Yasumi Matsuno, the driving force behind the Tactics Ogre series, Final Fantasy XII, and Vagrant Story, has resurfaced at Level-5, the studio behind Dragon Quest VIII and IX, and the Professor Layton series.
Japanese gaming news magazine Famitsu1 reports that Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino had been courting Matsuno for over a year until finally scooping him up after after wrapping up the PSP release of Tactics Ogre: Wheel of Fortune for Square Enix. Since joining Square in 1997, Matsuno worked on several high-profile games, culminating in a role as producer-director of Final Fantasy XII, wherein he suffered a breakdown and illness2.
In his decision to join Level-5, Matsuno cited a common vision with Hino and a great impression of the Layton and Inazuma Eleven series. His nieces and nephews and his friends' kids won't play his games. Instead, when he asks them what they're playing, they will always respond Inazuma Eleven. Matsuno wants to learn from Level-5 and Hino's sense and ideas.
Mr. Matsuno has already started production on his first project at his new home. Hino said that he expects the game to be something that will be enjoyed not just by Matsuno's fans, but by his nieces and nephews. Matsuno said that he's making the game with the hope that it will be played by children. He's also scaling back the large-scale productions his games are known for, instead favoring something "quick" and "compact".
Mr. Matsuno closed off the Famitsu interview with some words that fans should appreciate. The feeling with which he's working on this new game is akin to the feeling he had when making Ogre Battle on the Super Famciom, where he was told it was okay to make whatever he wants.