Yu Suzuki Honored with 2011 Game Developers Choice Pioneer Award!

Straight from SEGA comes word that the legend Yu Suzuki has been awarded the 2011 Game Developers Choice Pioneer Award. I, and I’m certain every other SEGAbits writer and reader, congratulate Yu Suzuki for this achievement. He truly is a gaming pioneer! Insert “Shenmue III please” comment here.

After the break, check out the press release and make note of his official title at SEGA.


Creator of Shenmue and Virtua Fighter Series to Be Recognized for Nearly Three Decades of Creative and Influential Career Achievements

TOKYO (February 11, 2011) – SEGA® Corporation is proud to announce that Yu Suzuki will be the recipient of the Pioneer Award, a Special Award presented as part of the 2011 Game Developers Choice Awards and one of the highest honors in video game development.

The Pioneer Award celebrates those individuals who developed a breakthrough technology, game concept, or gameplay design at a crucial juncture in video game history. Yu Suzuki will be accepting his award at the eleventh annual Choice Awards ceremony on March 2, 2011, during the Game Developers Conference 2011 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

Suzuki, currently a Special Advisor at SEGA® Corporation overseeing the company’s worldwide content strategy, joined SEGA in 1983 and has been one of SEGA’s leading video game creators for almost three decades. Suzuki is known for many industry firsts and genre-breaking games, including critically acclaimed and renowned game franchises such as Virtua Fighter™ and Shenmue™.

One of his earliest works was the first real-time simulation arcade racer Hang-On™ in 1985, followed by the immersive rail shooter Space Harrier™, which featured the first full color computer graphics in Japan, and the driving simulation Out Run™. With the aerial combat simulation After Burner™ and the racing game F355 Challenge™, Suzuki then delivered some of the world’s most celebrated games of all time. His internationally renowned 1993 creation Virtua Fighter spawned the 3-D fighting genre and has been recognized for its contribution in the fields of Art & Entertainment by the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1999, the release of the visually stunning Shenmue for the SEGA Dreamcast™ console marked the first console title for Suzuki. Shenmue would break new ground with its open-world 3D gameplay, its non-linear story and revolutionized the adventure game genre by giving players unprecedented control over the game’s character through Suzuki’s “FREE” (Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment) concept.

Until today Suzuki has been responsible for the creation of more than two dozen titles at SEGA. In 2003, he became the sixth person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Science’s “Hall of Fame.”

Yu Suzuki will be on stage to receive the Pioneer Award at the eleventh annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco on March 2, 2011. In addition to receiving the coveted Pioneer Award, Suzuki will also be presenting a lecture during the main conference portion of the GDC at 10:30AM on Wednesday, March 2, 2011, discussing some of the landmark game titles that he has created over the past two decades.


15 responses to “Yu Suzuki Honored with 2011 Game Developers Choice Pioneer Award!

  1. George needs to go to this.

  2. Supa says:

    Congratulations on yet another award, Mr. Yu Suzuki!

  3. Ali says:

    Strange press release, SEGA Japan didn't care about him for the last years, and now that he gets this award they are proud of him and write all these nice words. Leccaculo in my language.

  4. Sharky says:

    If anyone deserves it it's him!

    Now how about that Shenmue 3.


    Where do you get the idea they don't care about him? Just because he has a more low key roll in the company now doesn't mean he isnt appricated.

    In fact it seems he has one of the highest most important jobs.

  5. "Suzuki, currently a Special Advisor at SEGA® Corporation overseeing the company’s worldwide content strategy"

    was this known before?

  6. Suzuki Yu says:

    totally deserve it, this award is there for people like him.

    and as an interesting point he is the first Japanese Developer to be honored with this prize!

  7. Ali says:


    no, not that I know


    They didn't accept his projects, they cancelled his games, they gave him only low supervision jobs and didn't allow him to make his real job, to produce games. His new role sounds nice, but again, it's nothing in comparision to let him make his games with a own team. Maybe I'm wrong, but thats my opinion.

  8. Suzuki Yu says:


    it was known before that Suzuki san is still with SEGA as Officer even after the establishment of YS Inc.

    he was on stage in a gaming event in S.Korea talking about SEGA's future in Arcade gaming and 3D.

  9. Suzuki Yu says:

    this photo was taken from the event he was attending:

  10. Sharky says:

    @Ali, pretty much all great directors in Japan eventually assume a less involved role. Even Nintendos Miyamoto is less involved these days. Yuji Naka did too.

    Do you REALLY think Sega cancelled Phy-Phi because they have something against Yu Suzuki… Common now! It was obviously cancelled for a good reason.

    Fact is with the development of Shenmue Yu Suzuki was treated a little to well and ended up blowing the budget on all sorts of pointless shit… Like sculpted heads of the main characters. If anyone else did that in any other company I think they'd be shown the door in no time.

  11. Ali says:

    @Sharky Yes, maybe Psy Phi was a great shit, but if he made only 1 game (SEGA Race TV) in 8 (!) years, there must be something wrong. They didn't no more give him an important role in the company, that's no secret. And now he was forced to build his own team outside of SEGA to do that what he really wants, create games. I like his new role at SEGA and hope he can become important again and take his own decisions like before.

  12. VyseLegend says:

    Nothing to see here folks.

  13. A Winner Is Yu says:

    Wasn't Sword of Vermilion his first console game?

  14. cube_b3 says:

    Exactly what I was thinking?

    Where is Vermillion, that is officially his first game, though it sucks today and wasn't even great when it was released.


    As for his position, it is a figurehead position meaningless.

  15. A Winner Is Yu says:

    It is a rather plain game, but at the time it was a breath of fresh air. It was the first RPG I ever played and beat (I was a bit late on the Dragon Warrior wagon and Phantasy Star wagon) and there was a dearth of RPG's brought out west just yet. There were alot of things I liked about it. Such as all the action RPG elements, the boss fights, everyone showing their appreciation to you in the playable epilogue, and the music. The music still rocks!

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