Japanese video game music composer and sound designer, Kenichi Okuma, has sadly passed away at the age of 56 after battling cancer. The news was announced by his family via his Twitter account.
As reported by Cabin NewsOkuma composed music for a number of games during his career, including the 1998 Sega game Saturn, Langrisser V: The End of the Legendbut was arguably best known for his contributions to the 2008 Nintendo Wii title, Super Smash Bros. Fight.
“Kenichi Okuma fell asleep on July 22 due to esophageal cancer. [He] was 56,” the tweet read (translated by Google). “I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who loved Okuma’s music and to everyone involved for their long-standing kindness. Thank you very much. (All family members)”
Super Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai offered his condolences: “I pray for your soul,” he wrote (translated by Google). “Thank you for your help in Smash Bros X [Brawl]but there are songs that are also used in later series.
— 桜井 政博 / Masahiro Sakurai (@Sora_Sakurai) July 25, 2022
Okuma’s works in Fight include Gyromite, Flat Zone 2 and Pokémon Gym/Evolution – which will no doubt be familiar to anyone who has played the iconic fighting game. As Sakurai added in his tweet, these songs were also brought back in the latest installment of the series, Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
Earlier this month also marked seven years since the death of Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s former president and CEO, who worked on developing the Pokémon and Smash Bros. series. He was responsible for building the compression tools that allowed Game Freak to include the Kanto region in Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystalsomething that was adored by fans at the time, and continues to be one of the highlights of the legacy of second-gen games.
Our condolences go out to Kenichi Okuma’s family and friends at this difficult time – may he rest in peace.