Tomoharu Saito, 38, a distinctive game character designer and artist based in Japan and best known for his work on the Culdcept
game series has died of synovial sarcoma, a common cancer, on July 29th, 2006, according to online reports.
Saito had a long career in games, having worked on titles such as Streets of Rage 2
for the Genesis, Astro Boy
for the Game Boy Advance, the MMORPG Sorcerian Online
, and the Culdcept
boardgame CCG series for PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Xbox 360, which was his largest body of work.
He has always worked in a freelance capacity, but was dedicated to games, working through his three year battle with the disease. The origin of the cancer was his leg, which was later amputated. Saito positively brushed this off, saying "legs aren't necessary in the illustration industry." Unfortunately the cancer metastasized in his lungs, and ultimately ended his life.
His final efforts can be seen in the upcoming Culdcept Saga
for Xbox 360, and examples of his illustrations and other work can be found on his personal website
, which remains online as a memorial.