Naohiro Hirao

From Sega Retro

NaohiroHirao 4Gamer 2019.jpg
Naohiro Hirao
Employment history:
Role(s): Programmer, Director
Twitter: @7016Hirao

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Naohiro Hirao (平尾 直裕) is a former programmer at Sega, most prominently involved with Tempo, Virtua Fighter 3, Virtua Striker 3 and 4, F-Zero AX/GX and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. Since the latter, he has become a game director involved with further Mario & Sonic games, as well as the Puyo Puyo franchise. He was also the head of the Amusement Vision Guitar Club.[1]


After joining Sega, Naohiro Hirao spent a year studying the Mega Drive, at the Kansai R&D.[2] He made his debut with Tempo as the enemy programmer, and then spent a brief period at Sega CS5 working on Sega Game Gear instead of Sega 32X. After the different CS departments temporarily merged in 1995, Hirao and several other CS5 members transferred to Sega AM2 to develop arcade games. His first project at AM2 was Virtua Fighter 3[3]. He went with Sega AM11 after the new department was spun off from AM2, and while developing Spikeout: Digital Battle Online, met his wife.[3].

He continued at AM11's successor Amusement Vision, but in 2003 the department swapped various staff with Smilebit. Having been a recurring developer on the different versions of Virtua Striker 3, Hirao went with Smilebit, and at its successor Sega Sports Design R&D Dept., continued to program Virtua Striker 4. He retired from being a programmer after Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.[3]

Now a director, Naohiro Hirao continued to work on the Mario & Sonic series, but in 2016 directed Puyo Puyo Chronicle instead of Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and continued to direct the series' Tetris crossover games.

Production history




Main article: Photos of Naohiro Hirao

External links