His claim to fame is his work on the cult hit Fighting Game series, Guilty Gear, in which he produced the artwork, wrote the story, and provided its godly soundtracks. Oh, and he also provided the voice for its lead character (and Ishiwatari's Author Avatar), Sol Badguy, as well as his past self, Order-Sol (except in Story Modes, drama CDs, and Guilty Gear 2: Overture; as of Xrd, the switch to Joji Nakata seems to be permanent, as Ishiwatari indicated in an interview that Accent Core Plus would probably be his last time voicing the character). As anyone who's looked at the character list or their respective moves knows, it's evident that he is a major rock enthusiast. His favorite band is Queen.
When the production rights to the Guilty Gear franchise were temporarily lost to Sega due to the Sega/Sammy merger, Arc System Works went on to create a spiritual successor in the form of BlazBlue, where Ishiwatari merely produced the soundtrack. He also provided the voice of Freed in Battle Fantasia, another Arc System Works project.
He also provided the soundtrack to Hard Corps: Uprising, and it is still every bit as eargasmic as the aforementioned soundtracks, if not more so.
An often-peddled myth is that he worked for SNK, and was one of the main designers and programmers for The Last Blade series (due to a designer credited as "Daisuke"). However, Ishiwatari-san was already working for Arc System works as a designer on Exector by 1995.
When the rights to Guilty Gear were returned to Arc System Works, Ishiwatari announced that he was working on a new Guilty Gear game, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, which was eventually released in 2014. The Xrd series was the start of a new breed of fighting game thanks to its innovative 2.5D style that managed to nail the look and style of a 2D sprite-based anime fighter despite being made with 3D graphics. Arc System Works has since gone on to develop and co-develop respectively Dragon Ball FighterZ and Granblue Fantasy Versus, both games using the distinct 2.5D anime style codified by Guilty Gear Xrd.
At EVO 2018, Ishiwatari announced that the next title in the Guilty Gear series was in development, and formally announced "New Guilty Gear" at EVO 2019. The game's final title would be revealed in November 2019 as Guilty Gear -STRIVE-. -STRIVE- seeks to reinvent the wheel when it comes to Guilty Gear, rebuilding the series from the ground up in terms of gameplay while also advancing the 2.5D style of Xrd into a more fluid, cinematic style. Guilty Gear -STRIVE- released on June 11, 2021.
Games Ishiwatari has composed music for:
- Guilty Gear series
- BlazBlue series
- Hard Corps: Uprising
- Composed the song "Surrogate Life" for the rhythm game CHUNITHM CRYSTAL
Tropes associated with Daisuke Ishiwatari and his music:
- '80s Hair: As the page image shows, Ishiwatari possesses a wild head of hair befitting a Japanese heavy metal musician such as himself. In recent years, such as at EVO 2019, he has been appearing with a shorter haircut, though he still likes to grow it out from time to time.
- Screwed by the Lawyers: Although Arc System Works developed the series, their publisher at the time Sammy Corporation owned the Guilty Gear IP. When Sammy merged with Sega, the rights to Guilty Gear transferred to Sega Sammy Holdings. Despite this, Arc System Works still managed to self-publish Guilty Gear XX Accent Core and Guilty Gear 2: Overture, although Overture lacked the majority of the previous game cast, presumably due to these legal issues. In 2008, Arc System Works debuted the BlazBlue franchise to fill the fighting game void left by Guilty Gear's absence. BlazBlue was very similar gameplay wise to Guilty Gear, albeit different enough to stand on its own. Arc System Works would purchase the rights to Guilty Gear from Sega Sammy Holdings in 2011, and Ishiwatari soon afterward began development on what would become Guilty Gear Xrd.
- Vocal Evolution: The first time vocals were given to his work was in the 2001 album trilogy Guilty Gear X: Rising Force of Gear Image by Hiroshi Kitadani of the band Lapis Lazuli. Said vocals ranged from dreamlike, soothing singing to a bit of swagger. In 2007, Guilty Gear 2: Overture contained the first vocal character theme in an Arc System Works game, Raven's theme "Worthless as the Sun Above Clouds" sung by Junya C. Motomura, another Arc System Works employee. Motomura used a growling death metal voice for the song. Motomura would also sing for "Black Onslaught" in 2008's BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. Since Guilty Gear Vastedge XT and Xrd, Ishiwatari's vocal songs are sung by Naoki Hashimoto from the Japanese thrash metal band OUTRAGE, who uses his signature masculine, accented growl. Hashimoto would later return to sing the character themes for Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, as well as on "Surrogate Life" for CHUNITHM CRYSTAL.