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Archive for July, 2010


   
 

Shining Force Releases on iPhone

Here’s an easy game for me to talk about — Shining Force, a game I loved & played through to completion many times on the Sega Genesis, is now available on the Apple iPhone!

Shining Force (iPhone)

As an old-school RPG Shining Force has aged incredibly well — entertaining & colorful characters, a lovingly-executed “defeat the ancient evil” plot, and some truly crafty strategic combat. While Shining Force shares some threads in common with Final Fantasy games, in terms of classic 90s RPG look-and-presentation, it’s actually much more of a spiritual ancestor to something like Valkyria Chronicles.

I don’t mean to sell the plot short, either: anyone who’s played an RPG from the 1990s has probably dispatched with an ancient evil returned after 10,000 years, but these things are always in the details, and Shining Force has some excellent twists and turns as you bring together an army and chase down the relics of power which will help you combat an ancient dragon threatening your kingdom.

Shining Force (iPhone)

What really sets the game apart are the varied battles and the ability to hand-pick and develop your squad: archers, knights, warriors, and priests join you throughout your journey, and you will have a good deal more than you can use at any one time, meaning you can balance your group in whatever way best fits a fight.

And the fights themselves are spectacular, across wildly varied terrain and against many different creative monster types. Some of my favorite video game memories are of this game, including a memorable fight against a laser-eye creature and an incredibly creepy encounter in a town where the citizens follow you around, repeating the same dead-eyed phrases over and over again until they’ve cornered you in a church.

Shining Force (iPhone)

Even the ending of the game is terrific — easily one of my favorites from the Genesis, it’s both sad and a little mysterious. I always felt like this game was one of the gems from the 16-bit era and it’s great to see it on the iPhone now: you can use the regular in-game save feature or save your session at any time, so that you can easily exit the game and continue. The idea of playing out the epic battles in bits and pieces on public transit is tantalizing. I’m always in favor of more people getting to experience this game; it’s still in my top-10 all time. Highly recommended!

 
   
   
 

Conduit 2 Official Boxart Revealed

Today we’re very happy to display the lovely new Conduit 2 boxart and logos for SEGA and High Voltage Studio’s upcoming first person shooter on Wii.

Conduit 2 Packart

Conduit 2 is the sequel to the award winning Wii shooter The Conduit, and builds upon the success of the original, taking players to the far reaches of the world to stop an alien invasion. Players can fight in single-player, online multi-player battles, and all-new off and online co-op modes. Armed with advanced and powerful weapons, players can expect massive action in large, multi-tiered levels featuring dynamic environments, cinematic battles, giant boss enemies, and deep customization features.

 
   
   
 

Job Openings at SEGA of America

SEGA of America

There are a few questions that we get asked fairly often. “What’s it like to work at SEGA?”, “How do I get started in the gaming industry?”, and “Do you have any job openings?” are some of the most frequently asked. Well, we have two entry-level job openings in our San Francisco, CA offices to tell you about, and if you get hired you can find out what it’s like to work here!

Best of luck to all applicants!

Publishing Assistant

Ever wonder how publishers pick which titles to develop and support?  Here’s your opportunity, including the chance to be a part of complex discussions pertaining to SEGA’s business strategy.

The Publishing Assistant will interface with product development and marketing teams to assist in managing the greenlighting process from start to finish, with responsibility for ensuring that action items are tracked, documented and acted on.  This is a key role in our Publishing department, and the successful candidate will need to be exceptionally organized and possess intermediate to advanced skills in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Assist Publishing Manager with organizing weekly publishing meetings by setting agendas in advance, as well as ensure that required paperwork is ready for review.
  • Support the greenlighting and prototyping (Inline) processes of all Sega West titles by assisting project teams in the preparation of presentation documents.
  • During publishing meetings, take notes and draft detailed meeting minutes.
  • Maintain and update information via project tracking documentation (action trackers in particular).
  • Pro-actively seek out information and updates from project teams across the organization, to maintain visibility on action points established; assess risks on an ongoing basis for each project and present them to the Publishing Manager for possible escalation.
  • Organize and archive all Inline documentation (forms, P&L, presentations) as approved throughout the greenlighting process.
  • Keep an updated record of project milestones: by working closely with the Production, Finance and Legal Departments, ensure milestone payments are accurately tracked across the organization. This particular duty also requires that all milestone changes are documented, addressed and communicated to the relevant stakeholders.
  • Constantly assess and critique internal processes, and provide feedback to the Publishing Manager on potential ways to increase efficiencies.
  • Other publishing responsibilities as assigned or needed.

Skills and Abilities:

  • The Publishing Assistant must be able to work independently, and with multiple departments/countries at once.
  • Must have excellent interpersonal skills. Openness, patience and honesty are essential in assessing potential risks.
  • Must be willing to work as a part of an international team and think globally.
  • Must be very well-organized to manage and track multiple titles in multiple regions and keep all involved parties informed and up to date.
  • Must have an understanding of video games and the video game publishing process. Understanding gamers and market trends is required to accurately assess potential project acquisitions. A passion/love of games is an added bonus.
  • Must have strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Must have an excellent eye for detail as well as the ability to understand larger scale issues.
  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of computers and general business software, including MS Excel, Word, MS Access, ftp programs, etc. required.

*Japanese language skills highly desired.

Apply for this position.

Digital Marketing Coordinator

The Digital Marketing Coordinator will provide efficient and effective support to the Digital Marketing Team.

The ideal Candidate will:

  • Be an avid gamer
  • Be proficient in PowerPoint and Excel
  • Possess strong communication skills
  • Have the ability to work as part of a team in a fast-paced environment
  • Have good organization skills and the ability to juggle multiple tasks
  • Have a bachelor’s degree in Marketing or equivalent experience

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Track and analyze digital product sales and impact of promotional initiatives
  • Assist with 1st party art submissions of marketing assets to Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Apple
  • Coordinate ESRB ratings submissions
  • Coordinate approvals for marketing assets
  • Prepare briefs for microsite and art asset creations while managing approvals
  • Assist with capturing footage and screenshots for games in development
  • Track and analyze trends for competitive and first party platform marketing initiatives, feature sets, and pricing
  • Assist Digital Brand Managers with marketing initiatives from start to finish on smaller game launches
  • Manage Sega titles’ pricing document
  • Assist with executing marketing promotions
  • Assist with updating iPhone roadmap presentation
  • Draft powerpoint templates that Digital Brand Managers can use

Apply for this position.

 
   
   
 

Shogun 2 Gameplay Trailer at GameTrailers.com

We are very excited to show you our newest gameplay trailer for the upcoming Creative Assembly game, Shogun 2. It is now available for your viewing pleasure at Gametrailers, enjoy!

shogun2trailer

 
   
   
 

Thor Teaser Trailer

If you were at San Diego Comic Con,  you may have seen this teaser trailer in our section of the Marvel booth. Re-live that memory, or see it for the first time, below.

YouTube Preview Image

This is just a teaser, and we’ll have much more to show in the coming months.

 
   
   
 

Tournament of Legends – Accolades

Tournament of Legends - E3

Tournament of Legends is out, and has been receiving some great reviews! Here’s a trailer to whet your appetite, and some links to reviews below.

YouTube Preview Image

Destructoid

Colony of Gamers

Nintendo Life

 
   
   
 

San Diego Comic Con 2010

Thor The Video Game Logo

I just got back from San Diego Comic Con 2010, and it’s no joke that my feet are tired! Although SEGA did not have its own booth at the show this year, there were some SEGA folks in attendance. The team working on the upcoming Thor game was in the Marvel booth during the con to show off a teaser trailer for the game as well as some concept art from the game.

Surtur Forge

This is one piece of concept art that we showed, from Muspelheim. Other pieces showed Asgard, Vanaheim, and Niflheim.

Marvel

The Marvel booth was topped by this huge sign, with Spiderman peering down on the people in the booth.

Marcella on Odin's Throne

The can’t-miss centerpiece of the booth was Odin’s throne. This is straight from the movie set! Marcella, the SEGA Brand Manager for the Thor game, is doing a lovely job of showing off the throne. You can see in the photo from IMDB that it’s the same as the throne from the movie, although with fewer stairs. Many people stood in line to get their photos taken on the throne.

The Destroyer

Behind the throne was the Destroyer, who was not on display the entire time, but drew intense crowd reaction when it was revealed.

Game Environment Demo

Our friends from Liquid Entertainment, who are developing the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the Thor game, did a couple on-stage demos about how the environments of the game are created — from concept art, to grey block, to textures, and finishing touches. The crowd response was great, and many people came to ask questions and give the concept art a closer look.

Lil' Thor

We also saw some great Thor cosplayers, including this adorable kid. It wasn’t just kids showing their Thor love, though — we saw someone else in our booth on Sunday giving our concept art a close inspection.

Thor Cosplayer

We also had some celebrities in the Marvel booth, including Kenneth Branagh, who is the director of the upcoming Thor movie.

Kenneth Branagh

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, who play Thor and Loki in the upcoming movie, also game to the booth for a signing session.

Thor Signing

All in all, it was a fun weekend! Thanks to everyone who came by to meet us and see what we’re up to with the Thor game. We’ll have a lot more in the coming months!

 
   
   
 

Shogun 2 – New Screens & Concept Art

What a great way to start the week, we have a big drop of new screenshots and concept art for the upcoming Creative Assembly game, Shogun 2.  Take a look at the newest screens accompanied by information straight from the development team, be sure to click in on each image for a higher resolution version:

Concept Art

Fiery Castle

An early concept of a castle on fire. Sieging castles in Shogun 2 is a brand new experience. Multiple types of castle with multiple levels of walling mean you must break every ring and assail every redoubt. AI defense and attack mechanics have been reworked to be much more competent in offering resistance. Higher level palace structures will differ depending on where they are built and how heavily defended.

Date Masamune

Date Masamune

The famous Date Masamune. A one eyed warrior, the famous leader of the Date Clan who cared so much for his men’s welfare he personally bought them the best armour money could buy. His famous victories include defeating an army of 30,000 men with 7000 warriors. He features as a potential member of the Date clan family tree and a commander on the battlefield.

Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga.

One of the three truly great leaders of the sengoku-jedi. The first leader who truly held the potential to unify Japan. A member of the Oda clan family tree and a general on the battlefield, famous for his early adoption of the western musket and gunpowder. Also a famous opponent of Japan’s warrior monks.

Takeda-Shingen

Takeda-Shingen

A member of the Takeda dynasty and a general on the battlefield. Takeda Shingen famously had a loyal corps of twenty four generals, who won many victories under his military rule. A great strategist with some long term enemies in Japan.

Screenshots

Nightly Clash

Two large forces of the Takeda and Chosokabe clans rush forward to destroy one another and hold the field. Both are Samurai units, meaning this will be a bloody and skilful match of swords.

Soldiers on a beach

Having beached these Samurai and Ashigaru are now ready to take the fight to the enemy during the gentle and spectacular Japanese spring blossom season.

Horses vs Samurai

Here we see a heavy horse charge with Chosokabe mounted Katana Samurai smashing into a line of foot Takeda Katana Samurai. Brand new physics systems allow for realistic charges with horses slamming into the throng of soldiers, scattering them and throwing the unit into disarray.

 
   
   
 

Vanquish Community Q&A

Prior to E3, we asked around on our blogs, twitter, facebook and forums for your questions to Shinji Mikami on Vanquish. We’ve taken your questions directly to the man himself and are happy to post the answers:

Sega & PlatinumGames Forums
Vanquish

Rikitatsu
– What was the inspiration behind the style and setting of VANQUISH?
We based things on the Japanese animated series, Casshern. As far as the game goes, we really put an emphasis on speed during the gameplay.

– How Important will the Melee combat be in the game? and how many melee moves are there?
We haven’t made melee the focal point of combat in the game, but it is an effective technique when you close in on an enemy. The focal point of combat in the game is shooting, so the melee attacks are really just to add to the combat repertoire.

– Do you think VANQUISH will be able to successfully compete with other shooters on the market without Multiplayer?
Of course, the lack of multiplayer will probably make things difficult on the sales front, but what we have instead is the speedy exhilaration of Vanquish’s gameplay, along with the content you can really sink your teeth into. I think it will provide more than enough enjoyment for those who buy the game.

Darkking27
What was your inspiration to make this into a third person shooter and not first person?
I wanted people to really feel the action going on during the game, which means that we needed to show the player on the screen.

Casual 9amera
– Will we’ll see any characters from your previous titles making an guest appearance?
Nope.

Sonic THP
– Do you think Vanquish represents a sort of attempt at making a very traditionally “western” genre and infusing it with a style that is centric to Japanese video games?
If that is how people take the game, I am totally fine with that.

IR A IP T O IR
– Will it be different color swaps for the suit? I want a black one!!
At first, we thought it would be fun to have a black version of the main character included in special edition. During production though, this plan fell by the wayside, but you are right, a black version of Sam would be really cool.

– Will the Achievements / Trophies be difficult to obtain?
We aren’t making them insanely difficult, but you are going to have to challenge yourself to earn them.

e3_mikami

Phoenix
-What is your favorite aspect of Vanquish?
I really love the boost system in the game, as well as the English voice for our main character, Sam. It is incredibly cool, and I’m hooked on it.

-Is aiming of the guns smooth and precise despite the speed and hectic atmosphere of the game?
We have tuned things so that the guns in the game are easy to aim, and that aiming is smooth.

ViewtifuljoeX
-How serious is the story going to be?
Basically, it is a serious story, becoming a bit dark at the end.

Shinji Mikami (The forum poster)
-Can Shinji Mikami shed some light on some hidden parts of the game that make it special and different?
The staff decided to screw with me a little bit by hiding some rhinoceros beetles in the game. They did this without me knowing, so definitely be on the lookout for them in the game.

Phantasos
– Will be bosses be solely “Shoot and Dodge” or will there be pseudo puzzle challenges like environmental hazards?
The bosses are a bit old-school, in that there is a distinct process for defeating them, kind of like exposing their weak points and then firing upon them.

Facebook.com/Sega
Vanquish
Dan B.
– Did you go to a gaming art school or a regular university?
I went to a normal university, Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. I didn’t really study, but I was somehow able to graduate.

Brian O’C.
– What was the inspiration for the visual style?
The backgrounds are influenced by a movie called Tristan + Isolde. In the end, the visuals are really the product of the individual tastes of the staff creating them, but I think the graphics in the game are something we can be proud to recommend to people.

James M.
– Who will be composing the soundtrack for the game?
The soundtrack was mainly composed by our in-house composers; however, ex-Grasshopper Manufacture composer Masafumi Takada was also in on composing some tracks.

Tom A
– (Shinji Mikami) never seems to stick with one game style for his projects, often doing something very different with each game genre he tackles. I’d like to ask why he chose the third-person shooter genre this time?
It isn’t really a question of why. There was a reason the game had to be a third-person shooter. To create a shooter with strong action elements, I felt the only way to pull things off was with the third person perspective.

Twitter.com/sega
Henry
-What is the main difference between an Occidental shooter and a Oriental shooter design fundamentals that makes the difference at all
The short answer is Realism. From the graphics, to the worlds, games created in the West tend to want to simulate reality at a very high level. On the other hand, there tends to be a great number of Japanese games going for distinctive styles of expression.

There you have it! Big thanks to the good folks at PlatinumGames and Shinji Mikami for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions. We love doing interviews like these, so be on the lookout for future opportunities!

 
   
   
 

The Graphics of Vanquish

In his latest blog, Shinji Mikami discusses the visuals behind Vanquish, including some enemy design choices:

———————————–
Vanquish was originally an open battlefield type of game, where the goal was to move around crushing enemy positions; however, once we got started with development, we quickly made the decision to change to a more linear structure. We abandoned the open battlefield and focused on making each stage as visually dense as possible. As a result, I think the graphics in Vanquish are really quite wonderful. It is one of the main points of Vanquish I want to recommend to people. (The only regret is that our decision decreased the amount of times the player uses boosting.)

Of course, arriving there was a struggle. Upping the visual density, increasing the contrast, making the special effects especially eye-catching, throwing tons of enemies on the screen… In an environment where we were doing whatever we pleased, it became pretty obvious that there was no good way of keeping your eye on the prize – the enemies you are targeting. I felt like I was being pin-pricked by the staff talking about how hard it was to see the enemies. Moreover, the enemy character that you see most often, a robot we call a Gorgie, was predominantly white. We had primarily gray backgrounds with white enemies. When you think about it from a realism standpoint, camouflage exists to make things difficult to see, so in that way things make sense, but from a game standpoint, it was not the best idea. I really liked the white enemies, so it took me a long time to come around to the idea of making them red. We also had to limit the number that we could put on screen at once due to hardware limitations. (This had the effect of limiting the huge amount of information we were throwing at the player, so I’m sort of on-board with this one.)

I’ve written quite a bit about it, but our art lead, Naoki Katakai and programmer Ryoichi tend to do whatever they please, and what they came up with was great, and I think our visuals are quite spectacular as a result. Thanks to all the staff that worked so hard on them.

Vanquish

This is the initial conceptual design for the enemy known as a Gorgie. At first, they had white bodies…

Vanquish

But they are red in the final design!

Vanquish

Once we made them red, they became much easier to identify in-game.

 
   
   
 


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