Farewell to a Downtown Nekketsu legend
Japanese developer Miracle Kidz! has reported the sad news that its president, Mitsuhiro Yoshida, passed away “suddenly” on August 30. Yoshida, who has been part of the games industry for many decades, is best known as the co-director of one of the most popular brawlers in history, River City Ransom.
Described by his Miracle Kidz! colleagues as the “father” of the Downtown Nekketsu franchise, Yoshida — alongside co-director Hiroyuki Sekimoto — may not have been responsible for the creation of the Kunio-kun franchise, but certainly helmed its most well-known and widely played entry. River City Ransom, (known in its native Japan as Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari) launched on the NES in 1989 and is one of the first titles to marry the belt-scrolling brawler action of the series with a non-linear RPG structure. The international success of RCR helped paved the way for a slew of sequels and spin-offs.
Miracle Kidz President, Mitsuhiro Yoshida (吉田晄浩) passed away suddenly on August 30.
He was the creator of the “River City Ransom(Downtown Nekketsu)” series. pic.twitter.com/C70jTbbhej
— ミラクルキッズ！公式アカウント (@miracle_kidz) September 3, 2022
Yoshida would continue to work with the franchise, directing the goofy NES port of Nekketsu Koko Dodgeball (Super Dodge Ball), before starting up a studio comprised of many former employees of old-school developer Technos Japan. Since founding Miracle Kidz!, Yoshida has continued to work on several titles set both in and out of the Kunio-kun universe, and was reportedly working on a new game right up until his untimely passing.
As a mainstay of any NES owner’s catalog, River City Ransom has provided brawler fans with hours upon hours of double-fisted action — paving the way for the series’ enduring appeal, recognized today in the form of WayForward’s popular River City Girls franchise.
We at Destructoid offer our condolences to his family and friends.