Amin Abbas Dubai
Japanese Illustrator and Art Director Daigo Ikeno at Capcom has been working in the industry for over 25 years and has produced several artworks since he stepped foot in the design world in 1994.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News Japan, Ikeno shared his inspiration for video games that lead him to a major career in the video game industry.
“As I grew up, I had the chance to experience lots of different games on each new generation of consoles as they were released: the NES in elementary school, the Mega Drive and PC Engine in junior high school, the Super NES in high school and then the PlayStation in college. It feels like games have grown up along with me,” he said.
“I was also into manga and anime ever since I was little. From about the second grade of elementary school I was learning to draw by copying characters from manga – I remember that the first thing I drew was a character from Akira Toriyama’s Dr. Slump, and later on characters from Kinnikuman, Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball, Slam Dunk and more. I even did a few original stories of my own,” Ikeno explained.
“After graduating from high school, I went to a design college, and then the first company I took the entrance test for was Capcom. I had planned to take Konami’s entrance test as well, but I got the notice of acceptance from Capcom before that, so I joined them without taking any more tests,” he added.
Ikeno said he started his career with Capcom as an illustrator for posters and game packaging.
“I was lucky to receive instruction and guidance from amazing artists like Kinu Nishimura, Akiman, SENSEI and Bengus, and I learned a lot from watching them work. Akiman in particular had a big effect on me, in terms of both drawing style and work attitude,” he told Arab News Japan.
The Japanese illustrator said his first project included working on character designs for competitive fighting video game Street Fighter II X on the Panasonic 3DO.
He also explained that some of the challenges he faced were due to his own worries about working on projects with more experienced artists.
“But I tried my best to push myself to reach their level. When I would later move from the illustration department into the R&D section, and start working as a designer,” Ikeno said. “I felt that I needed to broaden and deepen my skills and the quality of character and background art I was producing, in order to keep up with the rapidly developing capabilities of the game hardware we were using.”
Ikeno said some of his favorite video games were of the action genre.
“Thinking back among the many games I’ve played, I would say a lot of Capcom games are included: Commando and Trojan on the NES, Strider and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts on the Mega Drive, and Final Fight and Street Fighter II on the Super NES. Despite my lack of skill at such games, I suppose I like games with cool and strong characters in them,” he explained.