Keiji Inafune

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Keiji Inafune
Keiji Inafune - Japan Expo 13- 2012-0706- P1410048.JPG
Keiji Inafune at Japan Expo 2012
Native name 稲船 敬二
Born (1965-05-08) May 8, 1965 (age 51)
Kishiwada, Osaka, Japan
Occupation Video game producer, Illustrator
Years active 1987-present

Keiji Inafune (稲船 敬二 Inafune Keiji?, born 8 May 1965) is a Japanese video game producer, illustrator and businessman. Starting his career at Capcom in the late 1980s, he was an illustrator and character designer of the Mega Man series during the NES and Super NES era,[1] also creating the character Zero. Starting in 1996 with Mega Man 8, Inafune then moved onto the position of producer, and would act as producer for many subsequent Mega Man games. He then went on to be the head of Research & Development, in addition to Online Business and Global Head of Production at Capcom. Inafune was also the creator and producer of the Lost Planet and Dead Rising series, as well as co-creator of the Onimusha series. In most game credits, he uses the name "INAFKING".

After leaving Capcom in 2010, Inafune founded his own company Comcept, where he is CEO. At Comcept, Inafune is the creator of Mighty No. 9 and the upcoming Red Ash: The Indelible Legend games. Inafune is often given the credit of "Comceptor" for the games he has worked on while at Comcept.



Born in Kishiwada, Osaka,[2] 22-year-old Keiji joined the Capcom corporation not long after graduating, in 1987, in search of a job as an illustrator. His first assignment as graphic designer was Street Fighter (1987), and the character Adon was the only one fully designed by him.[3]

Mega Man series[edit]

Inafune joined the team producing the first Rockman game (known outside Japan as Mega Man). Akira Kitamura, director for the game created the original static pixel art sprite for Mega Man. This was to ensure that the sprite could be properly seen against the game's backgrounds, and could work in the game. After that, the pixel art was handed over to artist Inafune, who created a refined illustration of the character.[4][5][1] Inafune refers to this process as "like a reverse character design" as it is the opposite of what typically occurs, where artists create concept art which is then translated into game's graphics.[4]

During a special event at TGS 2007, Inafune clarified his role in the creation of Mega Man.

"I'm often called the father of Mega Man, but actually, his design was already created when I joined Capcom," he explained. "My mentor [Capcom senior member Akira Kitamura], who was the designer of the original Mega Man, had a basic concept of what Mega Man was supposed to look like. So I only did half of the job in creating him."[6]

Due to the small task force, he also constructed the characters into pixel form, as well as the game's respective logo, package design, and instruction booklet. As the Famicom was an early gaming system, only 56 colours were available for display, the plurality of which were blue-tinted. This affected the decision of the team to color the character blue (as a result, fans have nicknamed the character "the blue bomber"). The design of Mega Man was also heavily influenced by Japanese animation, and he notes that he took observations from other video game characters present at the time, such as Mario.

The first Rockman/Mega Man game was released in December 1987, after which sales in both countries were decent, but as Inafune later notes, "While it did sell more than we had expected, [Rockman 1] wasn't a huge success as far as the numbers go." Noting this, Capcom superiors dictated that the team begin on a new project called Professional Baseball Murder Mystery (Pro Yakyuu? Satsujin Jiken), which was only released in Japan.

Nevertheless, the team felt confident about the Rockman series, and urged that they be permitted to construct another iteration in order to amend the previous failings of the original and continue in the light of creativity. Capcom allowed the Rockman team to continue, with the prerequisite to complete the port of Legendary Wings for the NES and Professional Baseball Murder Mystery as well. The team did so, completing the project on their own time, and on December 24, 1988, released Rockman 2, with Mega Man 2 being released later in North America in 1989. The project proved to be a huge success, earning more than its previous iteration. Fans widely consider it to be the best Mega Man game, because of its production values, such as graphics and music. Capcom realized that the Mega Man series was a profitable investment, and many ports were constructed along with regular installments released on a yearly basis.

The next game in the "Classic" series was Mega Man 3, released in Japan on September 28, 1990 and later released in North America in November 1990. Inafune considers Mega Man 3 to be one of his least favorite Mega Man games. From an interview with Nintendo Power in the October 2007 issue, Inafune explained that the reason was because of "...what went into the game and what was behind the release of the game." He also stated that the team was forced to put the game out before they thought it was ready and that during the game's production, the developers had lost the main planner, Inafune having to take his position. Inafune concluded, "I knew that if we had more time to polish it, we could do a lot of things better, make it a better game, but the company (Capcom) said that we needed to release it. The whole environment behind what went into the production of the game is what I least favored. Numbers one and two – I really wanted to make the games; I was so excited about them. Number three – it just turned very different."

The success of the Famicom began to fade into obscurity in light of its successor, the Super Famicom, and Capcom set on the development on a new series Rockman X, which continued the plot of the original series, but set a darker tone and took place 100 years after the previous storyline. Inafune designed the character Zero for the games. "I didn't get to completely design a Mega Man [protagonist] from scratch until Zero (Mega Man X, SNES). Back when the SNES was coming out, I was asked to give Mega Man a redesign, so I created this character. But I realized that this design wouldn't be accepted as Mega Man, so I had another designer create the new Mega Man, and I worked on Zero to release him as the 'other main character' that would steal all the good scenes!"[5] Originally, Zero was meant to be the leading character of the X series, but Capcom executives convinced Inafune to continue with the analogous design from the original game.

During the 32-bit era, Keiji produced the three-dimensional Rockman DASH/Mega Man Legends series after receiving requests from Sony to develop a new 3D Rockman series exclusively for the PlayStation. Although he envisioned high sales and was an ambitious supporter to the development of the game, it was not a massive success. It is one of the series that has spawned the fewest sequels. For nearly 10 years, it seemed like the series would not ever continue, but a full-fledged sequel for the Nintendo 3DS was in the works garnering much fan praise. However, in July 2011, Capcom cancelled the 3DS installment.

Originally, Keiji had intended to end the series' plot at the installment of Rockman X5, and had begun development on the Rockman Zero series, in order to elaborate on the character of Zero. However, he had departed to another studio in cooperation with Inti Creates, and unbeknown to him, another installment, Rockman X6, was created. This set a slight continuity error in Inafune's intended plot, but through some changes in the storyline, this was alleviated.

One of Keiji Inafune's creations is the Mega Man Battle Network series, which is set outside the continuity of the rest of the Mega Man story lines and introduced role-playing and strategic elements. According to Inafune, he received the basis for creating the series from observing his son.

Inafune is also involved in Inti Creates' creation of the latest Rockman project, Rockman ZX.

Onimusha series[edit]

On April 2, 2005, Inafune was promoted from corporate officer to senior corporate officer. Keiji also developed another series, the samurai-era Japanese themed Onimusha, which has spawned various sequels.

Dead Rising series[edit]

Inafune and his team's next creation was Dead Rising for the Xbox 360. Dead Rising, released by Capcom in the U.S. on August 8, 2006, is a zombie-slaying game heavily influenced by George A. Romero's 1978 movie Dawn of the Dead. Dead Rising is the second zombie game Inafune has worked on, the first being Resident Evil 2. Inafune also created the sequel to Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2, released in 2010. In addition, he made his director debut in the short film series Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun.[7]

Capcom's global head of production[edit]

On April 22, 2010, it was announced that Inafune would be Capcom's Global Head of Production. Inafune stated "I want to end comments that Capcom games made in Europe aren't really Capcom games ... basically saying that whether games are created in America or Japan or anywhere in the world, I will be the one overlooking it and so it will have that Capcom flavor that fans know and love."[8] Inafune has voiced various negative views on Japanese game developers, stating that they are behind Western developers in innovation.[9]


On October 29, 2010, Inafune announced on his blog that he would be leaving Capcom with the intention of "starting his life over". He had been with the company for 23 years.[10][11] On December 15, 2010, Inafune launched a new company called Comcept. Since Capcom still retained ownership of his works and creations after his departure, he cannot complete or create any new installments to his existing franchises.

The fresh company's first relation to a video game as of late is the company-collaborative RPG Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2, in which a scanned image of Inafune himself makes an appearance as a summon for the main character Nepgear during a special attack. Inafune also appears in the Aksys Games' otome game, Sweet Fuse: At Your Side, where he plays a kidnapped uncle.[12] On August 31, 2013, Inafune started a Kickstarter project for a game he is working on that is similar to Mega Man, known as Mighty No. 9.[13] At Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015 it was announced the Inafune was working with Armature Studio to make a new video game for the Xbox One called ReCore. On July 4, 2015 Inafune announced that he was once again using Kickstarter to fund a Mega Man Legends spiritual successor along with an anime based on the game called Red Ash, which failed to reach its funding goal.


Mega Man[edit]

Mega Man X[edit]

Mega Man Legends[edit]

Mega Man Zero[edit]

Mega Man ZX[edit]

Mega Man Battle Network[edit]

Mega Man Star Force[edit]

Resident Evil[edit]


Other games[edit]


  • Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun — Director


  1. ^ MegaMan Network (2004). "Interview with Keiji Inafune". Capcom. Archived from the original on 2006-05-12. Retrieved May 4, 2006. 
  2. ^ MegaMan Neoseeker (2005). "Interview with Keiji Inafune 2". Capcom. Retrieved May 4, 2006. 
  3. ^ Gamespy (2005). "Interview with Keiji Inafune 3". Capcom. Retrieved May 8, 2006. 
  4. ^ Xbox 360 official magazine site (2005). "Interview with Keiji Inafune 4". Capcom. Retrieved May 8, 2006. [dead link]