Following a long silence, Sega game master Yu Suzuki has finally opened up for an interview. The head of Sega’s newly formed AM Plus development group discusses a number of topics with Japan’s monthly Dorimaga publication, touching upon Psy-Phi, Shenmue Online and the next generation of console gaming.
The interview is mostly concerned with Psy-Phi, the new Lindbergh arcade game which Suzuki is both directing and producing. Suzuki expresses pleasure that he was able to show the game at the September AM Show in Tokyo, and goes on to discuss the game’s origins.
Moving on to Shenmue Online, which was recently rumored to be cancelled due to development conflicts, Suzuki is quick to assure: “reports of a halt in development are completely unfounded. We have daily meetings and are currently working hard on the game’s development. Rest assured.” Shenmue Online is currently in development in Taiwan as a massively multiplayer Online title where players are placed in the world of Suzuki’s Dreamcast epic, Shenmue. The game is set for PC release in early 2006.
Finally, the interview comes to the next generation of game systems. With Psy-Phi, Suzuki has already brought us a next generation arcade title, but will he do the same for the next generation of home systems? Although AM Plus includes the “AM” acronym for Amusement Machine (meaning arcades) in its name, Suzuki clarifies that “the AM Plus name includes the meaning of ‘not just AM.'” Just as AM2 worked on home titles back in the days of Saturn and Dreamcast, we can expect similar things from AM Plus. “Although the Sega of today is split into home and arcade divisions, just as it was during Virtua Fighter’s era, development is borderless,” Suzuki assures.
So which next generation consoles will get AM Plus titles? Suzuki takes a neutral stance in his comments. “For a techie like me, the PS3 is very attractive, but when you consider that both companies are delivering the quality that users want, I also believe that hardware like Xbox 360, which offers easy development, is important. As for Revolution, it’s very Nintendo-like in that it resets the game experience and starts with a new device.”
In its heyday during the Saturn and Dreamcast era, AM2, operating under Suzuki, was considered one of the world’s premier development studios for games both in arcades and on home consoles. Psy-Phi is already turning eyes toward AM Plus on the arcade side, but the world eagerly awaits its first look at what the developer, and Suzuki, can do with the next generation of home systems.