Yasumi Matsuno’s Style Won’t Change Even At Level 5

By Ishaan . July 8, 2011 . 2:30pm

You may have heard that Yasumi Matsuno, known for his work on Tactics Ogre and Vagrant Story, is now employed at Level 5, developers of the Professor Layton and Inazuma Eleven series. Matsuno moved to Level 5 because he noticed a younger audience attracted to their games, but not his.


He also revealed that he would be making games that were suitable for children. Projects that — for the moment — are smaller in scope. Matsuno specifically pointed out elementary school kids as an audience that would enjoy his next game.


Following this, he posted similar comments on his Facebook page, following which a fan began to publicly lament the fact that he was now employed at Level 5 who, in his opinion, “don’t publish nor develop mature content games,” which he felt was what Matsuno’s most passionate fans expected of him.


Matsuno replied to the comment personally, trying to clear the issue up:


“My purpose means from ‘a child to an adult’ not ‘for the child’. and I think that my style does not change. ‘An attempt is sometimes easier than expected.’ Please wait for the announcement of my project. thx.”


Admittedly, Level 5 do develop very different games from the kind that Matsuno is associated with. Perhaps that’s precisely why Level 5 president, Akihiro Hino, reached out to him.


Food for thought:

Some may not know this, but Yasumi Matsuno also wrote the story for PlatinumGames’ MadWorld on the Wii.

Read more stories about on Siliconera.

  • Danbouru Senki is the perfect game directed to school kidz, and i think adults can enjoy it too to a point. But i admit in these days im more inclined to more deep and more mature games… Or, at least stories that makes you think.

    He just seem to want to wider his gaming audience, it kind of worries me though, is hard to make a game that childs and adults can enjoy fully… I think Zelda is a good example, it reached all audiences i think…


    • Exkaiser

      I don’t know, I enjoyed Final Fantasy Tactics when I was younger. It’s perfectly enjoyable as a youth and as an adult.

      I think he’s got this thing down pat.

      • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

        Quite a few of Level-5 games are aimed at kids, though. (Not to say I don’t think it’s a good thing or not). But WildArms has legit concerns.

        Maybe the reason they brought him on will be so he’ll make another SRPG tactics game set in a school setting; call it “Academy Tactics”. Story of a kid rebelling against the school system and gathering fellow classmates to lead into revolution. Can recruit bullies, jocks, bookworms, prima donnas, those weird kids who sit at the lunch table by themselves.

        • Exkaiser

          I think we should just trust Matsuno on his word until his game is actually revealed.

          Seems a bit senseless to start worrying about something that we don’t even know the form of.

          • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

            True. I was just going by Level-5’s track record, despite what he said himself. I do wonder if the “small” games he’s talking about making are “indie-like”, kind of how Double Fine went from Brutal Legend to Costume Quest, Stacking, and Trenched, while still retaining their game style and humor.

  • I’d like to think that Matsuno’s style is partly why Level-5 decided to bring him on board, and that forcing him to deviate from said style is entirely counterproductive.

    • Gelsa

      Probably. All I hope is that we don’t see anymore RPGs from Level 5 with stories like White Knight Chronicles 1 anymore (Haven’t played WKC2). Level 5 has always made RPGs with competent gameplay but very lacking in the story area. I’m hoping having Matsuno there might fix it.

      • Ladius

        WKC2’s story is terrible too, and the game is practically a rehash of WKC1’s areas aside from one new city and four new dungeons :( The battle system has been improved, at least.

      • Level-5 is great at crafting worlds, but their stories tend to be very generic. Adding Matsuno to their team should shake things up.

  • I really like his style and the games he makes.

    My wallet is by your side :}

  • Damn straight, Matsuno. Change for no one.

  • It can be aimed at preschoolers or geriatrics, but if Matsuno’s involved I’m interested.

  • 128bitigor

    I really hope that such genius behind one of the most acclaimed games to be ever released will finally be able to use his creativity to the full potential – about the effing time. 
    It would be great if that would mean both great games exclusively from him as well as better level 5 titles – they could use his skills as a writer. 
    Well, that Mr Matsuno is back in the business gives me a serious glimpse of hope for the future gaming.


  • puchinri

    People must see Level-5 as Inazuma Eleven and Prof. Layton only. But even the Layton games aren’t 100% fluffy.

    I personally kind of thought nothing would change with Matsuno anyway, and having one game that’s different from his others isn’t so bad (and it may be something he’s wanted to do before but didn’t get to).

    I’m looking forward to everything he does at Level-5 though.

  • Setsu Oh

    does he own ivalice?

    • Ladius

      No, he doesn’t own anything he worked on till now, sadly. Both Ivalice and Ogre are in Square Enix’s hands.

  • Jirin

    The themes we expect from Matsuno though aren’t exactly child-friendly.  Political manipulation, assassination, etc.  I’m not going to get up in arms because he makes one child-friendly game, but I sure hope the same sort of stories he wrote for FFTactics and TacticsOgre are coming down the line.

    I also hope being with Level 5 doesn’t mean ultra-long dungeons.

  • Ladius

    On one hand, I have a difficult time believing him since the themes that mark his narrative style are all but child-friendly and I honestly can’t see them coherently employed in Level 5’s lineup, aside from the odd Jeanne D’Arc.

    On the other hand, I can completely understand that he is willing to make some compromise since Level 5 has actually treated him like he deserved, while Square Enix apparently didn’t do much to make him stay after the freelance work on TO LUCT PSP ended (and that’s really absurd, considering the game sold very well and was the best reviewed title in Square Enix’s recent history).

    I really hope Level 5 is granting him the freedom to craft the kind of games that made him a loved author in the jrpg fanbase.

  • Let’s hope that Matsuno will be involve in future big game RPG’s.

  • MadWorld? I had no idea. It seems so.. different from his usual style. But I don’t know too many details about MadWorld either, so perhaps there some Matsunoisms that I missed.

    • lostinblue

      Not really no.

      He just did the plot and probably they told him pretty much what they wanted.

      It’s noir though, very noir.

  • blah blah

    Holy shiiiiitttttt, MadWorld.

  • Pendejo Hotspur

    I honestly want to believe Matsuno’s new game will be as good as his previous works, but on the other hand, I don’t think Level 5 can make anything truly good now. For the past couple of years they’ve been making nothing but crap: Inazuma is more and more boring with every new game, same’s true for Layton, WKC has never been any good at all and Ni no Kuni is one the biggest disappointments on DS.

  • Jirin

    There are things Level 5 does well.  Dragon Quest VIII had too silly a story and some dull combat, but it had a beautiful world and great old school dungeons (If not for the too high encounter rate).  And Dragon Quest VII was a *really* good idea, whose only problem was high encounter rate and that it was too slow to open up your combat options.

    If Matsuno can write is trademark mature political melodramas and put them in those worlds with his trademark tactical combat, that’d be a really, really great game.

  • As long as it leads to Matsuno making a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics, let him make anything he wants.  Just please have an SRPG ready for him at some point.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos