Game-Watch recently shared a massive sit-down interview with SEGA concerning SEGA AGES on Switch and much more. The interview features Kagasei Shimomura, Senior Producer of SEGA AGES, Rieko Kodama, Lead Producer and Director of SEGA AGES, and Naoki Horii, M2 Development Team on SEGA AGES. Check out some snippets from the interview below, translated by NintendoEverything.
Why the team decided to create SEGA AGES: Phantasy Star
Kodama: Our main concept for this release was, “Let’s let players experience this game in a way that makes sense for the modern era.” It wasn’t our intention to remake the game or make any huge changes. So, we have an optional setting called “AGES Mode” where your movement speed is increased, the experience you gain in battle is increased, and the gold you get in battle is also increased. This provides a more streamlined experience.
I discussed new features with the director at M2, Matsuoka, and he echoed my thoughts that adding too many new features to the game might end up making it feel more like a lazy remake. So rather than that, we wanted to give players a taste of the classics in an updated way. Apparently, Matsuoka is also a big fan of “Phantasy Star”, so he was really careful not to sully the experience.
Even though our goal was to preserve the original experience, there were still some aspects of the game that we had to evaluate. For example, the text in the English version may not hold up to modern translation standards. But there’s a charm to it that makes it feel so very of its time. So we decided to keep it as is.
Not being able to keep the original planned pace for SEGA AGES releases
Shimomura: We feel very bad that our releases have been much slower than we initially planned. We understand that some fans are upset by this, and we apologize for letting you down. I believe there were some things that we spent too much time developing, but I hope all our fans understand that this extreme attention to detail was necessary to meet our fans’ expectations of the titles in this collection. No one needs a mediocre or half-baked game. We will strive as a team to accomplish the goals we set out to do.
On one hand, the timing of the release is crucial. We want to get the game in the hands of players at the best possible time, based on market research. We don’t want the project to get lost amongst others and we don’t want to lose sight of releasing a great game.
Those two points sort of contradict each other, so it’s tough to find perfect harmony. We were certainly affected by this delicate balance and it caused the development some strain. Therefore, we ended up releasing the game later than anticipated.
M2 really put in tremendous efforts and made the release of “SEGA AGES Phantasy Star” possible. One of the reasons for the delay was the fact that there were some learning curves with the Nintendo Switch. It took extra time to get the SEGA AGES format to pair up with the new hardware. All of those learning curves are behind us now, so I think you can expect our releases at a faster pace moving forward.
Not only are the staff at M2 more familiar with the hardware, but they’ve added new members to the team, as well. We want to get as close as possible to the release schedule that we first planned out. However, we have to accept that our initial goal of releasing 15 titles over the course of one year may not be possible.
NAOMI series arcade board games as part of the SEGA AGES lineup
Horii: Specifically, we’re currently exploring games that use the SEGA NAOMI series arcade board, rather than the Dreamcast. There is a game that uses the SEGA NAOMI board that we really want to play, ourselves, so we’re working on it now. It’s a game that even Shimomura is all about, so perhaps he can speak further about it. We want to release it one way or another.
Shimomura:We do have the SEGA NAOMI series arcade board running on the Nintendo Switch already. Hopefully with the success of the first volume of releases in the “SEGA AGES” collection, we can make it a reality.
Horii: We’re excited about the prospect of getting games that use NAOMI to play in beautiful HD resolution—And played portably, at that, thanks to the Nintendo Switch.