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Obituary:  D  designer and composer Kenji Eno
Obituary: D designer and composer Kenji Eno
February 21, 2013 | By Staff

February 21, 2013 | By Staff
More: Console/PC, Design

Japanese video game composer and designer Kenji Eno has passed away. He was 42 years old.

Eno is known for founding now-defunct game developer Warp, where he created the survival horror franchise D, a series of character-driven, cinematic games that earned a cult following starting in the 1990s.

A talented musician and composer, Eno also created the soundtracks for D and D2, among other games, and has produced albums that gained popularity in Japan.

At Warp, Eno additionally produced innovative games such as the audio-only title Real Sound for Sega Saturn. Fumito Ueda, famed designer of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, reportedly once worked for Warp, which boasted a staff of only five.

After D2, Warp left the game industry, becoming Superwarp, which focused on non-game entertainment industries. Superwarp closed in 2001, and Eno's final venture, fyto, was born.

Eno was known as an iconoclast in the video game industry, but his initial attraction to video games was not uncommon. In an interview printed on 1UP in 2008 he said: "The very first game I played was maybe Block Buster. But I didn't think it was anything special at that time because I was very young.

"My next experience was Space Invaders, and I liked how it made you feel kind of different. And the first time I experienced it, it's like the first time you meet a woman -- you feel something there; you feel some kind of chemistry. ... That was probably love at first sight."

According to a Japanese-language report, he died of heart failure brought on by high blood pressure.

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John Andersen
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I'll never forget playing D2 on my Dreamcast. Between breaks I'd sit at my desk with just the title screen on, looking at the snow fall on that screen, and listening to the haunting "Snow" theme that Eno himself composed for the game. I would purchase three different soundtracks for D2 because I loved the ambient music he created for that game. I really admired the talent that Eno had as a game designer and musician. Eno had so many other talents as an inventor and creator that I'm still learning about.

We'll miss you Eno-san.

Brandon Sheffield
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A terrible loss. Eno was an amazing creative force in the game industry, and the kind of disruptive character that we still desperately need.

cheers to you, may your travels be everlasting.

Christian Nutt
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What sad news. Eno was David Cage before David Cage, basically, but with more creative iconoclasm and less posturing.

He drifted away from games, but I'd always hoped he'd come back and give the industry what-for again. I can't explain how exciting D2 was at the time of its release -- it's not the best game ever, but it was a dose of macabre maturity long before console developers in the West started figuring out that was a valid direction games could go in.

Joseph Elliott
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What a loss. I was introduced to Eno by that 1up article from a few years back, and I immediately set out to explore his work. He seemed like a hell of a character. The industry, and the world, needs more people like him.

Mike Griffin
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This chokes me up. And so young.

I can so clearly remember sitting with Kenji Eno and a translator for over an hour talking about D2.

It was 1999 at E3, and Dreamcast momentum was still in full swing. Eno's work on Saturn had earned him street cred with the enthusiast and import coverage press. I loved his ideas and willingness to shun trends and speak his mind. I respected that he was also a talented composer on the side, and I loved what he composed.

We sat in an all-white meeting room playing the game across a mostly all-white backdrop. Eno was pleasant and even playful, eyes full of thought and energy, but would become serious and spend extra time correcting the translator when explaining game systems like camera choices.

Delighted to have met the man.
I'm a big fan of his work and his character, and pretty shocked that he's gone at 42.