Yu Suzuki: The Kikizo Interview
We spend time with one of gaming's most legendary creators to learn the latest on Psy-Phi and a great untold story about Suzuki learning Hakkyokuken from a grand master. Oh, and some Shenmue stuff too.
There are a lot of emerging markets where it's easy to expand. You need a disposable income to enjoy games. Korea, Taiwan, China, and India are emerging markets for our arcade games, but the disposable income isn't so high yet. We are especially busy with the market in China, in particular. As entertainment, arcade games won't vanish. But we'll have more options.
Kikizo: Not too long ago, arcade hardware was much more advanced than home console systems. Today, they are almost equal. To what extent are console games a threat to arcades, and what can arcades offer a player that home games can't?
YS: Yes, definitely [a threat]. But one thing that console games can't do is to gather a large group of spectators to watch you play. They also don't provide any large, specialized cabinets. Even if a console game does provide specialized controls, they're usually too expensive for the average consumer. But what I really think the continuing popularity of arcades will hinge on is "live entertainment" and real human relationships. Currently this is a weak point for most arcades.
Kikizo: What can Japanese developers do to combat the shrinking Japanese videogame market?
YS: I think Western makers are more likely to try new things, and are more aggressive. The Japanese companies are more conservative, and they rely too much on "safety" series, and sequels. They don't challenge themselves and the industry with new ideas. You can't make a new market out of that. People overseas seem to put more passion into making games that they want to, rather than games that will strictly sell. That is a big risk, but as the saying goes, no risk, no return. If you're in a desert, alone, you have to keep moving to look for water, you can't just sit there and wait to be rescued! Right now, we're going into the Chinese market. Maybe we'll be stronger there.
Kikizo: How do you think the rising cost of videogame development will affect Sega as a company and the videogame industry as a whole?
YS: Cost performance is a very important thing for a developer to keep in mind. You need good tools to help develop the games while keeping the cost down. Kind of like a "weapon," or something. We'll probably be doing a lot more outsourcing as well.
Kikizo: How is Sega different these days from the time when you started working here? Are you happy with how things have progressed? Do you miss the past, or are you more focused on the future?
YS: Yes, things are very different now! I do long for the past sometimes, but right now, I have TONS of stuff I need to do. I can't waste time on reflection. I'm focusing on the future, not the past. So I'd say that right now, my thought process is ninety per cent future and ten per cent past!
Kikizo: Let's talk about Shenmue. Can you tell us anything about Shenmue Online - where will the story of the game proceed from where it left off in Shenmue 2? How will Shenmue Online fit into the core series?
YS: Shenmue Online is still in development. I'm working hard on it - real busy! It's an MMO game for PCs. The original Shenmue had combat, so I'm hoping to focus more on the battle scenes. We also had a lot of events and minigames, which will carry over to Shenmue Online.
Remember how some of my old arcade games were in the previous Shenmue games? They'll be here, too. The player will be able to follow the Shenmue story through the game. It's not based on any existing Shenmue title. There are a lot of features in Shenmue that carry over well into an MMO game.
MMOs have a community aspect, with guilds, fighting, trading, etc. Shenmue has a lot of these features already. The area to explore is also much bigger than previous games. Like in the original game, you can learn many fighting techniques while you play.
Kikizo: In the event Shenmue was never finished, would the possibility exist for the story to be finished trough other media, like DVD or books?
YS: No, the story will be finished through games. The MMO will be a game that will have a long lifespan through upgrades and updates. This will allow gradual continuation to the story. It follows up directly to the story of Shenmue 2 at first, but maybe we'll move on even further as time passes.
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
|PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO|
Direct feed trailer
|2.53min||33.2MB||SD, 60, DF
Arcade trailer (hi quality)
|0.36m||12MB||HD, 60, CAM
As above, normal quality
|0.36m||6MB||HD, 30, CAM