Jimmy Hapa

Interview w/the Artist of the PC Engine’s Greatest RPG Franchise Left in Japan

At the beginning of 2022 I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr. Yoshiteru “Torajirou” Tsujino for an interview on his work with the Tengai Makyou series…if that’s too difficult for you (or Bob) to pronounce, it’s also known as Far East of Eden. Mr. Tsujino is the artist and character designer for the entire series, which just might be the most popular and prominent role-playing franchise that never left Asia. If you don’t know about the series, or just need a bit of a brush up, I did a short video on the game’s PC Engine roots a few months ago on my channel, Import Gaming FTW, which you can watch here.

Tengai Makyou ZIRIA’s title screen.

The first game, Tengai Makyou ZIRIA, was developed by RED Company and published by Hudson Soft as a PC Engine CD-ROM2 title way back in 1989, making it the first RPG utilizing the format, and by default the first RPG with extensive voice acting and a more cinematic presentation. It was a revolutionary title for sure, but it was the 1992 sequel MANJIMARU that had an even bigger impact on the role-playing and video game landscape, a title that is said to have had the largest budget allocated to a single game at the time it was being developed.

Tengai Makyou ZIRIA made waves when it was first released for its use of anime-style cutscenes, voice acting and a soundtrack from world-renowned composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

This interview is focused more on the first title, including personal stories and memories of development and some inside information on how the challenges and people involved. I hope that anyone who loves the Tengai Makyou series, is interested in video game history, or has even just a little bit of curiosity about what most of the world missed out on will enjoy this interview. Thank you to Mr. Tsujino for his great art and vision, and for the opportunity to speak with him about a pioneering video game and an important time in his life.  Special thanks goes to Johnny Millennium the Happy Console Gamer as well.  Let’s hope for a Tengai Makyou series revival in the near future!

Mr. Tsujino shared some rare art related to the game’s development in the interview.
Liked it? Take a second to support Jimmy Hapa on Patreon!