Yasumi Matsuno (松野 泰己, Matsuno Yasumi?) is a former video game director at Square Enix (previously Squaresoft). Born in 1965, he began his career as a developer at Quest, where he created the Ogre Battle series of strategy role-plaing games. After leaving Quest, he joined Squaresoft in 1995. His colleagues at Square Enix usually called him by his nickname, "YAZZ". According to e-mail responses from the Square Enix Information Center, Matsuno left Square Enix on August 31, 2005, following his step-down from directing Final Fantasy XII.
At Square, Matsuno oversaw the development of Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation. Similar in design and gameplay to Tactics Ogre, it was lauded for its highly intricate and convoluted story, in which a young and naive nobleman becomes embroiled in a civil war over the throne to the kingdom of Ivalice. The nobleman, Ramza Beoulve, must come to term with his own beliefs amidst a number of conspiracies involving the church, Ramza's brothers and his childhood friend Delita. Final Fantasy Tactics was re-released by Square Enix on the PlayStation Portable as Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions in 2007, including all-new computer-generated cutscenes among other gameplay additions.
After the release of Final Fantasy Tactics, Matsuno and his team began development on Vagrant Story. Smaller in scope than Tactics, in Vagrant Story players took control of one Ashley Riot, a "Riskbreaker" of the Valendia Knights of the Peace. Here the focus is more on the protagonist's personal life and past than a world-consuming conflict. As in Final Fantasy Tactics, though, the plot has considerable depth and features a number of forces conspiring to unleash an ancient power. Gameplay-wise, Vagrant Story was praised as unique and progressive because of its focus on weapon-based statistics as opposed to the character-based leveling found in typical role-playing games. The game has also been described as a "real-time strategy role-playing game" due to the unique combination of isometric camera angles, ranged attacks which vary with weapon types and lack of turn-based gameplay. Vagrant Story was highly regarded by critics and has gained somewhat of a cult following since its release.
Matsuno supervised Square's development of PlayOnline, the system that was developed primarily to function as the company's gateway to online games most notably Final Fantasy XI, prior the first beta test.
Final Fantasy XII was originally directed by Matsuno and Hiroyuki Itō, both of them having been handpicked by Hironobu Sakaguchi way back in 2001. Although he had to bow out of the development staff, ostensibly due to health issues, he is credited for "Story and Concept" and "Supervisor". As a tribute to his legacy, the development team of Final Fantasy XII included an optional boss in the game called Yazmat (a play on his aforementioned nickname, Yazumi Matsuno). In-game information about Yazmat (localized as Yiazmat in the North American version) is accompanied by a subtitle which reads, "Farewell to a Legend." Montblanc, who assigns the player the task of slaying Yiazmat, tells a story of how he and his moogle friends once worked with a wise leader and mentor with whom they did many wonderful things. Montblanc explains that Yazmat came along and killed that master, causing them all to break up.
- Had Matsuno continued to work on Final Fantasy XII up until its completion, he would have become the only director ever to have two games that got a perfect score by Famitsu magazine, which has to date only given perfect scores to eighteen games in its 26-year history. Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII were critically acclaimed by the magazine with a 40/40 score.
- One of Matsuno's trademarks is to pay homage to the rock band Queen in his works. His first game was titled Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. Both Ogre Battle and March of the Black Queen are song titles from the album Queen II. His next game was Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Let Us Cling Together being a song from the album A Day at the Races. His game Final Fantasy Tactics had a chapter called Somebody to Love, also a song title from A Day At the Races. In the game Vagrant Story, the lead character begins the game with a sword called Fandango, which is a reference to a lyric in the song Bohemian Rhapsody, from A Night At The Opera. In Final Fantasy XII, the Earth-elemental summon uses an attack called "Rock You", a nod to the song We Will Rock You from the album News of the World. Rock You has been changed to "Roxxor" in the localized English game, a likely play on Internet slang. There is also a secret dungeon in Vagrant Story called Iron Maiden.
- Matsuno bought a copy of Final Fantasy XIII for PS3 when it came out in Japan in December, 2009. However, it's unknown if he played through the game till completion.
- His favorite game of 2010 was Red Dead Redemption.
- He has recently worked freelance with Square Enix on Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together on PSP.
- He is currently working on an unannounced game. However, it's unknown if it's with Square Enix or another company, but Alexander O. Smith has stated that it is a project they are working on together.
- Yasumi Matsuno is an apparent Game of Thrones, or A Song of Ice and Fire fan, as many of his works contain references to the series. In Vagrant Story they reference "Milk of the Poppy", an anaesthetic in A Song of Ice and Fire, Final Fantasy Tactics references the Game of Thrones, which is a title of the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire.
|Ogre Battle||Director, Scenario Writer, Game Designer|
|Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together||Director, Scenario Writer, Game Designer|
|Final Fantasy Tactics||Director, Scenario Writer|
|Vagrant Story||Producer, Director, Scenario Writer, Battle System Designer|
|Final Fantasy Tactics Advance||Producer, Original Concept|
|Final Fantasy XII||Story, Original Concept|
|Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)||Story & Game Design|