Atelier Meruru is a sequel to Atelier Totori which is a sequel to Atelier Rorona. And yet, in Atelier Meruru, the Rorona character appears as a child, younger than both Totori and Meruru.
We're probably going to have to play Meruru for ourselves to learn how this fits into the game's story. But there's a deeper reason behind Rorona's eternal youth.
In a fan Q&A column posted today at Dengeki Online, director Yoshito Okamura revealed that the staff simply didn't want to see a 30-something Rorona.
The question posted to Okamura was "Whose idea was it to show Rorona in that form, and was there any opposition?". Okamura replied that the entire staff agreed that they didn't want to see an elderly Rorona. This was the full staff's opinion. The decision to keep Rorona young was made some time last summer, Okamura revealed.
Some of the questions on this matter got a bit weird, so I'll refrain from summarizing further.
Fans also asked Okamura about the possibility of porting the Arland series (this is the name for the PS3 Rorona, Totori and Meruru trilogy) to the PSP or PlayStation Vita. PSP would be technically impossible, replied Okamura. But Vita would be possible from a technical standpoint, and Gust is seriously looking into it.