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    Jiro Ishii

    Person » credited in 18 games

    Japanese game designer most well known for directing titles such as 428: Shibuya Scramble and writing for various projects in other media including anime and live-action films.

    Short summary describing this person.

    Jiro Ishii last edited by Bowl-of-Lentils on 09/13/21 07:03AM View full history

    Overview

    Jiro Ishii (イシイジロウ) is a Japanese game designer and writer that has worked on various video games as well as anime, live-action films, and many other mediums. He is most famous for directing 428: Shibuya Scramble while working at Chunsoft in the 2000s.

    Career

    Early Years

    Ishii was an inspiring film maker when he was young and did various odd jobs in order to save money to go to a film school. This eventually lead him to working at Data West as a part-timer where he developed his first video game when he was only 19 years-old. The game was a sci-fi adventure title released in 1987 for Japanese personal computers called Imitation City, which Ishii wrote the scenario for and did all of the artwork. However, Ishii was frustrated by the technical limitations he faced while developing Imitation City and was upset that he didn't have a lot of creative control over the project since he was only a part-time employee. So Ishii left Data West and moved on to other occupations. For the next few years Jiro Ishii assisted with making karaoke videos, writing film reviews, and designing promotional materials for an advertising company.

    Multimedia Era

    Eventually Ishii found his way back to the games industry after joining the multimedia division of the Nikkei group called Nikkei Video Bank in the 1990s. Eventually the company invited Ishii to make game software at Nikkei Visual Images. Thanks to new advancements in CD-ROM technology, Jiro was excited to re-enter the game industry since he could now make games that looked more like movies. Ishii was especially impressed with Macintosh titles like Alice: An Interactive Museum, L-Zone, and Spaceship Warlock which were similar to what he wanted to create back when he made Imitation City years ago. While at Nikkei, Ishii created several titles for the PC including an FMV adventure game that served as his directorial debut called MA-RI-A: The Curse of the Puppet Museum in 1996. The following year, he created a simulation game called Little Lovers which involved the player taking care of a high school girl as either her father or brother for one year in real-time. Little Lovers was fairly popular and spawned a sequel as well as a spin-off party game for the PlayStation.

    Chunsoft

    During this period Jiro Ishii discovered Chunsoft's Sound Novel games, who's branching narratives impressed him greatly. So, when a new president decided that game development didn't fit the Nikkei brand, Jiro Ishii applied for a job at Chunsoft and join the company in 2000. Ishii hoped to make his own sound novels at the company and in fact, at the time, Chunsoft was making Kamaitachi no Yoru 2 and the company actually hired Ishii with the idea that he could also direct a sequel to Otogirisou. However that project was eventually dropped and Ishii instead cut his teeth on different projects at the company including working on Furai no Shiren Gaiden and the mobile/Gameboy Advance ports of Kamaitachi no Yoru. His break-out game at the company was the 2004 title for the PlayStation 2 called 3-Nen B-Gumi Kinpachi Sensei, an adventure game based off a long-running television show of the same name, which would go on to win the "Award for Excellence" at the 9th CESA Game Awards. Chunsoft's founder, Koichi Nakamura, then invited Jiro Ishii to work on the company's Sound Novel franchise once again which led to Ishii producing Imabikisou in 2007, an original title created from the ideas of the canceled Otogirisou sequel. Afterwards, Ishii also directed 428: Shibuya Scramble in 2008, a spiritual successor to one of Chunsoft's most critically acclaimed sound novels called Machi. The game was received very positively by fans and critics, being awarded a perfect 40 by Famitsu magazine. Later Jiro Ishii would even produce a sequel to 428 in the form of an anime called the Canaan in 2009.

    Level-5

    Jiro Ishii continued to work at Chunsoft, notably scouting Kotaro Uchikoshi and producing both Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and TRICK × LOGIC, but ultimately left the company in 2010. Ishii's games at Chunsoft had been critical hits but they failed to meet sales expectations. However, the president of Level-5, Akihiro Hino, was a big fan of Ishii's work on 428 and invited him to work at his company to make a spiritual follow up to the title. So, Jiro Ishii joined Level-5 and directed Time Travelers, a fully animated adventure game similar in style to 428.

    Freelance

    After the Time Travelers' release in 2012, Jiro Ishii once again moved on to become a freelance writer in 2014. During this period Jiro worked on a number of projects both in games and in other mediums. He came up with the concept for a crowd funded anime called Under the Dog, he worked on the Monster Strike game for the Nintendo 3DS and its anime adaptation, wrote BBK/BRNK and directed a live-action short called The Arrival of Spring for A Shogi Girl among other projects. Most recently Jiro Ishii helped compose the story for Sega's reboot of the Sakura Wars franchise, which was released in December 2019.

    External Links

    1. toco toco - Jiro Ishii, Game Creator
    2. Career Summary on Monster Strike's Official Site
    3. Jiro Ishii Tweet - Explains that The Curse of the Puppet Museum was his directorial debut.
    4. Video Interview Series with Jiro Ishii (CyberConnect2, 2020).
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