if you’re not a fan, but it adds a nice bit of flavour to the end product.)

Keep whisking and add a drop of oil from 250ml that you’ve set aside for the recipe; whisk until it’s completely combined. Add another drop and repeat this process until the entire mixture starts to thicken. Continue adding the oil a bit at a time until all 250ml are in there, but don’t add it too quickly as otherwise the mayonnaise will curdle.

Once all the oil is whisked in there and fully combined, add a couple of teaspoons of white wine vinegar or lemon juice and season according to your own personal taste. Then enjoy with your favourite things you like to dip in mayonnaise (or a quite good fluffy garlic sauce). It’ll keep in the fridge for about two days.

Fun fact: both my cats enjoy both mayonnaise and garlic sauce. I feel these are not things that cats are supposed to like, but they both very much do. This can make eating a takeaway pizza a somewhat perilous experience.


And that’s that for another week! It’s time to go and enjoy the weekend. Take care of yourselves, and we’ll be back with more funtimes next week! Ta-ta!

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