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The Multi-talented Daisuke Ishiwatari

Do you know there is a Japanese game developer who can draw, compose music, and design all at once? Yup, his name is Daisuke Ishiwatari.


I have fond memories playing fighting games. If you have been following TBT, you will know my love for Street Fighter and the fun I had with Tekken . There is another fighting game franchise named Guilty Gear that is ingrained in my memory for many reasons. One of them being its key creator, Daisuke Ishiwatari.

Who is Daisuke Ishiwatari?

Daisuke Ishiwatari

Daisuke Ishiwatari (石渡 太輔 Ishiwatari Daisuke) was born in South Africa. Fans of 2D fighting games would know him from his Guilty Gear series. What fascinates me about his game development career, and as a creative person, is his multiple talents. Ishiwatari is the creator of the hard-to-play Guilty Gear series. He also designed the characters, illustrated many of the game’s art pieces, and composed solid rockin’ background music for the game!

His work history

Ishiwatari started working for Arc System Works after college. Right away he pitched the idea for Guilty Gear, one of many games that ASW would become famous for. Considering that the first game came out in 1998 for the PlayStation console, Daisuke Ishiwatari has been helming the series a long time. In the recent years, he has been illustrating and composing for another fighting game series named BlazBlue. Toshimichi Mori, Ishiwatari’s colleague, and rival, worked as one of the main game designers.

You can find most of Ishiwatari’s compositions for Guilty Gear on the official albums.

Sol Badguy
Sol Badguy

On top of that, he also voices Sol Badguy, one of the main characters of the franchise.

My memory playing Guilty Gear XX

I remember commuting back from buying Guilty Gear XX for my PlayStation 2 with a friend. We decided to play it at my place. On the way back we read the credits printed somewhere—I cannot remember if it was the game manual or box art—with Ishiwatari’s name in many positions. By that age, I knew that video games were created by one or more teams of people. To see Daisuke Ishiwatari’s name as the composer, creator, director, character designer, and game designer was simply dizzying.

The game was designed to be very hard. My friend ended up spending a lot more time understanding the mechanics and trying to beat I-No, the final boss. I, on the other hand, gave up easily.

What I like from his work

Ishiwatari has plenty of work samples to admire. Let’s talk about his musical scores first. He loves rock and metal music. His composition often features layered and complicated electric guitar sounds. He is not afraid to use different instruments to overlay and take over the melody sections. Depending on the arrangement, he may even use different styles of music to open. Case in point, the song above titled “The Irony of Chaste” and this song below from BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger named “Awakening the Chaos.”

Or how about this one named “Limited Again (Staff Roll B)” that is in contrast to his usual heart-pumping rock pieces.

However, my favorite from the first Guilty Gear XX game is definitely “Awe of She,” the theme song for Dizzy.

Next, his detailed and cool character designs. The immediate impression that struck me when I first saw Guilty Gear XX was the brazenly different character designs. They may look simple, but Ishiwatari added some ornate designs to the accessories. This would become more apparent in his later games. His poses of the characters have a certain flow, yet it contrasts with stiffer “breaks,” be it from line art or the straightness of a character’s limbs or weapons.

Some of his illustrations

Daisuke Ishiwatari's BlazBlue character illustration

Daisuke Ishiwatari's BlazBlue character illustration

Daisuke Ishiwatari's Guilty Gear character illustration

Daisuke Ishiwatari's Guilty Gear character illustration

Daisuke Ishiwatari's Guilty Gear character illustration

As for Daisuke Ishiwatari’s vision? Guilty Gear series has consistently been one of the favorites in the fighting game community. The game appeals to a select fanbase that is different from other games like Street Fighter, Tekken, or Mortal Kombat. Playing and learning the game feels like going rock climbing instead of a mountain hiking. Not to mention, the latest Guilty Gear game looks very pretty and stylish.


Any Daisuke Ishiwatari or Guilty Gear fans among our readers? How do you like the franchise so far?

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