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Jeffery: Yu Suzuki Still With Sega As 'Creative Officer'
Jeffery: Yu Suzuki Still With Sega As 'Creative Officer' Exclusive
August 12, 2008 | By Brandon Sheffield, Leigh Alexander

August 12, 2008 | By Brandon Sheffield, Leigh Alexander
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More: Console/PC, Exclusive



Famed game designer Yu Suzuki, known for helming the Outrun, Space Harrier, and Shenmue franchises, is still working with Sega Corp, according to new information provided by Sega representatives.

Yesterday, as part of Gamasutra's in-depth interview on the state of everything Sega, Sega of America president Simon Jeffery was asked for specifics on the notable, but recently low-profile creator.

At the time, Jeffery noted of Suzuki: "He's kind of his own man right now. Every now and again, he'll come up with an idea, and I don't think anything has come out of that yet, but we're still working with him. He's not an employee anymore..." -- adding when Gamasutra asked for clarification on whether he was employed at Sega, "not as far as I know."

"I can safely say that Yu Suzuki is in fact still a Sega employee," said Jeffrey in a corrective statement made to Gamasutra today, adding that Suzuki "...is a Creative Officer of Sega Corp."

Suzuki has largely been under the radar in recent years, famously working on Shenmue Online in China for a number of years, and heading a prototype-only arcade title called Psy Phi for Sega in 2006.

His last known credit is more contemporary, though. He reportedly worked on Sega Race TV, a late 2007 Lindbergh arcade board-based racing title. The game, which featured link play and running AI commentary throughout the races, was also released in Western markets.


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Comments


Gabe Carter
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This is kind of sad. Yu Suzuki was a powerful name in games for me in years past. F355 Challenge, Virtua Fighter, and of course Shenmue were all favorites. I get the impression that Shenmue was his downfall. Is it still the most expensive game ever made?

Roberto Alfonso
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Gabe, it is reported that GTAIV budget reached 100m. It is sad, but apparently Shenmue was Gunpei's Virtual Boy. Hopefully he haven't seen the last of his creativity.

Anonymous
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duh

Dedan Anderson
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its a shame when the interviewer knew more about the CEO's company than the CEO. Simon FTL!

Anonymous
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Why on earth would the CEO of Sega America know who is specifically employed at Sega Corp. in Japan? People probably don't understand the distinction between these organizations - they aren't really the same thing. It doesn't sound like Mr. Suzuki is doing anything significant that would or should be known about within the international Sega circles. Creative Officer at Sega Corp. may mean that he is doing nothing, but still on the payroll or even taking an office simply out of respect. Japanese organizations often have people on the payroll who did something great in the past, but perhaps have less involvement now. No disrespect to Mr. Suzuki in saying that, he is great and significant...which is likely why Sega Corp. is still respecting him so much as to offer him such a great title. Japanese companies are very loyal to great employees but they do have an 'old boys network' hierarchy.

Sterling Reames
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Shenmue III please.

Anonymous
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Hey Sterling, you got millions of dollars to help fund the project?

Christopher Shell
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I feel bad that this is the state he is in as a game developer. As Roberto said, I can see Shenmue's painful commercial failure doing to him what the Virtual Boy did to Gunpei Yokoi and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within did to Hironobu Sakaguchi...and in way...what the PS3 early struggles did to Ken Kutaragi.



Whats funny is all those men, despite the ambitious projects that dealt blows to their company's financial standing, were also responsible for some of the greatest things to ever happen to those companies, and to gaming.



An ambiguous "Creative Officer" title and utter lack of commercial activity signals to me that Yu Suzuki has been, in a sense, "blacklisted" within the company in at least a similar way that drove all the other men I mentioned to end up leaving.



Yu Suzuki deserves better than this, IMHO, Shenmue deserved MUCH more respect than it got, and regardless of how things work out for Yu Suzuki in the future, he will always be a tremendous inspiration to me as an aspiring game developer.

Yannick Boucher
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I fully agree with you, Christopher. 100%, couldn't have said it better. On another hand, i didn't even realize Psy Phi never made it to a commercial release... dang! I played Sega Race TV, and it is totally average, it really doesn't feel like Sega. Feels more like Midway. Anyways, I'm really saddened by this. I guess it means we can truly forget about Shenmue 3 ?! No way... never... !!


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