Gamer Feed Interview with Yuji Naka

Interview Data:

  • Interview Date: 27 January 2003
  • Interview Topics: Games Industry, Xbox, Online
  • Interview Source: Gamerfeed external.png

Yuji Naka of Sonic Team Fame Talks About the Games Industry
By James Brightman — Staff Writer
Published 10:32 PM CDT January 27, 2003

Sega's Yuji Naka reflects on the past year and thinks about the future…

The Japanese magazine, Dorimag, recently published an interview with Sega's own Yuji Naka. He talks about the industry, plans for the next Sonic game and more.

Question: Looking back, what are your thoughts on the game industry in 2002?
Naka-san: I think there was a feeling in the videogame industry that 2002 wasn't a good year. But there were still games like Winning Eleven 6 and Pokemon Ruby that broke 1 million units in sales. I was between working on new projects for most of the year, but I found the trends in the movie and videogame industry particularly interesting. I think people are beginning to judge these types of projects not only for their visual merit, but for their writing as well. To some extent, that's why the push for realism is useless. [smiles..] Players realize when there's little imagination behind a game or movie; that's why they're looking more towards books. In past years we've seen the success of games like Dragon Quest VII, which had an antique style presentation. But more and more developers are beginning to look at developing trends overseas [in America]. Most recently the trend has been violent games like Grand Theft Auto 3.

Question: Xbox was released in Japan last year, and now there's a three way battle for the hardware market, your thoughts?
Naka-san: Domestically the PlayStation 2 has sold over 10 million units, but I'm personally not that interested in hardware sales figures. Since the beginning of this industry people have judged consoles more by their software than anything else. Even people who already own one console want to play games that are exclusively available for another. It's easier to talk about this kind of issue since Sega is no longer in the hardware business. [smiles..] That's not to say selling 10 million units isn't important. However, even though the Xbox only sold about 270,000 units last year, I think there are many more people beginning to appreciate the software available for the system.

Question: Sony launched its broadband PlayStation 2 service last year as well. What did you think of that?
Naka-san: I think it's great that tens of thousands of players embraced the service, even though the price of the peripherals and service was high in Japan. The network will facilitate the spread of online games, and I hope to continue exploring that genre in the future.

Question: What are your plans for 2003?
Naka-san: We're working on a new game called Phantasy Star Online: Card Battle, and several other projects. We plan to unveil the next installment in the Sonic series at E3 this May, look forward to it!

— Translation Asst. Tsuno Okashi


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