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Yu Suzuki

From Sega Retro

Yu Suzuki.jpg
Yu Suzuki
Place of birth: Kamaishi, Iwate, Japan
Date of birth: 1958-06-10[1] (age 62)
Company(ies): Sega of Japan
Role(s): Programmer, Producer, Director, Executive

Yu Suzuki (鈴木 裕), is a former programmer and producer at Sega. Notable for his works while at Sega AM2, he is widely considered to be a visionary in the video game industry, creating many of Sega's biggest hits throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Career

Yu Suzuki joined Sega in April 1983[1] as a programmer, and was set to work designing and programming the SG-1000 game, Champion Boxing. Released for the console and later in arcade form, the game performed better than expected, and Suzuki was promoted to team leader, achieving something that usually took around seven years at Sega, in just one.

Under the management of Hisashi Suzuki, Yu Suzuki would work alongside a small team of developers in what would become a key innovator for Sega, Studio 128. It is here where Suzuki programmed Hang-On, the Sega's first "taikan game". The game's enormous success both in Japan and overseas led to a string of equally important milestones; OutRun (1986), After Burner (1987), Power Drift (1988) and G-LOC: Air Battle (1990).

In the early 1990s, now a producer at the newly formed Sega AM2, Suzuki and his team would go one better by creating Virtua Racing, Sega's first "3D CG" game in 1992. He would then act primarily as a producer and the public face of AM2 for the following decade, helping to create Virtua Fighter (1993), Daytona USA (1994), Virtua Cop (1994) and Fighting Vipers (1995). Suzuki has also been instrumental in designing several of Sega's arcade boards; the Model 1, Model 2 and Model 3, as well as the NAOMI 2[2].

After work wrapped up on Virtua Fighter 3 in 1996, Suzuki's attention was taken up by a pootentially ground-breaking concept for Sega's home video game consoles - what would emerge as the Sega Dreamcast game Shenmue in 1999. The most expensive video game produced up until that point, Shenmue was a hit with critics but not with consumers, and while follow-up Shenmue II launched in 2001, the multiple-part epic was put on hold as Sega went through a period of financial turbulence.

Following the release of Virtua Fighter 4 in 2002, Suzuki left AM2 to form a new Sega division, DigitalRex in 2003. However, DigitalRex and its successor, AM Plus struggled to get products out of the door, and Suzuki fell back to a more advisory role in the company, retiring from Sega in April 2009[3] though maintaining good relations with his former employers.

Suzuki formed his own development company, Ys Net in 2008, but aside from the occasional interview, was relatively silent over the coming decade. He returned to the limelight again at Sony's E3 2015 press conference, announcing Shenmue III, which would be carried through from Kickstarter to release in 2019.

Interests

Yu Suzuki enjoys fast cars and motorcycles, of which many, particularly Ferraris (see; OutRun and F355 Challenge), appear in his works. He is a believer of experiencing the world to better understand how to produce video games. Development of OutRun saw Suzuki lead his team across Europe for inspiration, while employees working on the likes of Virtua Racing, Daytona USA and Scud Race have been advised by Suzuki to go out and drive real vehicles in order to appreciate how they feel. Meanwhile the likes of Virtua Fighter and Shenmue were inspired by real fighting styles and trips across Asia.

He prefers to work with different genres and concepts for every project, rather than be stuck refining the same ideas[4]. He also does not believe in extensive planning during video game production, allowing them to evolve naturally to suit the skills of his staff. Space Harrier is an example of this, evolving from real jets (Harriers) to a fantasy setting, as his artists were more suited to fantasy themes.

Suzuki famously does not play many video games, often leading to unique style of game that is rarely influenced by competitors. While he enjoys programming video games, he has claimed that he loses interest after the project is done[5], and prefers movies[5], theme parks[5] and French food[6].

Production history


Song credits

Space Harrier (Arcade version)

  • Ida — Music & Arrangement
  • Valda — Music & Arrangement

Gallery

Magazine articles

Main article: Yu Suzuki/Magazine articles.

Interviews

References