Exclusive Interview with Tarou Kageyama

Flying'h Flare, in this article refered to by his real name Hassib, has joined our team as a reporter and is currently enjoying his time in Japan. He got the chance to have an exclusive interview with Tarou Kageyama, where he asked about future plans for organised play, conventions and also about a letter, our community wrote to him in November. 

A letter from the DACH FFTCG community

Right before Beyond Destiny released, a lot of anger and frustration tainted the usual excitement of a new set and a heated discussion started in the FFTCG DACH* Community Discord. Disappointment and disbelief was voiced, how the FFTCG was not present at the SPIEL (the largest tabletop convention in the world) and Gamescom, while both had a really strong TCG theme going, thanks to Lorcana and also Star Wars: Unlimited. On top of that, the OP season 2023 was really unsatisfying for the majority of players. Not enough events and the last two tournaments allowing participation without an invite being the Last Chance Qualifier and the Winter Cup - both being held in the UK and therefore needed a passport on top of the travel for the European FFTCG players.

Thus leaving the game without OP until whenever the next Road to World Championship season would start and therefore not giving any tournament for the otherwise promising looking set we just received.

This was when the Admins and Community Managers of said Discord decided to write about the concerns and problems the community voiced down and hand them over to Kageyama-san in form of a letter. While we are aware, that a lot of dedicated people work behind the scenes of the FFTCG and give a lot of thought about community feedback, we decided to address this letter to Kageyama-san, who as the producer of the game, may have the chance to share it with everyone who could make a change in our concerns.

The letter was handed over just right before the World Championship by Hassib.

With this background information you can now enjoy the short interview Hassib held with Kageyama-san at the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game 13th Anniversary Fanfair in Tokyo.


*DACH = Community for German speaking players from Germany, Austria and Swiss 

The interview

This interview was held on the 25.02.2024.

Please keep in mind that this interview has not been recorded, but written down as notes. It has been shown to and proof read by Kageyama-san himself, so while he may have not used the exact same words, the statements he made are still as stated during the interview.

Hassib: Kageyama-san, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and the community from Germany. 

First of all I'd like to share some feedback, I have received from our community, regarding the new set, which will be released next month in March:


„Thank you for taking the time and effort with our letter and that we are very excited about the organized play structure for the upcoming season. So far we are really excited about the new "Limit Break" mechanic. It's noticeable you are putting a lot of thought into it, so the players shouldn't have to fear it may take a similar development like "Companions" in "Magic: The Gathering". 

On top we had some reports from stores, that "Hidden Hope" is selling really well, not just among the regular customers, but also many new customers."

Kageyama-san: Thank you very much for this kind feedback, Hassib-san. We are happy to hear, that the new mechanic in the next set "Hidden Hopes" has been well received.


Hassib: Kageyama-san, regarding the letter we wrote, do you think, you could give us some feedback? 

Kageyama-san: Yes, I could share the letter with Square Enix and we are working on it. We want to pack the season for you as best as possible, with a lot of tournaments.


Hassib: Regarding the Winter Cup in Wales (UK): Ever since Brexit, needing a valid passport to travel to the UK is quite the entry restriction for all other European countries. Usually an ID is enough to travel within Europe. This makes traveling quite complicated. Is there a possibility, that Germany or other European countries could get a chance to also host a "Winter Cup"?

Kageyama-san: Yes, we are aware of that and the possibility exists. Since Square Enix HQ is in UK, it has been held in the UK so far. 


Hassib: We are also surprised, that Saudi Arabia will host a Continential Qualifier for the FFTCG. As the Top 4 of this tournament, will be qualified for the European Championship.

Kageyama-san: I was also surprised to hear that and we are excited to see how it develops.



Hassib: The GamesCom will be held in August in Cologne, Germany. As a new addition, there will be a whole area dedicated to TCGs this year. Will the FFTCG be present this year?

Kageyama-san: Unfortunately I don't know at the moment. Personally, I am interested in GamesCom.

Hassib: And how about the SPIEL in Essen?

Kageyama-san: I have been there three times in the past and know that it is the world's premier event for tabletop gaming. I hope we will have a chance to be there.


Hassib: Today, Miki Yamashita-san, who is known for her artworks, like the "Warrior of Light" from Opus 19 and "Shinryu" from Opus 20, holds a signing session and any guest can let her sign one card, which is originally one of her artworts. Is there a possibility, that some illustrators could also come to GamesCom?

Kageyama-san: Unfortunatly, I cannot answer this, since I dont know the schedule of the illustrators.


Hassib: How about you, Kageyama-san? Will you be at GamesCom 2024? And other FFTCG events that are being held in Europe? 

Kageyama-san: Last year, I came to the European Championship in UK and to the Winter Cup in Wales. As for Gamescom, I cannot tell you yet, if I can come or not. But I will request for it, to come to events in Germany for example.


Hassib: Let's talk about the games behind the FFTCG. There are now so many titles and spin-offs included, that we came to wonder: Did you play all of them yourself, Kageyama-san?

Kageyama-san: Basically. And if we adopt a game into the TCG that I haven't played before, I definitely play it before we start to make cards.


Hassib: Besides the usual card balancing, it is very noticeable, that you are taking great effort in presenting a characters personality in the card abilities. Can you give me a short overview, how you go about creating a card? As there are many things to keep in mind, like the characteristics of the chosen element, the character itself and of course that the card text is still balanced in comparison to all the other cards and the set itself.

Kageyama-san: I have an idea of the characters, elements and jobs I want and prepare a list for the team. Based on that list, our development team creates a draft of the card text. I review the draft, and if there are any abilities that are not appropriate for the character, I reject them and request correct ideas from the development team.

It may come as a surprise to you, but it is easier to create abilities when you have an original work.

I don't mention card balance unless there is a good reason to do so. I trust the development team.


Hassib: In the Chapters, there was a promo card of Aya Brea from Parasite Eve. We are aware, this was given to people who bought the game "The Third Birthday". It still begs the question: do you think there could ever be the chance, for some other SQUARE ENIX titles to make an appearance in the FFTCG? I know a lot of people who would be over the moon to see for example NieR featured in the FFTCG. And even if there are no plans yet or even in the future, if you could dream, what other SQUARE ENIX titles would you love to include?

Kageyama-san: Nothing so clear-cut as a plan. Occasionally it comes up in meetings, but to date it hasn't been discussed in a formative way. But if I could include something, I would like Octopath Traveler and Live A Live.


Hassib: Thank you so much for your time and this wonderful interview!

Info What are "Chapters"?

Before the FFTCG released worldwide, it already existed in Japan since 2011. These where the so called Chapter-Sets.

They have been discontinued, to give the FFTCG a fresh start and a worldwide release with the Opus-Sets in 2016.

The OP schedule for 2024 has already been released and we are happy to see, that a lot more tournaments are planned than in 2023.

Of course we don't know if our letter made such an impact on this decision, or if this was planned all along. It was still important to us that the players feedback was forwarded, because how can the people behind the game react, if they are not aware of some problems in the communities?

Hopefully there will be even more events, especially during the large gap in Winter / Spring.

Important to note is, that it is not our intention, to take events or tournaments away from other regions, like the UK. We rather want an even wider variety and more tournaments for everyone across Europe to enjoy.

We also appreciate the hard work of all the people behind this TCG and that they take the time to listen to the players feedback.