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Thread: Hideki Sato on the Sega Saturn (incredible new interview)

  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Looking over the various interviews Tom has given around the web. SEGA has been featured in various issues of RetroGamer and interviewed Tom Kalinske quite a few times; In one interview Tom said again how he had negotiated for SONY to supply SEGA Hardware, but when further in that he said SEGA Japan looked at the specs and turned it down, with SEGA Japan saying SONY know nothing about consoles. That is in direct contrast to what Hideki Sato in one of his latest interviews.
    You are remembering wrong.
    - SOA wanted to develop a joint console with Sony, splitting the hardware costs and the licensing fees. Hardware was not mentioned. SOJ shot it down saying Sony don't know videogames.
    - SOA wanted to use the Silicon Graphics chipset for the next console, SOJ shot it down with a few bullshit reasons - we know it's bullshit because SGI fixed all the issues mentioned and SOJ still said "uuuuh no" and went with the Saturn. They most likely already had the Saturn in the pipes, so they politely scoffed them off. Tom told the SGI guys that maybe they'd have more luck with that other videogame company whose name begins with "N", and this chipset ended up powering the N64.

    This is not to say that SOA did not have any other projects or suggestions going on inbetween those two, like looking at the 68020 and saying SOJ "this CPU is nice, it could work for a new console because it is more powerful than the Genesis and we can easily work with it". Without knowing the exact hardware or the exact timing, we can only speculate what these other projects could have been. For all we know they could have dated way back to 1991 or 1992.

  2. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Are you referring to Kalinske's interview in Retro Gamer 117? Because as I recall, he doesn't say he was given access to the PlayStation hardware.

    Anyway, the sequence of events as it's generally understood is this:

    • Sony and Sega begin initial talks about working together (probably in 1992). This was initiated by Okawa or Kalinske or some combination.
    • Ken Kutaragi and Hideki Sato spend six months discussing joint development, but they can't reach any clear agreement. Kutaragi only wants to focus on 3D, while Sato also wants to support 2D (for arcade ports).
    • Sega goes their own way. They work with Hitachi on developing the SH-2.
    • In early-mid 1993, Sony begins showing developers the 3D capabilities of the PlayStation (such as the T-Rex demo). Everybody is impressed, but nobody thinks it can succeed (including other PlayStation staff) because 3D games are too difficult to develop.
    • Virtua Fighter is revealed in mid 1993, and suddenly everybody is sold on the idea of 3D games.
    • Sato realizes that the Saturn's single SH-2 is not going to be enough to compete against the PlayStation (and the N64, which was also announced around that time) in terms of 3D capabilities.
    • Hitachi suggests adding a second parallel SH-2 in late 1993. Sega agrees.
    Kutaragi decided on the Playstation going full 3d after seeing Virtua Fighter, and that may have been too late if they were already doing demos of the hardware in mid/late 1993. There was an interview where they specifically state Virtua Fighter being the deciding influence on what direction to go with the hardware, so they must have seen it earlier.

    Either they saw an earlier demo of Virtua Fighter from early 93 / late 1992 (if it was ever demonstrated that early!), or I'm mixing up my facts and they were talking about Virtua Racing instead which did came out in 92.

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    So, here's one of the interviews with Tom by Retro he's done a couple and where some of the facts are changed over the years.



    There's a few little issues with that. I'll look over SONY America doesn't do R&D, but it differs from you say Gryson and a few others; Far from Ken working with Sato-san for 6 months, it was SONY working to a SEGA America tech spec, Tom mentioned the Mega-CD time of when SONY signed up to developed for the Mega CD/SEGA CD, the trouble with that was, if we listen to Ken and part of the PS team, at that stage the PS chipset was well into development and Phil was going around the world trying to court developers

    What's also strange, is how Tom said Joe Miller was designing the system, yet in any interview that the late great man gave (even with this great site) there's was nothing from Joe about that, but just talk of possible deals with Silicon Graphics or even Nvidia.
    Tom then says about wanting the Saturn to be Online (which was always part of the design) but at that time, they was no way SEGA could include a Saturn with a built in Modem or to overlook it wasn't part of the PS-X desgin at all
    and if we listen to Sato-san, Sega America were actually pushing for the 32Bit Motorola CPU, which would have meant the Saturn would have been even more underpowered)


    So somebody is getting their facts wrong and not remembering things clearly when it came to developing SEGA 6 console
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    You are remembering wrong.
    Not really. SEGA were right to turn down the N64 chipset. It wasn't that great, hugely expensive and massively delayed and development on the N64 was said to no easier than the Saturn.
    Still Nintendo had the Mario Team to save the day, while SEGA Japan let the Sonic Team make whatever they wanted and allowed SOA STI to handle the 32Bit Sonic. Which back then was a mistake and looking back now, was a total cock up. Sonic Team should have been made to develop Sonic for the Saturn
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    Kutaragi decided on the Playstation going full 3d after seeing Virtua Fighter, and that may have been too late if they were already doing demos of the hardware in mid/late 1993. .
    By June the 24th of 1992 the PS X was already well into development going the 3D route with ken asking for almost impossible gate arrays and where againt most of the top Brass at SONY where The decsion was made to 'Go it alone' and 'Chart our own Coruse' by the SONY Boss, well thats was the PS team told EDGE in its 3 features on the making of the PS The PS Team also said Star Blade from Namco was said also said be a big influence for the move to 3D. Then again Namco was actually ahead of SEGA in the tech race at that time with System 21 coming out years before Model 1 and System 22 beating Model 2 Ken Kutaragi also said the success of VF vindicated his decision to go 3D, rather than 100% influenced it.

    Phil Harrison said that in mid-1993 he was showing off the PS tech, which at that at that time was the size of an office photocopier and where he had issued getting it through UK customs given the secrecy of the unit and where the tech demo was just one side of the T-Rex face and an F1 demo which never made into actual production

    So I would say the PS was always meant to be a 3D powerhouse
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 09-16-2019 at 03:31 AM.
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  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    Kutaragi decided on the Playstation going full 3d after seeing Virtua Fighter, and that may have been too late if they were already doing demos of the hardware in mid/late 1993. There was an interview where they specifically state Virtua Fighter being the deciding influence on what direction to go with the hardware, so they must have seen it earlier.

    Either they saw an earlier demo of Virtua Fighter from early 93 / late 1992 (if it was ever demonstrated that early!), or I'm mixing up my facts and they were talking about Virtua Racing instead which did came out in 92.
    That's not quite correct about the 3D. Please see the book Revolutionaries at Sony for more info. But basically, Kutaragi wanted the system to be 3D from the very beginning. It was everybody else who didn't buy into it. Kutaragi was obsessed with 3D after seeing one of Sony's 3D workstations in the 1980s. He was hell-bent on making a 3D-focused game console, while nobody else really got it. This summarizes well:

    When Sony was developing the PlayStation in the early 1990s, videogame graphics were transitioning from 2-D sprites to 3-D polygons. However, Akagawa said that it was challenging to properly budget and push for games that used 3-D graphics.

    "What if we make the PlayStation using 2-D hardware? Such an idea was seriously considered," Akugawa said.

    Former Sony Computer Entertainment chairman Shigeo Maruyama explained that Sony employees visited other game companies to see how 3-D graphics could be presented, as no one inside Sony besides "father of the PlayStation" Ken Kutaragi really understood it.

    "Personally, I had no idea of the specifics concerning what PlayStation games could do," Maruyama said. "I was giving presentations on it without knowing much about it."

    Around that time, Sega's revolutionary arcade game Virtua Fighter became a huge hit in Japan, wowing arcade crowds with its early use of polygonal graphics to produce a game in the popular one-on-one fighting genre.

    "Once Virtua Fighter was out, the direction of the PlayStation became instantly clear," said Maruyama.

    Had Virtua Fighter not been released, Sony might have saddled PlayStation without the capability to render high-end 3-D graphics, which would have put it well behind the technology curve compared to the Saturn and Nintendo 64.

    "With great timing, Sega saved our hides," Maruyama said.
    https://www.wired.com/2012/09/how-vi...tations-bacon/

    There is a passage in Revolutionaries at Sony that specifically describes Sony showing off the PlayStation's early 3D demos to huge rooms of developers and everybody being crazy impressed but still not getting on board because they thought 3D games would be impossible to develop. The announcement of Virtua Fighter was the point where everything shifted. Virtua Fighter basically confirmed that Kutaragi had been right all along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    There is a passage in Revolutionaries at Sony that specifically describes Sony showing off the PlayStation's early 3D demos to huge rooms of developers and everybody being crazy impressed but still not getting on board because they thought 3D games would be impossible to develop. The announcement of Virtua Fighter was the point where everything shifted. Virtua Fighter basically confirmed that Kutaragi had been right all along.
    I've seen that, The issue with that was, In the making of The PS Ken and Phil told edge that after Nintendo had turned down SONY. Ken had been secretly working on the PS and for it to be leading in 3D. Edge was even told of a date and it was on the 24th of June of 1992, some what before VF. VF I think showed that ken was right and vindicated because VF was talking sales away from established 2D fighters in Japan like the Street Fighter II and III.

    I also find it hard to believe, that developers were thinking 3D games for the home or the Arcades were impossible to develop, before VF. When had the 3D polygons games from Atari and Namco in the Arcades and SEGA also making Model 1 in 1992 and a quite a lot of highly advanced 3D polygons games on the Amiga and PC long before VF.






    No mention of SEGA and nothing about working with Sato-san for 6 months and June 1992 is long before VF was shown, much less SONY jumping on the Mega CD. So lets see what Sato-san got to say on the subject
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  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    I also find it hard to believe, that developers were thinking 3D games for the home or the Arcades were impossible to develop, before VF. When had the 3D polygons games from Atari and Namco in the Arcades and SEGA also making Model 1 in 1992 and a quite a lot of highly advanced 3D polygons games on the Amiga and PC long before VF.
    It doesn't really matter what you believe. There are plenty of accounts supporting that Japanese developers thought this in early 1993, including Namco.

    But please note that they didn't say that 3D games as a concept were impossible. Obviously that wasn't true, since there were plenty of 3D polygon-based games at the time. Their point, as I understand it, is that 3D games were very limited in genre (e.g. racing, space shooting, that kind of stuff) and not expressive enough for the kinds of games they wanted to make. Virtua Fighter basically showed that smoothly-animated character models could be well-done using polygons. It showed that, rather than limiting the genres, polygons opened the doors to entirely new genres. At least, that's my memory of what was said.

  9. #189
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    Some quotes from Revolutionaries at Sony (please just read the book ):

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionaries at Sony
    Over a three-month period starting in May 1993, a team consisting of Maruyama, Tokunaka, Akira Sato (today vice president of SCEI), Yuji Takahashi (today executive managing director of Polydor), and Kutaragi visited more than a hundred companies throughout Japan.

    Says Akira Sato, who was responsible for formulating the PlayStation marketing strategy: "Looking at the status quo, it was obvious that we were no match for Nintendo. We were asking software houses to participate knowing that they would refuse. When we asked them to join us, the software houses all said, '3-D computer graphics won't happen for another ten years. Only people who have no idea of the realities of software development would talk about programming games in computer programming language (C)...'"

    When executives at software houses said, "3-D computer graphics won't happen for another ten years," they were simply being realistic. It was commonly accepted in the industry that game manufacturers would not be able to easily and cost-effectively manipulate 3-D computer graphics for quite some time--let alone incorporate them into home-use game machines.

    Namco, for example, found it utterly inconceivable that 3-D computer graphics could soon make its way into the home market.
    They responded to Sony at their first meeting: "The PlayStation represents extremely advanced technology. We doubt that it can be applied to consumer equipment." Namco had been concentrating on computer graphics technology for years and had already incorporated real-time 3-D computer graphics into its arcade games. Namco's assertion that the PlayStation's technology could not be applied to consumer equipment showed their pride in their research efforts.


    Sega's 3-D Computer Graphics: Virtua Fighter Turns the Tide

    Kutaragi and his team will never forget the events of August 26, 1993. The Sony side sat in a room in their office, located in Makuhari at the time, waiting for a meeting with Company C (well known for its combat games) scheduled for that afternoon. The meeting commenced at 2 pm, but the mood was definitely strange. It was the team's second meeting with Company C, and what they were saying completely contradicted their words from the first meeting. Company C had said emphatically at the first meeting, "Does Sony really want to commit suicide with the game business? Ours is a 2-D-image culture; we have no interest in 3-D images..." Company C, however, said that it was still considering Sony's proposal, so a second meeting was arranged for August 26.

    The day came. As at the previous meeting, a verbal description of the platform was followed by a video demonstration, but this time there were no questions about the hardware. The difference between 2-D and 3-D was not mentioned either. Company C was now taking a positive stance.

    What had made them change their minds? "Sega's Virtua Fighter," one of them said. "It's awesome. We were amazed--computer graphics really move in 3-D!"

    Sega had unveiled its arcade game Virtua Fighter at the Makuhari Game Show that day. The group from Company C had attended the game show in the morning and dropped in at the nearby Sony office that afternoon on the way back. They had been overwhelmed by Virtua Fighter. That the 3-D images of Virtua Fighter had been commercialized had made a tremendous impact on them.

    Virtua Fighter had quickly transformed software developers' attitude toward Sony. Before it was released, they had been unimpressed by Sony's demonstrations and remained skeptical about the seriousness of Sony's intentions. But Virtua Fighter changed all that. Having seen 3-D images move before their eyes, software houses began to take PS/X seriously. Some even began to initiate contact with Sony, saying: "We understand that Sony is working on 3-D computer graphics. Could you tell us about it in more detail?"

    Says Tokunaka: "We can't thank Sega enough for the timing of Virtua Fighter's release. They proved at just the right time that it was possible to make games with 3-D images. From then on, the tide turned in our favor."

  10. #190
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    Nice one, I didn't knew about that book, I only read that one interview that pointed to VF. Yeah, the timetable makes way more sense now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    It doesn't really matter what you believe. There are plenty of accounts supporting that Japanese developers thought this in early 1993, including Namco.
    It's not that I don't believe, NCL had to go to the UK because they had no 3D tech or development tools what so ever when Making Star Fox I'm simply saying Atari was leading the way for use into Polygons in the Arcades in the '80s and then Namco came along with System 21 and blew away everyone away with StarBlade: Which the SONY PS team said had an influence and even members of the Panzer Dragoon Team, bring this game up as their inspiration (rather than SEGA's own 3D games) Virtual Racing had a huge impact and if anything had more detailed and better graphics than VF .Ok, they're crud now, but there were many 3D polygons on the Amiga Jimmy White wowed so many along with F29, GP F1. I remember playing TFX with incredible 3D visuals on the PC in the shop and it was awesome. To this day I'll remember playing Alone in the Dark on my mates father PC and it was utterly incredible, I think at the time the most impressive thing I saw in the home (at the time).

    3D polygons were clearly the future for lots of styles of games, long before VF. I think many Japanese developers just didn't have the tools or editors to design 3D polygons games. Well, at least that's what Dylan Cuthbert or Gregg Tavares say. Gregg Tavares told Retro AM#1/Wow didn't even have a 3D level editor system (to test the level in 3D) and designed the levels/stages on pixel paper LOL
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  12. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Some quotes from Revolutionaries at Sony (please just read the book ):
    The point you see to miss is as Ken/PS Team told EDGE, Ken had already gone for 3D in 1992 and that was the direction he was going long before VF. VF just reinformed how Ken was right, to the SONY board. The PS team told EDGE at that stage of development most of the SONY board didn't want to enter the console market at all (they saw it as a toy sector)I find it amazing that you're overlooking what Ken/PS told EDGE. If Ken and the PS design team wasn't going all-out 3D before VF, when did Ken say he needed 1 million gate arrays. It was clear, if not entirely serious Ken was hell-bent on making a pwerful 3D system even before VF

    That's to overlook no mention of SEGA at all, no mention of working with Sato-san, but Nintendo is talked about and mentioned in the EDGE feature. Just like with the Snes and NES Mini Nintendo seem to get away with everything and people look to dig up any dirt with SEGA.
    In 'Revolutionaries at Sony' book Does is say if the SONY' PS was being designed to SEGA's America specifications or talk of how SEGA turned down the PS Hardware?
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 09-17-2019 at 06:15 AM.
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  13. #193
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingWCPO Agent Gryson's Avatar
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    Hereís an updated, more thorough timeline of events:

    • 1988 to 1991: Sony develops a CD-ROM add-on for the SNES, but the deal famously falls apart.
    • Early to Mid-1992: Sega is in the early stages of Saturn development and is searching for a CPU.
    • May 6, 1992: Sony terminates all talks with Nintendo.
    • June 24, 1992: Ken Kutaragi reveals that he has secretly been developing a new 3D-based console separately from the SNES-compatible machine. Sony president Norio Ohga makes the decision to continue development.
    • Mid-1992: After discussions with Tom Kalinske, Sony of America president Mickey Schulhof suggests to the Japanese board a partnership with Sega. Sega chairman Isao Okawa also requests that Sega consider this. Hideki Sato and Ken Kutaragi meet over a period of months to discuss the development of a next-generation console. Kutaragi is convinced that it should be fully focused on 3D, while Sato thinks it should also have good 2D sprite capabilities. The heads of Sega and Sony eventually meet, but Sega decides not to follow through with a partnership due to an apparent lack of interest from Sony and due to the risk posed by Sony to a much smaller partner.
    • Late 1992: Sega decides to go with Hitachiís new RISC chip, the SH, for the Saturn.
    • May-July 1993: Sony visits many software developers to gauge their interest in the PlayStation. They show a 3D graphics demonstration made using an expensive Silicon Graphics system (the PlayStation hardware is not yet ready). They are thoroughly rejected and are told that 3D is still too advanced for home consoles and that the game industry is founded on 2D graphics.
    • August 23, 1993: SGI and Nintendo announce partnership to develop a 64-bit home console.
    • August 26, 1993: Segaís Virtua Fighter is revealed. Developers are amazed by the 3D graphics and become interested in developing for the PlayStation.
    • September, 1993: Sega is concerned that Hitachiís SH-2 is underpowered (likely influenced by the Nintendo announcement and by Sonyís demos). Hitachi suggests using two SH-2s in parallel, and Sega agrees.
    • Early October, 1993: A prototype LSI chip is completed and put in a new prototype PlayStation that is able to achieve real-time 3D graphics.
    • October 28, 1993: Sony reveals the new PlayStation prototype to over 60 software companies. Everybody is impressed by a texture-mapped 3D demo of a T-Rex, inspired by Jurassic Park.
    • Early 1994 (?): Sega adds VDP2 or improves Saturn in some other way in response to PlayStation (this is mostly rumor from Western gaming magazines after the fact, so it needs to be verified).


    People criticize Sega for not knowing early on that 3D was going to rule the 32-bit generation, but it really seems that nobody knew aside from a few visionaries.


    Further reading:
    https://mdshock.com/2019/03/18/sega-...er-came-to-be/
    http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthr...he-Sega-Saturn
    Revolutionaries at Sony

  14. #194
    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    It's a nice time line, but Ken feature with EDGE said nothing about SEGA at all , that after talks ended with Nintendo, he was instructed by the SONY president for SONY to go alone and work on their own . Phil Harrison said that he was going around the country with PS prototype Hardware (Not Silicon Graphics systems) in spring of 93 and how it was his 1st task at Sony . You think Moto mouth Phil would have said SEGA had the opportunity, but in typical SEGA style they cocked it up

    Din't Sato say that the additional SH2 was added in direct response to PS specs and that at the time he thought 4000 Hardware sprites was more than enough , before getting the PS specs .

    Also Grydon, does the book talk of Toshiba involvement in making the PS . It seems that only EDGE covered that part .
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