|Fast facts on Sega AM2|
|Merged with: Sega AM3 (2008)|
|Merged into: Sega AM11, Digital Rex|
Sega Amusement Machine Research and Development Department #2, (Sega AM R&D Dept. #2, Sega AM2) is a division within Sega Interactive (formely Sega Enterprises and Sega Corporation). It was formed in 1990 primarily to create arcade (or "amusement") games.
Trough all Sega development divisions, Sega AM2 has remained most consistent in it's naming due to the "Number 2" attached. Thus there no multiple pages on Sega Retro unlike other Sega development teams.
The root of Sega AM2 can be traced to Yu Suzuki entering the company as a programmer. He programmed the game Champion Boxing, and his superiors were so impressed that he was promoted to project leader the same year he entered the company. With Sega's general atmosphere of high creativity as well as high end technology, Yu Suzuki was able to develop the most stand out arcade products from Sega from this time. The results were arcade games featuring sprite-scaling graphics and moving cabinets such as Hang-On, Space Harrier, OutRun and After Burner. The R-360 machine along with G-LOC: Air Battle were the culmination of these efforts. Deluxe cabinets with similar graphics inspiried rival arcade division Sega AM1 to do similar games such as Galaxy Force or Enduro Racer. Yu Suzuki began to manage his own division, and he was not able to direct every title, so Satoshi Mifune took care of arcade originals such as Dynamite Dux, or the sequel to Hang-On, Super Hang-On. Yu Suzuki's division was also the first arcade division to involve itself with the home console market, producing titles such as Sword of Vermillion and Rent-A-Hero for the Sega Mega Drive.
During the Sega wide restructure in 1991, Yu Suzuki's studio became known as AM2, short for being the second arcade software division within the company. Yu Suzuki continued to pioneer with the early 3D polygonal graphics of Virtua Racing, as well as Virtua Fighter, which became one of Japan's most popular arcade series ever made. Virtua Fighter was, incidentally, the first time AM2's name (and signature palm tree logo) became publically visible - a trend that would continue in the majority of its releases going forward. The AM2 palm tree would even become an unlockable character in in the AM2-developed Fighters Megamix.
Yu Suzuki continued to push graphics technology to it's limits. Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua Fighter 3 featured the most advanced graphics at that time, with Suzuki negotiating custom arcade boards just to archive his vision. In turn the Sega Model series found themselves to be used across all arcade software divisions within Sega, producing countless of succcessful titles.
Much talent was cultivated within AM2, with directors Satoshi Mifune, Toshihiro Nagoshi, Hiroshi Kataoka and Makoto Osaki making other AM2 games such as Daytona USA, Fighting Vipers, Fighters Megamix and Virtua Fighter Kids. Toshihiro Nagoshi and Mifune Satoshi formed their own division eventually in 1998, Sega AM11.
AM2 found itself at the forefront of Sega Saturn technology, producing the Sega Graphics Library in 1995 in conjunction with its Saturn conversion of Virtua Fighter 2, which was directed by Keiji Okayasu. Okayasu was AM2's most experienced console game developer, being the main programmer behind Sword of Vermillion and Rent-A-Hero.
As with other R&D divisions within Sega, Sega AM2 was briefly renamed Sega Software R&D Dept. #2 in May 1999. Unlike its sister divisions, however, the department continued to trade as AM2 and was largely unaffected by the internal restructure. In 2000 the division went one step further, becoming an entirely separate (but wholly owned) subsidiary of Sega officially known as Sega-AM2 Co., Ltd. AM2 was at this point the only R&D division to still rely on the "AM" name. It was during this period when Yu Suzuki's two Shenmue games were released. Together with experienced console game developer Keijii Okayasu, Suzuki pushed video game technology once again, building Sega's biggest title yet, made as a killer app for the Sega Dreamcast.
Isao Okawa's CSK was the parent company of Sega at the time, with its own software development division, CRI. CRI absorbed Sega AM2 in February 2000 (occasionally leading to credits to AM2 of CRI) and renamed itself Sega-AM2 Co., Ltd. in August 2001. CRI Middleware Co. Ltd. was then established to handle the sale of CRI's former products such as ADX and Sofdec. CRI staff however stayed at Sega AM2, with Noriyuki Shimoda and Seiji Oaki eventually becoming prominent staff. However due to too much unfamiliar staff, Yu Suzuki found himself unwilling to continue manage AM2, and instead formed Digital Rex in 2003.
Sega's separate development companies were merged back into the main business in 2004, and this included AM2, trading once again as "AM R&D Dept. 2". The arcade industry became limited to Japan, and Sega's initiative for it's arcade studios to produce console titles filtered out. Therefore Sega AM2 became much more low key compared to the global impact it had in the past. Nonetheless Virtua Fighter 4, MJ and Border Break had new features that contribute to Sega's arcade business. This includes nationwide internet play in arcades, and also mobile applications connecting to the arcade games.
Ports of arcade titles developed by AM2 continue to be well received, such as Virtua Fighter 5 and Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram, however became less common in comparision to the past. It was once mentioned by AM2 staff there is a strange atmosphere that console staff could dissapear anytime.
In April 2009, a restructure took place within Sega's arcade software studios, with part of Sega AM3 staff ended up at AM2. Around this time, AM2 also branched out to mobile development, mainly with AM3 staff, with titles like Virtua Tennis Challenge and Derby Owners Club.
Overall Sega AM1 is Sega's more prominent arcade division as of recent, with a higher amount of successfull titles.
|Domestic Sega studios|
|CSK||Sega Sammy Holdings|
|Sega Enterprises, Ltd.||Sega Corporation||Sega Games & Interactive|
|Sega AM1||WOW Entertainment||Sega WOW||Sega AM1|
|Sega AM11||R&D #4||Amusement Vision||New Entertainment||Sega CS1|
|Ryu ga Gotoku Studio|
|Sega AM3||Hitmaker||Sega AM3|
|AM Annex||R&D #5||Sega Rosso|
|Sega AM4||Sega Mechatronics||Product R&D|
|N. Pro. R&D|
|Sega AM5||Mirai R&D||Family Entertainment|
|Sega R&D2||Sega CS||Sega CS1||R&D #6||Smilebit||Sega Sports Design|
|Sega PC||Online R&D|
|Sega CS2||R&D #7||Overworks||GE2||Sega CS3|
|R&D #9||United Game Artists|
|Sega Sound Team|
|Sega Digital Studio||Wave Master||Wave Master (label)|
|Mobile Content R&D||Sega Networks|
|Visual Entertainment||Marza Animation Planet|