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

The History of Sega Japan R&D, Part 3: Innovative Heights and the End of an Era



Playing up an executive managing director and joking about the state of the Dreamcast at the time, says a lot about Sega’s attitude at the time.

In Part 2 we covered Sega’s golden age, but great heights inevitably can bring great lows. Sega had lots of up and downs throughout their history. They also had great games, lots of them! But ultimately Sega did not make that much money from the Saturn. However, in the arcades they did absolute gangbusters. Sega needed to change their approach in regards to development and also their hardware. The solution was to make the Dreamcast and NAOMI arcade hardware the same and have all of the internal studios make games for it,in turn allowing them further grow and prosper. Twelve R&D studios in total were established, and the nine software studios were not split into arcade and console divisions – they made games for everything. Hisashi Suzuki and Yu Suzuki would manage the arcade business, with Hisashi putting in his final stretch at Sega before retirement.

The History of Sega Japan R&D, Part 2: The 90s Golden Age


The Model series of arcade hardware by Yu Suzuki in co-operation with Lockhead Martin, where the next step in the Sega arcade world. Virtua Fighter sold Sega Saturns in Japan.

The Model series of arcade hardware by Yu Suzuki in co-operation with Lockhead Martin, where the next step in the Sega arcade world. Virtua Fighter sold Sega Saturns in Japan.

In Part 1, we looked at Sega’s origins and their Japanese game development during the 80s. In Part 2 we turn our attention to the golden age, when Sega was fought in the console wars and arcades were in full-force globally. Throughout the 90s, Sega would really grow up and mature and have individual divisions, splitting into arcade and consumer software and product development. Many of the programmers, designers and planners of the 80s and earlier would become managers and producers of their own divisions.
Let’s start Part 2 off with the growth of their AM studios, which is short for Amusement Machine Research and Development.

The History of Sega Japan R&D, Part 1: The Origins and the 80s


Sega is an interesting company when it comes to their origins. There are companies like Namco, Taito and Konami that started in the 60s with electromechanical games and there are those like Capcom and Square that started in the 80s with video games. Sega is different.

Sega had its roots even earlier with slots and jukeboxes in the 1940s in Hawaii, when they were known as Standard Games. Today, Sega of Japan would rather say that Sega didn’t start until it was moved to Tokyo and renamed to Service Games in 1951. However all that expertise in manufacturing slots and jukeboxes during the Standard Games days really gave Sega the boost they needed when they entered the market to manufacture their very first “Amusement Machine” in 1965, Periscope, which the company still prides itself for as it was their first worldwide commerical success.

SEGA Tunes: Jamming out to the Gunstar Heroes OST

So as most of you guys know we are celebrating ‘The Year of Developers‘, one of the focused developers this month is Treasure and since their cult classic Gunstar Heroes‘ just got a re-release on the Nintendo 3DS we decided to have a look at the games soundtrack. Honestly, most people will be quick to give you hundreds of reasons why you should play the game, but almost none of them will mention the fantastic soundtrack.

Let’s look at some of my favorite tracks and then you can tell me some of your favorite tracks (or tracks you hated) in the comment section.

Developer Retrospective: The winning combination of SEGA and Compile


As summer winds down, we thought it would be the ideal time to shift the focus of our Year of the Developers feature to third party Japanese developers who have worked with SEGA in the past to bring us countless classics. We are, of course, referring to the legendary developers Compile, Treasure and Westone. While these three developers existed on their own outside of SEGA, their collaborations with our favorite company utilizing beloved SEGA home console and arcade hardware went a long way in cementing their statuses as some of the best third party developers of the 80s and 90s.

Developer Retrospective: From the Gridiron to the Basketball court, these are the games of SEGA’s Visual Concepts


This month we will be celebrating the games of Visual Concepts, a western developer that is best known for the creation of the 2K Sports franchise of games. Not only did they have a long history battling EA on the Dreamcast; but they continue to battle against the EA Sports brand video games even after leaving our favorite publisher. What better month than July to focus on this largely overlooked and talented US-based development team. After the break, let’s look back at the games and history of Visual Concepts!

Developer Retrospective: Rolling with the arcade kings of SEGA’s Amusement Vision

YOTSD-AVAs we hit the halfway point of the Year of the SEGA Developers, we turn our attention to a favorite of ours: Amusement Vision. Okay, so being a SEGA fan site, every SEGA developer is our favorite. But just look at Amusement Vision’s portfolio: imaginative new games like Monkey Ball and Ollie King , follow-ups to classic franchises including Space Harrier’s Planet Harriers, Daytona USA 2001, and Spikeout and Virtua Striker sequels. Amusement Vision also holds the distinction of being the first SEGA developer to take on a Nintendo franchise with the much loved F-Zero GX and F-Zero AX.

As is customary for a developer month kick-off article, join us as we look back on how Amusement Vision came to be, their library of games, and where the staff are now!

Developer Retrospective: Experience synesthesia with SEGA’s United Game Artists


This month we are proud to celebrate the unique and musical driven games of United Game Artists (ユナイテッド・ゲーム・アーティスツ). The team was made up of members of SEGA AM6 and headed by Sega AM3’s Tetsuya Mizuguchi. Unfortunately, the team was short lived and only released three titles under the ‘United Game Artists’ banner. Regardless, those three games have made such an impact on us gamers that we are still talking about them over a decade later.

Developer Retrospective: The wonderfully unique games of SEGA’s Smilebit


SEGA’s development team Smilebit existed in the public eye for only four short years, yet in that time they managed to create one of the company’s most unique franchises, revived a classic Saturn franchise, contributed to a long running series of popular Japanese sports titles, and managed to create a few new franchises that have gone on to become true hidden gems. It’s fitting that we follow Team Andromeda Month with Smilebit, as Smilebit was actually the bringing together of the SEGA AM6’s Team Aquila, Team Andromeda, and G9 Team (though some staff ended up moving to United Game Artists). This mix of talent lead to Smilebit being primarily tasked with the Let’s Make series of sports titles, franchises that were largely confined to Japan. Utilizing former Team Andromeda staff, the team spearheaded the latest (and thus far last) Panzer Dragoon game. But what really made Smilebit unique were their new franchises including the Jet Set Radio games, Gunvalkyrie, and Hundred Swords.

All month long we’ll be celebrating Smilebit’s eclectic mix of games, celebrating the classics, the lesser known titles, and the ones that never left Japan. Ready to look back? Let’s go!

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


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


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.

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


Last week when we kicked off Overworks and WOW Entertainment month, we took a look back at how SEGA organized their many internal development teams over the years. Among those teams were Overworks and WOW Entertainment, two separate teams that released games from 2000 through to 2004 when they were merged and became SEGA WOW. This week, we will be taking a look back at the games released by Overworks. While the Overworks softography is small, especially compared to giants like SEGA AM2, in the span of four years Overworks released some truly classic titles.

Developer Retrospective: How Overworks and WOW Entertainment became Sega WOW


Moving into the second month of our Year of the SEGA Developers, we shine the spotlight on two beloved SEGA development teams as well as their short life as a single entity. SEGA’s Overworks and WOW Entertainment were formed in in the midst of the Dreamcast era alongside several other internal SEGA development divisions. Prior to the formation of these teams, SEGA had a long history of shifting about, renaming, and refocusing the efforts of their many internal developers. To better understand where Overworks, WOW Entertainment, and SEGA’s many other divisions came about, let’s dive into a short history of SEGA’s internal teams!

Developer Retrospective: We celebrate the legacy of SEGA AM2


SEGA AM2 is just one of those developers that always puts a smile on my face whenever I talk about their games. Not only do they have one of the most vast libraries, but they also revolutionized gaming in general multiple times over the past decades. Let’s look at the developer that popularized sprite-scaling in the 80s, gave us modern 3D with their Virtua series and created one of the most expensive games ever as we walk through their legacy.

Don’t forget to join us all month long while we talk more about SEGA AM2 and all their legendary franchises.