Rumor: Shenmue HD Remasters are real says Just Add Water CEO

shenmueOver on the infamous video game messaging board, NeoGAF the CEO of Just Add Water confirmed  that the Shenmue HD Remasters of the first two titles are real. First you’d ask yourself who the development team ‘Just Add Water’ really is. Well, I did some journalistic google searching and found their wikipedia page:

Just Add Water (Development) Ltd., doing business as Just Add Water, is an independent video game developer based in Otley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Founded by Stewart Gilray in 2006, Just Add Water has worked on different titles for the PlayStation 3 and PC, notably the Oddworld series. They have teamed up with Oddworld Inhabitants, to recreate the series in high definition as well as working on new installments in the series.

The Just Add Water CEO didn’t confirm anything outside of a short ‘Oh, it’s real… :-)’ message, so we made this a rumor considering that he could just be kidding with fellow board members. Though you’d think someone that is a CEO of a company that specifically ports old games wouldn’t be joking about Shenmue HD Remasters being the works. Considering Shenmue news is serious business to fans that have been waiting for SEGA to port the games since forever. Maybe Shenmue HD Remasters will be shown off in some form come E3 next month? What are your thoughts about SEGA possibly doing Shenmue HD Remasters of the first two games? Would you purchase them again? Let us know in the comments below.

Know you gonna dig this – Jet Set Radio Future celebrates its 15th anniversary!

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It’s fifteen years later and we’re still trying to understand the concept of love. That’s right, on this date SEGA and Smilebit’s Jet Set Radio Future released in Japan to Microsoft’s Xbox! Just a few days later, on February 25th, the game hit the Americas (thankfully not retitled Jet Grind Radio Future) and then on March 14th those in Europe got to see what those in Japan and the Americas were raving about.

Jet Set Radio Future was a dramatic shift for the franchise for a number of reasons. As the first direct sequel (the Game Boy Advance game was more of a downgraded – but still highly enjoyable – remake), JSRF looked and played very differently. The entire universe had a new art style, characters were very different both in look and allegiance, and the game played less like an arcade game and more like an open world adventure. But hey, what can you expect? It was the future!

SEGA Channel Retro: Sonic Riders Retrospective with S0LV0

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Ten years ago the 15th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog left us with a pretty sour taste. But did you know that there was one game that came out to celebrate the heritage with a racing game boasting an extreme attitude, extreme air and some extreme gear. Tune in 7PM Centra/1AM GMT for the livestream of Sonic Riders as the Retro crew and Unleashed Project’s own S0LV0 tour through the game in extreme style!

SEGA News Bits: Sonic the Hedgehog turns 25 years old

Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary officially kicked off on June 23rd, which was of course the release date of the eponymous game that started it all. In this SEGA News Bits, George and Barry look back on 25 years of Sonic by spin dashing through all the main series Sonic Team developed console games. There are quite a few to get through, so consider this more of a SEGA News Smörgåsbord. Why are you still reading this? Click play and enjoy!

What are your favorite Sonic games? Let us know the comments below and like always thanks for watching! If you like our SEGA News Bits videos, make sure to subscribe to us on our YouTube channel.

SEGA Memories: Playing Jet Set Radio Future for three days straight in 2002!

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2016 is a big year for milestone SEGA anniversaries, and while the Jet Set Radio franchise didn’t make our mega list (which you can check out right here), I’d be remiss as a Jet Set Radio fan if I didn’t tip my hat to the sequel Jet Set Radio Future which turns 14 today in North America. As an all-encompassing SEGA fan, I don’t really pledge allegiance to one franchise. Everything from Space Channel 5 to Guardian Heroes to Valkyria Chronicles pull at my SEGA fan heartstrings. But one franchise that gets to me more than any other is Jet Set Radio. Playing the first game on the Dreamcast was more than your typical “yay, a new game” experience. Jet Set Radio introduced me to a crazy new world where bright colors, catchy music and offbeat street culture melded together into a game that I couldn’t stop playing. It wasn’t so much the gameplay the grabbed me, as it was the world of Tokyo-to. Popping the game into my Dreamcast was another free trip to explore my favorite video game world.

So you can imagine my excitement when Jet Set Radio Future was announced, featuring a much larger world and even better graphics. The only catch? It was on a console I had never intended to buy at the time, Microsoft’s Xbox.

The History of Sega Japan R&D, Part 4: The Current Sega

A NEW STRUCTURE, A NEW SEGA

The executive team, Hideki Okamura (Left), Hisao Oguchi (Middle) and Takayuki Kawagoe (Right). These men have been responsible for risque games such as Segagaga, Jet Set Radio and also Sega Saturn and Dreamcast marketing in Japan. With these man, the unique corporate culuture of Sega would continue.

The executive team, Hideki Okamura (Left), Hisao Oguchi (Middle) and Takayuki Kawagoe (Right).

In 2005, Sega was back in the black in all areas for the first time in a long time. The Sega Sammy structure was completed, and the next generation home consoles were ahead. Like in the formation of twelve new R&D studios in 1998, executive management had a reset. Long time executives Hideki Sato and Hisashi Suzuki retired from Sega, after their thirty – or even in Suzuki’s case – forty years of service.

Masano Maeda & Naoya Tsurumi
Masano Maeda & Naoya Tsurumi

As mentioned in Part 3, Hisao Oguchi would atain the highest executive position which he held until 2008 where he received even wider responsibilities as Chief Creative Officer of Sega Sammy.

Then there is Masano Maeda, who joined in 1991. Madea was responsible for building a new Western management team that made crucial partnerships and buyouts of Western companies, like Creative Assembly, Sports Interactive and Secret Level On a side note: the amount of games developed for Xbox 360 amount to roughly forty games, and on PC to about sixty games. On the Dreamcast, the amount comes to fourteen, and old PC releases amount to sixteen.

A look back at Smilebit’s Gunvalkyrie – an underappreciated SEGA classic

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In the West, SEGA’s Smilebit has become synonymous with the Jet Set Radio games, and for good reason. Like Sonic The Hedgehog to the Genesis and NiGHTS into Dreams to the Saturn, the original Jet Set Radio became one of the Dreamcast’s defining games, showcasing unique graphics and reinventing a video game genre. As SEGA left the hardware market in 2001, internal developers announced which consoles they would favor and Smilebit fittingly ended up with Microsoft’s Xbox.

I say “fittingly” because it only made sense that a developer known for pushing the graphical envelope would choose the Xbox, given Smilebit members’ propensities for expansive worlds in past titles like Team Andromeda’s Panzer Dragoon Saga and the first Jet Set Radio. While Jet Set Radio tried to conceal the fact that the game actually consisted of several small areas linked by clever tricks allowing the Dreamcast to load the next area as the player skated to the another section of the map, on the Xbox Smilebit could truly create expansive and detailed worlds. Utilizing the Xbox’s power, Smilebit did just that with Jet Set Radio Future, Panzer Dragoon Orta, and Gunvalkyrie.

My Most Memorable Panzer Dragoon Moments

 

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Image credits: Will of the Ancients

As one of my favorite video game franchises, Panzer Dragoon contains many memorable experiences for me. From my first time flying through the sunken ruins in the original to my final battle in Saga, this series will always hold a unique place in my collection of gaming experiences.

With Team Andromeda Month winding down, I wanted to share some of these experiences. In the interest of keeping things interesting, since most Panzer games tend to end on a high note, I won’t be talking much about final stages or boss battles. I will also be spreading them across all of the games in the franchise in order to avoid favoring any one game too much over the others, as they are all worth talking about. Keep in mind this is a personal list, so feel free to chime in with your own top five moments in the comments!

The Future of Panzer Dragoon

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It’s hard to believe Panzer Dragoon Orta is more than 12 years old. Looking back, Orta has aged incredibly well. Its visuals are still gorgeous and its gameplay still feels just as smooth and polished as it did in 2003. In an age where all sorts of obscure games are seeing digital re-releases and all sorts of franchises and genres are finding new life in the realm of digital, I think it’s a missed opportunity that Panzer Dragoon hasn’t received any sort of new release while digital gaming has been booming.

So today I thought I’d write up an article exploring the many ways Panzer Dragoon could (and should) fit into SEGA’s renewed focus on digital and mobile gaming.

Swingin’ Report Show #77: Interview with Greg Johnson, co-creator of Toejam and Earl

Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove is a Kickstarter campaign from Greg Johnson, video game designer and co-founder of ToeJam & Earl Productions. On this week’s Swingin’ Report Show podcast, Greg joins us to talk about how he plans to bring the funky aliens back in a new game, and how he and Mark Voorsanger pitched and developed the original three games of the series for SEGA.

Learn how Toejam and Earl made the transition from Greg’s subconscious to video games, what it was like working with SEGA throughout the 90s, his thoughts on the sequels Panic on Funkotron and Mission to Earth, and how Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove is set to reimagine and build upon the famous first game. If you’re a game developer, or simply want to know more about how games are made, this episode is a must listen!

Show your support for Greg and his team, check out the Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove Kickstarter today!

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Developer Retrospective: We take flight with SEGA’s Team Andromeda

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The SEGA Saturn’s surprise early launch in America is considered one of the most disastrous mistakes in the history of the video game industry. It angered SEGA’s third party publishers and retail partners, it allowed Sony to get the drop on the Saturn with a lower price point and it ultimately destroyed SEGA’s dominance in the American market, financially crippling SEGA permanently. The launch did have a bright spot though: it introduced the games of SEGA’s Team Andromeda to the West.

This month is devoted to the games of Team Andromeda, and to kick things off we have a developer and Panzer Dragoon franchise retrospective. Ready to take flight?

Developer Retrospective: A look back at the games of SEGA’s WOW Entertainment

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When SEGA WOW Month began, we took a look back at the games of SEGA’s Overworks. While Overworks existed for only a short span of time before merging with WOW Entertainment, this month has made it very clear that Skies of Arcadia made a major impact on SEGA fans. But what of WOW Entertainment? Unlike Overworks, WOW managed to release a large number of games spanning different genres on different pieces of hardware. From sequels to classic franchises like The House of the Dead and Columns, to new franchises like SEGA GT and arcade oddities like The Typing of the Dead, a collaboration with Namco, and a dog walking simulator. While WOW Entertainment can’t be pinned down to one iconic title, they more than made up for this with an amazing library of games!

Join us now for part two of our SEGA WOW retrospective, in which we take a look at the many games of WOW Entertainment.

SEGA Channel Retro: Independence Day Stream Archive

Originally broadcast the day before today, I check out a couple of fan favorite SEGA games on the original Xbox console in favor of America’s 4th of July celebration. Watch me play the first hour of Jet Set Radio Future and take notes on how I try to woo the ladies of OutRun 2. Finally I stretch my freedom as far as possible by playing Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 which released on the Triforce Arcade Hardware, which was a cross production between Nintendo, Namco and SEGA.

You can check out our live streams on our Twitch channel or catch the archives on our YouTube channel. You can also expand this article to check each listing for each video, with our Twitch videos reaching 60 frames per second. Also be sure to check out highlights of our previous streams in the related posts!

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.

New Head of Xbox Phil Spencer says gamers want Microsoft to bring back Shenmue

Phil-Spencer

Following his recent appointment as Head of Xbox at Microsoft, Phil Spencer spoke with Polygon about his ideas for the future of the brand. Regarding his leadership, Spencer promised that “with me you’re going to get a focus on gaming first and a best platform to play games on.” When asked about what games he receives requests for, Spencer named the Shenmue franchise as the biggest request Xbox owners ask Microsoft for. Spencer jokingly referred to it as “the big Shenmue contingency.”

A new Shenmue isn’t on the horizon just yet, but it is good to know that people like Phil Spencer have the franchise on their minds thanks to the efforts of fan campaigns. Help out the #SaveShenmue campaign yourself by heading over to their site and spreading the word.