RPGamer Feature - Ar tonelico Qoga ~Knell of Ar Ciel~ - Interview
Ar tonelico Qoga ~Knell of Ar Ciel~
Developer: Gust
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date:

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Welcome to RPGamer's first interview of the year. Today, we'll be talking with NIS America on its upcoming, boobtastic PlayStation 3 exclusive, Ar tonelico Qoga ~Knell of Ar Ciel~. Thanks to Steven Carlton, an editor at NIS America, were going to learn about some of the newest featues added to the series, who the cutest girls are, and just how the heck you pronounce the game's name. Grab hold of your Reyvateil, as NIS America "sings" us the scoop on all things Ar tonelico. For more information about the game, check out its official website.

Greetings NIS America, it seems like it's time to talk about another Ar tonelico game. For those who are unfamiliar, can you briefly outline a bit of the series history?
Steven Carlton, Editor: The general overview of the series history is that about 700 years ago, there was an advanced civilization that lived on a planet called Ar Ciel. This civilization had created a new race of people, called Reyvateils, girls who can harness the power of their Songs to perform powerful magic. Unfortunately, their technology triggered a terrible catastrophe that covered the planet's surface in a poisonous cloud, called the Sea of Death, and a layer of plasma, called the Blast Line, covered the sky. Because of this, the only people who survived were the residents of three artificial towers. However, these towers were so remote from each other that the general populous of each tower believed that they were the sole survivors of this global catastrophe. Each game focuses on one of the three towers, and how the residents there are trying to save their tower from impending doom, and as the series goes along, they start getting help from a few residents of the previous tower.

What is the main story of Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel? Tell us a bit about the characters.
SC: Ar tonelico Qoga's main story revolves around a boy named Aoto who helps a Reyvateil named Saki escape from the Clustanian Army, who are pursuing her. As they are trying to evade the Clustanians, they get the help of Aoto's friend and V-Board jock, Tatsumi, a clumsy Reyvateil named Finnel, and a doctor of Reyvatology named Hikari Gojo. Together, this rag tag band of do-gooders find themselves caught in the middle of three conflicting armies, on a journey to keep the girls safe and to cure them from their own unique conditions.

Ar tonelico is notorious for having returning characters from the previous games appear. Who can we expect to see back for this installment?
SC: You can look forward to seeing some cameos by characters from both AT1 and AT2. As for which ones, we'll leave that as a surprise.

It seems as though Ar tonelico's gameplay has been given a major overhaul. What are some of the major changes that have been made?
SC: The major changes for Ar tonelico Qoga have been the switch from 2-D to 3-D graphics, and the R.A.H battle system.

Can you provide more details about the R.A.H system?
SC: The R.A.H system is a real-time battle system. As the player, you control one of the vanguard attackers, who both attack the enemies and protect the Reyvateil while she sings. The other vanguards are controlled by the AI. There is a Harmograph along the bottom of the screen that features high points and low points that go along with the beat of the Reyvateils Song Magic. If you attack when the graph is high, you will inflict more damage, the Reyvateil's magic will charge faster, and you will be able to trigger the Reyvateil to purge, stripping off a layer of clothing, which allows her to provide even more power to her Song Magic. Also, while you are exploring each Reyvateil's Cosmosphere, you will unlock Hyumas, fairy-like characters within the girls' imaginary worlds, which you can equip to the Reyvateils to alter their Songs, and provide various effects to their Magic.

Unlike the previous Ar tonelico games that were rated Teen by the ESRB, Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel was rated Mature. Are you surprised by this rating and does it worry you? Or is this a GOOD thing?
SC: We actually weren't surprised that this time around we got the Mature rating. With the graphical improvements of the PS3, it was inevitable, especially with some of the visuals that this game has, hehehe. Looking back at Ar tonelico 1 and 2, we should have probably gotten the same rating for them. We're not worried in the least about the rating, as the small amount of visuals that qualify the game for an M rating do not overshadow or change the same feel that you should get when you play an Ar tonelico game. You'll still get an awesome 23gigs of story and depth. We can definitely confirm that the improved graphics are a GOOD thing *wink*.

Once Ar tonelico hits in March, we've got only Disgaea 4 on our radar. Please tell us you have more RPG announcements coming soon, right? Any idea when we'll here about the imageepoch titles you'll be working on?
SC: There are a bunch of unannounced titles that are slated for this year in our pipeline. Stay tuned for some press releases very soon, we promise. As for the imageepoch titles, we are working with them but we just cannot announce anything just yet. I know what you're thinking... it's pretty vague. But you'll be the first to know when something is on the move.

Please hang in there and we promise you'll hear some good and surprising news soon!

Considering some of the previous "sexy" swag goodies from Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica, do you plan on topping the towel and body pillow with something more "mature" for a pre-order bonus?
SC: We have definitely played around with continuing the theme of "linen" for the Ar tonelico Qoga preorder bonus item, but this time around we opted for something that really shows off the Reyvateil ladies. We recently announced the Ar tonelico "Purge Party Calendar" that depicts your favorite women of Ar tonelico Qoga in their purging element for our Online Store preorder bonus item. For 12 full months you can now gawk at each scantily-clad Reyvateil as they show how "powerful" they can be.

Finally, how the heck do you pronounce Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel? Do you think having a crazy title like this hurts sales at all or do you like having the wildest titles around?
SC: Qoga is pronounced similar to ko-ga, although those of you who prefer to sound more prestigious or intellectual may want to pronounce it with more of a kwo-ga twang to it. But, it must not be pronounced in a Kh-ogah manner, such as sounding like you are about to hock a loogie.

As for its use in the title, we felt that including it in there would help the sales, since it would show the more meticulous fans of the Hymnos language that thanks to their passion, we are putting greater influence on being more true to Hymnos in this title. For further proof of this, please take note of Ar Ciel, as opposed to Al Ciel (we did not just forget how we spelled it in the previous two games in the series). The word Qoga actually means "finale" or "termination" in the Hymnos language.

RPGamer would like to thank Steven Carlton for all his insight. Ar tonelico Qoga ~Knell of Ar Ciel~ is set to release on March 15, 2011 for the PlayStation 3. You can pre-order the game now from NIS America's official store.

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