Tell me everything about Yukio Futatsugi

I went through an interesting coincidence yesterday. I have been managing this Discord server, initially conceived as a companion for my Twitch channel although it ended up turning into its own thing. Basically I wanted to have a spot to gather the type of community we've been sharing in this forum, but for spanish speaking folks.

Couple of months ago someone in the server proposed the idea of creating a book club of sorts, but directed at videogames, aiming to push people to finally to play some of those obscure games we are fond so of around here. After a couple of successful entries, local artist and member of the server [Borja González]( suggested we could play Panzer Dragoon Saga, one of his childhood games he wanted to revisit, and that was the game we agreed on to play together next.

Parallel to that, couple days ago I decided to start reading Dune, Frank Herbert's novel, so it was a surprise to discover that the game was heavily inspired by Moebius' Arzach and that, in fact, he contributed with some concept art for the first game itself. As you probably know, Moebius was also involved in the production of that Dune adaptation along with Alejandro Jodorowsky that never came to be, and so, I was pleased to find some degree of connection between those two previously unrelated things I had decided to do.

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After spending some time researching all this and looking for a good rom of the game and setting up Retroarch to be able to play it properly I decided to play something else. I'm on my parents vacation house so I don't have my consoles or anything else, so I decided to check what was available on Gamepass and decided to download the Phantom Dust remaster that came out a couple of years ago.

I didn't know ANYTHING about this game, it's one of those you hear that particular type of noise that make you think there may be something cool going on there, but you never reach the point of actually reading about or playing the game directly, so coincidentally, I did not know it was directed by Yukio Futatsugi, aka Panzer Dragoon man.

After playing up to the point where this track kicks in and finding myself extremely compelled by the whole presentation of the game, but also by the accumulation of coincidences that drove me up to this point, now I want to know everything about this man, Yukio Futatsugi, and there is no better place to ask than the insert credit forums. So please, tell me everything there is to know about him, Panzer Dragoon, Phantom Dust, and all things adjacent.

I am pretty sure @“exodus”#3 has met him several times so you should look up for his interviews and such. Here is a random SEO-suggested example.

Just to correct something, Mœbius designed the cover art for the original Panzer Dragoon (which you posted above), not Azel / Panzer Dragoon Saga. He was not involved at all in subsequent games, although obviously his art style and works had a profound influence on the entire series.

@“chazumaru”#p39948 I guess I explained myself poorly but yeah, I meant to say he contributed with some art for the first on-rails shooter, not Azel/Saga (even though Saga it's my point of entry to the whole thing). So far I have found the japanese cover (as shown in the op post) and this one, but maybe there is more?

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Also I was this close to tagging Brandon because I thought there was a preeetty good chance he met Futatsugi in person, but I didn't want to bother him so I'm glad you took care of that lol

Hey psst while we are waiting for Brandon, you want a Mœbius story that probably never got translated in English? At some point Mœbius got so popular and respected for his art, seemingly leagues above everyone else in the field, that it became tricky to handle for Métal Hurlant’s Editor-in-Chief (and Most Interesting Man in the World candidate) Jean-Pierre Dionnet. From his recent biography.

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Mœbius was a trickster at times. One Friday morning, when he came to the office and brought the illustration for what was going to be the cover of issue #86 of Métal Hurlant, I did not give him any comment. I just glanced at the art and told him to leave it on my desk. The drawing showed John Difool, the protagonist of L’Incal. But I was pretty conflicted because a lot of things were wrong with the art. The pointing arm was a bit short, one of his leg was too long, and one hand even missed a finger… It felt like he had either rushed the drawing in time for printing or had secretly started drawing stuff with his eyes closed for a challenge. But I did not dare complain to him, and he went home, and now it was too late to ask for corrections. I could not find the courage to call him home to come take his drawing back and redraw it. He was a longtime friend by then, but it was still the great Mœbius… I thought about it the entire weekend. I did not dare call him on the Saturday either. Then on that night, I could not sleep at all. On the Sunday afternoon, I had trouble digesting my lunch and decided this could not go on… I cleared my throat, took a deep breath and called him. I had to be frank and tell him he had screwed up the drawing in several key areas, and we couldn’t go to press with that version. “Oh? That’s it? Sure, I’ll come by the office tomorrow morning and let’s talk these corrections through.” he answered calmly, almost gleefully. The next morning, he came by around 10AM, chatting with the staff without a hint of concern, then came to me and told me the truth: he wanted to test me. He was wondering if he had reached a point in his career where nobody would dare say “No” to him, even if he delivered crap. He took the Friday drawing, threw it in the bin and gave me the proper version he had brought with him. That version was perfect.

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@“chazumaru”#p39987 That's a great anecdote! I love the fact that he is cocky enough to pull that off, but at the same time humble as to recognize his own limits. Cool stuff!

Looks like the insert credit forum dot com doesn't want to talk about Yukio Futatsugi and you know what, that's FINE. I just discovered he was also involved in Ring of Red (as a producer, I think?), that's a game I have had physical copy for aaaaaaages but still haven't got around to playing it yet, maybe I'll do just that!

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He… He was? I have never heard about this. Aren’t you mistaking with another national treasure, Ken-ichiro Imaizumi, who was the CG producer for Ring of Red before he left for Kojima’s team?

@“chazumaru”#p40016 I mean, look at one of the Brandon's tweets on the thread you linked above! Futatsugi himself adds Ring of Red as one of the “major titles” he has worked on.

According to HG101 he worked on the game for a year but went uncredited because he left the company before release? But they also say he is responsible for the world building and battle system, which are huge contributions imo.


Other former Sega developers from the Iron Storm team who joined Masahiro at Konami included Yasushi Fujisawa and Keiichi Matate, in the roles of main programmer and main designer respectively. A late addition to the team who would go uncredited in the final game was Yukio Futatsugi, a personal friend of Masahiro, who, having essentially created the Panzer Dragoon series, left Sega after Team Andromeda was dissolved in 1998. At Konami, Yukio would be responsible for world and battle system design on Ring of Red.

@“JoJoestar”#p40018 Interesting, I completely forgot that from the keynote! It’s (unfortunately) not uncommon for even notable designers to not be recognized in the staff credits if they leave early or even simply worked as an external contractor. Masuda Shōji seems to reveal a new game he has happened to worked on (esp. in the Famicom era) every six months or so.

don‘t know if it will be any help, but i used to trawl a site called thewilloftheancients. now it’s a cryptocurrency blog, but then it was about panzer dragoon. the old one is on the the way back machine, but after a little poking it seems at least some stuff has been lost.

i remember it having a lot of nooks and crannies with interesting little tidbits.

always a bummer to see these careers end up in “smartphone titles.”

Why don’t these devs work on the indie side more often? Not doable financially? Too late to redirect the career path? Just curious why this doesn’t seem to happen apart from the occasional kickstarter

@“Syzygy”#p40077 yeah, i worked with a programmer who started in the sega genesis days who turned down god of war 3 so he could do effects on all star cheer squad 2 for the wii. i thought it was crazy at the time, but he just said having wii experience was more important at that moment.

@“yeso”#p40063 The Kickstarter bubble brought some names back and there have been some success stories but otherwise it's a bummer yeah. Sad how many celebrated creators from the 90s-early 00s got eaten during the PS360 era.

Gonna check that blog btw, thanks @"pasquinelli"#p40038 !


bankable names

you're right, I get that kan naito or whoever isn't a $ draw, but it seems like there are smaller scale, indie avenues to making and publishing cool stuff outside of big studios. I'm being naive I know, just seems like a lot of wasted talent


@“yeso”#p40063 always a bummer to see these careers end up in “smartphone titles.”


Why don’t these devs work on the indie side more often? Not doable financially? Too late to redirect the career path? Just curious why this doesn’t seem to happen apart from the occasional kickstarter

—getting off the work-for-hire treadmill is easier said than done, and it's especially difficult to do on a whim, particularly if your studio's size and workflow is tailored specifically around work-for-hire

—part of breaking away from that treadmill means also convincing your team to go along with you, and there's no counting on everyone or anyone being as willing to take the leap as you are (and if they don't, you may no longer be able to do whatever it is you want to do anyhow)

—going indie requires a ton of different skills that a lot of developers don't have or simply don't want to do—international outreach is one that I've heard come up again and again as something they stress about, not least of all because it's a constant stumbling block for those who do try big globally-targeted crowdfunding campaigns, for example

—it's simply taken a long time and a lot of success stories for the concept of going indie to really cement itself; people aren't as quick to jump after one or two games become a hit, and stuff like Sakuna-hime is really driving the point home right now

If you want to talk about Futatsugi in particular, his studio's making Swery's crowdfunded game, so they're not entirely outside of the indie realm.