This article exists because I'm miffed that Keiichi Okabe doesn't have a Wikipedia page (in English, at least, which is still disappointing).
To that end, I'd like to gush about one of the greatest composers in the video game industry. Okabe is a master at what he does, and he's been doing it for a while. Here are some of the sounds he's had a hand in.
Okabe got his start working with Namco out of college. The first game he composed for was Tekken 3, under the name B. K. O. That's right, that amazing guitar rift you heard fighting Heihachi was all Okabe. Okabe still works on the Tekken series, with the last games he participated in being Tekken 6 and 7. You can hear some of the influence of a certain game that will be referenced later in this article in that linked track, huh?
Another Namco property, Okabe created the track Boyfriend a GOGO for 2007's Beautiful Katamari. Though not particularly emblematic of the composer's style, it does match up with the general aesthetic of Katamari - and it's super catchy, too!
NieR Gestalt & NieR Replicant
Okabe's big break. While Nier the game was a commercial failure, despite it's cult-status, Nier's soundtrack is considered one of the greatest in gaming history - at least, I certainly consider it to be. Though I've only linked my favorite track from the game, there's not a single one in the game that isn't flawless, and I could just as easily post the whole soundtrack and call it a day. This is also the first time Okabe teamed up with vocalist Emi Evans. The two worked together to create the language that Evans uses for the songs. It's amazing. I love it.
The same year as the Nier soundtrack, Okabe worked on the original tracks in the anime Working!!. I don't know much about the anime itself, but the songs seem to fit the mood of the trailer I watched. This won't be the last time you see Okabe working on an anime, either.
Okabe made this song for Ridge Racer 3D. It's honestly impressive how many styles he's able to pull out for the various tracks he works on - this track sounds nothing like Nier's OST, which sounds nothing like the track he did for Katamary Damacy. Also: that breakdown at 1:50. Yo.
In 2014 Yoko Taro and Keiichi Okabe worked together again after Nier, this time on Drakengard 3. Similar to Nier's soundtrack, but a bit more eclectic in the various compositions, I'm just as fond of this soundtrack as I am Nier's. "The Final Song" puts Emi Evans' vocal abilities to great use.
Yuki Yuna is a Hero
Those with a Drakengard Soundtrack-shaped hole in their hearts didn't have to wait long for more from Okabe and Evans. The two worked together again on the anime Yuki Yuna is a Hero. The song above, with Evans' vocalization, even uses the same imaginary language from Nier and Drakengard! This is the album I generally turned people towards if they wanted more of Nier-style Okabe. Or at least, it was, until...
How do you make a soundtrack better than Nier's? You make a sequel to the Nier soundtrack. Nier: Automata's music is as much a tour de force as the original's, if not an improvement on the first. I've been listening to the game's songs non-stop since its release. That said, I would recommend that you play the game before listening to the soundtrack - the emotional impact is all the more gut-wrenching when you experience the song with the game's context.
Final Fantasy XV
Me: I'm sick of the 800 variations of Battle on the Big Bridge. Enough. No more.
Okabe: What about this?
Me: Never mind.
And that's it! For now, at least. I can't wait to see what Keiichi Okabe does next. His name might not ring with the same familiarity as Nobuo Uematsu or Yoko Shimomura, but he brings the same intensity and style as both of those composers. Now get this man a Wikipedia page!