Classic SEGA Magazine Corner: Xbox Nation interviews Smilebit’s Panzer Dragoon Orta artists


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!


Click the magazine spread for an expanded view

Reading-Over-Your-Shoulder Observations and Interesting Factoids:

  • Smilebit’s Panzer Dragoon Orta team consisted of a staff of 25
  • Takashi Iwade has had a long history with SEGA and Panzer Dragoon. Virtua Racing, was the game that inspired him to join the company and the Saturn’s Panzer Dragoon was his first project. Iwade was also an artist on the little talked about Dreamcast/PC title Hundred Swords.
  • Despite leaving SEGA in 1993 for Sony, Kentaro Yoshida freelanced on all Saturn titles including Orta. Interesting that a man working for SEGA’s major rival in the Sarturn era contributed to the games that many point to as being titles that make the Saturn stand above the Playstation.
  • Dune, Mad Max, and French artist Moebius are all cited as inspirations for the Panzer Dragoon world. The character Mobo the Wormrider has always felt like a very Mad Max-inspired creation, similar to the kooky Gyro Captain portrayed in the films by actor Bruce Spence.


Click the magazine spread for an expanded view

Reading-Over-Your-Shoulder Observations and Interesting Factoids:

  • It has to be said that Xbox Nation had some really excellent design in their magazine, featuring clean layouts and an emphasis on large photos, screenshots, original concept art.
  • This interview was held by XBN freelance writer Jason Brookes, in the credits section of the magazine they suggest you read the interview, or ask Jason to swing by your house to read it to you.
  • The only direction the original Panzer Dragoon team were given by SEGA was to create a 3D shooting game for home consoles – something that was not like the arcade experience, but rather a more fulfilling game with longer stages.
  • Despite the previous game being the RPG epic Panzer Dragoon Saga, it was decided early on that Orta would be a 3D shooter like the first two games.
  • Following Smilebit’s success with Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future on a graphical level, there was discussion of making Orta a cel shaded game!
  • Takashi Iwade’s proudest accomplishment in the game: The Stage 8 boss
  • Kentaro Yoshida’s proudest accomplishment in the game: Stage 3’s sky – he’s right, it’s lovely
  • Iwade says the Namco game StarBlade was a source of creative inspiration for him

Next time on Classic SEGA Magazine Corner: GAMEFAN Magazine interviews Team Jet Grind Radio


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