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Fire Pro Wrestling Creator Dies at 48

Masato Masuda, creator of the long-running Fire Pro Wrestling series, has passed away.

News by Pete Davison, .

Controversial developer and Grasshopper Manufacture frontman Goichi Suda tweeted earlier today that his former boss and mentor Masato Masuda had passed away at the age of 48.

"He was 48 years old, still young," wrote Suda. "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."

The Fire Pro Wrestling series is still going today, with the most recent installment being an unfortunately poorly received Xbox Live Arcade incarnation featuring Xbox Avatars.

Masuda was best known, as Suda says, for creating the long-running Fire Pro Wrestling series, which Suda also worked on as a scenario writer in the early '90s. Masuda developed the original Pro Wrestling game for NES -- the originator of the meme phrase "a winner is you" -- in 1986, largely single-handedly, and remained in control of the series for many years after the studio he worked at, TRY, became Human Entertainment and rebranded it Fire Pro Wrestling in 1989.

The series has seen 28 mainline titles and a number of spinoffs to date across a variety of different platforms, though many installments remained confined to Japan. The series was noteworthy for its large roster of characters drawn from different wrestling circuits around the world, albeit with changed names, and also for its strategic, timing-based grapple combat system. Its character creation system also proved to be particularly influential -- so much so that a detailed character editor is now an expected feature in many sports games, not just those based around wrestling.

Human Entertainment folded in 2000 and development of the series was subsequently taken on by Spike. Former Human developers ended up at a variety of companies including Spike, Nude Maker and, indeed, Suda's own company Grasshopper Manufacture.

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Comments 4

  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #1 Funny_Colour_Blue 3 years ago
  • Avatar for Critical_Hit #2 Critical_Hit 3 years ago
    Aw. That's tragic. That's just too young for my tastes - the wrong side of 50, y'know?

    Never played Fire Pro Wrestling myself, since it never looked impressive. There's even one on the PSN, as a PSX or PS2 Classic, but I just can't bring myself to check it out. But I do remember Power Move Pro Wrestling for the PSX - I always confused that for the first 3D installment of Fire Pro, so I always held the series' in high regard :P I actually think Yuke's or Aki (who went on to make all the great WWE games for the next generations) made that, but since it was unlicensed, I just mistook it for Fire Pro.

    R.I.P. Mr. Masuda.Edited 2 times. Last edited April 2014 by Critical_Hit
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  • Avatar for Wellman #3 Wellman 3 years ago
    Never played Fire Pro Restling myself but I have no doubt the AKI WCW/WWE games I played on the N64 were no doubt inspired by these games based off the descriptions of them. Not to mention teaching Suda 51..

    RIP Masato Masuda, you have made a splendid impact on gaming even if the majority of the unwashed masses never knows it.
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