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Yasumi Matsuno

A Director for Quest, Square, and Square Enix

Yasumi Matsuno

Yasumi Matsuno was born in 1965 in Nigata-ken, Japan. When he was studying in university, his primary interests were Dungeons & Dragons novels and music by Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the kickass glam-rock band Queen. His love of Queen led him to write the "Ogre Battle Saga", an eight-chapter fantasy novel named as an homage to one of Queen's songs.

In the summer of 1989, he joined development studio Quest to fulfill his dreams of becoming a game designer. The first project he worked on was the Famicom action title Conquest of the Crystal Palace. His tenure at Quest also saw the release of games like Dungeon KiD for the Famicom, Battle Ping Pong and Legend for Game Boy, and Magical Chase for the PC-Engine. While it is known that Hiroshi Minagawa directed Magical Chase, the credits for many of Quest's other efforts remain shrouded in mystery.

As a small developer, it was difficult for Quest to gain widespread recognition. That is, until Matsuno spearheaded the project that would be based on his original fantasy idea of the Ogre Battle Saga. Together with Akihiko Yoshida and Hiroshi Minagawa, two of his colleagues at Quest, Matsuno created the Super Famicom strategy game that would forever define Quest, as well as himself: Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.

While doing research for a sequel, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Matsuno traveled much of eastern Europe and was deeply impressed by the culture, architecture and religious aspects of the West. This would continue to influence all the scenarios and art design of the games he would work on from then on.

After creating the initial two games in the series, Matsuno left Quest together with his core team in 1995 to join Square. He went on to direct Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story on the PlayStation. He later aided the company in establishing its online service, PlayOnline. When Square and Enix merged in 2003, an internal studio reshuffling placed Matsuno as the head of Product Development Division-4 along with his core team. It was then that the company proceeded to acquire Quest's software development division and the Ogre Battle Saga franchise.

In Fall of 2001 Matsuno and his team began work on Final Fantasy XII for the Playstation 2, while at the same time he oversaw the production of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, developed by the Quest team. The release of Final Fantasy XII was marred by several delays over the course of several years until it finally saw release in 2006, seven years since its first public announcement. It was soon thereafter revealed that one of the reasons for the delays was that Matsuno, under much stress, had fallen very ill and was unable to continue his leading role in development. As a result of his departure, much of the story and characterizations were retooled.

Although his legacy at Quest and Square is undoubtedly cemented with the success of his projects, Matsuno retains a low profile and is reserved and private compared to several of his more outspoken Square colleagues. As a result, he hasn't achieved the popularity and fame that has come to some of his peers. However, he maintains a deeply respectful if comparatively small fanbase who eagerly await his next move in the games industry, whenever or with whichever developer that might be.

News & Blogs

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Yasumi Matsuno Kickstarter project has less than 3 days remaining

Unsung Story is the latest project from Yasumi Matsuno who is collaborating with Playdek to create a mobile tactical RPG title set in a classic Matsuno world. The Kickstarter project is asking for $600,000 to create a PC/Mac version of the game. Since the project's announcement it has been revealed that Akihiko Yoshida will be creating the character artwork for the title and Hitoshi Sakimoto will be composing the music (previously was only going to be involved in a stretch goal). The project has only hit $508,195 as of the writing of this article, so if you want to see this sort of title hit your PC/Mac you should pledge right away! The first stretch goal at $750,000 will see Alexander O. Smith and Joseph Reeder join the project to translate the title. Further stretch goals include additional platforms, features and voice acting. Check it out!

I'd like to formally announce my departure from Level-5, effective last month. With my work done on the domestic and overseas version of my latest 3DSWare game, it was good timing for me to step down and take a short break in order to recharge for my next project. My deepest thanks to everyone at Level-5 and everyone playing our games for your continued support.

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Two Guild01 titles trademarked in the United States

Level-5 has filed trademarks for Yasumi Matsuno's Crimson Shroud and Goichi Suda's Liberation Maiden - both titles from their Nintendo 3DS compilation title Guild011. Crimson Shroud is Matsuno's first directed title since falling ill due to stress while helming Final Fantasy XII. Read on

  1. Look’s Like Level-5′s Guild 01 Is Heading Overseas - Siliconera

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