Today, the official Dragon Quest website (Japanese) announced that longtime series composer, Koichi Sugiyama has died. Sugiyama passed away on September 30, 2021 from septic shock. His final work will have been on Dragon Quest XII, which has only recently been officially announced. He was 90 years old.
Dragon Quest Composer Koichi Sugiyama Dies at 90
Already deep into his career, Sugiyama joined Enix in 1985 in his fifties, and led composition for the Dragon Quest series the entirety of its 30-plus year run. While Dragon Quest is one of the most successful videogame series ever, Sugiyama and Enix/Square-Enix often butted heads over music licensing.
This led to many contemporary Dragon Quest releases launching with MIDI-based music rather than orchestral. Aside from his work as the Dragon Quest composer, Sugiyama was also infamously involved in politics.
A controversial figure, Sugiyama was a nationalist who devoted resources (such as paying for newspaper ad campaigns) to anti-LGBTQ efforts and denying many of Japan’s war crimes (notably the Nanking Massacre and the practice of “comfort women”) in World War II.
He served on the board of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, a right-wing think tank.