SEGA's Toshihiro Nagoshi on Super Monkey Ball's tight budget, F-Zero GX development and sales, Nintendo turning down Yakuza

Toshihiro Nagoshi has had a very long and successful career at SEGA. He's created numerous big-name games and long-running franchises, and continues to do so to this day. In an interview with EDGE, Nagoshi looked back on his past to discuss what it was like working on some of his most well-known projects.

Creating Super Monkey Ball

Around that time our CEO kept changing, and the newest one asked me why making games cost so much money. I told him we couldn't do it any cheaper, but at the same time I was quite upset about it. I decided to make a game with minimum resource, minimum time and minimum budget.

(...) Looking back, that's no way to work (laughs). But there are some huge fans of this game. When we gave up on making hardware, we knew the Gamecube was coming, and when it would be launched. We didn't think we had enough time to get a game ready for release day, but (...) Super Monkey Ball came to mind. I think we had ten people on the game, maybe less. We made it just in time somehow

Working on F-Zero GX for Nintendo

Compared to us, in the big picture, we are similar. But in the finer details - their decision-making and timing - things are different, and I learned a lot from them. In short, it's about objectivity. (...) It's hard to describe, but when I'd say about some part of the game, "It's okay like this, isn't it?" they'd say, "Our company does not allow this kind of thing. Ever." I didn't manage to change their minds about anything. Not even once. But that's why Nintendo has such a solid brand, even after all these years. That is why we lost the hardware war.

I really liked the Super Famicom game, and while we made a few proposals - Metroid for instance, and others - I was most confident in making a driving game because of my experience in the genre, though I'd never make a sci-fi one.

Even though we'd lost the war in the hardware market, I wanted Nintendo to see how great Sega was as a company. We made lots of characters and courses, and we did the best we could for the graphics using the best technology of the time.
Even though we'd tried really hard making games for Sega hardware, they never sold too well, but F-Zero sold over 1.5 M copies worldwide. We realised the only thing we needed to admit was that Sega did not have the ability to sell hardware (laughs). That as a developer (...) we did not need to be pessimistic at all.

After it released, I got a call from Nintendo. They said they wanted to see all the source code for the game, and wanted me to explain how we'd made that game, in that timeframe and with that budget, in detail. They were wondering how we'd done it - they couldn't figure it out. We were able to achieve something a lot higher than what Nintendo had expected.

Pitching Nintendo on Yakuza

I've never said this before, but while we released this game with Sony, I'd done presentations about it to Microsoft and Nintendo. Back then they said "No we don't want it." Now they say, "We want it!" (laughs) They didn't understand the reason why I created it.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Digital Pre-Order Now Available on All Platforms and Free Demo on Switch

IRVINE, Calif. - August 7, 2018 - Get ready to roll out - Valkyria Chronicles 4 is launching September 25 on PlayStation®4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch™, and Steam™ for PC! Digital pre-orders are now available on all platforms, and all digital pre-orders come with a special bonus - the 'A Captainless Squad' add-on mission! In this side mission, a group of Squad E soldiers find themselves on an impromptu reconnaissance operation after the squad's beloved medic dog, Ragnarok, goes missing. This mission will be available immediately for anyone who digitally pre-orders Valkyria Chronicles 4 when the full game launches on September 25 (after reaching Chapter 10 in the main story). 'A Captainless Squad' will also be available as a standalone add-on item for $4.99 in late October.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Demo Information

In the Valkyria Chronicles 4 Demo, available now as a free download on the PlayStation™Store, Microsoft Store, and Nintendo Switch™ eShop, you'll join Commander Claude Wallace and his comrades in Squad E as they begin the first steps of Operation Northern Cross. Experience the series' signature watercolor aesthetic as presented by the CANVAS Engine and get a feel for the innovative tactical BLiTZ system before the full game launches on September 25. Play through the prologue and first two chapters of the game, as well as an exclusive bonus mission created for the demo. Demo save data, including items obtained, class levels, earned experience, and currency total will transfer over to the full game, so you can pick up right where you left off. Additionally, importing save data from the demo will net you an exclusive accessory for use in the full game.

Download the demo for free today and get a head-start on the game before its release September 25! Squad E, move out!

"Memoirs from Battle" Premium Edition

Take the fight to the Empire with the Valkyria Chronicles 4 "Memoirs from Battle" premium edition, and dive into two new adventures with your favorite Squad 7 characters from the original Valkyria Chronicles. This special edition release (MSRP - $99.99) comes equipped with an exclusive artbook themed as Claude's travel journal from the game and a replica of his mighty tank, the Hafen. Arm yourself for the battle ahead by pre-ordering the "Memoirs from Battle" premium edition today at http://valkyria.sega.com!

Exclusive to the Valkyria Chronicles 4 "Memoirs from Battle Edition"*:

Exclusive Vinyl Statue of the "Hafen" Tank - Triumphantly bursting onto the scene, the "Hafen" tank vinyl statue is ready to conquer the snowy battlegrounds of Europa. More than just a tank, the "Hafen", named after Claude's hometown in Gallia, is a meaningful symbol for all of Squad E's members. This version may not have the firepower of the original, but it makes a great centerpiece for any fan's collection!

"Claude's Travel Journal" Exclusive 100-Page Themed Artbook - Valkyria Chronicles 4's story is told through the photos, notes, and memories captured in Claude's travel journal. This exclusive artbook, inspired by Claude's journal in-game, features a wide selection of the beautiful watercolor-styled art from Valkyria Chronicles 4.

A Pair of DLC Adventures Featuring Squad 7 Characters - "A United Front with Squad 7" and "Edy's Advance Ops" reunite fans of the original Valkyria Chronicles with the soldiers of Squad 7. Fight alongside Welkin, Alicia, Isara, Rosie, Largo, and Edy in over 3 hours of gameplay across 4 exclusive story missions, featuring fully-voiced cutscenes and unique challenges! After completing these missions, you'll unlock those six Squad 7 members, as well as Edy's personal submachine gun for use in your army in the main game. Bolster your forces with the renowned soldiers of Squad 7!

*Squad 7 DLC missions are available immediately through a download code included in the "Memoirs from Battle Edition." They will be available as an add-on item on all platforms around the game launch.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Features:

A Coming-of-Age Story in a Time of War - Valkyria Chronicles 4 takes place in the same timeframe as the original Valkyria Chronicles, but focuses on a whole new cast of main characters. Players will take command of the eager, young Commander Claude Wallace, engineer/heavy weapons extraordinaire Riley Miller, hotheaded Darcsen Raz, ice-cold ace sniper Kai Schulen, and more. Together, they will experience the painful realities of war--but will the bonds of Squad E's friendships survive the frozen battlefield?

The Next Generation "BLiTZ" Battle System - The part overhead turn-based strategy, part RPG, and part real-time 3rd person shooter "BLiTZ" battle system returns to the field. New features include an explosive new class called the Grenadier, numerous offensive/defensive battleship support options, chances for a unit to have a "Last Stand" action before death, and more. Plus, fight the imperial threat with more units on larger-scale maps than ever before.

CANVAS Aesthetics - The series' signature hand-drawn visual style is back and overhauled for the newest generation. Inspired by watercolor compositions, the CANVAS Graphics Engine blends visual elements of reality and imagination to create an expressive world filled with colorful emotions. Watch the journey of Squad E unfold like an interactive painting!

The Return of a Legendary Composer - The illustrious Hitoshi Sakimoto, original composer of the Valkyria Chronicles series and countless other emotional epics, returns to provide a sweeping orchestral score for Valkyria Chronicles 4.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 will be available on PlayStation®4, Nintendo Switch™, Xbox One™, and Steam® for PC in the Americas and Europe on September 25, 2018. The game has been rated T for Teen by the ESRB for PS4™ and Xbox One™. Rating Pending for Nintendo Switch™. Please visit the official website for more information: http://valkyria.sega.com.

Thanks to Timptation for the heads up!

Hong Kong, Taiwanese, and Southeast Asian copies of Shining Resonance Refrain still haven't gotten a patch

About a month ago, those who picked up Hong Kong, Taiwanese, and Southeast Asian copies of Shining Shining Resonance Refrain found out they were unable to download patches, purchase DLC, and download the Japanese voice pack. SEGA said they were working on a patch for the game to fix these issues. Unfortunately that patch is yet to come out, leaving fans hanging for quite some time. At least SEGA has provided an update on the matter, saying that the patch is still in the works.

About the Japan voice package for Switch “Shining Resonance Refrain” Asia “English version” released in July 11th, we are working on to producing the Asia “English Version” 1.01 patch for users in regions where they are not able to access to Nintendo e-Shop. We’re very sorry for keeping the users waiting, we will inform on this site when the release date is confirmed. Thank you for your kind support.

Random Time! - Finally, we can eat the SEGA logo

I thought the Sonic toaster was the weirdest thing SEGA ever released, but now I stand corrected. That honor goes to the SEGA Logo Taiyaki. Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake with red bean paste or chocolate filling. Obviously this Taiyaki is shaped like the SEGA logo, and on the back you can find SEGA's Japanese slogan, "Creation is Life." These will be available at the SEGA Taiyaki Ikebukuro Store starting August 8th, and will be available until September 30, 2018. They will cost 300 yen a piece, and come in Adzuki bean or premium vanilla flavor.

Sonic Mania cheat codes discovered

Looking to get even more fun out of Sonic Mania? A series of cheat codes has been discovered, and they work in both Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Plus. Here's the list of codes, as well as how to activate them.

- Enter Mania Mode and go to ‘No Save’.
- enable Debug Mode from the options section of Mania Mod
- Hold Y, then select 'no save'
- go to sound test and play the following sounds to activate the cheats

3 3 3 1 9 7 9 0 8 1 1 – Changes all animals into Squirrels.
4 1 2 6 – All Emeralds
1 9 9 2 1 1 2 4 – Infinite Continues
2 0 1 8 0 6 2 3 – Force Encore Mode
1 9 8 9 0 5 0 1 – Unknown
2 0 1 7 0 8 1 5 – Super Sonic Flight in normal levels (Don’t need to be Super to trigger it).
9 0 0 1 – Max Control For Sonic (Dropdash, Super Peel Out, Insta-Shield)
0 0 0 0 6 2 1 4 – Disable Super Music

Sonic Mania Plus' "The Art of Sonic Mania" booklet includes a secret uplifting message

SEGA snuck in a secret morse code message on the back of the Sonic Mania Plus art book. If you translate the Morse code message, here's what you get.

I can verify this to be true because the image of the art book is a picture I took, and I typed out the Morse code message as well! The message certainly ties into the themes of Sonic Mania, but it's also a wonderful message in general.

Thanks to Clayton for the heads up!

Sonic Mania Plus - co-op and encore mode gameplay

Sonic Mania Plus is the definitive retail enhanced version of the original Sonic Mania digital release, presented in pristine collectable packaging. Building off its momentum and critical acclaim as one of the best platform games of 2017, the nostalgic pixel-perfect visuals and fresh gameplay will deliver a classic experience to gamers across the world! See why Sonic Mania was declared as the “Best Sonic game ever!” by Game spot, and a blazing example of why Sonic the Hedgehog continues to break barriers over the course of 25+ years as one of gaming's most iconic characters of all time!

Yakuza series producer doesn't think the franchise is right for Switch, cites poor Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Wii U sales

If you think the Yakuza series would be warmly welcomed on Switch, you'd be of a different opinion from Daisuke Sato. Mr. Sato is a series producer on Yakuza, and he doesn't think it would make sense to bring the franchise over to Switch. His main reason is because of poor sales for Yakuza 1 & 2 HD on Wii U. You know, poor sales on Nintendo's worst-selling console, for a compilation that never even left Japan.

UPDATE - Here's the full comment from Mr. Sato.

“To be realistic about what happened, Yakuza 1&2 HD for Wii U was a huge failure. But we are always looking to develop for multiple platforms as much as possible and know that brings in a greater audience to attract more people. However, as far as Switch is concerned, I’m convinced that it isn’t the ideal platform on which to develop Yakuza games. Maybe people don’t expect this kind of game on Switch. Maybe they’re used to different games. It may not be the ideal platform. As for Xbox One, we can consider it, knowing that Xbox One users may be more likely to be interested in a game like Yakuza. This could potentially be an option.”