Atelier Meruru Plus may be coming to the PlayStation Vita next year, to be released on 20 March 2013, if these two product pre-order listings on Japanese online shopping portal 7NetShopping (owned by Seven & i holdings, previously known as Seven-Eleven Japan) are to be believed.
The listings claim that Atelier Meruru Plus ( メルルのアトリエ Ｐｌｕｓ アーランドの錬金術士３) will come in two editions – a regular one priced at 6,090 yen, and a Premium Box limited edition (メルルのアトリエ Ｐｌｕｓ アーランドの錬金術士３ プレミアムボックス) at 8,190 yen – when it’s released in Japan on March 20.
Gamers who pre-order Atelier Meruru Plus will receive a DLC product code for a yet-to-be-revealed in-game item(s), the listing also mentioned.
According to the product description, Atelier Meruru Plus for the PS Vita will sport new event scenes (that will leave fans salivating), new costumes, powered-up bosses, and the ability to link up with gamers’ save data in Atelier Totori Plus (トトリのアトリエＰｌｕｓ).
Specifically, if you link your save data from Atelier Totori Plus to Atelier Meruru Plus, you’ll get special costumes for Totori (who’s 19-years-old in the game; in her own game she was 13-years-old). Furthermore, if you’ve finished the game and your save data is a “Game Clear” file, Totori’s weapon in this new title will receive a power-up.
Like with Atelier Totori Plus before it, Atelier Meruru Plus will come with all the DLC released for the PS3 version of Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland up-front, right on the PS Vita game card (or game app, if you decide to buy digitally).
Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland was the third in the Alchemist of Arland trilogy (or the 13th in JRPG maker Gust’s long-running Atelier series), originally released for the PS3. The game was preceded by Atelier Rorona and Atelier Totori respectively.
All three titles shared the “Apprentice of Arland” subtitle in the English releases, or a アーランドの錬金術士 in Japanese with the numbers 2 and 3 after that for Totori and Meruru.
According to Gust in this ten-minute video demonstration trailer for Atelier Totori Plus, the JRPG developer decided to make an enhanced version of the second game in the series (Atelier Totori) instead of the first one (Rorona) because it was not only the most popular title of all three, but also the most critically acclaimed one. It’s easy, then, to assume that Gust wouldn’t be making another Plus version of any of the Alchemist of Arland titles since they didn’t start with the first.
As neither developer Gust or publisher Tecmo Koei has gone on record to announce the title, we’re filing this story under rumour mill for now. Online shopping portals do make mistakes from time to time, so it’s not confirmed if Atelier Meruru Plus is indeed real.
In the meantime, if you’re hankering to play some Atelier JRPG goodness, Atelier Totori Plus on the PS Vita (released November 29) and Atelier Ayesha: Alchemist of the Ground of Dusk on the PS3 (released June 28) are your best bet, if you do not mind playing them in Japanese. The entire Alchemist of Arland series on the PS3 has also been localised and released in English.