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Yasumi Matsuno (松野 泰己, Matsuno Yasumi, born 1965)[1] is a Japanese video game designer. Formally an employee at Quest Corporation and Square, Matsuno is best known for his work in the tactical role-playing game genre, specifically the Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics series, in addition to Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII.

Yasumi Matsuno
Born1965 (age 53–54)[1]
OccupationVideo game designer
Years active1989–present

Early lifeEdit

Matsuno grew up in a rural area, where he felt his only entertainment were movies, television, and books. His hobbies included making dioramas. He was particularly fond of World War II dioramas, that he used to make by researching at the local library. He would incorporate story elements into each of his creation.[2]

His introduction to video games was playing Space Invaders and Xevious at the arcades while waiting for the train. He was fond of The Legend of Zelda and Dragon Quest on Nintendo Entertainment System, and played heavily on the Amiga and PC, including Ultima Online.[2]

He attended Hosei University for foreign policy but dropped out after three years.[3] Shortly thereafter he found work as an economic reporter but found the work unfulfilling. In 1989 Matsuno left his job as a reporter to work at Quest Corporation.



Matsuno began his career at the Japanese video game developer Quest Corporation. In 1993, he served as the director of Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen for the Super NES. It is the first installment of an episodic series of tactical role-playing games. On naming the game, Matsuno was inspired by rock band Queen's second album, which contained two songs titled "Ogre Battle" and "The March Of The Black Queen". Even the "Rhyan Sea" in the Ogre Battle world is named after "Seven Seas of Rhye".[4] The next game he worked on was Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, released in 1995 for the Super Famicom in Japan. The dark political narrative of the game revolving around the reality of war was inspired by Matsuno's outside perspective on events that unfolded during the Yugoslav Wars in the early 1990s, including the Bosnian Genocide.[5]

Although Let Us Cling Together is the second entry released in the Ogre Battle franchise, it featured dramatically different gameplay than its predecessor. While Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen was more akin to a grand strategy role-playing game (RPG), Let Us Cling Together was a more intimate, squad-based, isometric tactical RPG. Let Us Cling Together then launched a sub-series within the franchise with Tactics Ogre being used to distinguish the two forms of gameplay in later sequels (notably Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis). Let Us Cling Together has since been well received and in March 2006, readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu voted it number seven among their 100 all-time favorite games.[6]

Square and Square EnixEdit

In 1995, Matsuno joined Square after quitting Quest.[7] At Square, Matsuno directed and wrote Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation. Similar in design and gameplay to Tactics Ogre, it was lauded for its highly intricate story. After the game's release, Matsuno and his team began development on Vagrant Story. Smaller in scope than Final Fantasy Tactics, it was still highly regarded by critics and has gained somewhat of a cult following since its release. Matsuno supervised Square's PlayOnline project prior to its first beta release in 2001. He then served as producer for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the Game Boy Advance system, which shares the Final Fantasy Tactics system but has an entirely different storyline.[8]

In 2001, Matsuno was assigned to work on Final Fantasy XII as director together with Hiroyuki Ito.[9] He came up with the game's original concept and plot.[10] Matsuno reportedly was temperamental and refused to come to work for a month after part of the Final Fantasy XII team had left Square Enix to join Hironobu Sakaguchi's new company Mistwalker.[11] In August 2005, it was officially announced that he had stepped down from his position on the project due to a prolonged illness.[10][12]

Freelance period and Level-5Edit

In 2006, Matsuno expressed his interest for Nintendo's Wii console in a promotional video, stating that he was impressed with the intuitive functionality provided by the remote controller.[13] He was approached by his friend, the PlatinumGames producer Atsushi Inaba, to work on the scenario for the Wii game MadWorld.[14] While developing the setting, story and script, Matsuno often consulted with the development team and received conflicting orders from the staff members: the game designers wanted to emphasize extreme violence but the producers wished to tone it down instead. Matsuno's ideas and writing for the game were influenced by the necessity to balance these two different points of view.[15] In October 2007, composer and longtime collaborator Hitoshi Sakimoto mentioned that he was working with Matsuno on "some stuff".[16] When the original developers of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together were assembled to work on a reimagined port for the PlayStation Portable, Matsuno was called upon to handle the game design and new story elements.[17]

Soon after the port was finished, Level-5 president Akihiro Hino entered talks with him to convince him of joining the company. In June 2011, it was announced that Matsuno had entered Level-5 based on his impression of the Professor Layton and Inazuma Eleven series and in order to create the games he wanted to.[18] During his stay there, he developed the fantasy RPG Crimson Shroud for the Nintendo 3DS, which is part of the collaborative project Guild 01 of Grasshopper Manufacture's Goichi Suda, Sega's Yoot Saito and comedian Yoshiyuki Hirai.[19] Matsuno left Level-5 in October 2012 and explained "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."[20] In September 2013, he announced a partnership with the American company Playdek to develop Unsung Story, a strategy game similar to Matsuno's previous titles and set in a medieval fantasy world.[21]

Algebra FactoryEdit

Matsuno founded a "planning, screenplay, and production" oriented company named Algebra Factory in 2016.[22] During the Algebra Factory era, he has been hired by Square Enix to produce the "Return to Ivalice" raid for the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and by Cygames Corporation for game drafts and management for the mobile game Lost Order.

Game designEdit

Matsuno stated that he is heavily influenced by Western games. He is also influenced by films, particularly the original trilogy of Star Wars. He has described the development culture at Quest as a "kind dictatorship" while Square's is more "democratic", and is not personally fond of other team members having input on his narrative work.[2]


Year Game Role
1990 Conquest of the Crystal Palace Planner
1993 Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen Director, planner
1995 Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together[17] Director, game designer, scenario writer
1997 Final Fantasy Tactics Director, writer
2000 Vagrant Story Director, producer, battle designer, writer
2003 Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Producer
2006 Final Fantasy XII[10] Writer, original concept, original director, supervisor
2009 MadWorld Writer
2010 Tactics Ogre: Wheel of Fate Game designer, scenario writer
2012 Crimson Shroud
2014 Terra Battle[23] Scenario writer
2017 Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood[24] Return to Ivalice scenario writer
2020 Unsung Story[25] Game designer, writer
TBA Lost Order[26] Director


  1. ^ a b "第1回 クエスト→スクウェア×任天堂 = ?". Nintendo. 2003-03-20. Archived from the original on 2013-06-14. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  2. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-05-14. Retrieved 2017-05-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ East, Tom (2009-07-03). "New Nintendo Downloads". Official Nintendo Magazine. Archived from the original on 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  5. ^ Parish, Jeremy (2011-02-08). "Let Us Remember Together: A Tactics Ogre Retrospective". Archived from the original on 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  6. ^ Colin, Campbell (2006-03-03). "Japan Votes on All Time Top 100". Edge. Archived from the original on 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  7. ^ Gifford, Kevin (2011-06-28). "Strategy RPG Pioneer Yasumi Matsuno Jumps to Level-5". Archived from the original on 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  8. ^ "Yasumi Matsuno speaks about Final Fantasy Tactics for the GBA". GameSpot. 2002-03-27. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  9. ^ Kawamura, Naruhiro (2001-01-22). "FF11、PCでも発売、FF12の制作を開始". Mainichi. Archived from the original on 2001-04-13.
  10. ^ a b c Niizumi, Hirohiko (2005-08-01). "FFXII producer steps down". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  11. ^ "Final Fantasy XII Dated". 2005-07-30. Archived from the original on 2016-06-18. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  12. ^ Anoop Gantayat (August 1, 2005). "Changes to Final Fantasy XII Staff". IGN Entertainment, Inc. Archived from the original on 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  13. ^ Kennedy, Sam (2006-09-14). "Matsuno Developing for Wii". Archived from the original on 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
  14. ^ Torres, Ricardo (2009-02-13). "Madworld Updated Hands-On". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  15. ^ Matsuno, Yasumi (2009-03-04). "Narrativity". IGN. Archived from the original on 2009-03-11. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  16. ^ Kennedy, Sam; Parish, Jeremy (2007-10-30). "Enchanting Melodies: Final Fantasy XII Composer Hitoshi Sakimoto Interview". Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
  17. ^ a b Gantayat; Anoop (2010-07-22). "Team Tactics Ogre Details PSP Remake". Andriasang. Archived from the original on 2012-12-25. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  18. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (2011-06-29). "How Yasumi Matsuno Ended Up at Level-5". Andriasang. Archived from the original on 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  19. ^ Dutton, Fred (2011-10-13). "Level-5 announces Guild 01 for 3DS". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  20. ^ Lien, Tracey (2012-11-08). "Vagrant Story and Ogre Battle developer leaves Level-5 after less than 17 months". Polygon. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  21. ^ Wallace, Kimberley (2013-09-19). "Final Fantasy Tactics And Vagrant Story Director Introduces New Project". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
  22. ^ "Algebra Factory". Archived from the original on 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  23. ^ "Achieved 1.5M downloads!!". Archived from the original on 2015-02-19. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  24. ^ "Patch 4.1 Return to Ivalice: the Royal City of Rabanastre Preview". Archived from the original on 2018-01-16. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  25. ^ "A message from Yasumi Matsuno, Q&A Sessions, and MORE!". Playdek. 2014-01-28. Archived from the original on 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  26. ^ Romano, Sal (2016-08-21). "Cygames and Platinum Games announce real-time tactics game Lost Order for smartphones". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2016-08-21. Retrieved 21 August 2016.