Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yasumi Matsuno on MadWorld

The news recently came out that Yasumi Matsuno, creator of the Ogre Battle series and the Final Fantasy Tactics Ivalice universe, wrote the narrative for Sega's soon-to-be-released MadWorld. Matsuno is best known for having designed some of the most critically acclaimed JRPGs of all time, but he's been silent in the industry ever since he was forced to step down as the director on Final Fantasy XII, so it's great to hear that he's back at work.

His previous titles were recognized primarily for their deep tactical battle engines, so it's a little surprising to see him contracted strictly as a writer, especially on a character action game like MadWorld, but, then again, he did also provide the stories for nearly all his hits. Among his fans who appreciated his pattern of densely plotted and coldly cynical high fantasy narratives full of political intrigue, his writing was as much a draw as the gameplay on any of his titles. The first chapter of Final Fantasy Tactics, a personal favorite of mine, was particularly potent as a brutal and riveting tale of class warfare.

PlatinumGames, the developer of MadWorld, was founded from the remnants of Clover Studio, the former Capcom studio originally formed to allow superstar developers Shinji Mikami and Hideki Kamiya the creative freedom to develop essentially independent titles backed by the deep pockets of a major publisher. Ultimately, the studio's inattention to traditional market sense led to its demise, and it managed to produce only a handful of low-selling titles before Capcom pulled the plug on the idea. As a second try at the concept behind Clover, PlatinumGames seems like a perfect fit for a stranded luminary like Matsuno. The news of his involvement has certainly made me even more interested in MadWorld. Both for the sake of PlatinumGames and for the future of hardcore gaming in the Wii era, I think it's important that this title succeed, but I wish it weren't coming out so near to the release of Capcom's Mikami-less Resident Evil 5.

No comments: