Nintendo has published the second part of its Fire Emblem Engage developer interview, this time focusing on the game’s art. As part of this, we get to hear about how Mika Pikazo was brought on as the game’s illustrator.
The interview features director Tsutomu Tei and producer Masahiro Higuchi plus Nintendo’s Genki Yokota and Kenta Nakanishi. Read what they had to say below.
Subject: We had several candidates. We were looking for an artist whose design style would appeal to a broad audience – including younger players – as well as the ability to portray a variety of characters. Among the candidates, Mika Pikazo-san’s drawings were colorful, vivid, and really popped! They were a perfect fit for the flashy direction we wanted for this title. It was a unanimous vote with the entire development team agreeing, “She’s the one!”.
Nakanishi: It was really vibrant and dazzling, and I felt that it had everything we were looking for.
So, it was an easy decision?
Subject: Thankfully, she accepted our offer right away saying that she wanted to do it. Since there are so many characters, it was going to be a job lasting several years, but luckily the timing worked out well with her schedule.
Yokota: So then… Did you just approach her and ask her to draw 50 or so characters without any information about the game, like you’d normally do? (Laughs)
Subject: Well, yes… (Laughs)
Nakanishi: If Intelligent Systems asks you to design 50 characters, it’s pretty obvious that it’s for a new Fire Emblem game, right? (Laughs)
Subject: Well, I thought it’d be better to be upfront about the request. That said, there was one concern she had. Since she usually draws young characters, she was concerned about her confidence level in some of the character designs. It’s true that the designer’s skills should not be limited to drawing cool nobles and young girls. In Fire Emblem, there are a variety of characters like hardened soldiers, and on top of that they need to be able to draw armor, weapons and creatures like Pegasuses.
Fire Emblem Engage will be out for Switch on January 20, 2023. You can read the full interview (and check out more designs) for yourself here.