The Curious Case of Yasumi Matsuno

As someone who played and loved Final Fantasy Tactics (FFT) back in the day on the Playstation and spends way too much time on gaming news websites, it was likely only a matter of time before I started hearing the name Yasumi Matsuno. His was the brilliant mind behind the convoluted (and unfortunately, badly translated) story featured in FFT that was unlike any other I’d ever encountered in the Final Fantasy series. Considering that FFT was Matsuno’s first foray into the series to begin with, it makes sense. Before that he’d worked on Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. Both of these games feature heavy plots with a strong emphasis on political turmoil and strife. Another important feature in both of these games is a focus on moral choices made by the player.

While I haven’t played Ogre Battle, I’ve recently had a chance to try out Tactics Ogre‘s remake for the PSP. One thing that really stuck out to me in this game is how much can change in the story depending on what decisions I made throughout the game. The game features three moral paths that the player can follow throughout the story: Law/Order, Chaos, and Neutral. The Law/Order path is characterized by decisions in which one follows the orders of their superiors. The Chaos path, on the other hand, involves decisions in which one spurns the decisions of their superiors in favor of following what they believe to be their own justice. Neutral, I can only assume, is a mix of the former two. I went on the Law/Order path in my own game, which involved agreeing to slaughter innocent people. It wasn’t an easy decision to make and there are some interesting consequences. On the other hand, choosing to go against the main character’s lord in the Chaos path doesn’t result in a very rosy scenario, either. No matter what decision you make in this game, the main character will pay for it in some way. Some things will go well, while others will inevitably go horribly wrong.

Read More »