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Set Sail with One Piece Treasure Cruise Producer Tomoya Yoshizawa

by Grant Jones,

The popular mobile game ONE PIECE Treasure Cruise is celebrating its sixth anniversary with a brand-new English-language campaign, "Operation: Bring Back Sanji ~Extremely Hellish Chaos?!~ Ahead of the update's release, Anime News Network was able to talk to game producer Tomoya Yoshizawa, known colloquially as "Producer Yoshi," to discuss his favorite moments from the series and how the game has evolved over the last six years.

How long have you been involved with One Piece Treasure Cruise?

We shared our first ‘Letter from the New Lead Producer’ to players in July 2020, and that's when it really felt official for me.

What do you try to bring to the table to make Treasure Cruise stand out as a unique gaming experience?

I try to make sure the character illustrations and special attack animations would please even the most hardcore One Piece fans. Treasure Cruise has been going strong for almost six years now, so it's important to keep the user experience fresh and engaging. To that end, we're always introducing new content like the Pirate Rumble, new functions like Super Type activation, and other tweaks to gameplay.

Now that the game is approaching its sixth anniversary, are there any accomplishments that you and your team are most proud of in that time?

The English/French version schedule runs about 6 months behind the Japanese version, but we have various strategies to make sure we're still serving up surprises for our international users. For example, there are characters and events that appear in the global version first, or in both versions simultaneously.

We also keep tabs on user opinions through social media and other sources, to inform usability improvements. We're not perfect, of course, but the positivity and support we receive from the online community is a constant source of motivation.

Who is your favorite One Piece character, and why?

Hannyabal is my favorite. As a working adult, there's a lot I admire about his professional ambition. Plus, although he's kind of there for humor, he also has some serious scenes where you can appreciate his decency and the way he puts the citizens first. I love the contrast between those two sides of him.

I also really like Sanji in the 6th Anniversary event. During most of the Whole Cake Island arc, he's putting on a brave front, but in the end he admits just how badly he wants to go home to the Sunny. That vulnerability really hit home for me.

Treasure Cruise is known for its excellent character artwork and unique holiday outfits—is there a particular piece from the game that you enjoy?

The illustration and Special animation for the Shanks released at the end of January were really awesome.

What do you and your team hope to achieve in the next six years of Treasure Cruise?

I was really excited about fans' overwhelming positive reaction to the simultaneous Japanese and EN/FR/KR versions campaigns surrounding the holidays and new year. One Piece has fans all over the globe, and I want this game to be a place where they can all come together to enjoy themselves.

Can you share some personal One Piece memories?

My introduction to One Piece was reading the comics at a friend's house when I was little. For an adventure story, One Piece has a lot of deeply emotional scenes which really did a number on me. I can vividly recall every detail of the scene in Arlong Park where Nami finally asks Luffy for help and he puts his straw hat on her head and screams, "Of course I will!"

I also recently found out that my dad, who's in his sixties, still keeps up with The One Piece anime. I was truly moved to realize that love for One Piece transcends not only national boundaries, but generation gaps, too.

What would you say to new players who are considering playing One Piece Treasure Cruise but have not tried it yet?

One Piece Treasure Cruise is basically releasing characters following the latest episode of the anime, so I recommend watching the anime while playing OPTC to enjoy the game even more.

What do you find most rewarding about working on One Piece Treasure Cruise and with The One Piece community?

I find it very rewarding when there are many comments about OPTC's management in the community. Of course we are happy to receive comments of appreciation and praise, but we are also very happy when people discuss issues and problems about the game. As a member of the management team, I'm very happy to hear that people love OPTC so much, and I hope we can make the game a better app by listening to their opinions.

ONE PIECE Treasure Cruise is available for iOS and Android devices now.

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