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Gust announces Atelier Escha & Logy, a direct RPG sequel to Atelier Ayesha

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This week's issue of Famitsu magazine has the first word on Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, the latest role-playing game from the developers at Gust and the first one on the PlayStation 3 to feature a pair of selectable hero characters. The game, teased as "Project A15" in a teaser video released last week, is due out early summer in Japan.

The game, which takes place in the same world as Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (released earlier this month in the U.S., thanks to Tecmo Koei Games and NIS America), begins right where the original title left off storywise. "I can't say who might show up yet," director Yoshito Okamura told Famitsu, "but there are characters that reappear from the previous title. This game tells the story of what happened after the previous one, so you'll get to see the characters as they've grown from their experiences."

Unlike Ayesha, though, you'll have your choice between two main characters: the energetic young country girl Escha, or the cool-as-ice city boy alchemist Logy. (It's worth noting that their names combine into the word "eschatology," or the study of the events set to occur at the end of the world.)

"The main reason [we have two selectable heroes] is that we wanted to give a sense of surprise to users," Okamura said. "Also, we're trying to go in a different direction from the 'Arland trilogy' that we kicked off with Atelier Rorona, but trying to figure out exactly how much to change the game's image. With this game, we decided to provide a main character that matches with the previous games and another that goes in a new path."

Although the main story flow is the same regardless of which character you pick, Escha & Logy's cutscenes will change depending on your selection, as well as the possible story endings available to you. "Escha is what you could call a traditional Atelier hero," Okamura explained. "She's energetic, she tries hard, and she also has a bit of a scatterbrained side to her. Logy, meanwhile...well, in short, he's a nice guy. He acts cool, but he gets really passionate about things. As the story goes on, the two gradually build a relationship as they work together toward their dreams. It's a story with a lot of friendship and trust themes to it, one that shows these young people trying their best to survive in a deteriorating world."

The game is due out exclusively for the PS3 on June 27 in Japan. Few gameplay details were revealed in the preview, other than the fact that the battle system now supports six-character parties, up from three in Ayesha.