Yu Suzuki, the pioneer of numerous videogame franchises, has stepped down from his role as R&D creative officer at Sega.
According to the latest Sega-Sammy investor report, the revered game designer has "retired" from the key role. Suzuki, 50, remains at Sega in a somewhat diminished capacity; acting as the R&D manager at Sega's AM Plus division.
AM Plus has yet to release a title outside of Japan, with the group having developed two arcade titles, one of which was the long-delayed arcade touch-screen game Psy-Phi.
Suzuki's name is synonymous with Sega's, and is responsible for the birth of several iconic franchises that brought the publisher wealth and fame. Having joined Sega in 1983 as a programmer, Suzuki quickly exhibited a prodigious talent in understanding how to design arcade games that both attracted audiences and pleased players.
The arcade release of OutRun made his career, yet the list of Suzuki's creations read like a Desert Island Games collection; Afterburner, Space Harrier, Shenmue, Virtua Cop and Virtua Fighter.
By 2003 he was still active in game production, both adding final tweaks to the applauded Virtua Fighter 4, as well as overseeing the unsuspectingly triumphant sequel to OutRun. In the same year he was honoured with an induction into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.
Since receiving the honour, Suzuki has not been involved in the production of any key releases. In recent times he has been best known for working on and promoting Shenmue Online, the unreleased online role-playing game.
Yet Shenmue Online, like its creator, has slipped under the radar in recent times. The game looks unlikely to ever see a release, and furthermore, the Shenmue series itself looks likely to remain incomplete.
If Shenmue is to be Suzuki's legacy, then the games' loose-ends are perhaps fitting tribute to an arcade maestro who, in the traditions of coin-sinking, always left the audience wanting more.
Article supplied by Edge Online