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Koichi Sugiyama, the Pioneering Dragon Quest Composer Known For His Controversial Views, Has Died

Koichi Sugiyama, the composer who outlined a era of RPGs together with his music however was additionally recognized for his controversial views on LGBTQ+ individuals and Japan’s motion in World War II, has died. He was 90 years previous.

Like Nobuo Uematsu and a handful of different pioneering composers, Koichi Sugiyama helped outline music on the Famicom in the mid-Nineteen Eighties. Known primarily for his work on Dragon Quest, he began as a director at Fuji TV and later labored on tasks together with Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie.

Sugiyama joined Enix after sending the studio a postcard expressing his appreciation for a PC shogi recreation that they had printed. His work on the first Dragon Quest was thought of revolutionary for the time. In a glance again on the sequence, 1UP wrote that “he took his cues from classical composers and Wagnerian opera, leading to a soundtrack that was deeper, heavier, and emotional than some other Famicom recreation, regardless of the {hardware}’s strict limits. It’s no accident that Sugiyama continues to carry yearly orchestral performances of Dragon Warrior’s music in Japan — there are soundtracks that impress the participant extra, however solely only a few are higher artistic endeavors than his work on this sequence.”

Sugiyama continued composing music for the sequence up till Dragon Quest 11, which launched in 2017. While quite a lot of criticized its considerably repetitive tunes — a consequence, maybe, of Sugiyama’s age — it was nonetheless onerous to not be stirred by the symphonic overture main into its title display. It stays one in every of the most readily identifiable themes in gaming, significantly in Japan.

Sugiyama, nonetheless, grew to become a controversial determine in his later years. In 2015, Sugiyama appeared alongside Japanese politician Mio Sugita, the place he endorsed claims that the lack of kids from LGBTQ+ {couples} had been a difficulty for Japan.

Sugiyama additionally subscribed to Japan’s nationalist rhetoric round World War 2, opposing a decision to ask Japan to apologize for the use of “consolation ladies” — a colloquial time period for girls who had been pressured into sexual servitude by troopers throughout the battle. Square Enix responded by distancing itself from the composer over these feedback, saying that it doesn’t “condone discrimination or harassment of any type” and that it “respects the variety of sexuality and gender equality of everybody round the world.”

Sugiyama’s combined legacy is mirrored in the feedback on Twitter following his demise.

Square Enix, for its half, issued a release saying the writer “mourns his passing.”

Square Enix president and CEO Yosuke Matsuda added, “I want to take this chance to supply my deepest sympathy to Koichi Sugiyama’s associates and family members. Words can not specific the scale of the contribution made by Koichi Sugiyama from the delivery of the DRAGON QUEST sequence till now. I bear in mind seeing him conduct the orchestra in a DRAGON QUEST live performance as if it had been yesterday. I thank and honor him for his lengthy years of service and the many fantastic items of music he has written for our video games, and supply my heartfelt prayers for the repose of his soul.”

Sugiyama was set to function composer for Dragon Quest 12, which was introduced earlier this 12 months. Square Enix has not but introduced who will step in as his successor.

Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN

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