Veteran Graphic Designer for Square Enix, Manabu Daishima, has passed away at the age of 45.
Daishima apparently died in a freak diving accident near the Izo Kaiyū Kōen Diving Center in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. While diving with two other people, he lost consciousness four meters underwater, and was pronounced dead at the scene after his two friends dragged him out of the water onto the shore.
Despite his relative young age, Daishima is a veteran graphic designer at Square, beginning his tenure with the company in his early 20's when the company was SquareSoft. The first game he worked on officially was Romancing SaGa in 1992, where he designed the monsters the player would fight. He would later work on background designs, field graphic designs and battle graphic designs, along with other bits of game development for several Square titles, including high profile games such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IX and XII, and the cult classic Parasite Eve.
Daishima's last credited work was Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, My Life as a King in 2008.
While not a household name, Daishima's nearly 20 year history with Square speaks for itself, and also highlights an interesting thing about video game design - we sometimes don't know that much about the people who work on these games.
If you think about it, what are the chances that Daishima is the only designer on the Square team who has passed away? There may be tons of graphic designers out there who are practically anonymous, but help bring to life our favorite games. Daishima is no exception and did so through smaller parts of the games whole package. The simple things, like the battle graphics of Parasite Eve or the map design in Final Fantasy IX helped make those games memorable, and one man of perhaps many, was responsible for that contribution.
We may not know much about every single developer who works on a game today, but their work is never in vain. For someone like Daishima, his contributions will always live on.