If you've followed our quest to find a Final Fantasy Super Fan you'll already be familiar with the winner, Randis. He recently guest-blogged here on the Square Enix website to tell us about his incredible journey to Paris where Kitase-san and Toriyama-san presented him a one of a kind reward, a Final Fantasy Super Fan crystal.
Between being pampered by Square Enix employees and his interview with Famitsu, we dragged Randis away from the spotlight for a quick five-minute interview.
You're the first ever Final Fantasy Super Fan, how do you feel?!
I feel amazing! I’m really surprised, and yeah - it’s hard to describe; it's really cool!
We had a bit of a surprise for you that we didn’t tell you about; Toriyama-san and Kitase-san here to present you a gift. Can you tell us what it was and how you felt?
First, it was really a surprise; I was really speechless when I entered the room and the developers were here waiting. My present was a large crystal engraved with “Final Fantasy Super Fan” and a large Chocobo - it was really amazing.
So one of a kind?! I imagine that will look good in your collection?
Definitely, it will get a special spot!
One of the hardest elements of this competition – and we did it quite deliberately – was to give you only 60 seconds to explain why you should be the Final Fantasy Super Fan. How much of a challenge did you find this? What made you decide to make your submission the way you did?
Yeah, 60 seconds isn’t much for people who have huge collections, but for me it was important that I not only showed my collection but obviously also how Final Fantasy influenced my choice of career. My love for this game has come out through both my artwork and my collection.
You told us earlier that only a small portion of it was shown. How much do you think you’ve really got?
Well it’s not really a small portion. "What you seen in the video is roughly 60 per cent of what I actually own. But yeah, there’s still quite a lot more.
Out of all those items what’s your favourite? Is it even possible to pick even one?
Yes, now it’s the crystal! [laughs]
Good answer! Before today what items were you most fond of?
I really liked the Chocobo clock, the Final Fantasy snakes, Final Fantasy Coca-Cola bottle, McDonalds Final Fantasy toys... I like the kind of weird items.
It’s not just Final Fantasy items you collect either, what other gaming collections do you have?
I also collect the Saga series, Seiken Densetsu (Secret of Mana), Mystic Quest, Orge Battle and other games not made by Square Enix.
Yeah, we won’t mention those!
[laughs] Of course!
It’s an impressive collection. I think it shows how much you love gaming and how it’s done a lot for you. We’ve seen your artwork and I know Toriyama-san and Kitase-san were both very impressed by it. When did you start drawing and when did you begin to take it more seriously?
I think when I was 12 I started to draw a lot more and at 15 I had my first publication. Back then I started working for a small publisher and made designs for pen and paper RPGs. When I was 17 I had some exhibitions (I was doing more fine art at the time) and at 18-19 I started doing a lot of digital art. Finally when I hit 21 I got into the industry.
Well done, it's something you clearly enjoy doing. Do you have an ultimate goal of what you want to do, or are you happy to continue doing your art? Do you want to work for Square Enix maybe?
Yeah, obviously I always wanted to work for Square Enix! [laughs] I mean, who wouldn’t want to?! Basically I want to keep doing what I love, I want to develop games and do art, and this is the important thing for me to spend my life doing.
Just to finish off (and I know this is a very hard question especially when we’ve got 25 years of history to celebrate) - but can you pick out one game, or better yet, one moment in the history of Final Fantasy that sticks out in your memory?
That’s really tough, there’ are so many moments that stick in my mind, both in a positive way and also sometimes a little bit of a negative way, but my most favourite game is Final Fantasy VI and the moment that sticks most in my mind is when Final Fantasy VII came out. I noticed the concept art was no longer made by Amano Yoshitaka and that made me so angry, but when I kept playing the game I obviously fell in love with it!
Thank you for spending time with us.
Thank you very much for having me!
Quite the humble guy and an incredibly talented artist too. If you'd like to know more about Randis, check out his impressive collection, his artwork, and his message to the other contestants.