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Alzara Radiant Echoes' creative director talks about the JRPG's huge reception on Kickstarter

Studio Camelia's Emma Delage tells us why we should be excited for the upcoming JRPG, where the inspirations for it came from, how Kickstarter allows the team to better its development efforts, and also what's next for the studio now that it's Kickstarter goals have been smashed.

Audio transcription

"Hello everyone and welcome back to Gamereactor.
Today we have a really exciting interview for you because I'm here with Emma from Studio Chameleon.
Now Studio Chameleon, you may not be so familiar with them just yet but you will be soon because they are currently in the process of developing a JRPG called Alzera Radiant Echoes."

"Now the reason why we're talking with Emma today is for the simple reason that you are currently in the process of launching a Kickstarter campaign that's going incredibly well, one could say.
So tell me a little bit about that, were you surprised by the reception that Alzera Radiant Echoes has had on Kickstarter so far?
Hi Ben, well first of all thank you for having me, I'm super excited."

"If we were surprised, yes extremely positively surprised, well we knew that our game would have its fans, you know, because it really comes from a passion for JRPGs and we really spent a lot of time listening to players."

"Myself, I've been a huge member of different JRPG communities so we knew that what we were about to announce would certainly please a lot of people.
But yeah, we didn't expect to reach €100,000 in less than 48 hours, I can tell you that everybody in the team was so focused on refreshing the page that maybe the productivity was not that great at that time."

"But yeah, it really was a very positive feedback from the community and the support has been so exhilarating from our backers that it's really a joy for us.
And talking about the Kickstarter campaign that you're running, what does going through the Kickstarter process allow you to do that you possibly couldn't do without going through that process and going straight into sort of a launch proceeding or developing without the backing of a Kickstarter?
So, we really had an approach where we wanted to..."

"We had two things, actually.
The first thing was getting in touch with our community as soon as possible.
And Kickstarter, especially for JRPGs, is a great way to be discovered and to raise a community from the ground up in order to be able to gather like-minded people and potentially having fans who would be there, talk with us and find some way on how we could improve the game and that kind of stuff."

"In my career in the past, I used to be a community developer and working with communities is something I really take great care of and I really want us to have this ongoing attention to what our players are saying."

"And the second thing is more from a, let's say, business perspective because, well, we've been sharing some concepts here and there about the game.
We had a few followers on social media, but we still weren't capable of having the proof that, yes, this game is going to find its players."

"And so, Kickstarter is a great way for us to show our partners the proof that, yes, actually, people do want this game.
And JRPGs, there's a whole multitude of different JRPGs available and it's quite a popular genre."

"So what are you doing with Alzara Radiant Echoes to ensure that it stands out and finds its own position in the JRPG genre?
So when we were at the time of the conception for Alzara, we had to look at what was on the market."

"So you had big AAA games, action-oriented, very realistic graphics.
And we knew that even if people at the studio are very experienced, it would be a trap to decide, okay, let's do the same thing because we would be in direct competition with Square Enix and those other big companies."

"So we knew from the beginning that we would definitely not do that.
On the opposite, making 2D pixel art, those games are beautiful, but I think there are a lot of them.
So we made the decision to remain 3D and then having a stylized visual."

"All the more as, at the time of conception, so it was in 2021 and the Game Awards this year, where really, if you could take screenshots of all the games, everything was really in tones of gray, basically."

"And I was like, wow, I'm so fed up with that.
I want colors in my life.
I play games to be happy.
So yeah, we had some early inspirations like Golden Sun, which is very vibrant and colorful."

"And seeing that during the Game Awards really helped me make my decision.
So yeah, we're going to be bright.
We're going to be shiny, vibrant, stylized, full of hopes because this is also what the game is about."

"It's about our heroes fighting against an invasion with the hope of bringing peace back.
So yeah, this is how we made the choice for the art direction, at least.
And for the gameplay, well, turn-based is, personally, in the JRPG genre, is a sub-genre that I'm a big fan of."

"And I wanted to try that one first.
So yeah, this is how we went with the decision.
And you mentioned there about the art direction, you wanted to be colorful and vibrant and you want to draw the player in in that regard."

"But Studio Camellia, you're based in south of France, I believe, and Alzara is based on and inspired by the Mediterranean theme.
So were there any sort of things that you wanted to take and make sure that you incorporated into the game in regards to the Mediterranean stylings and aesthetics?
Yeah, so about the choice of setting the game in a Mediterranean-inspired world, basically the idea where we came back to the main theme of the game, which is sharing."

"Sharing is one of our core values and we wanted to have this theme really centralize every design around it.
Every design should be centralized around sharing.
So from the game design to narrative design, but also on the art direction, everything should be about sharing."

"And so we started thinking about finding a region of the world in terms of inspiration that would really encompass this idea of sharing.
And the Mediterranean region, being like the Cradle of Civilization with the Fertile Crescent and all the different cultures that surrounds its sea, is a beautiful mix of people and culture and sharing is super important for that region."

"So it really very quickly came as an evidence, all the more as the studio is based in Montpellier, so in terms of sources of inspiration, we're quite good on that, at least on the eastern parts of things."

"And talking about the exploration side of things, Alzara, it's not just about wandering around main locations.
There's a sea and there's a sailing mechanic, there's all these different elements that allow players to explore in their own ways."

"What can players do outside of combat?
What can players do in the open world, in the world itself when they're looking to experience beyond the main story?
Yeah, so to clarify, the game is not an open world."

"You go from location to location thanks to another world, which is going to be a 2D world map that is drawn by a watercolor artist from Montpellier, actually, called Moschi."

"And so outside of combat, you will have several locations to explore, so cities, villages, dungeons, and also the overworld.
The overworld is pure exploration."

"We really want players to enjoy just sailing with your boat on the sea, exploring the world.
When you enter a location, well, you have the typical JRPG loop.
So in cities, you can prepare for what awaits you in the next battle."

"So you talk with a merchant, you improve your equipment, your setting, your rest.
And in the dungeons outside of battles, you will have a series of puzzles for you to solve in order to progress in the dungeon and meet the boss."

"And so in Alzara, everything is centered first around sharing, of course, but also around the magic of the four elements.
So in battle, our heroes will be capable of using their elemental magic.
And also when exploring, you will be able to cast your spells to interact with some objects."

"So for instance, Kayla can use her fire magic in order to light torches and interact with similar objects.
And let's talk a little bit about the combat side of things then.
You mentioned there there's the elemental side of things."

"There's also some different systems, echoes, the way that you place your characters and whatnot.
How does this all work?
Can we expect that sort of, you know, traditional sort of fire beats?
You know, I'm trying to think of a good comparison."

"Fire beats, ice beats, water beats, fire, etc.
Can we expect that sort of style as well in Alzara?
It's one layer of the battle system.
So you're going to have..."

"Actually, we have an elemental cross.
So fire cancels water and air cancels earth.
But then actually there is sharing again that comes in thanks to the core feature of battle, which is the swap system."

"So in Alzara, you have your heroes fighting on two rows.
The front heroes are using offensive actions and the back heroes are using support actions.
So depending on where you're placed on the battlefield, your actions are going to change between defense, support and offense."

"So you have that.
When you swap line with a hero, you can share your energy with them and thus mixing your elements.
So for instance, if Kailash swaps with Adil, Adil, when he joins the front row, he's going to be capable of casting thunder magic, which is a mix of fire and air."

"And lighting, this new element that is unlocked thanks to sharing, has some more powerful strength against some specific other elements for you to discover.
So in total, you're going to have 10 elements to manipulate, each one offering their own kind of toolbox that you can use on the battle, depending on the enemy you have in front of you or what's happening in the battle."

"So it's not just actually a weakness against strength system, it's more than that.
Of course, you could play the game like this, the same way you would do Pokémon on the entry level, but we want it to be more deep than that, actually."

"So your heroes, each one of them has their own archetypes.
So Kayla is a DPS, Hugost is a tank, and so you have to deal with that.
Having Kayla as a DPS and using fire magic won't be the same as having Adil, a healer, using fire magic, for instance."

"You also have the row where you're located, so you're not going to do the same actions depending on the row you're at and what the enemies are doing against you."

"You have some enemies that may be casting buffs where they are becoming untouchable because they are increasing their speed, and then if this enemy is weak to air, maybe no air magic is going to reduce speed for the enemy."

"So you may need to use another element that can counter the speed buff.
And plenty of other systems to really make the battle quite easy to learn, but profound and hard to master."

"Gamerats is a multinational team.
We have readers all over Europe, we have staff members based all around Europe.
So for us, localization is always something that's very important in video games, at least that's what I get told a lot from my colleagues who are bilingual and whatnot."

"But Alzara Radiant Echoes is a game that is going to support localization to quite a significant degree at launch, and why was that important to you as Studio Camellia?
Why was that something you wanted to make sure was incorporated and supported from the get-go with Alzara?
Well, first of all, we're a French studio, so we're used to having our games localized."

"And we know how important it is to have the game being localized in your own language.
I personally tried to play Persona 3 when I was 13, and I definitely didn't have the level of English because at the time it was not translated."

"And so I couldn't play, and I was very frustrated with that.
So we want players who do not speak English to be able of enjoying the game the same way, the way we designed it, actually, and it's as simple as that."

"And you have, as part of the stretch goals and as part of the many different elements you're offering in the Kickstarter campaign, you've got collaborations lined up with many sort of famed and memorable sort of Japanese designers and composers."

"How is that going to work?
What's that going to do to benefit Alzara in the long run?
You mean the fact that we're working with the Japanese creators?
Yeah, okay."

"Well, it was a design ambition from the beginning.
So it was obvious from the conception phase that we would work with Japanese creators because, well, those games exist thanks to those creators."

"We are making a tribute, kind of love letters to JRPGs.
And, well, we're also huge fans of those authors, so why not making it also agreeable in that sense?
So we are working with two Japanese creators."

"The first one is Motoi Sakuraba, our now main composer.
And so, well, this all comes back to the inspirations we had for Alzara, one of them being Golden Sun."

"But we also wanted the battles to be quite dynamic and intense.
And, you know, games like Valkyrie Profile are quite intense when you play them."

"And so, actually, every time you had like Motoi Sakuraba, Motoi Sakuraba, Motoi Sakuraba going back, you know, in the listing of composers.
So, actually, I didn't look for any other composer."

"I wanted to work with Motoi Sakuraba.
So I'm really humbled that he accepted to work with us.
And seeing him retweeting about the Kickstarter stretch goals, it's just like, I'm not even realizing it, actually."

"It's really an honor for us.
And the second person is Yoshiro Hombe, actually.
So it's more on the art side because he's our main character designer."

"We wanted our character design to be, like, to look Japanese, to have the codes of animes and Japanese character design.
And they definitely have a way to design characters that you don't really learn or is going to be filled with some other influences on the Western side of things."

"So, yes, I had this list of artists I would love to work with.
Yoshiro Hombe was top on the list.
He said yes.
And so there we go."

"And we really loved the vibrancy of his art because he's worked on Trials of Mana, on Fire Emblem.
So, yeah, it made a lot of sense.
And same as Sakuraba-san, I'm really honored that he's accepted to work with us and that he's been so supportive about the project."

"Now, the Kickstarter campaign is still going to be running for the next sort of two weeks as of recording this interview.
What's next for Studio Kamili then?
Back to work, I guess, you know, bunker down and just get back at it."

"When can we next see something significant from Alzara Radiant Echoes?
It's going to depend on a lot of things.
Well, the Kickstarter has definitely brought some attention on the project."

"And so we got contacted by some partners I cannot really talk about at the moment.
So it's going to change a bit our communication plans for the next month."

"So I can't really give you an answer because I don't want to disappoint you if what I say doesn't happen in the coming months.
But yeah, indeed, we're back at work."

"We will be at Gamescom on the B2B side of things, not on the public side, just in order to keep discussing with partners and seeing the best for the game."

"Of course. Final question then.
One last thing.
Obviously, the game is coming out in, you know, a fair bit of time, actually, in 2026."

"So there's plenty of time for people to get excited and to further, you know, continue exploring and following this game.
But with that launch date, again, miles away in mind at this point, but what's one thing you're really excited about fans to see for themselves when Alzara Radiant Echoes does finally make its debut?
About fans to discover about our game?
I would really love them to get to know more about the story and its intrications."

"I want to see their reaction about the bad guy or gal in the story.
I'm really excited to share more about the battle mechanics also, being able to show some more boss battles and being able to tell you more about how everything works because, well, we've been just highlighting elements of the game with the Kickstarter campaign."

"We cannot go in-depth with everything.
So, yeah, being able to share with players what is at stake on the story level and also what they will be capable of doing during battle and also some other elements of the world they will be able to discover."

"Actually, I'm excited about sharing everything.
And so is the team, actually.
So, yeah, but we really want to take our time to make sure that everything we show is of quality and that it respects the ambitions for the game."

"So we do not want to rush things.
Launching the game in 2026, for us, it means that we have a couple of years of production to make the game as best as it can be."

"So we'll do our best for that.
Absolutely.
So with everything that Emma's just said in mind, make sure to go and have a look at the Kickstarter."

"If you can, if you're interested, pledge your interest, show some support for the game.
Alzara Radiant Echoes will be coming out in 2026 on PC and undisclosed consoles, I believe, right now."

"So stay tuned for more information on that.
And otherwise, Emma, thank you as always for talking to me today.
It's been a pleasure.
No doubt we'll catch up again soon."

"So until then, well, we'll see you all in the next Game Rector interview."

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