Keiji Okayasu

From Sega Retro

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Keiji Okayasu.jpg
Keiji Okayasu
Employment history:
Role(s): Programmer
Education: Shibaura Institute of Technology (Telecoms Engineering)[2]

Keiji Okayasu (岡安 啓司) is a former AM2 member known for his work on console titles. He took over for Toru Ikebuchi as main programmer for the Saturn release of Virtua Fighter and, by extension, Virtua Fighter Remix. He would then act as Director for the home release of its sequel. He is best known, however, as the Game and Program Director for Shenmue.

Okayasu is also known for Rent A Hero No.1, a game that failed to reach overseas. He served as Executive Producer; his last role with the company.

Okayasu left Sega the following September to found studio fake, Co.,Ltd. with Noriko Ishimoto, with the title of Vice President. He has since directed titles such as Custom Robo: Battle Revolution and Odama.

Following the Kickstarter success Shenmue III, he joined the development team of that title.


Keiji Okayasu joined Sega Enterprises in 1988 with the intent of becoming a game designer, but was instead made a programmer. He was assigned to the arcade-focused department Sega R&D 8, but was also interested in making games for home consoles. Because of these qualms, he jumped at the opportunity when programmer Tomoharu Kimura suggested doing an RPG for Mega Drive, which became Sword of Vermillion. Okayasu was part of this project as scenario writer, map layout designer and programmer[1].

Despite wanting to make an RPG beforehand, his difficult experience with Sword of Vermillion made Okayasu not want to make an RPG ever again. However, he quickly forgot his struggles and began work on another Mega Drive RPG: Rent A Hero[1]. This was a project mainly developed by newcomers with 1 or 2 years of experience, Okayasu himself only having 3, so many aspects of game design were taken as advice from composer Hiroshi Kawaguchi[1], who had 7 years of experience at Sega.

Okayasu gained notoriety in 1994 as the main programmer behind Sega Saturn launch game Virtua Fighter. He was promoted to director of the sequel's 1995 Saturn port, which saw even more success. After this he became immersed in developing Shenmue, with no other projects in-between. Because of this secret project and his sudden disappearance from the media, rumors began to spread that he had retired from Sega[3], but he dispelled these rumors in a 1996 interview covering his past work on Rent A Hero. His next media appearance would be a month after the Dreamcast was released, at a major event where Yu Suzuki confirmed that Okayasu would serve as game director of Shenmue[4].

Production history



Magazine articles

Main article: Keiji Okayasu/Magazine articles.

External links