Earlier this week, Famitsu published an interview with Sega’s Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi, who spoke about the company’s departure from the console market and its early days working with Nintendo.
According to Nagoshi, Sega immediately hopped on the Nintendo train after leaving the console market, despite the apparent rivalry between the two companies. For Nagoshi at least, it was because the idea of making games on Nintendo’s hardware was a very exciting prospect, inspiring him to make the jump from working on arcade titles to console games.
Famitsu: What did you make of [the announcement that Sega was leaving the console hardware industry], Nagoshi-san?
Toshihiro Nagoshi, Sega CCO: “Back then I was working on arcade games, and wasn’t really in the thick of Dreamcast development, so I only thought it was a bit of shame, but not really that strongly. However, when I thought, “Hey, Sega’s becoming a pure software developer”, I began to be interested in console games. I realized that we were now able to make games for other company’s hardware. And so, we immediately went to Nintendo.”
As the two companies continued to collaborate, Nagoshi quickly became aware of the differences between Sega and Nintendo’s approaches to making games as well as their company culture. He described Sega as being more “flashy and lighthearted” while Nintendo was more “holistic and versatile”. Although both ways of thinking had their advantages, Nagoshi admitted that he actually preferred Sega more.
“Afterwards, we worked even closely with Nintendo, such as porting Virtua Striker and making F-Zero GX. At that time, we were contracted to develop F-Zero series, and we were lucky to be able to learn from Nintendo’s game creation philosophy. With things like Mario Club, and the differences between Sega and Nintendo’s ways of making games.”
Famitsu: Are they that different?
Nagoshi: “Completely different. Thanks to that I was able to see what Sega was missing, and also see Sega’s good points. Although if you had to ask which one’s the right answer, I’d have to say that there’s no correct answer. As expected, both companies had their own culture.”
“Their way of thinking towards holisticness and versatility was rock-solid. They didn’t really care about “whether things had a convenient excuse” or not. Being inclusive for everyone was something already assumed from the start, and this was something that was set in stone. Furthermore, this sort of thinking was found practiced by everyone from the top brass to the newcomers. It wasn’t just something said by the higher-ups and never practiced. Their unity is amazing. I thought, “If they have this way of thinking, no wonder Sega wasn’t able to beat them on hardware.”
“Compared to Nintendo, Sega is a more “flashy” company. But because we’re more “flashy”, we’re able to go at ideas with a more lighthearted attitude. If we didn’t have this sort of attitude, I don’t think I would have been able to keep working here. Perhaps if I had joined Nintendo, I would have left this industry long ago.” (laugh)
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