The SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show is back, bringing you an interview with Maarten Brands, CEO of Cook & Becker who is behind the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Art Book! In this, his first public interview talking about the book, Maarten goes into the history of the international art dealership Cook & Becker, how the SEGA partnership began and what fans can expect from the Sonic art book.
Want to learn more about Sonic Utopia? Think you saw all of the easter eggs in the demo? Come watch the archived livestream of the game with Lange, Murasaki, Pixy and Tpot, the developers of Sonic Utopia along with me and Perfect Chaos Zero.
While covering New York Comic Con 2016, SEGAbits writer FlareHabanero had a chance to talk to Archie Comics freelance colorist Matt Herms. Matt has worked on a variety of Archie’s video game books, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Universe, Mega Man and the incredibly popular Sonic Mega Drive. Check out the interview for yourself to learn about how Matt got his start in the industry and what it’s like to work in comics as a colorist!
SEGAbits attended New York Comic Con 2016 and had the opportunity to speak about Shenmue 3 with Cédric Biscay, president and CEO of Shibuya Productions. Cédric was kind enough to sit down with our own Kori-Maru to tell us how he got his start in the industry, what it’s like to work with Yu Suzuki and more!
Sonic the Hedgehog is a huge deal for SEGA, its one of their biggest selling brands. But have they given the series the development focus that it deserved? I would say no, for example even if a game starring Sonic the Hedgehog is good, you can always tell it was rushed out the door. Seems SEGA knows its future survival in the game software industry will rest on how they treat Sonic and they’re making good on their promise by delaying September’s Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice which was mean’t to be out last fall.
“Sega is really – as of this last year – putting a huge emphasis on quality. One of the things about Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is that we held the title for a year, which is not something Sega has traditionally done, but this focus on quality is really about trying to take Sonic back to where it used to be.”
This is a huge move for SEGA and the Sonic the Hedgehog series, this might finally launch that highly polished Sonic game that all fans have been starving for. SEGA should be happy having such a loyal Sonic the Hedgehog fanbase, considering hundreds of mascot platformers have come, and went while they delivered some of the worse games in the mascot’s history. But hey, here is to the future and the new team at SEGA. Don’t screw this up!
Matt from Tails’ Channel got to sit down with Sonic’s social media manager and Sonic PR Aaron Webber (or how Phantasy Star people know him as Ruby Eclipse). The topic of the interview was the upcoming Sonic 25th Anniversary party including questions about what to expect, if Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice will be playable and what sort of merch will be sold at the event.
If you guys decide to go to the Sonic 25th Anniversary party, make sure you stop by and say hi to me and Barry since we will be attending the event. So are you going to Sonic 25th Anniversary party?
On this episode of the Swingin’ Report Show podcast, Barry sits down with game designer and gaming tournament champion Chris Tang at the Galloping Ghost Arcade’s SEGA Week. SEGA fans may know Chris best as the winner of SEGA’s Sonic & Knuckles Rock the Rock competition in 1994, and before that Chris was a finalist in 1990’s Nintendo World Championships. Since then, Chris has worked on games at Atari and Capcom, including Gauntlet IV, Primal Rage, Street Fighter III, Rival Schools and Power Stone. Now, Chris is hard at work on a new game inspired by classic SEGA titles like Space Harrier and Phantasy Star. The game, titled Strike Harbinger, combines the fast paced forward flying gameplay of Space Harrier with the RPG and combat elements of Phantasy Star while utilizing a unique control structure that evokes Virtual On.
Strike Harbinger – developed by Chris’s company HitSparks Games – was revealed Saturday, April 30th at Galloping Ghost Arcade where I had the pleasure to meet Chris and the game’s Senior Artist Kiyoshi Okuma, whose past work includes Gauntlet: Legends, World Series Baseball 2K2, The Sims 2 and Darkspore. I also had the honor to be the first member of the public to play the game, and following that experience I chatted with Chris about his life as a tournament gamer, his career, and his plans for Strike Harbinger.
Want more information on Strike Harbinger? Stay tuned for an upcoming SEGA News Bits as well as a SEGA Week writeup!
Thanks to shmuplations.com, we now have the full interview with SEGA of Japan’s Hideki Sato, the legend who helmed SEGA’s console R&D during the 16-bit era and later became the company president in 2002. The interview initially appeared in the Japanese publication Famitsu DC in 1998 and was later republished in the 2001 “SEGA Consumer History” book. Several hardcore fans, myself included, have that book in their collection, but were unable to read the interview due to the obvious language barrier. Now we have the whole thing in english! Check out the full translated interview here. The interview is in two parts, with part one covering the Dreamcast and part two covering past hardware.
Yu Suzuki has done a couple of interviews about Shenmue III the other day, one of the more interesting ones was with Dual Shockers one in which they asked him about how hard it was to get the rights for the project which Yu Suzuki said:
” It’s difficult to explain. I am the one who created Shenmue, so Sega allows me to take decisions for the game. They trust me because I know more about the workings of the game more than anyone else. There were no problems. Sega is very helpful and collaborative with me. They hope the best for Shenmue III. I actually still work for Sega as an adviser, so we have a very good relationship.”
Video game designer and voice actor Brain Silva joins us on our latest episode to discuss his work on Bubsy and Bubsy II, Floigan Bros., Hydro Thunder, and H2Overdrive as well as many other games created during his time at Accolade, Visual Concepts, Midway, Blizzard Entertainment and Specular Interactive. Brian also discusses several unreleased games including Hydro Thunder 2 for arcades, Congo: The Secret of Zinj for Genesis and SNES, and Floigan Bros. for the original Playstation!
As we all know, before the Shenmue III E3 2015 announcement, the on again/off again Shenmue franchise was constantly surrounded in a wide array of rumors, some concerning ports or high definition remakes of the first two games having been started on, or even fully completed. These rumors never came to fruition, but now we have some official insight into the status of these Shenmue ports. Says BlitWorks:
“Then we thought it would be a good idea to showcase Sonic CD, Jet Set Radio and Shenmue working on the emulators to Sega, with the prospect of a commercial release for the consoles of that time. They showed interest in Sonic CD and Jet Set Radio“.
When asked if they had anything else to say to fans, BlitWorks said:
Thanks to you! We would like to tell SEGA games fans that they don’t cease to ask for ports of great games like Shenmue or Jet Set Radio Future, we are the first ones that would like to port these games. In change.org or similar webs there are several requests about that.
[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.
One of the issues with the Shenmue 3 KickStarter is that many people felt like there wasn’t enough details on the project. Unsurprisingly fans had a million questions for legendary game developer Yu Suzuki, thankfully Yu has tried to answer fan questions. First was in a form of a live Twitch chat, that didn’t go so smoothly (which he has apologized for).
Now he has taken to Twitter and allowed users to ask him any question, all you have to do is use the tag: #YouAskYu and the response was outstanding. But what did we learn from this? We gathered some of the best answers and posted them after the break!
Its been a long journey for us Yakuza fans, I’m seriously surprised at the cult fanbase the franchise has garnered in the West. I have been pretty much into the Yakuza series since I heard about the first title, since it reminded me of a 3D Streets of Rage brawler mixed with RPG elements. After the sales failure that was Yakuza 1, I never thought we would really get a chance to play another entry in the west, guess what? We are literally in our 5th release (6th if you count Dead Souls) in the West and this one sets to conclude the journey.
The developers talk about their goals with the series, basically about how there weren’t many games that where aimed at an adult Japanese audience specifically and how that was the birth of the franchise. Check out the intereview and make sure to pick up Yakuza 5 this fall on Playstation 3.
As evidenced last month, the unofficial Microsoft Xbox magazine Xbox Nation (XBN) really liked Smilebit. Their premiere issue featured Smilebit’s Jet Set Radio Future, which is surprising given Halo‘s dominance at the time, and their third issue featured a Panzer Dragoon Orta cover and an eight page preview and interview with former Team Andromeda staff. As the magazine continued, XBN kept up on various SEGA and Smilebit titles. In the magazine’s sixth issue they returned to Japan for another Smilebit interview, this time with Panzer Dragoon Orta artists Takashi Iwade and Kentaro Yoshida. Let’s crack open this issue to see what these legends had to say!