[Update: It seems that their might have been some mistranslation when it came to Siliconera’s reporting on the story. While it said it was Hajime Satomi who was interviewed, according to Gematsu it was actually his son and newly crowned president of Sega Games co that was interviewed. It makes sense since he barely got the job in April during the restructure.]
Its easy to see that there have been issues at SEGA that they have been trying to get patched up. One thing is for sure is that SEGA Japan’s in-house gaming studios haven’t delivered titles that have been up to par and it always seems that they are trying to go triple A development and falling short with unpolished titles being released. It seems that long time SEGA CEO and President Hajime Satomi understands fan’s frustrations, he talked to Famitsu about how SEGA Japan has actually been learning from Atlus’ model of game creation:
“As far as the Western market goes, we learned a lot from Atlus. If we can make a title with proper quality, I believe there’s a good chance for it to do well even in the West for players that like to play Japanese games.”
It also seems that Satomi is really eyeing the Playstation 4 as a future console they want to release titles on, while the company has been only focusing on the Nintendo Wii U in the West in the last few years (it seems that might change):
“It may look rough if you look a it from a Japanese standpoint, but on a global scale the PlayStation 4 has a record-selling history, so I believe there’s a good opportunity there,”
While we know SEGA will have a big focus on mobile games, considering that a huge percentage of Japanese gamers are using the platform as its main gaming machine, Famitsu asked him what they are looking to focus more on when it comes to console games. Answer? Quality.
“I’ve been talking to the employees about how we should start putting serious consideration into quality from this point on. Especially in North America and Europe, where it’s always been more of a focus on schedules, I believe that if we can’t maintain quality, it would be better to not release anything at all.”
He even went on to acknowledge that they have put out titles in the last ten years that could have betrayed fans of SEGA’s trust… this is pretty big thing to say for a CEO, especially from SEGA Japan.
“We did our best to build a relationship of mutual trust with older fans of Sega, but looking back, there’ve been some titles that have partially betrayed that [trust] in the past 10 years.”
Famitsu kept on with the hard hitting questions on the topic and asked if they could expect a high quality title to be released sometime in the second half of this year.
“Since we’re seriously considering quality, I can’t make that promise for the time being, but I believe we will announce something for home console at Tokyo Game Show,”
While he didn’t want to say that the TGS game would come out this year, considering his comment to commit to quality products I don’t blame him if he wants to take his time. Famitsu’s last question was all about what we can look forward to in the future from SEGA:
“Sega in the ‘90s was known for its ‘brand, but after that, we’ve lost trust, and we were left with nothing but ‘reputation. For this reason, we’d like to win back the customers’ trust, and become a ‘brand,’ once again.”
This seems to be rather big admission from SEGA of Japan, who don’t really comment on game quality all that much, at least not their CEO. I hope this means that the higher ups really understand that they should put their consumers first. But hey, I’m a firm believer that actions speak louder than words, so bring it on TGS!