Video Game Industry Icons' "Other Works"

I was doing a deep dive into a certain someone in the games industry and I had this idea for a thread about icons within the industry who are well known for maybe one property, but have their hands all over other places within gaming.

For this I have picked Naoto Oshima, designer of Sonic the Hedgehog. He started as an artist at Sega who worked on some Master System and early Mega Drive titles before submitting his concepts for Sega's new mascot character. What I find interesting about him is that while he is credited as designer or concept artist for a lot of games, you rarely see his fingerprints on the final product, save for a few examples where his influence clearly shines through.

I'm going to post some examples that I found of things that Naoto Oshima worked on or contributed to other than Sonic.

Starting with the obvious...

**Nights Into Dreams**
A lovechild between Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima, this game brims with Oshima's signature style. Wacky, cartoonish characters and bright, optimistic colors flourish in the surreal dreamscape of this game.

**Burning Rangers**
The second game of Sonic Team's "No We're Not Doing A Sonic Game For The Saturn Shut Up Already" phase, he is credited as character designer and artist, but I had trouble finding confirmed artwork done by him for the game. This piece, along with one other I found, shows aspects of his style, with the cartoon faces and long, oversized limbs.

**Pinobee: Wings of Adventure**
This one kind of surprised me. I was aware of Pinobee back in the day, but never played it, and definitely didn't know Oshima worked on it. Looking at this bit of artwork, though, you can see some "Sonic-ness" in the titular character's face (the smirk and scowling eyes) and the goddess character on the left looks like they could have been featured in Nights Into Dreams.

**Blinx: Time Sweeper**
This is the property that more or less inspired this thread. I never had the chance to play Blinx, never having owned an Xbox when it was out, but I when I saw it in the store I instantly noticed Oshima's influence on this character, what with the cheeky grin going across the side of his face. He looks like he could be a character in some lost Sonic game.

**Balan Wonderworld**
The most recent property co-headed by Oshima, Balan Wonderworld is basically a Nights Into Dreams spiritual successor, and Oshima's artistic influence is all over it. Everything from the main character, the two human characters, all the outfits to collect and even the Tims, it's all apparent this is a Naoto Oshima vehicle.

The next few items I found particularly interesting...

**Away: Shuffle Dungeon**
I had never heard of this game before, and it hardly looks like the characters are designed by Oshima, but he is indeed credited as character designer for this game. The two twin characters at the bottom kind of look like characters from his other works, but he definitely went in a different direction for this game.

**Terra Battle**
I don't know much about this game either, but Oshima did some guest characters for it that basically look like Sonic OCs (especially monkey Sonic on the left there). This is peak Oshima art right here.

**The Monkey Prince**
This is really fascinating to me, as it's not a game property, but a movie. These pictures are from 2018. Naoto Oshima was tapped to provide concept art for this CG movie in production called The Monkey Prince. I couldn't find much about it, but there are some other pictures with human characters that also look like Oshima characters.


So, who are some other players in the industry like this? I know there are other artists, programmers and designers who are known for one or two properties that have lesser known contributions all over gaming and I'm curious what you guys can dig up.

One that comes to mind is Basiscape, the musical group of Hitoshi Sakamoto, Masaharu Iwata, and Manabu Namiki who have scored nearly every bullet hell game ever made (Battle Garegga, Armed Police Batrider, the Dodonpachi series, the Mushihimesama series, Ketsui) and nearly every tactics rpg ever made (the Ogre Battle series, the Final Fantasy Tactics series, the Valkyria Chronicles series), which stikes me as a weird pairing.

Hip Tanaka, besides obvious soundtracks also

  • - made gameboy and famicom sound hardware
  • - made gameboy camera and printer
  • - was in a reggae band in the 70's
    Genyo Takeda, besides designing Punch Out and Star Tropics, also wrote the script for Animal Crossing
  • Ah man, here‘s one I’ve been wanting to get an interview with dude about for years but unfortunately I am no longer a journalist lol

    Bruce straley, the design guy people don't talk about as much at naughty dog, who led design on the uncharteds and the last of us (1 not 2), made a game - and I say made because it had a staff of fiiiiive and he was designer and lead artist - called generations lost for genesis.

    This is one of those games I just randomly bought because I wondered what the muscly dude on the cover was all about, and come to find out it's prince of persia meets xmen (genesis xmen) with a wild story that is so silly that I respect it.

    Not to spoil it but it poses itself as a hero's journey tale where a legendary armor is passed down through generations and one person is chosen to undertake an arduous task as their forebearers did 200 years ago.

    Spoiler bit: (||in actuality, this dude is part of a clan called the jani-tors (lol) and must fight his way through zones operated by others such as the kep-ten (lol also) and it turns out they're all on a bio ship that was meant to take humanity to another planet and just drifted forever instead, and every 200 years (might be a different number, I forget) it needed maintenance, but over many generations it turned into myth and legend rather than just a chore. That rules!! Dude's a gosh darned janitor by birth that has to go hit a button to keep everybody alive.||)

    I asked him at an event once what inspired him and he was like WEEEEEED

    and then also he said there was some specific book that I forget the name of now. The game is too difficult for me to beat but I sure do like thinking about it! Anyway an interview with him about this would be great and I should do it eventually. Honk.

    Oh also Richard lemarchand, cool pal who worked on uncharted and gex, worked on a game called tinhead which is so euro it hurts, it's kind of great as well, though less profound.

    Another fun generations lost connection is all the non music staff aside from Bruce straley went on to work on Mr bones, while Bruce went to work on gex enter the gecko, under rich (above). Rich wound up moving to production of uncharted and Bruce took over design of 2, after heading art in 1.

    Oh dang that generations lost game looks amazing. I've never heard of it. Reminds me a lot of flashback.

    Also I think Shigesato Itoi was the first “game designer” where I realized “oh, he has a whole weird career and many side projects outside gaming, plus he made two fishing games!"

    Kotaro Uchikoshi, director of the Zero Escape series, AI: The Somnium Files and others, did 3D modelling for Pepsiman!



    Clearly his magnum opus.