SEGA Talk Podcast #12: Crazy Taxi (1999)

We’re back! SEGA Talk turns its high beams on and takes a closer look at SEGA AM3’s classic arcade and Dreamcast game Crazy Taxi. Despite its seemingly simplistic premise, Crazy Taxi offered up a lot of depth and has seen a long and successful history as a franchise with games still being released as of 2017. What are our memories of the game? What was the development history? How do the in-game cabbies compare to real life cab drivers? All this and more is talked about on SEGA Talk!

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If you want to give us feedback, suggest a topic for the next podcast or want to ask a question for us to answer on the next episode you can add them as a comment below or send theme directly to our email. Make sure you use subject line ‘SEGA Talk’ and as always, thanks for listening!

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

REUNIFICATION AND TWELVE INNOVATIVE R&D STUDIOS

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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.

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

THE NUMBER ONE ARCADE ENTERPRISE

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.

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

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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.

Virtua Tennis 4 being developed by orginal team due to fan feedback


The guys over at Eurogamer have grabbed a pretty good interview with Mie Kumagai, producer for Virtua Tennis 4. One of the important questions asked was why AM3 took the franchise back to Japan, when Virtua Tennis 2009 was done by Sumo Digital.

“The reason why it was taken back to Japan with the original studio was looking at Virtua Tennis 3 and 2009 and listening to fan reaction and user feedback, we felt for 4 there needed to be a lot of major changes in the game.

With that in mind, if you’re going to add a lot of new elements, if you’re going to change something quite a lot, to some respect you have to scrap what’s already there. We felt it was a task best done by the original team who understood the game the most, who understood the main concepts and goals of the game the most, and had the most experience. We could constructively scrap parts where we would need to update and think about what could be changed, what could be updated.

At the end of 2009, we felt almost every element in the game was exhausted. So we needed to bring a lot of new things on board. That’s why it was taken back to the original team in Japan.”– Mie Kumagai, Virtua Tennis 4 producer

I love Sumo Digital, but I’m very excited that the original team is back and trying to deliver a fresh game in the series. There is just so much you can do with tennis, I guess we will see the changes when the game launches in the spring.