Quantcast

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 45

Thread: *Must Read* New Hideki Sato Interview on the Saturn

  1. #1
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    1,469
    Rep Power
    68

    Saturn *Must Read* New Hideki Sato Interview on the Saturn

    A new online magazine devoted to Sega came out in Japan the other day called Beep21 (by the same people behind the famous Beep! print magazines of the 80s and 90s).

    The first issue features some incredible (and incredibly lengthy) interviews with Hideki Sato, Naoto Ohshima, and Koichi Nakamura.

    The magazine costs 500 yen (~$5 USD) and I recommend anyone interested in this to buy it in order to support it (and it's all online so you can run the Japanese through a translation app). I'm not sure if non-Japanese credit cards work, though... Anyway, the link:

    https://note.com/beep21/m/mb81eee06f1de

    Now, to the good stuff. I've translated a snippet of Hideki Sato's interview where he talks about the development of the Saturn. There's some overlap with the interview he did a few years ago (which I translated portions of here), but there's also some great new detail.

    Sato is very frank about his regrets with the Saturn. The interview is insightful in terms of why the Saturn was first designed as a 2D machine.

    In particular, check out Sato's answer to the last question. He had originally considered a Saturn design based on the Model 1!


    -The Sega Saturn was released in November, 1994, but the console’s name and early images of it were printed in magazines about a year before that. When did development of the Saturn begin?

    Sato: Development of a new console obviously doesn’t happen overnight. I think we started development on the Saturn more than two years before its release. I believe we had actually begun the planning phase before the Mega CD was released (in December, 1991).

    -If it was from around the time of the Mega CD, does that mean the Saturn was intended to use CD-ROMs from the beginning?

    Sato: It’s true that the Saturn ended up using CD-ROMs, but we were also developing a cartridge version in parallel. Sega president Hayao Nakayama was initially backing the cartridge version more. Of course, it was clear at the time that CD-ROMs were the way to go for increased storage capacity, but the cost of CD-ROM drives was still quite high then. We were considering the option of using cartridges in order to reduce the price of the console. In the end, Nakayama agreed that the time was right for CD-ROMs. The size of games had grown so that there was no way they’d fit in a 4 Mbit cartridge anymore, so it had to be CD-ROMs.

    By the way, the name ‘Saturn’ was actually the development codename, and we ended up just using it as the product name. As we were developing the console, the developers and managers grew accustomed to the name, and when we drew up some proposals for other names, none of them felt right. We decided to just stick with ‘Saturn’ and released it that way.

    -In the beginning, what kind of concept or direction were you aiming for with the Saturn? With the Mega Drive, you had pushed for various expansion capabilities. Was the Saturn originally intended to be a 2D console? Or a 3D one?

    Sato: To be honest, in the beginning, I wasn’t thinking of 3D capabilities for the Saturn at all. This was partially my fault, but additionally, the game developers at Sega at the time had basically no knowledge of 3D game development. They had all been raised in the environment of 2D sprites and backgrounds, and the only developers who had any real experience with 3D were Yu Suzuki and AM2 with the Virtua series. I personally had created proposals for a number of polygon-based arcade systems by that time, and the only one who had shown any interest was Suzuki. Actually, all of the other developers wanted to continue developing using the same system they were used to. If you looked at every single Sega employee within the home console division, there were practically no programmers or designers who had any knowledge of polygon technology.

    What was special about Yu Suzuki at the time? He majored in math at university. More so than electronics, you have to be good at math to do 3D. That’s why Suzuki was ahead of everyone else in creating 3D polygon games. So, the situation at Sega was that if we made developers work on 3D games, they would have to study the fundamentals of math and geometry from scratch. Even the designers would have to study it. Up to then, designers had been drawing art pixel-by-pixel on a flat plane, including background art. If they suddenly had to do 3D CG art, they would have to learn it all from step one.

    I had taken a look at Sega’s development teams at the time and concluded, “It’s going to be impossible for them to do 3D games.” I mean, we had over 1,000 developers working in the development division at Sega then. The Saturn was going to be released in 1994, but software development for it had to begin in 1993—and in some cases even in 1992. With all that in mind, I concluded that there was no way Sega’s development assets would be able to do 3D. However, the PlayStation completely embraced polygons.

    -That was in the fall of 1993, when the PlayStation debuted within the industry as the PS-X, right?

    Sato: Right. The Sony side was completely free of the constraints of worrying about the capabilities of development teams, so they were able to fully embrace polygons. When we found out about that, we realized we were in trouble. At that point, the Saturn had only a single SH-2 for its main CPU, so we added a second SH-2 to boost the console’s processing power. Thankfully, the SH-2s could be linked in a cascade connection. A large amount of geometry calculations are required to do polygon graphics, and a single SH-2 was completely insufficient.

    -So, you added a second processor…

    Sato: Then we improved the graphics engine in order to do pseudo-3D graphics, and after that made further improvements. Hitachi was delighted because, for each Saturn sold, they sold two SH-2s. Our initial target selling points for the Saturn were that it could display 4,000 or 5,000 sprites, it had four or five background layers that could rotate, and so on, but at the very last minute, we somehow managed to cram 3D capabilities into it. The fundamental things that were missing from it, however, were development tools. With all the CPUs in the Saturn, only a tiny fraction of developers at Sega were able to make sense of them all and actually put them to use. For third parties… well, there was no way. At a later point, AM2 was able to rush and put together the SGL (Sega Graphics Library), but from today’s perspective, that could hardly be called an SDK (software development kit). It probably took third parties a full week just to get something displayed on the Saturn.

    -From your perspective, what did you think of the PlayStation?

    Sato: It’s just what you’d expect from someone like Ken Kutaragi. In fact, when the Saturn and PlayStation were being designed, there were talks about Sega and Sony teaming up.

    -Was that after the famous incident of Sony’s partnership with Nintendo for a CD-ROM-based Super Famicom falling apart?

    Sato: It was after Sony ended the contract with Nintendo.

    -What specifically happened?

    Sato: Isao Okawa, the chairman of Sega’s parent company CSK, knew Sony’s chairman Norio Ogha very well, and through that there were various exchanges between engineers at Sega and Sony. The companies were physically near each other in Tokyo, with Sega in Otori and Sony in Shinagawa. Each company’s target was Nintendo, so our goals lined up, and there was talk along the lines of, “Why don’t we try to do something together?” With each company’s chairman being top class, negotiations were started with the intention of trying to find some way to work together. From Sega’s perspective, we were trying to figure out what would happen if we teamed up with Sony. Each company had its own philosophy, and we were trying to see if we could come to some agreement. And, honest to a fault, we ended up showing our complete technical specs to Sony.

    -The specs for the in-development Saturn?


    Sato: Right, the Saturn specs. However, in the end, we couldn’t reach an agreement.

    -Was the way of thinking between Sega and Sony different?

    Sato: As I mentioned earlier, in thinking about the state of the Sega software development teams, we strongly believed that it would be too difficult for us to suddenly jump entirely into 3D graphics. However, from Sony’s perspective, especially from Kutaragi’s perspective, none of that mattered. No matter what we did, our two companies were not going to be able to work well together. In the end, we were sure it wasn’t going to work out. Based on the state of the Sega developers, it was impossible. However, looking back on things, it’s possible we were thinking too much about it and making too many conjectures about software development at Sega.

    -Were you in contact with Kutaragi then?

    Sato: Yes, and I still am. Since then, we meet two or three times a year over dinner. Well, we would typically set aside our company backgrounds and enjoy dinner as two adults. Sometimes, Kutaragi would say things to me like, “Hideki-chan, your company’s hardware business model can’t win against us, so why don’t you all give up?” We’d exchange opinions like that in an inoffensive manner. Kutaragi is actually the same age as me. He has a very straight-talking personality, so he’d say all kinds of interesting things (laughs).

    -What sticks out most about the Saturn in your memories? It was around for four years, but is there anything you wish you could have done differently?


    Sato: I’m not sure if you call it a memory, but a regret I have is not going with one of our options to use the arcade system Model 1 as the base for the Saturn. As I mentioned, I couldn’t choose that option due to the situation with the development teams at the time. However, I can’t help but think it would have been better to just force our way ahead by throwing out all of our past development assets and starting from scratch. We could have gone with 3D polygons with that kind of force.

  2. #2
    Hero of Algol
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    8,252
    Rep Power
    198

    Default

    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Gryson again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Sato: To be honest, in the beginning, I wasn’t thinking of 3D capabilities for the Saturn at all. This was partially my fault, but additionally, the game developers at Sega at the time had basically no knowledge of 3D game development. They had all been raised in the environment of 2D sprites and backgrounds, and the only developers who had any real experience with 3D were Yu Suzuki and AM2 with the Virtua series. I personally had created proposals for a number of polygon-based arcade systems by that time, and the only one who had shown any interest was Suzuki. Actually, all of the other developers wanted to continue developing using the same system they were used to. If you looked at every single Sega employee within the home console division, there were practically no programmers or designers who had any knowledge of polygon technology.

    What was special about Yu Suzuki at the time? He majored in math at university. More so than electronics, you have to be good at math to do 3D. That’s why Suzuki was ahead of everyone else in creating 3D polygon games. So, the situation at Sega was that if we made developers work on 3D games, they would have to study the fundamentals of math and geometry from scratch. Even the designers would have to study it. Up to then, designers had been drawing art pixel-by-pixel on a flat plane, including background art. If they suddenly had to do 3D CG art, they would have to learn it all from step one.

    Sato: Right. The Sony side was completely free of the constraints of worrying about the capabilities of development teams, so they were able to fully embrace polygons. When we found out about that, we realized we were in trouble. At that point, the Saturn had only a single SH-2 for its main CPU, so we added a second SH-2 to boost the console’s processing power. Thankfully, the SH-2s could be linked in a cascade connection. A large amount of geometry calculations are required to do polygon graphics, and a single SH-2 was completely insufficient.

    but at the very last minute, we somehow managed to cram 3D capabilities into it. The fundamental things that were missing from it, however, were development tools. With all the CPUs in the Saturn, only a tiny fraction of developers at Sega were able to make sense of them all and actually put them to use. For third parties… well, there was no way. At a later point, AM2 was able to rush and put together the SGL (Sega Graphics Library), but from today’s perspective, that could hardly be called an SDK (software development kit). It probably took third parties a full week just to get something displayed on the Saturn.
    Well, I guess some blind fanboys would have a stroke if they could read those lines.

    This pretty much confirms what evidences, developers opinions and interviews from third parties had highlighted over the years:
    - 3D support was a last minute thing.
    - SOJ was desperate upon the PS1 specs reveal.
    - SDK was shite.
    - Except for Yu Suzuki and his AM2 team, SOJ developers had no clue about 3D graphics, let alone building high-performance 3D engines, etc.

    Given that, it also makes sense that they went to third parties for stuff such as Saturn's Virtua Racing.
    While the fanboys usually spam the idea that everything would have been much better had SOJ handled titles like that in-house, it's clear according to this primary SOJ source that they simply didn't have enough trained developers to do so.

    One thing I'd highlight about this segment you shared with us is the unwillingness of most SOJ developers to move to 3D.
    That may even make some of the decisions related to the 32X look a little less baffling, such as the complete absence of 3D hardware features.

    I wonder if at any point SOJ considered using the 32X as a SH2-learning platform for their developers. 'Cause its release in Japan never made a whole lot of sense to me.
    Also, I wonder if Yu Suzuki had any role in the 32X release in Japan, given that him and his team put some good effort into developing games for it.

    Thanks a lot, Gryson.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    The size of games had grown so that there was no way they’d fit in a 4 Mbit cartridge anymore, so it had to be CD-ROMs.
    I believe he meant 4 MB (32 Mbit) and not 4 Mbit here.

    Again, such mindset may have impacted the 32X design since it could have easily supported 16 MB (128 Mbit) cartridges without the use of a mapper with some very minimal different choices in the design; but I guess they really weren't looking forward/planning to use cartridges bigger than 32 Mbit, which kinda sucks to be very honest.
    The way it was designed anything beyond 32 Mbit requires a mapper.
    Last edited by Barone; 12-27-2021 at 08:28 AM.

  3. #3
    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    3,773
    Rep Power
    101

    Default

    Wow!

    Thanks for translating, this is a goldmine.

  4. #4
    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wales, UK
    Posts
    6,910
    Rep Power
    78

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Youe giving it to Gryson again.


    - Except for Yu Suzuki and his AM2 team, SOJ developers had no clue about 3D graphics, let alone building high-performance 3D engines, etc.

    Given that, it also makes sense that they went to third parties for stuff such as Saturn's Virtua Racing.
    While the fanboys usually spam the idea that everything would have been much better had SOJ handled titles like that in-house


    Who mad Virtual Racing Delux? Moving to 3D polygons was a big move for many developer at that time, even Nintendo
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
    one of the best 3D shooting games available
    Presented for your pleasure

  5. #5
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    1,469
    Rep Power
    68

    Default

    Thanks for the comments, Barone.

    To further put his comments in context: What Sato is saying about developers not being ready for the shift was also said by most of the third parties. As the story goes, Kutaragi could not get anyone really interested in developing for the PlayStation until Sega released Virtua Fighter, at which point devs started to realize 3D was a viable format beyond racing games. I think there was a mad rush at that point to learn how to do 3D games, and Sony really gave developers an advantage with its PlayStation SDK.

    I don't think the 32X was entirely relevant given the timeline, because Sega's developers would have had access to Saturn prototype hardware from possibly a year before the 32X was at a prototype level. Development of Panzer Dragoon, for example, began well before the 32X was even conceived of.

  6. #6
    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    3,773
    Rep Power
    101

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Who mad Virtual Racing Delux? Moving to 3D polygons was a big move for many developer at that time, even Nintendo
    That's right. SOJ itself had some decent beginning 3D experience by 1994, Clockwork Knight was one of the earliest 3D SOJ projects. Nintendo had to rely on Argonaut at the time.

    The only other home 3D engines at the time (1993) were on 3DO (The Life Stage) and PC (Doom).

  7. #7
    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wales, UK
    Posts
    6,910
    Rep Power
    78

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    That's right. SOJ itself had some decent beginning 3D experience by 1994, Clockwork Knight was one of the earliest 3D SOJ projects. Nintendo had to rely on Argonaut at the time.

    The only other home 3D engines at the time (1993) were on 3DO (The Life Stage) and PC (Doom).
    Yep Nintendo had to look to the UK to help out with 3D. The CS Team had some decent 3D skills, Team Andromeda had some skilled staff and I think it was the 1st Saturn game started at SOJ.

    Going to 3D was a big step for many developers in Japan, more so for skilled 2D developers like Capcom, SNK.

    That's no excuse for SOJ early tool chain being so crap for early development or SEGA having so many of it's team's.working on 16bit software in 1994, rather than getting their 32bit pipelines up and ready and moving up to 32bit development
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
    one of the best 3D shooting games available
    Presented for your pleasure

  8. #8
    Hero of Algol
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    8,252
    Rep Power
    198

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    To further put his comments in context: What Sato is saying about developers not being ready for the shift was also said by most of the third parties. As the story goes, Kutaragi could not get anyone really interested in developing for the PlayStation until Sega released Virtua Fighter, at which point devs started to realize 3D was a viable format beyond racing games. I think there was a mad rush at that point to learn how to do 3D games, and Sony really gave developers an advantage with its PlayStation SDK.
    That part I was already aware of. But not the internal climate of SOJ.
    It's interesting to know for sure that their 3D projects were really the exception to the norm and limited to Yu Suzuki and his team up until that point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    I don't think the 32X was entirely relevant given the timeline, because Sega's developers would have had access to Saturn prototype hardware from possibly a year before the 32X was at a prototype level. Development of Panzer Dragoon, for example, began well before the 32X was even conceived of.
    I'd like to know more about their perception on both platforms due to stuff like this:

    https://twitter.com/tom_forsyth/stat...37944444600324

    Or the info revealed in this recent long video about the Saturn port of NBA Jam TE which ended up touching on the PS1 version and getting several quotes from Steve Snake:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcwjgnaQXXU

    It seems that Steve Snake stayed with the 32X port while the other ports were relegated to novice developers. Which is an interesting perspective as well.


    It would also be very interesting to get a quote from someone of SOJ's development teams on the game development time and expertise required by both platforms in comparison.
    Like in this thread, people tend to do 1 32X game == 1 Saturn game; but for all that I've read from actual developers, that really doesn't seem to have been the case.

    On the one hand, you have a simple devkit, 3-4 MB of data, software rendering, the option to use 68000-driven logic, flat-shaded polygons and the option to reuse your Mega Drive tools for both music and sound effects.
    On the other hand, you have a complex devkit, 500+ MB of data, complex hardware-assisted rendering, textured polygons and a completely new sound hardware.
    It seems trivial to me to assume that both things aren't equal nor equivalent at all.

    Examples:
    - Virtua Racing Deluxe had 1 Music Composer, 1 Sound Director and 1 Sound Programmer.
    - Saturn's SEGA Rally Championship had 1 Music Composer, 1 Sound Producer, 1 Sound Director, 2 Sound Effects people, 3 Sound Programmers, 1 Navigator's Voice, 1 Recording Producer, 1 Recording Director, 1 Recording Engineer.

    I mean, even if we were "naive" enough to put blinders on about the difference in scope and scale of games using CDs and cartridges; we would still have to suspect that something might have required 3 sound programmers instead of just 1. Despite both being racing games and sharing a good chunk of the staff, whereas they worked on the 32X first.

    By the same token, Stellar Assault SS has no less than 5 people credited under "texture mapping".

    Then again, for that rule of 1 32X game == 1 Saturn game to be true I'd have to believe that 5 == 0, among other things.
    And that seems to be an absurd idea.


    The history behind the 32X's Virtua Racing Deluxe, Virtual Fighter, Metal Head and Stellar Assault probably holds a few more pieces of the puzzle of how things really went inside SOJ (or Sega as whole) at the time.

    32X's Virtua Fighter seem to have been tested mostly by SOA with Yu Suzuki not being the Producer of that version but rather of both Saturn's Virtua Fighter and Virtua Fighter Remix.
    Going by the credits, they were different teams and the 32X game seem to have received more support/involvement/budget from SOA while the Saturn side of things looks like entirely by SOJ.

    And, let's not forget, it took Yu Suzuki's team two releases to have the game running without noticeable graphical glitches.

    As a side note, the same programmer hero (Toshiyuki Kuwabara) developed Panorama Cotton, Stellar Assault and Stellar Assault SS. Can we find this guy and give him a medal?
    Last edited by Barone; 12-27-2021 at 12:28 PM.

  9. #9
    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wales, UK
    Posts
    6,910
    Rep Power
    78

    Default

    You're being very selective there. How big was the Radiant Slivergun team, I think it was no more than 8 and 2 of them were on the sound. The Saturn Tomb Raider and Mass Destruction team were tiny. We can all be selective

    Btw how many sound programmers worked on Phantasy Star IV for the Mega Drive Barone?
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
    one of the best 3D shooting games available
    Presented for your pleasure

  10. #10
    Master of Shinobi
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1,501
    Rep Power
    48

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Thanks for the comments, Barone.

    To further put his comments in context: What Sato is saying about developers not being ready for the shift was also said by most of the third parties. As the story goes, Kutaragi could not get anyone really interested in developing for the PlayStation until Sega released Virtua Fighter, at which point devs started to realize 3D was a viable format beyond racing games. I think there was a mad rush at that point to learn how to do 3D games, and Sony really gave developers an advantage with its PlayStation SDK.

    I don't think the 32X was entirely relevant given the timeline, because Sega's developers would have had access to Saturn prototype hardware from possibly a year before the 32X was at a prototype level. Development of Panzer Dragoon, for example, began well before the 32X was even conceived of.
    Working silicon of the Saturn did not exist until 94 summer. If any work was done, it was either assets or in-circuit emulators or the CGI FMVs.

  11. #11
    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wales, UK
    Posts
    6,910
    Rep Power
    78

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    Working silicon of the Saturn did not exist until 94 summer. If any work was done, it was either assets or in-circuit emulators or the CGI FMVs.
    I
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
    one of the best 3D shooting games available
    Presented for your pleasure

  12. #12
    Wildside Expert
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. UK
    Posts
    193
    Rep Power
    9

    Default

    Thanks for translating it just shows how reticent both Sega and Nintendo were of jumping into 3D gaming and buried their heads in the sands a little as just looking at the arcades and PC gaming it was definite the future. It also probably explained why Sony approached many European third party developers as they were more experienced with 3D than Japaneses developers and 3D games on the ST and Amiga were pretty common, hell there were 3D games running on the 8-bits !

  13. #13
    Master of Shinobi
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Birmingham, UK
    Age
    40
    Posts
    1,316
    Rep Power
    41

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    32X's Virtua Fighter seem to have been tested mostly by SOA with Yu Suzuki not being the Producer of that version but rather of both Saturn's Virtua Fighter and Virtua Fighter Remix.
    Going by the credits, they were different teams and the 32X game seem to have received more support/involvement/budget from SOA while the Saturn side of things looks like entirely by SOJ.
    Yes. According to an interview with Michael Latham in Retro Gamer magazine an independent team in Japan were given the job of producing the port, but as the 32x needed some wins he and other SoA staff got involved to direct the effort, prioritise gameplay, and get more features added.

    As an aside, which I repost everywhere because it doesn't seem too well known, Latham said that the core Virtua Fighter team were furious about the changes and additions in the 32x version, and they and SoJ demanded that they were removed. SoA's bosses stuck to their guns and the game was released as is. Shortly after, Latham's game, Eternal Champions 3, just happened to be killed by SoJ. So it's clear that there was more to EC3 being cancelled than just removing competition from Virtua Fighter. Petty corporate politics and saving face were the likely true reasons.

  14. #14
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    1,469
    Rep Power
    68

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    The history behind the 32X's Virtua Racing Deluxe, Virtual Fighter, Metal Head and Stellar Assault probably holds a few more pieces of the puzzle of how things really went inside SOJ (or Sega as whole) at the time.

    32X's Virtua Fighter seem to have been tested mostly by SOA with Yu Suzuki not being the Producer of that version but rather of both Saturn's Virtua Fighter and Virtua Fighter Remix.
    Going by the credits, they were different teams and the 32X game seem to have received more support/involvement/budget from SOA while the Saturn side of things looks like entirely by SOJ.
    Well, the 32X was entirely a concession to SOA because they didn't think the Saturn was marketable in the US. The deal was that SOA would handle the 32X and Japan the Saturn, and Nakayama pledged a certain number of titles in support of the 32X.

    There are a few interviews that suggest Japanese developers hated the 32X. One is with Koji Tsuchida, the creator of Stellar Assault (found in this book, which I don't have at hand now, so I'm going by memory). As I recall, Stellar Assault was originally going to be a Saturn title, but when the 32X was conceived, Tsuchida was told to switch development of the game to the 32X. He was basically really pissed at the decision because the 32X was seen as weaker hardware.

    In Collected Works, Kazuyuki Hoshino, who worked on Chaotix, said the following:

    The team that worked with me on Chaotix was assembled from young members of staff who had worked on Sonic CD. From my perspective, the Super 32X was very clearly a piece of hardware born out of the transitional period between console cycles. It was simply meant to be “a faster version of the Mega Drive” for the North American market. At that time we were completely absorbed with the far superior ability of expression offered by the Sega Saturn.
    Takayuki Kawagoe, a producer at Sega who produced Japan's 32X games, said the following in the book Sega Consumer History:

    The American side was the first to bring up the idea of making the 32X. The Mega Drive sold about 12 million units in America and 7 million units in Europe, and on top of that, there were those who believed that an expensive new console would not sell well in America. So it was decided to release a “power-up booster” for the Mega Drive.

    However, the game lineup was quite weak. There was no time to get ready, since we only had ten months between the decision to make the unit and the release. We were able to re-use the Mega Drive’s development tools to a certain extent, which made things a bit easier, but there were no 32X-specific tools at all. In the end, a lot of the games were just 16-bit games transferred to the 32X, such as Cyber Brawl (Cosmic Carnage), Chaotix, and Tempo. There were also continuations of already popular titles, such as Virtua Racing Deluxe. And we went for “easy-to-do” titles (bitter laugh). We did complete ports of After Burner Complete and Space Harrier that really brought the hardware’s new functions to life. And we made Virtua Fighter at the strong request of SOA. But of all the titles we did, I’m happy that we were able to make the excellent and original Metal Head and Stellar Assault (Shadow Squadron).
    I don't think I've ever come across a developer in Japan who really had anything positive to say about the 32X. It was always seen as an odd decision that came out of SOA and left everyone scratching their heads.

    To be blunt: Nakayama put too much faith in Kalinske and the 32X was the result. Nakayama was under enormous pressure in Japan over the 32X fiasco, and once it was clear the add-on was dead-on-arrival, he tried to recover by going full on with the Saturn in NA (which, in hindsight, they should have just done from the beginning).

    So, I don't think the 32X ever meant anything in Japan beyond the handful of games they quickly developed for it. There was never any greater intention.

  15. #15
    Extreme Procrastinator Master of Shinobi Flygon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Age
    30
    Posts
    1,993
    Rep Power
    38

    Default

    I do find the implication that the VDP1 was already fully finished but the lack of faith in having just one CPU handle both the game logic and 3D math simultaneously smoothly very interesting.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •