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Celebrating the life of Takeshi Miyaji

Though you might not know the name Takeshi Miyaji, you’ve most likely felt his influence if you’ve played any modern RPG. Since co-founding Play Arts with his brother in 1985, he has had his hands in a number of popular game series, and despite living a short life, passing away at the age of 45 over the weekend, his contributions to gaming will never be forgotten.


Silpheed

Debuting on the Japanese PC-8801 in 1986 (and later remade with enhanced graphics for the Sega CD), Silpheed had fast, frantic gameplay, dropping players into the cockpit of a polygonal spacecraft and tasking them with the protection of the world. While it failed to reach great commercial success, mostly due to the release of Star Fox for the SNES, it still carries a cult following for vertical shooter fans, and was succeeded by 2007’s Project Sylpheed for the Xbox 360.


Lunar: The Silver Star

In the early ‘90s most RPGs were technically-focused, with mathematical backbone and a digital heart. There was story, but the emphasis was hardly ever on compelling players, instead opting to use the narrative as an excuse to guide them from one town to the next. Lunar: The Silver Star was different. It used the Sega CD’s disc-based system to its fullest, telling an engaging story with a stellar audio and video presentation. The result was a smash hit. Lunar was so successful overseas that it sold on a nearly 1:1 ratio with the Sega CD itself, and gave way to a number of sequels.


Grandia

Several years after Lunar: The Silver Star (and its sequel, Lunar: Eternal Blue), Takeshi Miyaji worked on a game that would go on to be his most successful and memorable: Grandia. Originally released on Sega Saturn before being brought to the PlayStation several years later, Grandia is considered by many to be one of the strongest RPGs of the era, with an innovative battle system and a strong story. Its two sequels were met with similar acclaim, and fans are still anxiously awaiting information on the continuation of the series.

Though Miyaji may have passed, his legacy still lives on in these and all the other titles he touched.

Aug 1, 2011

Topics

Old-school

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14 comments

  • brianrubin - August 18, 2011 7:58 a.m.

    Sigh, I loooooooooved Silpheed back in the day, as well as its predecessor Thexder (which y'all forgot to mention, BTW). ;)
  • dcbernman - August 9, 2011 3:06 a.m.

    Played Lunar, and loved Grandia... Grandia profoundly affected my life for the better. Thanks so much for the journeys, both digital and tangible.
  • keltar93 - August 2, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    Rest in peace, man who made quality games. Guess I'll listen to the Lunar theme
  • philipshaw - August 2, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    How did I only hear about this now, I love his games. He will be missed
  • mothbanquet - August 2, 2011 1:41 p.m.

    That's a hell of a legacy to leave behind. Thanks for everything, Miyaji-san.
  • knightnettie - August 2, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    We have lost a truly great man. May he rest knowing he gave us so much.
  • bmrskate - August 2, 2011 8:51 a.m.

    Such a shame... I love Lunar and Grandia, but never got around to Silpheed. I'm a shooter nut too! I wonder if there was ever a PlayStation port for it? He brought some truly brilliant games to the medium, let's hope that modern consoles can continue to preserve them. Even if Game Arts decided to continue on and make sequels to these classics, they may never be the same.
  • 510BrotherPanda - August 2, 2011 5:11 a.m.

    Even though I've only played Lunar, I remember hearing of Silpheed. I'm as bummed about this as with the death of Satoshi Kon...
  • onetimebuster - August 2, 2011 5:10 a.m.

    Showing a photo of him makes this even more sad
  • Tyrande - August 2, 2011 4:53 a.m.

    loved the battle system in Grandia II!! played it on the Dreamcast, that was my first JRPG... oh memories... also played lunar eternal blue
  • Ricitor - August 2, 2011 4:47 a.m.

    R.I.P Mr Miyaji You will be missed
  • june27 - August 2, 2011 4:37 a.m.

    That man gave me some of the best days of my childhood
  • geneticallyalteredsupergiraffeejaculatinggrenades - August 2, 2011 4:31 a.m.

    Only one I played was Lunar, and that was the remake for the PSP. I really enjoyed, and it never really occured to me how mipressive that must have been for an RPG at the time.
  • garnsr - August 2, 2011 3:34 a.m.

    Huh, I own all of those. Remember the days when games all came from Japan? Miyaji made some of the greats.

Showing 1-14 of 14 comments

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