|Born||June 10, 1961|
Ehime Prefecture, Japan
|Other names||Kihaji Okamoto|
|Occupation||Video game designer|
Yoshiki Okamoto (岡本 吉起, Okamoto Yoshiki, born June 10, 1961), sometimes credited as Kihaji Okamoto, is a Japanese video game designer. He is credited with producing popular titles for Konami, including Gyruss and Time Pilot, and for Capcom, including 1942, Gun.Smoke, Final Fight and Street Fighter II. He later founded the companies Flagship and Game Republic, and then created the hit mobile games Dragon Hunter and Monster Strike for Mixi. He also played a role in the creation of Rockstar's Red Dead franchise. Several franchises he helped create are among the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time, including Street Fighter II, Monster Strike and Red Dead.
Early career at Konami
His early games Time Pilot (1982) and Gyruss (1983) innovated in the shoot 'em up genre during the golden age of arcade games. The Killer List of Videogames included both Gyruss and Time Pilot in its list of top 100 arcade games of all time. Although these games turned out to be successful titles for Konami, Okamoto's employer was not happy as apparently Okamoto had been told to create a driving game instead. Internal disagreements, financial and credible, caused his termination from Konami.
Career at Capcom
Joining Capcom in 1984, Okamoto directed several arcade games such as 1942 (1984), SonSon (1984), and Side Arms (1986). His 1985 shoot 'em up Gun.Smoke later inspired a spiritual successor, Red Dead Revolver, the first installment of the Red Dead series.
The last game he directed was the 1989 CP System game Willow (1989). He would oversee the development of Capcom's subsequent games as a producer and was responsible for recruiting character designer Akira Yasuda for Capcom. Okamoto and Yasuda developed some of Capcom's biggest hits, most notably the beat 'em up game Final Fight (1989) and fighting game Street Fighter II (1991). Street Fighter II is estimated to have grossed $10.61 billion as of 2017, making it the third highest-grossing video game of all time, after Space Invaders and Pac-Man.
Okamoto approached Angel Studios with the idea for an original intellectual property entitled S.W.A.T. It later adopted a Western theme at Okamoto's recommendation, redefining the acronym as "Spaghetti Western Action Team". It was intended to be a spiritual successor to Capcom's Gun.Smoke, a 1985 arcade shoot 'em up originally designed by Okamoto. Angel Studios began work on the game with Capcom's oversight and funding in 2000, and the latter announced the game as Red Dead Revolver in March 2002. Okamoto then left Capcom, which eventually canceled the game in August 2003. Rockstar Games acquired the rights to Red Dead Revolver in December 2003 and resumed development, releasing it for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in May 2004.
In 2003, he left Flagship to form another video game company.
In 2005, Okamoto's new independent game company, Game Republic, released its first game Genji: Dawn of the Samurai. Genji is a game set in Feudal Japan with a similar playing style to the Onimusha series. A sequel, Genji: Days of the Blade, was released on the PlayStation 3 in late 2006. A new Game Republic game called Folklore (Folkssoul in Japan) was released in 2007.
In 2007, Game Republic signed with Brash Entertainment and started working on licensed games like Clash of the Titans. But then in November 2008, Brash Entertainment went out of business, and Game Republic had to turn to Namco Bandai for the release of Clash of the Titans.
In 2011, Game Republic also shut down due to debt, and a year later, Okamoto announced that he had retired from making console games and started working on mobile games.
In recent years, he created the mobile games Dragon Hunter and Monster Strike (2013) for Mixi. Dragon Hunter was a moderate success, before Monster Strike became a major hit, competing with Puzzle & Dragons for the top spot on mobile charts. By 2018, Monster Strike had grossed over $7.2 billion, surpassing Puzzle & Dragons to become the highest-grossing mobile app of all time.
Influences and style
Okamoto has said that he gets ideas from scenery from movies, citing particularly the works of Akira Kurosawa and Chinese ghost stories. He commented that "We don't make games for ourselves - I don't actually play games very much."
- Greg McLemore and the KLOV team. "The Top Coin-Operated Videogames of all Times". Killer List of Videogames. Archived from the original on 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- Kent, Steven. "VideoGameSpot's Interview with Yoshiki Okamoto". Archived from the original on December 7, 1998.
- Parish, Jeremy (October 26, 2016). "Red Dead Redemption's Curious 8-Bit Origin Story". USgamer. Archived from the original on 2018-10-26. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
- "World of Warcraft Leads Industry With Nearly $10 Billion In Revenue - GameRevolution". GameRevolution. January 26, 2017. Archived from the original on 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
- Ricciardi, John (November 1997). "Okamoto Leaves Capcom". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 100. Ziff Davis. p. 28.
- Hester, Blake (October 17, 2018). "How the Red Dead franchise began". Polygon. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
- Perry, Douglass C. (March 30, 2004). "Red Dead Interview". IGN. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
- IGN Staff (March 22, 2002). "Capcom Unveils Four Major Games". IGN. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
- Niizumi, Hirohiko (July 22, 2003). "Capcom no longer sponsoring Red Dead Revolver". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
- Gamespot Staff (August 12, 2003). "Capcom cancels Red Dead Revolver and Dead Phoenix". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
- Calvert, Justin (December 18, 2003). "Rockstar rescues Red Dead Revolver". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- Burnes, Andrew (December 18, 2003). "Rockstar Announces Red Dead Revolver". IGN. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
- "The Fall of Game Republic". Polygon. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- "Game Republic's Yoshiki Okamoto says he's 'retired' from making console games". Polygon. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Kuchera, Ben (2014-11-13). "Monster Strike: The redemption of Capcom legend Yoshiki Okamoto". Polygon. Archived from the original on 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
- Spannbauer, Adam (October 23, 2018). "Monster Strike Revenue Passes $7.2 Billion, Making It the Highest Earning App of All Time". Sensor Tower. Archived from the original on 2018-10-25. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
- "Creators' Conference: Japan's Top Designers Talk". Next Generation. No. 32. Imagine Media. August 1997. pp. 22, 24.