Former SEGA of America CEO Tom Kalinske has harsh words for the company

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Tom Kalinske oversaw SEGA of America in the early 90s during the Genesis era, arguably the company’s most successful time in the console space. Despite their incredible Western success under his leadership, his relations with SEGA of Japan were sometimes strained, most notably with regard to the launch of the Saturn. He departed the company in 1996.

Speaking to at the DICE Summit, shortly after the recently-announced downsizing and relocating of SEGA’s American headquarters, he does not mince words when discussing his former company.

“[Their departure from hardware] was not inevitable,” Kalinske said. “It could have been avoided if they had made the right decisions going back literally 20 years ago. But they seem to have made the wrong decisions for 20 years.”

Platinum Games discusses how Bayonetta 2 came to be

Bayonetta 2’s announcement was a surprise; not just because word on the long-rumored sequel had been scarce for years, but because it was revealed to be a Nintendo-published title exclusive to the Wii U.

Platinum Games discusses the process of getting Bayonetta 2 made, along with porting the original, in this video posted to IGN. Check it out!

Bayonetta 2 releases in North America and Europe on October 24th.

Retro Review: Shenmue (SEGA Dreamcast)

Even with the ridiculous and almost unprecedented hype that surrounded the release of SEGA’s mega-budget Dreamcast title Shenmue, it’s tough to imagine that gamers first diving into the series back then would have any idea how legendary (or infamous) Ryo’s adventure would become. Who could have guessed that even nearly 15 years later, fans would be still be begging for more?

Love it or hate it, the still-unfinished saga that is Shenmue has become a legend in its own right: a mystery etched into the fabric of gaming that may never be solved. But it’s a game very much worthy of that legendary status. It may not have been for everyone, but for those who “got” Shenmue, there was simply nothing else like it.

What today’s Japanese RPGs can learn from SEGA’s Skies of Arcadia

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If there’s one type of game that has struggled to find its footing in the modern era, it’s been the Japanese RPG. Looking at a console generation that has seen a major RPG from the creator of Final Fantasy struggle to achieve a Western release, and one where the once-mighty RPG giant Square-Enix has become more known for Tomb Raider than for their RPG output, it’s without a doubt been an interesting ride for the genre.

In recent years it’s been the games that have deviated most from the typical format, such as the Persona series and Dark Souls, that have garnered the most mainstream appeal outside of your usual Final Fantasy releases. As the seventh console generation wound to a close, however, we’ve also seen the smallest signs of a shift back. With more traditional Japanese RPGs like the 3DS’ Bravely Default being warmly received worldwide, it’s shown that developers can look to the past to find inspiration for the future.

And if they look back at Skies of Arcadia, there’s plenty they can learn from the Dreamcast’s biggest traditional RPG.

Alien: Isolation’s creative lead states that his game is not Colonial Marines

IGN has conducted an interview with Al Hope, creative lead developer for the upcoming Alien: Isolation.

In it, he specifies a number of different things, many of which should make Alien fans quite happy. His team, he says, from the start set out to create a different Alien game than Colonial Marines was: a true horror experience, something completely unlike the shooter-focused direction its predecessor took on.

Isolation, which according to Hope has been in development for the past four years, has always aimed to take the series back to its roots; the first movie, in particular, where the horror, not the action, took center stage.

“It would be awesome to show Ridley Scott what we’re doing,” Hope said. “I’d like to think he’d really appreciate the care and attention and level of detail we’ve put into re-creating his original vision and original universe and I think he’d appreciate it.”

Alien: Isolation hits stores this November.

SEGA Sammy Q1 results for Fiscal Year March 2015

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Sega Sammy has released their financial results for what was a fairly quiet Q1 for the company. Japanese tax increases and advertising costs took a toll on their bottom line, while their games divisions, including arcade, console, and mobile, all struggled due mainly due to a lack of new content. In short, Sega Sammy has certainly seen better days, though some big titles coming up should help them regain at least some of their traction.

SEGAbits at Comic Con Preview: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

From its announcement, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric has drawn a healthy bit of skepticism, especially among the hedgehog’s older fans. Developed outside of Sonic Team by the unproven Western studio Big Red Button and intended to coincide with the release of the Sonic Boom cartoon series, fears typically associated with the phrase licensed game immediately came to mind. Having had the opportunity to play the demo, it’s evident that Sonic Boom has potential, I just hope that what I played isn’t too indicative of what we’ll be playing when the game releases this November.

SEGAbits at Comic Con Preview: Alien: Isolation

I should preface this by saying that I’ve never been a huge Aliens fan. I’d seen Alien years ago, and while I thought it was a fun and creepy movie, it’s never been a series that I’d become overly familiar with. I was excited though when SEGA picked up the license, hoping to see what type of spin they’d put on an IP that offers a lot of opportunity.

On that note, I’d like to thank whatever deity exists out there that made me forget to place my preorder for that Colonial Marines game. But Alien: Isolation is from the start an entirely different beast. Planted firmly in the survival horror genre and not feeling, based on this demo, like a shooter of any kind, this game is scary. It’s a wonderfully, ridiculously scary bit of survival horror that has the potential to reinvigorate a genre that’s become so much less about scares in recent years than it ever should have been.

It’s the type of game that will have you diving for the light switch.

Next Yakuza already in development


While it’s a surprise to absolutely nobody, Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Masayoshi Yokoyama have confirmed to Famitsu that they’ve begun work on the next Yakuza game, following the release of Yakuza Ishin earlier this year.

Details are scarce, with a more formal reveal likely to take place in the near future. For now, the two mostly discussed the process of auditioning the game’s hostesses.

As has become typical, it’s unlikely that we’ll hear anything about a Western release, though I’d love to be proven wrong.

Keep it glued to SEGAbits for the latest on the Yakuza series and of course all other SEGA news.

Retro Review: Shadow the Hedgehog

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On January 4th 2006, I submitted to Gamefaqs a review for Shadow the Hedgehog , a game which at the time I boldly declared “the worst SEGA game I’ve ever played.” To date, the 2/10 score I gave it is the lowest I’ve scored a game in any context, on any site I’ve reviewed for, and nothing I’ve played either before or since has inspired a similar score. My outlook on SEGA at the time was incredibly bleak; it was a game that really tore down my confidence in the company and where it was headed, and for those reasons I’ve left this review, for the most part, as is, as a piece of history for how I viewed SEGA at the time, and where I feared the company was headed. Though I’ve edited it a little for form and trimmed it down, the message remains intact. Read on for my thoughts on Shadow the Hedgehog, directly from 2006, as I sat down to review what was (and still is) the worst game I had ever played.