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Thread: Breakdown of Games Published by Sega of America on the Genesis, 32X, and Saturn

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Genesis Breakdown of Games Published by Sega of America on the Genesis, 32X, and Saturn

    I threw this together a while back and decided to share. Apologies in advance for any errors or omitted games - I put it together quickly.

    This is a year-by-year breakdown (aside from 32X) of all games published by Sega of America on the Genesis, 32X, and Saturn. Games are grouped according to whether they were developed in Japan or in the West (or, anywhere not Japan).

    These are games published by SOA, not necessarily developed internally. Remember that SOA relied on 2nd-party developers for most of the games it was producing.

    Some interesting observations:

    • We can clearly see the shift in 1992 from Japanese-developed to Western-developed Genesis games, which was a big focus of Katz and Kalinske.
    • The vast majority of Western-developed Genesis games were licensed titles. The number of original titles feels vanishingly small. I've long thought that this was a major reason for the poor legacy of the Genesis. Original titles are far better at preserving a legacy and building a fan base than licensed titles (see: Nintendo).
    • SOA published more Japanese-developed 32X games than Western-developed.
    • Look how bad 1996 was for Western-developed games on the Saturn. This really emphasizes how poorly SOA was performing at the time. They published about the same small number of games on both the Genesis and Saturn that year. Keep in mind that the Saturn was officially announced in mid-1993! And preliminary development on games like Panzer Dragoon began by the end of 1993. More than three years later, SOA just could not manage to produce Saturn games of any value. The reasons for this have been talked about before, but include things like the Saturn being difficult to develop for, there not being good documentation and support outside Japan, SOA's own internal animosity towards the Saturn, and Sony being more appealing to small developers. I'll also add that the 32X was a huge distraction.


    Thoughts?










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    Hero of Algol
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    A few additional notes:

    - MD's Dick Tracy was designed by a Japanese game designer and the animation (and sprites I suppose) were also done by a Japanese artist. I also believe the music, as the music driver indicates, was composed by a Japanese composer.
    Check this:
    https://youtu.be/_v5EHqO153E?t=1446

    - MD's The Adventures of Batman & Robin sprites (Batman & Robin Line Art Animation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha) was handled by a Japanese studio (one of the studios responsible for the TV animated series as well):
    https://www.mobygames.com/game/genes...robin_/credits

    - MD's Sonic 3D Blast's graphics, music, and sound assets were provided by SOJ.

    - Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a Japanese-developed game AFAIK despite not having been released in Japan. So I think your list is incorrect on that one.

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    Super Sexy Sega Master of Shinobi cowboyscowboys's Avatar
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    Sega of America made the right choice to push Western game development. They didn't have the elite 3rd party support Nintendo had. They wanted games that appealed to Western audiences (Snes had a far more Japanese centric library). After some bumps in the road, in 1993 the average Western developed Sega published game was good and only got better from there.

    Laughing at SOJ's horrid release of Virtua Fighter 2 Genesis after not touching the console in 18 months 😂 Icing on the cake was canceling Eternal Champions Saturn game. Priorities were clear as day in that regard.

    Anyways... Sega really had no chance at a modern day casual legacy for their original IP's. They haven't had a console in 20+ years and outside of Sonic never really whored thier IP's to begin with (big mistake from a business standpoint). Nintendo has executed in a Disney like sense maintaining IP's and gaurenteed sales that go with them.

    ToeJam and Earl, Ecco, Vectorman and Eternal Champions would probably be relevant if they were Nintendo IP's. I don't consider anything outside of Sonic relevant and that includes Streets of Rage which would have alot of recency bias in its favor.
    Beat Em Up- Streets of Rage 2
    Platformer- Sonic 3 and Knuckles
    Run and Gun- Gunstar Heroes
    Adventure- Story of Thor
    Action- Shinobi 3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    A few additional notes:

    - MD's Dick Tracy was designed by a Japanese game designer and the animation (and sprites I suppose) were also done by a Japanese artist. I also believe the music, as the music driver indicates, was composed by a Japanese composer.
    Check this:
    https://youtu.be/_v5EHqO153E?t=1446

    - MD's The Adventures of Batman & Robin sprites (Batman & Robin Line Art Animation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha) was handled by a Japanese studio (one of the studios responsible for the TV animated series as well):
    https://www.mobygames.com/game/genes...robin_/credits

    - MD's Sonic 3D Blast's graphics, music, and sound assets were provided by SOJ.

    - Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a Japanese-developed game AFAIK despite not having been released in Japan. So I think your list is incorrect on that one.
    Also, I just noticed another incorrect info on your list, Gryson:
    - MD's World Heroes was atrociously developed by Sega Midwest Studio in US.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyscowboys View Post
    Sega of America made the right choice to push Western game development.
    The concept might have been right, but the execution has to be questioned. Quality took second place to marketability, which I guess was to be expected given the background of the company.

    SOA produced over 50 licensed titles on the Genesis, but only ~10 original non-sports series (including games like Greendog, Cyborg Justice, and Crystal's Pony Tale). They clearly ran wild with the concept of flooding the market with licensed titles. The vast majority of these titles have not stood the test of time.

    This is just about completely the opposite approach that Nintendo of America took: Focus on producing a small number of high quality original titles, and let the 3rd parties mess with the licenses. Yes, it's true that SOA's strategy came about because they initially didn't have many 3rd parties due to Nintendo, but that had completely changed by 1992. For example:



    Ironically, SOA's greatest success came from Sonic, a game that essentially followed the Nintendo formula: an original title with a lengthy development / refinement period, designed for mass appeal, with a strong marketing campaign.

    When I talk about legacy, I don't mean modern legacy. I mean legacy carried to the next console generation. One of the most vital components of achieving user-carryover to the next console generation is to establish original core series (essentially, the Nintendo formula). Sega failed badly at this. They put all of their eggs in the Sonic basket (and Eternal Champions wasn't going to make up for it).

    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    A few additional notes:

    - MD's Dick Tracy was designed by a Japanese game designer and the animation (and sprites I suppose) were also done by a Japanese artist. I also believe the music, as the music driver indicates, was composed by a Japanese composer.
    Check this:
    https://youtu.be/_v5EHqO153E?t=1446
    Dicky Tracy was developed at Sega Technical Institute under Mark Cerny, but as you say it was a Sonic 2 situation, with Japanese designers working with American programmers. (see Ken's book for more info)

    - MD's The Adventures of Batman & Robin sprites (Batman & Robin Line Art Animation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha) was handled by a Japanese studio (one of the studios responsible for the TV animated series as well):
    https://www.mobygames.com/game/genes...robin_/credits
    Are you sure that refers to sprites? I assume 'line art animation' refers to the hand-drawn animation frames that serve as a guide for the final animation. So, basically, the studio doing the TV show provided some art that served to guide the artists working on the game (similar to what Disney did on Aladdin for the Genesis).

    - MD's Sonic 3D Blast's graphics, music, and sound assets were provided by SOJ.
    Are you sure about graphics here? Based on the credits, it seems like Traveller's Tales did most of the graphics work. I know the game's concept was developed by Sonic Team.

    - Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a Japanese-developed game AFAIK despite not having been released in Japan. So I think your list is incorrect on that one.
    Oops - I completely missed this one (although I got MMPR: The Movie correct). I probably glanced at the developer Nova Co. and thought Novotrade. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Also, I just noticed another incorrect info on your list, Gryson:
    - MD's World Heroes was atrociously developed by Sega Midwest Studio in US.
    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    A few additional notes:

    - MD's Dick Tracy was designed by a Japanese game designer and the animation (and sprites I suppose) were also done by a Japanese artist. I also believe the music, as the music driver indicates, was composed by a Japanese composer.
    Graphic artist Takeshi Doi worked on the animation, and he and Shinobi creator Yutaka Sugano did early versions that were revised to make them less Japanese-like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyscowboys View Post

    Laughing at SOJ's horrid release of Virtua Fighter 2 Genesis after not touching the console in 18 months 😂 .
    I laugh more at those who say that SEGA killed off the Mega Drive early when it's clear that SEGA didn't; making & publishing games well in 97, some 10 years after the MD 1st hit the streets of Japan, never mind having SEGA Japan waste their time with making the good 32X games. Contrast that to how many SNES games Nintendo published/developed, after its successor console the N64 hit the West

    BTW, I thought Mighty Morphing Power Rangers was a SEGA America production for the SEGA CD?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Are you sure that refers to sprites? I assume 'line art animation' refers to the hand-drawn animation frames that serve as a guide for the final animation. So, basically, the studio doing the TV show provided some art that served to guide the artists working on the game (similar to what Disney did on Aladdin for the Genesis).
    I think I read something about the sprites in an interview or something. I'll try to find it.

    EDIT: Found it! It's in the lines of what you said but also more than Disney did for "The Lion King" on the Genesis (as said here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kILeyo1iv0A) (splitting hairs at this point and I'm not trying to "prove" anything but I like to know such details about games, etc.).

    https://www.sega-16.com/2007/02/interview-chris-george/

    Also, keep in mind that such a studio is nowadays owned by Sega Sammy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Are you sure about graphics here? Based on the credits, it seems like Traveller's Tales did most of the graphics work. I know the game's concept was developed by Sonic Team.
    You're correct. I'm wrong on this one.
    I mixed it up with something else, sorry.


    Quote Originally Posted by Melf View Post
    Graphic artist Takeshi Doi worked on the animation, and he and Shinobi creator Yutaka Sugano did early versions that were revised to make them less Japanese-like.
    Thanks for the extra info.
    Last edited by Barone; 04-29-2022 at 12:18 PM.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    EDIT: Found it! It's in the lines of what you said but also more than Disney did for "The Lion King" on the Genesis (as said here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kILeyo1iv0A) (splitting hairs at this point and I'm not trying to "prove" anything but I like to know such details about games, etc.).
    Nice. A similar method was used for Treasure's Yu Yu Hakusho: Makyo Toitsusen. An animator from the studio behind the tv show sent animation sketches of all the characters to Treasure. According to HAN, though, they had problems with it because the animator didn't consider how limited they were in the number of frames they could include in the game, so they had to work around that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    BTW, I thought Mighty Morphing Power Rangers was a SEGA America production for the SEGA CD?
    Indeed it was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyscowboys View Post
    Sega of America made the right choice to push Western game development. They didn't have the elite 3rd party support Nintendo had. They wanted games that appealed to Western audiences (Snes had a far more Japanese centric library). After some bumps in the road, in 1993 the average Western developed Sega published game was good and only got better from there.

    Laughing at SOJ's horrid release of Virtua Fighter 2 Genesis after not touching the console in 18 months 😂 Icing on the cake was canceling Eternal Champions Saturn game. Priorities were clear as day in that regard.

    Anyways... Sega really had no chance at a modern day casual legacy for their original IP's. They haven't had a console in 20+ years and outside of Sonic never really whored thier IP's to begin with (big mistake from a business standpoint). Nintendo has executed in a Disney like sense maintaining IP's and gaurenteed sales that go with them.

    ToeJam and Earl, Ecco, Vectorman and Eternal Champions would probably be relevant if they were Nintendo IP's. I don't consider anything outside of Sonic relevant and that includes Streets of Rage which would have alot of recency bias in its favor.
    Nintendo is able to do that because they spend a ridiculous amount of money on R&D. Not even just the games themselves, but coming up with all kinds of prototypes and ideas that resurface years later. The new Kirby game is one of the best in the series and it re-uses ideas they had back in the Gamecube era. Very few companies can sustain that kind of activity across several decades.

    I'm surprised you don't consider SoR4 to be relevant. It's a solid game and it sold well, 2.5 million copies in the first year. ToeJam and Earl is getting new games again, also the creators of Ecco have a game coming out called Dolphin Quest, there was a clip of it running on PS4 awhile back. I don't know what exactly happened with VectorMan but it sounded like Sega dropped the ball back in the Saturn/Dreamcast era even though there were developers who would have liked to make a third game.

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