4Gamer put up a lengthy interview with Yasumi Matsuno, http://www.4gamer.net/games/116/G011621/20110426090/
I've been working on piecing together a history of him from various magazine interviews done in the past, However this interview appears to have lots of nice tidbits I haven't seen elsewhere
Random things I found of interest:
Reason For Changes between Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre:
- Japanese gamers weren't used to real time simulations, they realized this with Ogre Battle so changed to a turn based grid system.
- Original Ogre Battle "lacked reality", too many gods and demons, switched to dark fantasy with a middle europe/ roman empire base for a more realistic feeling.
- The ability to select your path(and lack of clear good or bad) was partially inspired by sound novels and game books at the time.
- His games were purposely designed to included antithesis elements of what was popular at the time(for sales reasons).
- Was completely engrossed in LovePlus, had a save file for each girl, wants to make a girl game.
-Really enjoyed Demon's soul, thinks it is very western styled(in the same aspects thinks assassin's creed is a very Japanese style game)
- Grew up in the sticks, only entertainment were movies television books and imagination
-Was into making dioramas when he was young; Went and researched WW2 at the local library then use thoese elements to make WW2 Dioramas, he would incorporate story elements into each diorama.
His introduction to games was playing Space Invaders and Xevious in arcades while waiting for the train.
- Was really into Zelda and Dragon Quest on Famicom
- Played heavily on Amiga/pc's - Heavily influenced by western games. (Thinking in western games is more free, always chasing after new ideas)
- Played UO(still logs in once a year) and FF11 heavily , Enjoyed UO because of the ability to play single-player style in multi-player game.
-Lately has enjoyed RDR and frog minutes\
- Influenced by films, particularly star wars(the 1977-1980 period, when all these mysteries were still hidden and your imagination could run wild)
Hints as to what happened with ff12 (Quest: kind dictatorship/ square: democracy)
- Ogre battle, Tactics Ogre, vagrant were entirely designed, directed and written by him, isn't a fan of others putting input into his stories.
- With the shift to Square, there was a different democratic production style that he wasn't used to(for example: The large sci-fi type airship in FF12, was a designer's idea, not his at all)
-Games are easiest to make when given a target, most difficult game to make is when you are told make whatever you please but expected to make sales.
- When Making a game with a big company, you've got all these pressures
- a game has to sell hundreds of thousand of copies, you have to firmly set up intellectual property, etc. Lately Matsuno has come to think if he himself plays it and think it's interesting, that's an okay game to make.
- So if he makes a new game it will probably be on a small scale.
Tactics Ogre Sequel -
- Everybody's expectations of the game are different,so making a sequel that makes everyone happy is extremely difficult.
- If sequel was made would be an entirely new system