Cygames is mostly known in the west for Shadowverse, a free-to-play digital collectible card game for iOS, Android, and PC that was launched in 2016. It’s is currently the only game by the Tokyo-based developer officially released in the west, alongside its predecessor, Rage of Bahamut.
The game is constantly updated, with regular quarterly expansions, latest of which was Chronogenesis, released in December 2017. With such a tight update schedule, it’s not surprising that the developer needs a top-notch playtest team.
When we visited Cygames’ headquarters in the trendy Shibuya ward of Tokyo, we actually found out something surprising, at least until you think more deeply about how it makes perfect sense. While the game is usually played on the screen of your smartphone or PC, internal playtesters actually use paper cards, tokens, and dice.
This method is certainly interesting not only for offering a more tactile experience but also because it certainly allows fast and efficient iteration if the testing results in the request for changes or further polish.
It’s also really cool, and I’m sure a lot of fans of the game would love to get their hands on a printed deck (it certainly worked for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Gwent).
The passion for trading card games certainly isn’t limited to the digital realm at Cygames. Among the company’s executives and top developers, there are several passionate Magic: The Gathering players. The company even sponsors a successful team of professional players, Team Cygames. In the image below you can check out some of their trophies displayed in the studio’s lobby.
If the diorama in the picture looks familiar, it’s a model of the massive Granblue Fantasy booth at Tokyo Game Show 2015. Unfortunately, Granblue has never been released in the west, but it is available in English, and you can learn how to play with our handy guide. The franchise is also landing on PS4 with an action-RPG developed in partnership with PlatinumGames that looks nothing short of amazing.
On top of that, Cygames is also working with PlatinumGames on a mobile JRPG titled Lost Order by Final Fantasy Tactics Director Yasumi Matsuno, and with Konami on Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS for PS4 and PC. Another console game code-named Project Awakening is also in the works, but we know pretty much nothing about it.
So many projects in the works at a developer that opened only in 2011 are certainly impressive, and just another signal of Cygames’ meteoric rise among Japanese studios. They’re certainly a developer to watch going forward.