Tourdog, Art Director at TourDog Studio — Interview Series
TourDog Studio, known for crafting the whimsical world of Alchemy Stars, will be celebrating the game's first anniversary on June 17.
Alchemy Stars is an enchanting story-driven role-playing game that boasts a casket of thought-provoking battles and wondrously unique story arcs. With over 10 million downloads on Android and iOS, the universally acclaimed chapter has quickly managed to secure its place as one of the brightest stars on the intergalactic nexus.
We recently checked in with two of the creative minds behind the game: Tourdog, and 577. Together, the two were able to shed light on the success of Alchemy Stars, and how it will impact the future of the game through 2022 and beyond.
Could you explain your position as Art Director at TourDog Studio, and how you contribute to the wondrous world of Alchemy Stars?
Tourdog: Hi, I’m Tourdog, Art Director from Tourdog studio and currently in charge of Alchemy Stars' visuals and event planning.
Alchemy Stars is fastly approaching its first anniversary on Android and iOS, do you plan to celebrate with any new material for the game world? If so, what can we expect?
Tourdog: We've added the first and second chapters of the second part of the Main Story Stages, and the story will continue to revolve around finding a way to repair Soroz and discovering new stories in Eraveil. There will also be more heart-wrenching crises occurring, and with new settings revealed, more familiar characters will also be involved in the protagonist's adventures.
Once the Cloud Gardens gameplay is released, players will be able to gather, plant, and perform other labor works and obtain materials through them. They can also construct buildings and landscapes, gradually creating beautiful Cloud Gardens.
Astra is evidently beautiful. What were the key influences that contributed towards the development of the continent?
Tourdog: In fact, the earliest concept we came up with was the “Colossus”. After conceiving this huge flying creature that's both mechanical and organic, we thought that there should also be an earthbound colossus like Lepidoz. And step by step we conceived the world of Alchemy Stars and its various Factions.
What, from an artist's point of view, was the most complex part of Astra to design?
Tourdog: I think the most challenging part we set for ourselves, apart from the inherently difficult design of the four-colored Alchemy Board, was the contradiction between the heavy anime designs we used, which placed a lot of emphasis on outlines, shapes, and proportions, and the sense of realism in the pursuit of a high-quality work. You can clearly see the evidence of our efforts in the game, and we hope everyone likes what they see!
What was the process behind designing the Aurorians, Caelestites, and Eclipsites?
Tourdog: The characters were all outlined and put together by several creators of the studio.
When the overall setting of Alchemy Stars and its various Factions was gradually established, and the geographical, political, and human characteristics of each Faction became clearer, the group of characters belonging to each Faction also emerged naturally, and all that remained was to determine typical and atypical characters. For example, if Illumina is full of warriors who place high importance on military discipline and honor, then it's bound to have leaders who are highly passionate and charismatic, as well as combat fanatics and rebels who are highly resistant towards discipline.
Another example would be Rediesel Wrench which consists of a bunch of bandits who are lawless, simple and unrefined, yet more humane. While thinking of this, the image of Sinsa came to me immediately. At the same time, sensitive and considerate characters were also included to make Rediesel Wrench an interesting Faction.
The early conceptual design of the Eclipsites was handed to a designer I really liked.
The part I really like is that it's beyond both humans and creatures, yet uniquely beautiful, which was what I wanted to convey to everyone through the Eclipse and Eclipsites. While designing them later on, we wanted to add something fresh and exciting to the Eclipsites, so we did our best to leave a strong impression with high-level Eclipsites.
Alchemy Stars’ roster currently boasts over 100 playable characters. Will you be looking to add more in the near future?
Tourdog: Well, as long everyone still loves Alchemy Stars (laughs).
577 (Lead Designer): Of course, there is much more to the game world than what meets the eye now (oops, I'm not supposed to say that).
We will reveal more interesting and charming characters in the world of Alchemy Stars. Whether they are Aurorians fighting alongside players or villains so cool that people want to switch sides.
How is it you make such an impressive collection of characters vastly different from one another? What is the process for designing a new character?
Tourdog: The answer is similar to the process of how we design Aurorians, Caelestites, and Eclipsites.
I think our characters and designs are not something one can easily find in other games. Not only does it embody the characteristics of Alchemy Stars, but it's also not beyond the realm of everyone's preferences. Our goal is to combine great designs and amazing stories for each character so that everyone can fully immerse themselves in the characters.
There are currently eight Factions in Alchemy Stars: Illimina Federation, Lumopolis, Northland, Umbraton, Rediesel Wrench, True Order, Independent, and Eclipse. Will Astra open its doors to any new Factions in the future?
Tourdog: It's possible. There are powerful Factions at work beyond what's known to everyone in Alchemy Stars, and you can look forward to seeing them.
577: Keep your fingers crossed on that! Astra is a huge place, and the world it's in is at an even grander level. As for the way it will be presented to you, that's a secret. (Yes, we're still working on it. Just between you and me!)
Alchemy Stars is currently available on Android and iOS devices. If given the opportunity, which other platforms would you like to see the game on?
Tourdog: Although it might not be the best fit, I'd like to have us on Steam (laughs).
577: Playing on mobile devices is the most convenient way to play now, but we also found that many players prefer to use emulators. Each gamer has different habits and gaming scenarios, and we are trying to figure that out!
Where would you like to see Alchemy Stars in 2023? Are there any updates scribbled in the diary for us to look forward to?
Tourdog: We want to keep releasing high-quality updates and make efforts both inside and outside the game to make Alchemy Stars a more well-known and enjoyable IP through both online and IRL channels. We have a new event theme and gameplay that I personally really like coming up soon, and some merch and events that can hopefully bring everyone more joy are also being planned.
577: We want to explore more “out-of-game” features while continuing to make the game better, so that Alchemy Stars can become an excellent IP.
There are a whole bunch of lively and interesting characters in the world of Alchemy Stars, as well as endless settings and stories. It would be great to present them in a new format.
Alchemy Stars 1st Anniversary Update
Alchemy Stars will see in its second year with a thread of fresh updates. These will be available immediately to anyone who has the game. You can pick up your copy on Android and iOS via the Play/App Store.
- New Area — Cloud Gardens: A new region has been unlocked, allowing players to take a well-deserved rest from the hustle and bustle of the Astra lifestyle. Thanks to Cloud Gardens, anyone can step away from the action and take comfort in a tranquil farm setting, a place that allows you to customize your surroundings and boost your friendship levels through a number of activities.
- New Character — Grand Marshal Reinhardt: A brand new heroine joins the fold to help drive back the infamous Forsakin and Eclipsites forces. Grand Marshal Reinhardt, a rebellious heroine with a tenacious attitude, wielding a Pentastar lance and an arsenal of lightning-based attacks, will make her entrance as part of the first anniversary.
- New Episode — A Hero's Return: A new set of episodes will come bundled in with the anniversary update. This tale will take the beloved heroes to the region known as Eraveil, a place that houses the Colossus. And yes, there will be Eclipsites.
- Free Gifts: Yes, there will be freebies! All users that play Alchemy Stars during the anniversary week will receive a number of free gifts. These will include Luambers, a six-star Aurorian, and much more. So, what are you waiting for? You can grab your freebies from June 13.
“We're immensely proud of the content we've produced during the first year of Alchemy Stars,” Tourdog commented on the anniversary update. “Now, as we come to the first anniversary, we're thrilled to reward the players who made this milestone possible with new ways to enjoy the game!”
Alchemy Stars is currently available as a free-to-play game on Android and iOS. You can follow TourDog Studio for more updates over on Twitter.