Greetings, everyone! FF-TCG Development Producer, Tarou Kageyama here. It is a very difficult time right now for all of us around the world, but I hope you and your families are all well. Now, there may not be much I can do in this situation, but I feel I can at least share information with you, so I would like to share even more than before on many different topics. To start, I would like to write a few column articles as a Special Edition from the Producer. I hope you enjoy.
・The first original illustration
For this first installment, I would like to talk about original illustrations in general. Nowadays we see some original illustrations always included in the set, and full-art versions have become available as well, but these were first introduced with Opus IV. Our commemorative first set of original illustrations were done by Toshiyuki Itahana, and they were for three cards: Chocobo [4-062C], Fat Chocobo [4-064L], and Moogle [4-069H]. Around that time, we had already requested Mr. Itahana to make some designs for Chocobo Crystal Hunt and Chocobo Playing Cards, and so we thought, “would it be possible to have him work on FF-TCG as well?” I’m sure Itahana-san was very busy, but he kindly agreed to do it, and that’s how those three wonderful cards were created.
All of them are fantastic, but the one that captivated me the most, personally, was Moogle [4-069H]. The moogle is out to catch fish with a spear! This one-of-a-kind scene can only come from Itahana-san’s world. I pride myself in saying I have a very strong passion for these original drawings, but this was without a doubt the illustration that acted as a catalyst for me. A desire to see more of the various worlds that only these people who worked on the FINAL FANTASY series could possess – it was such a major encounter for me, because this piece sparked that desire in my heart.
・Choosing the character and game
Two years quickly passed from that encounter, and since then we have been able to consistently include brand-new original artwork in the FF-TCG booster packs. We have spanned multiple titles and introduced a wide variety of characters to FF-TCG. So how do these characters get chosen? Well, actually, I choose them myself, so this is not an accurate way to say it. I would like to explain the reasoning behind my choices. There are three major reasons:
1: Because creating an original artwork can achieve a consistent aesthetic across the particular FINAL FANTASY title, as we make them into FF-TCG cards.
An example of this would be FINAL FANTASY II in Opus VI. These feature Toshitaka Matsuda’s illustrations of prominent characters such as Firion [6-019L], Maria [6-057L], and Minwu [6-123L]. Or in Opus X, where we’ve asked Yasuhisa Izumisawa to work on Lann [10-017R], Reynn [10-020L], Lusse [10-019C], and Rorrik [10-021C], from WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY. This is so that this family of four could have a consistent aesthetic.
2: Characters that aren’t often featured in an illustration
In FF-TCG, a character may make repeated appearances as a different card. However, the number of available illustrations and CG artwork varies depending on the title, or the character. That is when we would make a request for new original artwork to be created and feature that as a card.
For example, Marche [11-017H] or Ritz [11-063L] from FINAL FANTASY TACTICS ADVANCE are very appealing characters, yet they weren’t featured in very many illustrations; but, we now get the opportunity to see brand-new illustrations by Mr. Ryoma Ito, who handled the original character design, which is an incredible treat to fans of the game. I speak from a fan’s perspective, so I’m sure there’s no mistaking here.
3: Standard Units, monsters, and summons
When we think about FINAL FANTASY, jobs like white mage and ninja, iconic monsters, and summons are all indispensable elements, not just the famous characters. The same applies to TCG. Cards featuring original artwork of those elements are essential to enhancing the appeal of FF-TCG.
Ms. Kumiko Koike’s adorable Coeurl [7-089C], Rubi Asami’s redesign of the Black Mage [10-029C] and Akane Saito’s rendition of Lilty [9-079R] from the CRYSTAL CHRONICLES are just some of the many wonderful cards that add color to FF-TCG.
So, generally speaking, these are the three options I consider; plus, I [do have to admit I] incorporate a little bit (just a little bit!) of my preference. In addition to this, there are instances when we ask specific artists that worked extensively on a certain title, such as Roberto Ferrari’s FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 characters, Isamu Kamikokuryo’s Gabranth [9-063L], and Akira Oguro’s FINAL FANTASY IV series. All of these are incredible illustrations, so every time I receive the digital files I get excited and think to myself “what kind of illustration will this one be?”
We will continue to add more and more original illustrations to FF-TCG. Plus, we are requesting pieces from new artists as well, so I hope you’ll like them. There are some unlikely artists challenging themselves to work on unlikely characters! If you have a particular character you’d want to see illustrated, please let me know. You never know, it might just get featured in one of our future Opus sets.