Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yasumi Matsuno on Crimson Shroud

Another gaming post today.
Here's a quick translation of an article from this week's Weekly Famitsu, detailing some more about Yasumi Matsuno's new game Crimson Shroud, a part of the Guild01 compilation, in the creator's own words.

edit: you can now access the screenshots asscociated with this article, as well as some more, on the official Guild01 website.
For more info on Guild01, see my original post about the game compilation.

Yasumi Matsuno on Crimson Shroud

The deeper meaning behind the game's title
This game is set in a medieval world rich with magic, which was suddenly given to its inhabitants roughly 1000 years ago. The magic of this game is not a skill that can be studied, but is rather contained within certain items. The people of this world call these items "Gifts," believing they have been brought to them by their god. All of these "Gifts" are said to have originated from a single item, the "Original Gift," which is the origin of all magic. 
The "Original Gift" also bears a power to copy its magic, and thus it spawned many objects, each bearing one type of magic. The protagonists of the game get entangled in a war for the legendary "Original Gift," which is known as the Crimson Shroud.
The illustration attached to this paragraph is taken from the Prologue, and hints at just what kind of item the Crimson Shroud is. It is used here to illustrate the game's world view. (Illustration by Hideo Minaba)

Frea, a girl holding the key to the story
Crimson Shroud's protagonist Giauque is a "chaser," a profession that searches for people upon request. Frea is one of his companions in his journey. She belongs to a people who have distanced themselves from the religious beliefs of the ones around them, and has very different values than the other characters. Her detailed knowledge of the Gifts has a big impact on the adventure.
The illustration included with this paragraph, taken from the game's introduction, shows Frea lying down on a cot, injured. The character in the black helmet pictured in the screenshot has saved her, and the scene leads up to a flashback explaining how she sustained these injuries. This flashback is the main story part of the game.

Details about the game's system
The setting for Crimson Shroud's narrative is an ancient building named "the golden temple of Rahab." Once a magnificent building, it is now mere ruins. The story is told in text-adventure style events, leading u to an exploration part in the golden temple, and, upon reaching a certain locale, an event scene or battle. Along the way, the player has to make decisions on how to proceed, and we have included several options in these events that will only become available after successfully finishing the main story once. The decisions the player makes will also affect the ending of the game.
The battle scenes are executed in an orthodox command input system, but at times a "dice roll" element will decide the outcome of certain actions. Originally, dice rolls were planned to be used for calculating all attack damage and the like, as is the case with conventional "table talk" RPGs. However, this system bogged down the game's tempo too much, so we decided to only use the dice from time to time.

This game focuses on what would be the final dungeon in a traditional RPG, and aims to deliver an experience like playing through the climax of the game right from the start. It does not take an inordinate amount of time to finish this game, so I would like to see players try it without the hesitation involved with tackling an RPG.

Points especially important to me
In the development of this game, a lot of weight was put on what to in- or exclude in order to keep Crimson Shroud compact and lightweight. This is not a matter of personal preference, but rather of Guild01's overall concept, which did not permit for an epic RPG. I'm fairly sure some people will be quite surprised at the decisions we made. (laughs) In particular, we made quite drastic compromises on the graphic parts. In order to fill (Level5 CEO) Hino's order for a "compact" game, we felt it made sense to purposefully compromise on the graphics, which are something that requires a great deal of effort with the constant evolution of gaming hardware.

Things I learned from participating in Guild01
I am not aware of it myself, but a lot of fans have come to expect a certain "Matsuno atmosphere" or "Matsuno games" from my work. When I joined Level5, I had originally been planning for a different, more lighthearted type of game... When it was decided I would be part of Guild01, I actually asked Mr Hino, "Can I just do a puzzle game for this project?" His answer was a clear and simple rejection: "That would not be a Matsuno game."(laughs)
The concept of Guild01 is to publish games that the creators wanted to make. I decided to provide a game that showcases the unique world view that I feel I can provide and that my fans expect from my games. It has been difficult to produce unconventional, provocative games for the Japanese market. I hope that Guild01 will provide an impulse for the sometimes overprotective industry, and make it possible to keep this concept ongoing.
Personally, I am a bit worn out from the "Matsuno atmosphere," and would like to try a more lighthearted subject matter that doesn't reek of blood for my next game. (laughs)

Message to the readers

In this game, we consciously made a lot of compromises, and aimed for a simple, old-fashioned feeling game. However, although it is a "short story," that does not mean the content is thin, I would like to think of it more as something concentrated, like an espresso coffee. I hope the players will appreciate the richness delivered in a deceptively simple package.


I do not hold the rights to the original content, and will not reproduce the pictures for this reason, however I do feel it would be beneficial for gaming fans all over the world to learn more about this game. (Please don't sue me)


  1. Thanks for the translation! Always a treasure to hear the thoughts of Mr. Matsuno.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I agree, I am looking forward to this game and it's always great to hear what the creators were thinking when they come up with their games. Especially when it's someone as special as Mr. Matsuno.