by Mat Janson Blanchet


Project Description

A tile-based game mixing elements of The Legend of Zelda (NES), Ultima II: Quest of Avatar (NES) and Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1).

This game is just a proof of concept, it has not been released anywhere, mostly due to the likely copyright infringement lawsuits that it could cause. This tension between fan-art and copyright infringement even informed an essay I wrote while studying fine arts.


Tacticalis - Cave Level

Players navigate a top-down map and change screens when they reach the edge of the screen, just like in The Legend of Zelda.

Tacticalis - Battle Enemy Target

If there are enemies on the new screen, a battle starts, which takes inspiration from Ultima II and Final Fantasy Tactics.

Tacticalis - Dialog Window

When instead NPCs are present, players can interact with them, just like in classic 8-bit and 16-bit tile-based RPGs.

Tacticalis - Equipment Menu

There is also a menu in which players can manage the usual things for a tactical RPG: equipment, items, abilities, jobs, etc.

Pixel Art

As I had a strong emotional attachment to the tile-based worlds of the early console RPGs, I wanted to stick with the 16px × 16px tile size. I also wanted to use the Final Fantasy series sprites, as I felt there was still much more that could be done with them. Additionally, I wanted to pay homage to the game designers and pixel artists of those games.

Tacticalis - Examples of protagonist sprites
Examples of protagonist sprites

In the image above, you can see a selection of the protagonists I created. The top left are the oldest, and the bottom right are more recent. You can tell I learned to apply colors better over time.

Tacticalis - Examples of enemy sprites
Examples of enemy sprites

While collecting and pastiching sprites, it was important to me that I kept the visual language of the Final Fantasy series. To do so, I only used sprites and colors that came from the games that sported "Final Fantasy" in their title. That meant that the Final Fantasy Legend series from the GameBoy were fair game, even though they were originally of the Saga series in Japan.

Coloring greyscale sprites was a lot of fun, and it allowed me to adapt many enemies—and their recolored versions—that are present throughout the multiple entries in the series.

Tacticalis - Recolored items sprites
Recolored items sprites

I recoloured a tons of items, equipment, and other spritesheets from many series to fit in Tacticalis' colorful world.


Just like in Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy Tactics, this game offers the players with the option to change their main job and was intended to allow to manage and upgrade secondary jobs and abilities.

Final Fantasy Tactics introduced a great concept of having the possibility to set a job, no matter the gender of the character. This game also offers this, as is possible to see from a selection of the sprites below. The intention was also to have players be able to choose hair and skin color.

Tacticalis - Examples of customized job sprites
Examples of gendered job sprites

Just like in Final Fantasy Tactics, changing jobs is done by selecting them from a ring of sprites that surround the character to update.

Tacticalis - Job Ring Full
All jobs at once in the ring

The looping video below shows the job change animation. This screen capture was done at the early stage of the game when only a few options are available. Note that the rotation is easier to perceive when there are more jobs.

⚠️ Be warned that there is a flash when the job changes.

Changing jobs


This project has been with me ever since my teenage years in the 1990s, using a magnifier to copy sprites from Nintendo Power magazines to eventually extracting sprites from ROMs. I wanted to create a game that would combine the best elements of the Final Fantasy series, the Legend of Zelda, and some light tactics elements.

Game screenshotGame screenshot
Mockups of the game I dreamed of, circa end of 1990s

As mentioned above, I studied fine arts, traditional animation, computation art and media art. As I dropped math since high school, I never qualified to enter computer science our game development programs.

Spider-Man sprites based on FF6's Shadow
Spider-Man sprites based on FF6's Shadow

3D was all the rage then, and my pixel art skills were not good enough to get a gig at a company that would still be working on GameBoy games. Instead, I was working in different jobs, and at night I would create websites that would list the Final Fantasy series sprites, just like there were so many at that time.

Sprites Comic (p. 1)Sprites Comic (p. 2)Sprites Comic (p. 3)Sprites Comic (p. 4)
Pixel art webcomic, circa early 2000s

I even created a webcomic with sprites. It lasted only a few pages, even though I had a whole complex script written out for it.

By the early 2000s, MacroMedia Flash allowed those of us who think visually to attempt at programming game-like interactions. The Flash community was great, because people were sharing all sorts of techniques and code to show how to program games, even though the platform was not exactly made for that. It gave me hope that I could create a game like this, and I jumped back into it. I tried to recreate the gameplay of arcade games like Space Invaders or Pac-Man, but with Final Fantasy sprites.

Map Editor v1Map Editor v2Map Editor v3
Different iterations of the map editor

By then, I had become a Web Developer and further even became a full-time Flash Developer in advertising agencies. I was still toiling at creating a game, but I needed tools. FlashPunk and other libraries allowed to create pixel games more easily in Flash. Eventually, I moved on to web development exclusively, as Flash had died.

Tacticalis - Menus Userflow
Tacticalis menus userflows

When a contract ended in fall 2018, I wanted to code for fun again. By then, Tiled, a good map editor, was available and made creating maps much easier. I also took the time to learn Phaser and created this proof of concept.



Designer, Animator, Developer


Personal Project