Around what time was that?
RH: I'm going to say that was probably... I'm so bad at this! But probably...
Had you gotten into the Genesis era?
RH: Well, I left Disney to join Sega. I'm going to guess that was probably around '96.
That you left?
RH: Yes, to join Sega. Yeah, it was Sega Genesis time. Sega had the Sega Technical Institute, which was primarily the home of the Sonic team. Mark Cerny had established that as a group, but he had decided to leave.
I had been managing the relationship between Disney and Sega in terms of developing games, so I had a lot of visibility there. Since I didn't really have much to do at Disney, I decided to go to Sega and watch over STI. I was vice president and general manager of STI.
So at that time, was STI still doing 32X stuff, or was it going into Saturn?
RH: Well, in the beginning, it was all Genesis.
So it might have been earlier than '96.
RH: Might have been '95. I'd have to go look it up, basically.
Because the Saturn came out in late '95.
RH: Yeah. In the beginning, it was really around the release of Sonic 2, so that might have been '94.
It was '93.
RH: Well very good, you're ahead of me then! (laughs) So that would have been that I was there for all of the subsequent Sonic game releases, working with Naka and Yasuhara and those guys. We also had other games that we did and produced at STI. But the biggest corporate expectations were around the Sonic games, of course.
Some of those games did not come out, right?
RH: You mean the quote-unquote "other" games from STI? There were projects that were intended to be very experimental in nature that were not produced, yeah. It was part of the intent of STI, to be kind of an experimental place to try stuff that may or may not be commercially viable. There was an expectation that part of the work done there would be thrown away.
Were you there through to the 32X and that kind of stuff?
RH: Yeah, through the launch of Saturn. It was really as a result of the launch of the Saturn and the subsequent difficulties that the company had that all of the management changed around us. We weren't immediately or directly affected, because STI was a really separate kind of entity within the total corporation.
But when Sega started struggling with the Saturn, a lot of pressure came from Japan to do something about it, and they weren't able to be successful at doing enough of the right things to really make it work. The whole nature of the company changed. The management completely turned over. There was all kinds of stuff that made it not the kind of place that I had enjoyed previously, so I left Sega.