Fans of Sega, however many remain, have had it rough in the past decade or so. Between rushed releases of buggy games, all of the North American division of the company more focused on pushing poor quality titles they think will bring the company vast riches, and the long dead horse known as Sonic the Hedgehog that they can’t stop brutally beating, it hasn’t exactly been a cakewalk for anyone expecting something worth their time from these developers. Famitsu, a magazine based in Japan, interviewed Sega CEO and president Naoki Satomi about their history and Satomi had some interesting thoughts.
According to Satomi, Sega’s holdings are still strong in much of Asia, and he cites the unexpected level of success reached by Yakuza Zero. As far as console gaming, he noted on the relative failure of the PlayStation 4 in Japan:
“It may look rough if you look a it from a Japanese standpoint, but on a global scale the PlayStation 4 has a record-selling history, so I believe there’s a good opportunity there.”
And this is all well and good, but from that point on in the interview, things take an interesting turn. Famitsu began asking about Western audiences how sales are in Europe, Australia, and North America. Satomi said,
“As far as the Western market goes, we learned a lot from Atlus…If we can make a title with proper quality, I believe there’s a good chance for it to do well even in the West for players that like to play Japanese games.”
Their acquisition of Atlus was the last time Sega made any waves in the news, and it seems they’ve been taking some notes watching the studio work under them. Their future in console gaming was the next thing questioned by Famitsu, and Satomi seems to have been going to dropping jaws with the following lines.
I’ve been talking to the employees about how we should start putting serious consideration into quality from this point on…Especially in North America and Europe, where it’s always been more of a focus on schedules, I believe that if we can’t maintain quality, it would be better to not release anything at all.
Anyone that follows Sega to any degree, firstly, can confirm the part about North America and Europe focusing on schedules (*cough* Sonic Boom *cough*), and, secondly, would never have expected someone, especially their CEO, to admit it could ever be better to delay a release for the sake of quality. Satomi went on to say,
We did our best to build a relationship of mutual trust with older fans of Sega, but looking back, there’ve been some titles that have partially betrayed that [trust] in the past 10 years.
Pretty heavy stuff coming from a company whose recent image portrayed a company more concerned with a holiday release of a buggy game than with a delayed release of a quality one. Famitsu went on to ask if there’d be a new console game announced before 2016 and were told by Satomi,
Since we’re seriously considering quality, I can’t make that promise for the time being, but I believe we will announce something for home console at Tokyo Game Show.
So the hype train will be leaving from TGS for Sega’s next new console game, but the interview ends on a much more substantial note. I’ll leave you readers with Satomi’s last words from the interview. Famitsu asked about the overall future of the company, and was answered with the following:
Sega in the ‘90s was known for its ‘brand, but after that, we’ve lost trust, and we were left with nothing but ‘reputation. For this reason, we’d like to win back the customers’ trust, and become a ‘brand,’ once again.
P.S.: Thanks to Siliconera for the translation. Great stuff!