News Article

Fire Pro Wrestling Creator Masato Masuda Passes Away Aged 48

Posted by Damien McFerran

Goichi "Suda51" Suda leads the tributes

If you're a seasoned fan of wrestling games then the name Fire Pro Wrestling will mean an awful lot to you. Viewed by many gamers as the first serious video game representation of wrestling, the franchise has enjoyed instalments on a wide range of systems, including the SNES, PC Engine, Dreamcast and Game Boy Advance. Sadly, Masato Masuda — the man behind this esteemed grappling lineage — has passed away aged 48.

Masuda created Pro Wrestling — the forerunner to Fire Pro — for the Famicom Disk System way back in 1986, and it received a western release (complete with infamous "A WINNER IS YOU" text) a year later.

Amazingly, Masuda conceived, designed and coded the game single-handedly, only seeking the assistance of a single artist to create the visuals. Fire Pro Wrestling Combination Tag would follow on the PC Engine in 1989, and Masuda was heavily involved with the overall direction of the franchise for many years. In 2000, Japanese developer Spike took over from Human Entertainment, with the most recent entry hitting Xbox Live Arcade in 2012.

As well as working on Fire Pro, Masuda also created the strategy title Vasteel and racing game F1 Triple Battle, both for the PC Engine.

Grasshopper's Goichi "Suda51" Suda — who worked on the Fire Pro series during his time at Human as a scenario writer — gave a tribute via his Twitter account:

He was 48 years old, still young. I genuinely pray for his happiness in the next world. He was one of the greatest creators of video games and he was my direct teacher. Thank you for giving us our favorite Fire Pro-wrestling. You are the god of it.

Are you a fan of the series? Which is your favourite instalment? Let us know by leaving a comment, and also share your thoughts on Masuda's passing.

[via polygon.com, eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (29)

GuitarAnthony

#1

GuitarAnthony said:

Such a crying shame. Loved the Fire Pro games from the SNES to the best of all - Six Man Scramble on the Sega Saturn to the GBA versions. In his honor, we shall not speak of the XBLA atrocity. He was due to be interviewed for the Wrestling With Pixels book (coverage of every wrestling game worldwide that ever came out) by Maffew of Botchamania fame soon as well. RIP Masuda-san.

Shiryu

#2

Shiryu said:

Really sad news, read about it earlier and age 48 is just way too young to go. RIP good sir, I still spend so many fun hours creating wrestler in the many versions of the game's "create-a-wrestler". Even if "Fire Pro Wrestling Returns" on PS2 is the pinnacle of the series, I will always get back to "Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium " on the SNES. It's just one of those games that would have become a a hit if it was ever released overseas, putting every licensed WWF game to shame. Looks like I will be playing this tonight.

PrincessEevee9

#3

PrincessEevee9 said:

Never heard of him, but Rest in Peace. Read the name and thought it was Junichi Masuda and was starting to freak out.

tigermask

#4

tigermask said:

Wow! This is a shock for a guy so young. I'd played Fire Pro for years and even created a few game patches for the GBA versions. Fire Pro Returns was an excellent end to the series (I agree with @GuitarAnthony the XBLA version was an abortion). If you're interested in wrestling, I would strongly suggest picking up any of them and having a go. RIP Masato Masuda

MikeLove

#5

MikeLove said:

Anybody who put an exploding cage death match in a wrestling game is fine by me.

Goodnight sweet prince...

3dcaleb

#6

3dcaleb said:

pro wrestling on nes was awesome. i remember fighting my brother and anyone else who came over for hours and hours. it never got old. its too bad hes gone. will have to check out the rest of his games now. sucks, 48 is pretty young, wonder what happened.

ajcismo

#7

ajcismo said:

Truly a sad day in the gaming world. Pro Wrestling on the NES was one of my favorites. Heartfelt condolences to Mr. Masuda's family.

SahashraLA

#10

SahashraLA said:

48.. Crazy. My parents have both celebrated 50 in the last 5 years and that seems young to me. I can't imagine how devastated his family must be. Though I never got into Fire Pro, I did enjoy Saturday Night Slam Masters on the SNES, a series that seems well inspired by Fire Pro. If I prayed, I'd be doing so now, so I'll just say 'rest well'.

tom_q

#11

tom_q said:

This is sad, Fire Pro Wrestling was my GBA launch game and i played the hell out of it.

bezerker99

#14

bezerker99 said:

The first time I was exposed to Pro Wrestling for the NES, I ended up playing it for an hour. That's not so bad ... except it was in the 80's and I was inside a department store at a Nintendo display. My mom was shopping and when she was done couldn't find me. I had forgotten all about even being there. Security eventually found me, still playing the game. Apparently an employee was announcing my name over the store's intercom asking me to come to the front of the store and I failed to even hear that.

That's how awesome Pro Wrestling is and was!!!

RIP Masuda. Your games were great!! :(

KevTastic84

#15

KevTastic84 said:

Very sad, I had FPW on the GBA and it was a lot better than any of the WWF/WWE games released on the handheld. It had rosters for soo many companies. RIP. Hope everyone enjoys Wrestlemania this weekend.

KevTastic84

#16

KevTastic84 said:

@Excep7ional It's got the potential to be great. But you never know. My friends have flown over from the UK to New Orleans for it. I went two years ago, it was amazing.

sinalefa

#17

sinalefa said:

I wonder what the cause of death was because he was so young. That is so sad. My condolences to his family and friends.

Cyberbotv2

#18

Cyberbotv2 said:

Such a sad passing at a fairly young age. He made some great, great, hardcore wrestling games. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns is one of the best wrestling games I've ever played. Brutal, old school difficulty. Nintendo should pop one of his wrestling games on to the VC. I never played the older ones, and it would be a great teaching lesson for myself, and a lot of gamers that never had a chance to experience them.

Platypus101

#19

Platypus101 said:

Absolutely loved the original Pro Wrestling on NES! Damn shame passing away so young... RIP. I can honestly attribute some of my favorite family moments playing your game.

Platypus101

#20

Platypus101 said:

Hey! Speaking of which, why not offer pro Wrestling on the VC?! I don't care if it's discounted or not, I'll buy it! ;)

Dpishere

#21

Dpishere said:

I still own the GBA cartridge of Fire Pro Wrestling to this day. Always liked the game and brought it on long trips to pass the time. Shame the creator has passed away at such a young age.

Excep7ional

#22

Excep7ional said:

@KevTastic84 That's awesome. I went to their live show they had in Norfolk last week and it was pretty cool. I can't even imagine what WrestleMania is like live. I'll try to make it there someday.

sdelfin

#23

sdelfin said:

Sad news, especially that he was only 48. I played a ton of Pro Wrestling for the NES. I discovered Fire Pro with X Premium for the Super Famicom, which I re-bought recently. I easily put more hours into Fire Pro Wrestling 6 Men Scramble than any other game. That game rarely left my Saturn.

WhiteTrashGuy

#24

WhiteTrashGuy said:

I loved PRO WRESTLING on the NES. I'm 32, 48 does not seem far away. Bless his friends and family. He will be missed.

kobashi100

#26

kobashi100 said:

best pro-wrestling series ever made. Way much better then any WWE game. As a huge Japanese Wrestling fan, fire pro was perfect for me. It simulates japanese pro-wrestling brilliantly. No stupid, wacky, soap opera storyline garbage needed.

Fire Pro D is still my favourite. Fire Pro D has a proper go for title mode which was left out of Fire Pro Z and Fire Pro returns.

Hopefully spike do bring us a new Fire Pro or KOC game soon as there has been no japanese pro-wrestling released for ages now.

8bitforever

#27

8bitforever said:

Very sad news, Fire Pro Wrestling games were the best! Time we see some Pro Wrestling on VC now.

KevTastic84

#28

KevTastic84 said:

@Excep7ional It is a very unique experience. There is no show like it in the world. It's definately worth trying to go one year. There is soo much going on in the city all week long. It took over Miami

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