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Takashi Katano says Yasumi Matsuno's departure didn't change much in Final Fantasy XII

Takashi Katano says Yasumi Matsuno's departure didn't change much in Final Fantasy XII

Written by Brayden — 14 Jul 2017

Yasumi Matsuno, one of the original directors and lead writer on Final Fantasy XII left the project while it was still in development and over the years people have speculated on what this ended up changing in the game.

However, according to Takashi Katano the main programmer on the game and more recently the director for its HD remaster, The Zodiac Age it didn't end up changing much.

"The game pretty much followed on the same track after Matsuno-san left. There wasn't a huge overhaul or anything like that. The playable version of the game had been shown at E3, and at that point it was really a matter of polishing up the final product. Once he left, it was just a matter of, 'We'll take it from here,' and following the path."

Katano also emphasizes that some of the game's more polarizing or controversial features were in place long before Matsuno left the team. "The part about the change in lead character — that change actually was pretty early on in development. Really, in terms of the story tied into development, there were some slight changes as to which character would appear at which stage, but nothing that would overwhelm development, necessarily, in terms of changes to the plot.

"It's not as though the whole tale was rewritten into something completely different as we went along. It was just a matter of following the gameplay beats and having them pair up with the story as they went along. Things like locations, and battles, and keeping it all seamless. That was the biggest element of the rewriting, making sure it fit with the gameplay."

This makes a lot of sense since the game's other director, Hiroyuki Ito who was also incharge of the game design didn't go anywhere and Matsuno's replacement as director was Hiroshi Minagawa, someone he personally worked with for over a decade.

Fun fact: Matsuno receives a special thanks on The Zodiac Age's credits.

Check out Polygon's interview with Takashi Katano, the director of The Zodiac Age and main programmer for the original game and Hiroaki Kato the producer of The Zodiac Age and project manager on the original game for more on the making of Final Fantasy XII here.