ALZARA Radiant Echoes is Golden Sun meets Avatar, bringing JRPGs to the Mediterranean

ALZARA Radiant Echoes is Golden Sun meets Avatar, bringing JRPGs to the Mediterranean
Images via Studio Camelia

Written by 

Harry Boulton


14th May 2024 15:00

It was abundantly clear to me throughout the preview presentation of ALZARA Radiant Echoes how much love Montpellier-based Studio Camelia has for JRPGs and the genre, and how that bleeds into its debut game.

The team is comprised of developers who have worked on games like Divinity Original Sin, Dead Cells, and Haven, and this new step takes inspiration from iconic titles like Golden Sun, Final Fantasy X, and Avatar - with a few familiar names sprinkled in too.

JRPG by the sea

One of the first things you'll probably notice about ALZARA is the gorgeous Mediterranean setting, which has scarcely been seen in the genre before outside of momentary reprieves to beachside towns.

Image of a town in ALZARA Radiant Echoes
Click to enlarge

Colour, vibrancy, and greenery are everywhere in the Taqsim Archipelago - the game's central world - and you'd be hard-pressed not to feel the heat as you explore.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this world design - and something that is central throughout most of the game's creative choices - is that it isn't based on one particular area or country, and instead acts as a 'melting pot' of different cultures and architectural styles in an attempt to share the wonders of the world. Montpellier, where the studio is based, forms part of the vision, but ALZARA is simply not tied down to one regional style.

Image of a field with a windmill in ALZARA Radiant Echoes
Click to enlarge

We see enemies inspired by various mythologies and history, fabrics and fashion aesthetics across regions, and even musical instruments native beyond borders that fill the soundtrack.

Sharing is caring

Following on from the ethos of sharing within the world itself, combining your powers is central to the combat mechanics too. Each of the four main characters has their own designated element, which in turn has its own combat style across offensive, defensive, and supportive magic.

Characters are then lined up into two rows in battle, with the front line leading the attacking charge, while the back line supports and recharges. Swapping characters from the back to the front presents the opportunity to 'share' elements, unlocking new combinations and skills for you to use in battle.

Image of combat in ALZARA Radiant Echoes
Click to enlarge

This encourages you to experiment and share the load, as I wouldn't be surprised if some of the tougher enemies you face require the flexibility of this system to take them down. I'm personally a sucker for row-based combat styles, and the balancing of it here sounds engaging as you're actively balancing between the four characters and their individual strengths.

As you roam through the world you will face random encounters - and while that might turn some players off immediately, Studio Camelia has signalled this as a deliberate choice to fit the flow of gameplay best. Standard combat encounters have been tooled specifically to feel adequately paced and without the cumbersome nature that you'd typically expect from the mechanic. How well this shapes up in practice is still yet to be seen, but I'm certainly intrigued to see how it all shapes up.

Helping hands

Alongside influences from the genre, Studio Camelia has also enlisted the aid of two industry icons to assist in the visual and audio direction of ALZARA.

Image of a dungeon in ALZARA Radiant Echoes
Click to enlarge

Motoi Sakuraba has (at this moment in time) composed the wonderful main theme for the game, and this was a particular delight to the co-founder and creative director of Studio Camelia Emma Delage, who has loved Sakuraba for years. His work on Golden Sun, Dark Souls, and both the Star Ocean and Tales series has certainly imprinted his legacy on the industry, and it's fantastic to see him on board for ALZARA too.

Joining him too is Yoshiro Ambe, who has produced stunning character artwork for the main cast of four. Known for his work on games like Fire Emblem Heroes, Genshin Impact, and Trials of Mana, Ambe has worked closely with Studio Camelia to produce these unique designs, integrating the aforementioned artefacts of shared Mediterranean culture into the artistic approach.

Final Thoughts

All in all, ALZARA Radiant Echoes is looking promising as it sets forth on its Kickstarter campaign and aims for a 2026 launch. We can only see so much in these early stages, but it's definitely a title that I'm keeping my eyes on!

Hands-off preview

Harry Boulton
About the author
Harry Boulton
Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.
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