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Sega 3D Classics Collection Developer’s Interview

With the SEGA 3D Classics Collection now released into North America, we wanted to provide the fans with what has become a long standing tradition: A translation of Game Watch Impress’s interviews of SEGA and M2, which outline some of the ins and outs of porting these titles to Nintendo 3DS, and their lasting legacy as true arcade classics that defined not just a generation of gamers, but the echos of which can be felt in the works of modern-age developers and programmers. The interviews as as lengthly as they are insightful so we’ll be releasing them in slightly abridged and arranged installments, the first of which is below. For the originals, click here to view Part 1 and Part 2.

But while there’s plenty of information here to delve over, you will notice the name Akira Saito in the interviews from time to time. Unfortunately, Mr. Saito died earlier this year after a battle with cancer at the young age of 43. With his incredible prowess in audio programming and his genius and inquisitive devotion to getting decades-old hardware precisely emulated on modern-day handhelds, all of the 3D Classics are truly elevated thanks to his efforts. As a company, we are both forever grateful to his amazing contributions to the project, and immensely saddened by his death. So our request to you is this: Even if it’s for just a moment, take a second while playing the 3D Classics and remember the hard work that Mr. Saito and all his colleagues at M2 contribute to the game. It would mean a lot to him.

With that, here are the localized versions of the interviews:

What’s with this FM Sound Unit toggle button for the SEGA Mark III Version of ‘Fantasy Zone’ !?

Sega 3D Classics Collection

A FM Sound Unit option can be seen for the Mark III ‘Fantasy Zone’, even though FM shouldn’t be supported….

Yosuke Okunari (Below YO): Well, I’m sure Horii-san is bursting to talk about it, so let’s just get started about the biggest bonus feature for Fantasy Zone, the FM Sound Unit!

– When I played this a little while ago, I was surprised that there was a ‘FM Sound Unit’ option for the Mark III version of Fantasy Zone… This is hasn’t been a thing up until now, right?

YO: You are correct! The Mark III version of Fantasy Zone was released in 1986, but the FM Sound Unit wasn’t released until the fall of 1987. So, game titles that were released before the FM Sound Unit shouldn’t support it. The actual Mark III version of Fantasy Zone doesn’t, naturally.

….However, for the SEGA 3D Classics Collection, this Mark III version of Fantasy Zone does.

– That sentence makes me think “What in the world are these people talking about?” I suppose that’s always the case. (laughs)

Naoki Horii (Below NH): We have a story behind this as well. When we decided to put the MK3 version of Fantasy Zone in as a bonus, there was this one guy at the office who said, “Only adding stereoscopic 3D? Pfft, boring!” Seriously, that’s what I deal with here! As I’ve said before, even just that takes a ton of time, but then they say that’s boring… You gotta wonder what the guys are thinking! (laughs)

The FM synthesis version of the Fantasy Zone music was actually used in a different game called Fantasy Zone: The Maze*. So, we lightly discussed with (Manabu) Namiki, who is in charge of the sound, if we could bring the music from that. But Namiki said “Wait just a minute!”

He interjected by saying “The music for Fantasy Zone and Fantasy Zone: The Maze has a different tempo, and even if we brought it over, there’s no way we could turn that into a palatable dish for people.” He also mentioned the songs for the boss battles didn’t exist as well.

*Fantasy Zone: The Maze is a dot-eating genre game released at the end of 1987. It’s known as Opa-Opa in Japan.

….But for some reason, we ended up thinking about how nice it would be to have a FM Sound version. I’m not exactly sure how we ended up there. (laughs)

(laughs)

NH: One of the people working with Namiki on the sound was (Tatsuhiko) Kasuga. He also DJs chip-tune music under the name ‘Tappy’, so people may know him from that.

YO: He’s a new weapon at M2.

NH: He is. One day, he was handed a textbook on the Z80* by Namiki who just told him “Read this. Read, and be enlightened.” (laughs) Once he did, he brought out the audio driver for Fantasy Zone II, and succeeded in replacing the data and playing sounds. Through that, he learned enough to supplement the songs that available from Fantasy Zone: The Maze… But Namiki said, “Those tunes won’t cut it!”

* Zilog Z80: A very prolific 8-bit processor that was very common in the late 70s and 80s.

So we switched out one song, but before we knew it, somehow all the songs were completed. Kasuga said, “We’re placing the notes within the range of the Mark III Fantasy Zone II audio driver, but there’s a lot of bugs typical of an early-age driver so we’ll fix the bugs and then program it into this one (Fantasy Zone). “ Within 2 or 3 months, most of the songs were finished.

YO: I would play the new ROM at the office when they cut us one, so when I saw this “FM Sound Unit” option on the Fantasy Zone menu, I actually wrote in a bug report that said, “This game doesn’t support the FM Sound Unit, so please remove this option.” But it never seemed to go away. (laughs)

NH: We continued working on it without telling anyone.

YO: Even Shimomura was like, “I don’t know nothing!” But after a while we started thinking, “It’s strange, no matter how many times we bring it up, they aren’t removing it… Surely this must mean…!?” (laughs)

NH: I’m glad you thought about it that way. (laughs)

YO: And just as we expected, you did it. Although it really did come down to the wire.

And thus, the FM Sound Unit option that was completed. The Master System (Mark III) did have a lot of titles that supported the FM Sound Unit in a very basic way, after all. All you had to do was add one command, and songs created for the PSG sound chip would play on the FM synth chip using preset sounds. There was a lot of software made like that back then.

But the original MK3 Fantasy Zone wasn’t made like that. We’re not just playing the PSG sound chip music in a FM sound chip directly, but we’re following the song’s chord progression and tempo while bringing it closer to the original Arcade version.

The original MK3 Fantasy Zone music is heavily remixed [from the arcade version]. I personally like the remix, but the melody line is really different. You can really feel the taste of the people in charge of the porting at the time. But if you use the FM Sound Unit, the music is close to the arcade version while the chord progression sounds like the MK3 remix. You could say that the song’s expression is closer to the arcade version.

NH: When you defeat the boss and collect the coins while having the FM Sound Unit on, it’s basically the arcade version. I you’ll be surprised when you try it.

The audio driver is speced to the MK3 version of Fantasy Zone, but we wanted the sound notes as close to the arcade’s as we could, so we use the FM Sound Unit.

When the FM Sound Unit was first released, there were a lot of people who said, “Out Run and Fantasy Zone II are going to support it!” “I’ll be able to enjoy legendary SEGA FM Synth at home!” Everyone was excited… At first. Once they actually heard it, most people were probably like, “Well it’s out. And it DOES sound better I guess. But… it wasn’t quite what I expected.”

For this Fantasy Zone, we aimed to make it as close as possible to what people back then were hoping for. I personally think it sounds better than we ever dreamed it to be.

So it’s a realization of the dream from long ago.

Sega 3D Classics Interview.

NH: I believe we finally were able to meet those original expectations of, “It’ll be totally different! It’s going to be rad!”

The ‘FM Sound Unit’. The cost was 6,800 yen (which was about $50 US in 1987, or $105 in today’s dollars)

YO: Now that we’re adults, we realized that the FM Synth sound chip used in the arcades, and the FM Sound Unit chip for the Mark III available for 6,000 yen are totally different, in both their performance and price. No matter how great your programming or technical skill, you simply can’t make it make the same sounds. Though you don’t realize that until your older.

The arcade version of Fantasy Zone ran on the Sega System-16 arcade board. That board had a YM 2151 sound chip, also known as an OPM, which is a four-operator sound-chip. But the one used in the FM Sound Unit is an OPLL, a two-operator sound-chip. There’s no way to make them the same. The sound will get simpler.

NH: Just starting with the number of operators, the OPM has 8 sounds with four-operators, making for 32 sounds. On the other hand, the OPLL has nine-channels with two-operators, making for 18 sounds. Even from the depth of sound that you can make, the possibilities are completely different.

I heard back when I just got my start in the industry back in the 1990s, that at the time the OPM sound chips were sold in pairs, and the cost of goods just to build a single one was about 5,000 yen. The FM Sound Unit was 6,500 yen, so there’s no WAY they could have used an OPM!

Adult concepts like that… When I learned that, I realized that if an OPM chip was used for the FM Sound Unit, the cost would be so high I wouldn’t have been able to buy it back then.

YO: Another difference between the two is that the OPLL only plays sounds that have been preset onto it. It can’t create a complex sound.

I mean, I know all this now that I’m 44 years old. (laughs) But now, when I play this MK3 version of Fantasy Zone with the FM Sound Unit on, it really sounds like its playing arcade quality sound. I thought, “This OPLL master has done some really fine work,” but oh, he learned it all from a textbook. Okay… (laughs)

NH: Kasuga knew basic things about the OPLL, but he said it was his first time working with a Z80 (laughs). He was a new employee that joined M2 only about a month or two month ago, but I was surprised at seeing that Z80 textbook on his desk. I guess we just roll hardcore like that. (laughs)

Transforming new employees to personnel to be feared.

YO: M2 is bear den, that’s for sure.

NH: Additionally, if you turn on the FM Sound Unit for Fantasy Zone and Fantasy Zone II, it slows down the processing. The FM sound takes time to process. It’s just like the real thing.

So now Kasuga is saying, “I’m beginning to understand the Z80. We can make the FM synth’s sound driver run much, much lighter.” (laughs)

But I guess that’s a little after the fact, so it’s too late to see if in the Classics Collection, I suppose?

NH: Yes. But having that frame drop is really important too, you know. Play this MK3 version of Fantasy Zone with the FM Sound Unit on, and when you use the 7WAY shot, you’ll noticed that it slows down quite bit. When I saw that, I though, “Oh, well now it really feels like Fantasy Zone. Of course it runs a bit slow.” I want ever to get the same thing from it. It’s really, really authentic. Although I would like to see the lighter version as well.

– But this is hardly ‘Extra’ level here, gentlemen. I’m sure the readers are freaking out too. In a good way, of course.

NH: I believe you can hear the FM Sound Unit sound on the video that will be released along with this interview , but there are songs that won’t be included, like the boss music feels really ominous now. Give it a play and hear for yourself!

Newly Included Power Drift was a very difficult task with a history behind it!!

Next we would like to introduces Kagasei Shimomura, who has inherited the SEGA 3D Classics project from Okunari-san as the Lead Producer. A SEGA-veteran, he originally started the SEGA Archives project many years ago, but moved on to other projects in the mid-term. But he’s back and joins us now to talk about Power Drift!

Sega 3D Classics Interview
Mr. Kagasei Shimomura, acting lead producer for the SEGA 3D Classics.

Kagasei Shimomura (Below KS): What I always aim for is to create something that the fans can be happy about. At the same time, I want to make sure it would be something the production staff would have fun creating as well. If you create something fun, it’s going to be a good product, so I tried to prepare a playfield where our creators can work freely. Get the budget, prepare an environment into which to sell it. That’s my style. I don’t have this skill that Okunari has where he’s super-knowledgeable about each individual game.

NH: Well, you say that, but pretty much know all of these titles.

KS: Well, I’ve been part of this industry for a long time. I think it would be correct to say that Okunari just knows too much. (laughs)

(everyone laughs)

KS: The way Okunari and I work are different. Even though Okunari has stepped back from the forefront, he’s still a project team member.

NH: We still get requests from him.

YO: If I was still part of the project, I would’ve most likely said Power Drift was impossible. When we developed the Galaxy Force II for the PS2, we aimed to release it around 2005. M2 told me, “Galaxy Force II? Hmm, it’ll probably take about 3 months?” so I was amazed, thinking “Wow, they can do Galaxy Force II in 3 months. That’s incredible!” But in reality, it took 2 years!

NH: Uwahhh! There’s reasons and excuses!

(Horii crumbles into a crying heap)

YO: At the time, I had to really apologize to Shimomura. We had to change the ‘SEGA AGES 2500’* series release order.

KS: Oh, yeah, we did change the order, huh? (laughs).

NH: (sobbing)

*SEGA AGES 2500 Series Vol. 30 ‘Galaxy Force II Special Extended Edition’, released 2007. At the interview for it, Okunari-san talks of how it took two years from announce to release, two years of development, which necessitated changing the release order.

Galaxy Zone II

The image is from 3D Galaxy Force II seen in the Classics Collection. M2 previously took 2 years to port this. Power Drift is also Y-Board game and was released after Galaxy Force II.

YO: I thought it would be a waste not to use what we learned through those hard two years. When we started the 3D Remaster Project for the 3DS, we had the knowledge from those two years so we added Space Harrier and Galaxy Force II to the lineup.

For the second wave for the 3D Remaster Project, we were able to add on After Burner and Out Run to the lineup because we gave ourselves enough time to get it done. We spoke about how we needed to try and get these two games out.

But, the Power Drift uses the same Y-Board hardware as Galaxy Force, which has three 68000 CPUs. When they started on Galaxy Force II to the 3DS, I asked “So, how’s it going? You’ve done this before, so it’s a snap, right?” They replied “N-No, actually… It’s not a snap at all, it won’t run. We’re going to have to pull the programming to pieces.” Turned out to be a pretty big deal.

So, naturally if we tried to do Power Drift, it’s going to take even more effort.

– Taking probably at least over a year, I’d guess.

(Horii-san sits back up)

NH: There would be no way we could release it on schedule.

YO: So when they told me that Power Drift would be the main game for this collection, I thought “Oh, so I guess it’s going to end up releasing like sometime late next year.” I went to Shimomura-san and said, “These guys are pulling a fast one on you!” (laughs)

NH: What!? He said that to you?

KS: I believed you though!

– Shimomura-san is the trusting type! Okunari-san is one being fooled here.

KS: M2 is the little engine that could!

(everyone laughs)
YO: Well, I wasn’t in the position to look at the schedule, so I was only thinking “I hope I can play it someday!” (laughs)

NH: If Shimomura-san is the parent in charge how we are raised, Okunari-san was our grandparent. He would look over us and go easy on us, giving us compliments like, “Oh, you’d did a great job!” He’s very laid-back. Even though he gets scolds us sometimes. (laughs)

We received a comment from the main programmer, Mr. Akira Saito

We heard that you were working on Power Drift from a couple of years ago, which became a huge help in the ‘Archives 2’. Could you tell us any of the appealing points of this port and any stories that happened connected to it?

Saito: One day, President Horii handed over the New 3DS development materials and told me “Make Power Drifter work on this!” which began my porting work. Thinking that the New 3DS will be fast, I started up an emulation but seeing that it wouldn’t move at full frame, I remember being worried for the road ahead.

After that, I would find spare time and kept on re-writing the code and making it more efficient. I managed to make it work in normal speed on the normal 3DS even though there were some skipped frames, and when I showed it to the president he seemed surprised so internally I pumped my fist. In the end, I was able to make it go 60fps even if it wasn’t on the New 3DS. I’m very relieved now.

I remember being staggered at the largeness of the internal character data for Power Drift. Normally, there won’t be characters that are over 1,000 dots for a game with a screen size of 320×224.

To tell the truth, compared to the other games I’ve ported I haven’t played Power Drift as much, so I didn’t know the stories from back then or how the cabinet ran. So when I first started on it, I was worried I wouldn’t notice if there were any differences on how it ran compared to the original. However, I work at M2. The president managed to drag people knowledgeable on Power Drift and put them on the project. I was able to hear many things such as about the game play and tricks. Thank you!

Power Drift: Achieving sound emulation that was not possible for the ‘3D Galaxy Force II’!!

Power Drift

– During the 3D Thunder Blade interview, Horii-san said that, “If we sell a crap ton of copies [of Thunder Blade], then I’ll go and make Power Drift by myself. “ (laughs).

YO: If we went by that logic, we wouldn’t have been able to create it. (laughs)
NH: Well that’s because [Thunder Blade] didn’t sell a crap ton after all! It’s odd that such a great game didn’t sell well… it’s madness!

YO: If my memories serves me correctly, I was having a conversation with Horii-san back during the porting of Galaxy Force II for the SEGA 3D Remaster Project. It was around when started to think that, “If we try hard enough, we can move Y-Board titles on the 3DS too!” And M2 said, “The next Y-Board title should be Power Drift.”

But at the time, even though we talked about getting a ROM ready for analysis, we didn’t actually end up doing it. SEGA’s warehouse had a ROM for Power Drift and one for the Power Drift twin-cab*. We were thinking that we might be able to make it happen if we just put the time into analyzing it. is what we were thinking, but in reality we didn’t have time, so nothing became of it.

*Power Drift Twin Cabinet: A version able to play network multiplayer. There are differences from the normal version such as being unable to select a course.

– I see. But in reality, M2 was working on it under the radar.

NH: That we were. From the time the 3DS was released, Saito was thinking, “I want to get Power Drift working on 3DS!” But I didn’t see that being possible. Who knew that in the end, we’d get the sound working properly as well?

YO: Yes, this time the sound is a big deal. Unlike the original version of 3D Galaxy Force II, Power Drift has emulated sound as well. When you emulate, it makes it feel much more like the Arcade Game that it due to the sounds playing at the same time. It’s really exciting.

When we did 3D Galaxy Force II, we couldn’t squeeze enough power out of the emulator. If we had emulated the sound, there was a possibility that it wouldn’t run a 60FPS. So we reverted to streaming sound*. For Power Drift, we first started working on it thinking we would stream the sound as well.

* Streaming sound: Streaming sound is when they record the game sounds to audio files and play them back. The main difference between emulating sounds is that the way the sounds interact with each other in real-time differs from the real machine, the fact that audio data makes the game size much larger, and the fact that it’s easier on the CPU since all you need to do is play it.

NH: For the 3D Galaxy Force II, our initial impression was that even if we switched to streaming, we wouldn’t be able to get the game to run on 3DS. But as it turns out, we did get it to work.

So with that background, when we were talking about Power Drift with Shimomura-san, our first take on it was to build it like Galaxy Force II and stream the sound.

But the emulator has been getting lighter and lighter over our interations, so we started thinking that maybe this time we can emulate the sound too. So we gave it a shot.

– During our 3D Galaxy Force II interview, you discussed how even though you gave up recreating the BGM through emulation, it turned out alright that you streamed it instead. However, I got the impression that while it was hard, it wasn’t impossible, strictly speaking.

NH: That’s right. I mean, now that we have it working with Power Drift,we can look back on that time fondly, after all. I can say to you now that, “Power Drift won’t be streaming sound! It’s all internal,” but when we presented at the Tokyo Game Show 2015, it wasn’t working right. That was only 3 months before its release!

YO: They didn’t get the sound working until two versions before the final one.

NH: A ROM 2 or 3 days before the final version.

power drift pic

From the Tokyo Game Show 2015 stage event. Even during then, they were saying “Whether we can release it on the schedule date all depends on how smooth the development for Power Drift goes.”

– For the streamed event during the TGS, the BGM slowed down.

NH: Even the people watching the stream wrote comments like, “It’s kind of rough to be in this state this close to release. Is it going to be OK?” As you can imagine, we felt pressure to get it done as if our lives depended on it. (laughs)

KS: At the time, we figured that showing something would be better than nothing at all, so we had M2 work to prep that ROM. We asked them, “Just do what you can to pull something together for TGS, please.”

NH: While we were working on it, there were still some glitches like the screen going screwy, but we kept on at it. For the TGS, we sort of took a roundabout approach to make sure it looked okay and tried our best to make the sound come off good. But despite all that special work, it was looking like that’d more or less end up being what it was.

KS: They even told us, “Whatever you do, do not push this button.” (laughs)

NH: I remember that. That’s what was going on behind the curtains. (laughs)

– Shimomura-san, you mentioned to me that you told them to no worry about the Power Drift delivery date, just get it done. But if it was in that state in September… How did you feel at the time?

KS: I would talk with M2 about once a week, and I’d always ask, “You’re going to get it done, right?” They’d say, “Well, it’ll be cutting it close, but we’ll manage.” So I’d sort of slide it by the marketing team, saying, “Oh, sure, we’ll hit that street date, no problem,” all while preparing to jump off a bridge along with M2 should the worst come to past.

NH: …Wow…

KS: I had my full trust in M2. And on the other side, I had Okunari-san constantly saying, “Is this really, really going to be okay!?” (laughs)

YO: Well, it was so close to the deadline it really WASN’T okay, you know!?

(everyone laughs)

YO: We opened the lid on it, and found out Saito-san had been working on it from quite a while back. (laughs)

– Thanks to that you managed to finish it on time for the release date, but there was a huge hurdle in actually completing it.

NH: Man, it really was. During the development, we even thought having it so New 3DSs would run it at 60FPS and normal 3DSs at 3FPS. But we somehow we managed to make work on both. If we only focused on New 3DS, it would open a lot of doors, actually.

– I see. New 3DS has a higher clock rate, it’s more powerful, you mean. Sounds like a bit of a conundrum you had to sort though.

YO: Power Drift’s did cause problems for quite a while. The reason for the BGM slowdown we mentioned turned out not to actually be framedrop, but a bug actually. It was changing the speed the sound played at.

But Power Drift only plays one song during a whole play-through, so you only really notice it if you are playing and testing it like it was the Arcade version. You get to the 3rd stage, and you’re like, “Wait a minute, this bit of the song song shouldn’t be playing right here.” (laughs)

NH: Your body remembers from playing it so much.

– So wait…Was it a bug relating to the timer?

NH: No, if it was a timer related bug we would notice it quickly, but we didn’t. The cause turned out to be something much deeper.

A comment from sound creator, Mr. Manabu Namiki

M2 Chief Sound Creator Mr. Manabu Namiki: A sound creator that has worked on various title’s music, most centered around shooting games. Currently works in M2, and is the sound director for the ‘Sega 3D Revival’ series.

Power Drift became the first Y-Board title in the ‘Sega 3D Revival Project’ to emulate sound, but were there any difficulties in recreating it? Additionally, it’s another driving game like ‘3D Out Run’. If there were any parts you focused on about the ambience, please tell us.

Namiki: Starting with the Y-Board ‘3D Galaxy Force II’, for this project we’ve developed and ported similar genres of “physical experience” lineups. So using that previously gained skills, and the fact the game mechanics were close to ‘3D Out Run’, the overall sound including the ambience was smoothly reproduced.

…But that is lacking answer, so here’s a story to go with it. This game’s time functions to control the sound tempo was slightly different than conventional titles, so I asked the main programmer, Saito, to work with that section, but the main game-side’s programming was very turbulent and taking a long time. So until the last moments of the development, the tempos for all BGMs didn’t match… Even I was quite frightened by that fact (sweatdrop).

Of course the finished product has no problems, so there’s nothing to worry about. Please use your favorite BGM in the background while running the course! By the way, I liked the BGM for the E Course (not that anyone asked me).

 
   
   
 

Step Into the Spotlight Once Again as Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X Comes to the Americas!

Hatsune Miku is back and bigger than ever in the upcoming rhythm game, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X. For those new to Project DIVA, it is an addictive core rhythm game starring the digital singer,  Hatsune Miku. Project DIVA X is driven forward though a narrative which centers on Miku and her friends undertaking various requests as they explore the five Clouds that make up their world. For the Miku veterans, Project DIVA X has 30 songs and 300 modules (costumes) that get dropped. Available exclusively on the PS4 and PS Vita, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X will release in physical and digital formats this fall.

YouTube Preview Image

In Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X, the world is comprised of five unique Clouds, each with its own aura – Classic, Cool, Cute, Elegant, and Quirky. As Miku and her friends progress, the auras of the songs they perform and even the modules they choose will have a profound effect on fulfilling challenge conditions for players to test themselves with. There’s also the newly added Concert Editor, which lets players create their own mini-concerts from the songs, modules and accessories they collect. As players take on Requests and explore Clouds with Miku and her friends, they begin to forge relationships, and ultimately, will reveal the secret of the eponymous “X.”

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X features include:

Digital Singers Take Over the Living Room – Produce live concerts accessorized to the max with unlockable costumes, songs, and stages to create custom live concert starring Hatsune Miku and her friends!

30 Miku Tracks – An assortment of new and classic Hatsune Miku music will be yours to jam to! The songs are split into auras and have different difficulties and challenges to complete. Project DIVA X includes new arrangements and medleys by beloved artists as well.

Cloud Requests – Go to five different Clouds with Miku and her friends, and explore them and the challenges within. But naturally, selecting the right modules and accessories are key to fulfilling the requests. There’s also Free Play, which offers the traditional experience for Project DIVA games.

Interact with Miku and Her Friends – Things start to get very meta for the digital singer as she and her friends discover what it’s like to live in the world of Project DIVA X – players can interact with the characters.

For more details, check out the official website at http://miku.sega.com/divax.

 
   
   
 

SEGA-fy Everything with this Classics Decal Sheet!

So we have some good news and some bad news. The bad news: you can’t Power Drift yet. The good news: on launch day for the SEGA 3D Classics Collection, you can Power Drift with awesome SEGA decals all over your 3DS! That’s right, pre-orders and a limited number of launch copies will come with the SEGA Classics Decal Sheet bonus item. The sheet will be available in every physical launch edition of the collection, and features nine SEGA logos and console stickers. The decals are a silver hue to add a nice contrast to your 3DS, giving it a distinct retro sheen. The collection features some of SEGA’s signature games, and the bonus item adds the right amount of vintage goodness to complete the throwback experience.

SEGA 3D Classics

Here’s a brief history of the decals:

Master System logo — Originally released in 1985 as the Sega Mark-III in Japan, the Master System was redesigned and renamed when it launched in North America in 1986 with an added FM Sound Unit.

Master System console — An authentic line-art likeness of the North American/European version of the console!

Mega Drive logo — Originally released in Japan in 1988, the Mega Drive was the 16-bit successor to the Master System. Widely considered one of the greatest video game consoles of all time, the system was home to many classic games such as Altered Beast, Sonic the Hedgehog, and many more.

Genesis logo — Please choose a “Blast Processing” joke to your liking. Are we good here?

Genesis console — An authentic line-art likeness of the Model 1 SEGA Genesis console!

16-Bit — Emblazoned on the front of the Genesis, the 16-Bit logo let everyone know you were working with POWER. Affix this decal to give a blast processing boost to whatever needs it most.*

Professor Asobin -Before Sonic, Alex Kidd, and Opa Opa, this dapper white rabbit appeared in most SG-1000 game manuals and gave helpful advice to players. Although he was briefly replaced by Dr. Games, he soon returned and appeared in game manuals up until the Mega Drive/Genesis era.

SEGA logo – A SEGA decal collection wouldn’t be complete without the company logo!

GigaDrive logo – This last logo represents something different than the other ones we’ve covered because it’s a “virtual console.” In order for the SEGA 3D Classics Collection to run perfectly on the Nintendo 3DS, developer M2 created the GigaDrive which is how these games take full advantage of the 3DS’s capabilities (such as stereoscopic 3D). Read more about the GigaDrive here

*this almost certainly won’t work

The SEGA 3D Classics Collection will be released for $29.99/CA $44.99 in the Americas on April 26, 2016. The collection is available for the 3DS in stores and digitally on the Nintendo eShop. For more information, please visit 3dclassics.sega.com.

BTW, are you following us on Instagram? We’ve been recently posting gameplay videos from the 3D Classics Collection. Check it out @sega

 
   
   
 

Sonic Runners OST Vol. 2 released!

The fast among you will have already seen this, but the Sonic Runners Original Soundtrack Volume 2 has released on iTunes Store and Amazon! (And, if you haven’t already heard the music for this mobile game, it’s pretty fantastic!)

This second volume features seven songs from Sonic Runners, including songs used in Timed Mode and special holiday events, like Christmas and Halloween. Here’s the full track list:

1. Going My Way
2. Go Quickly!
3. Fiery Passion
4. End Of The Summer
5. Strange Parade
6. Magical Snow Day
7. Ambition

Just like the first soundtrack, these songs were created by Tomoya Ohtani, the sound director of Sonic.

You can speed over to pick up the soundtrack at any of the links below. Happy listening!

【US】

・iTunes Store Download
・Amazon MP3 Download

【UK】

・iTunes Store Download 
・Amazon MP3 Download 

 
   
   
 

Get Fired Up as 7th Dragon III Code: VFD Swoops Down to the Americas

You may have noticed SEGA stepping a bit up to the plate more with localizations for Valkyria Chronicles Remastered and the SEGA 3D Classics Collection. Well… we’re not stopping there! 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is the next title in our sights, and we’re bringing it in its physical form for the Americas! And even though the series debuted in 2009 on the DS, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is a self-contained episode, full of dungeon-crawling goodness.

7th Dragon Cover

To give you a taste of what you’ll be looking at when 7th Dragon III drops later this year, here’s a quick look at what the game is about:

A bleak world and engaging story – The year is 2100, dragons have invaded Earth and are ravaging the human race. As the protagonist, players must team up with “video game company” Nodens Enterprises to become a dragon hunter and save the universe.

Unique settings and time periods – Fortunately for humanity, Nodens Enterprises has found the key to tip the scales in favor of mankind. The protagonist must travel through time to three different eras — the mythical kingdom of Atlantis, futuristic capital of the land of Eden, and present-day Tokyo — in order to defeat the True Dragons and stand a chance against the most powerful one… the 7th Dragon: VFD.

A deep party system and character customization options – All characters are completely customizable from the get-go. Players will be joined by two squad members in the field, and have up to nine characters in their party. With eight classes (such as Samurai, God Hand, Rune Knight, and more), 40 voice options, and 96 appearance options, gamers will have plenty of options to develop the perfect dragon hunting team.

Base building with Nodens Enterprises HQ – Fighting dragons is tough work, but at least the team can recuperate at HQ where they can develop skills, collect side quests, and even go on dates. In addition, more floors such as a library, skylounge, and cat café can be added in order to improve HQ. Yes, you read that correctly, it says cat café.

Lots of dragons! – Although there are a variety of enemies to fight, it would be wise to be prepared for the myriad dragons you’ll face. It’ll take careful planning and strategy to defeat these dragons, so choosing the right squad — and right look — is paramount!

7th Dragon III Code: VFD

This is just one of MANY dragons you’ll tussle with in the game.

7th Dragon III Code: VFD

Customize your party to be the perfect dragon hunting team!

7th Dragon III Code: VFD

Nodens Enterprises is your friend. Let employees like Nagamimi the rabbit help guide you!

7th Dragon III Code: VFD

Clearly, the cat café is the highlight of the game.

7th Dragon III Code: VFD will be available this summer exclusively on the 3DS in the Americas. The game is rated T by the ESRB. For more information, please visit 7thdragon.sega.com

 
   
   
 

Happy Hedgehog Day!

Happy Hedgehog Day, everyone!

As we enter Sonic’s 25th Anniversary Year, it’s an exciting time to be a Sonic fan.

Isn’t it crazy to think it’s been 25 years since Sonic 1 released? Some of you reading this probably weren’t even born when the older among us pooled up our allowance to buy a copy of Sonic for our Genesis or Mega Drive. But, no matter our age, we all celebrate and follow the iconic blue blur for reasons that remain universal.

YouTube Preview Image

I know at least half of you reading this are thinking: “Hey! Are you announcing anything big today, like Sonic Labyrinth 2 or Tails Sky Patrol IV? What’s the scoop?”, but you’ll need to be patient for a while longer. Good things take time, and we’re sticking to that. That said, you’ve probably noticed a few numbers floating around here and there. Who knows that they might mean? (By the way, in case you missed it – those weren’t eyes, they were zeros.)

A few years ago, during my first tour of duty with SEGA, our team decided to post something teasing an upcoming announcement on February 2nd, or “Hedgehog Day”. This was a fun reference back to the release of Sonic 3, which took over “Groundhog Day” in much the way that any tyrannical conqueror takes something they want – by force. Inspired by the marketing bloodlust of our forefathers, “Hedgehog Day” was reborn again from the ashes of the 90’s, and each year we’ve tried to keep it going ever since.

Sonic has seen a wide range of games and gameplay styles, but whether you prefer the classics, the Adventure series, the Colors/Generations style, or anything in between, thanks for sticking with the blue blur through thick and thin.

We can’t wait to celebrate the 25th Anniversary with you all throughout the year – and we have some pretty cool stuff coming up.

Here’s to 25 years of Sonic, and 25 years of amazing fans! 

 
   
   
 

Announcement: Sega 3D Classics Collection Coming to the Americas on April 26th!

Sega 3D Classics Collection

The best thing about classics is that they never go out of style, which is why we are bringing nine classic SEGA games to the 3DS as part of the SEGA 3D Classics Collection. The best part – four of the nine classics are games that have never been released on the 3DS previously. For all of the included classics, developer M2 painstakingly recreated the experiences by breaking down the original games and powering them up with new visuals, game modes, and more to take full advantage of the 3DS. The game will be available in stores and digitally exclusively in the Americas for $29.99 on April 26th.

Sega 3D Classics Collection

Puyo Puyo 2

Sega 3D Classics Collection

Power Drift

Because it’s a collection, the most prudent thing to do would be to list the games included, starting with the titles never-before-released outside of Japan first:

Power DriftThis sprite-based circuit racer puts you head to head against other AI racers in a twisting, turning, jumping, looping race to the finish.

Puyo Puyo 2This head-to-head competitive puzzle game is simple to learn, hard to master, and compellingly addictive. Compete against the AI or friends in local multiplayer. Note: because of the quirks of trying to localize a game hard-coded in Japanese, the game has been left entirely in its original language. English instructions are available in the included digital manual.

Next, we have a pair of rarities not released on the 3DS before – true collectibles for the Master System enthusiast:

Maze WalkerOriginally designed for the SegaScope 3-D glasses on the SegaMaster System, Maze Walker comes to life on the 3DS, faithfully reproducing the sense of depth as players try to escape the mysterious, twisting maze filled with unknown dangers. Originally released as Maze Hunter for the Master System in the West.

Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-OpaThe sentient space ship Opa-Opa is back to defend its bases from evil (but cute!) invaders in the classic scrolling shooter. For SEGA history buffs, this version of Fantasy Zone II is the original Master System version.

And for the previously released titles:

Fantasy Zone II WFantasy Zone II W, which was originally created for the Master System, is the version of Fantasy Zone II upgraded to the graphical capabilities of the System- 16 arcade board with added 3D effects. You can enjoy it in 2 game modes with different rules.

Sonic The HedgehogThe evil scientist, Dr. Eggman (aka Dr. Robotnik), has snatched the animals of South Island, turning them into robot slaves. Only the famed blue blur can defeat Dr. Eggman and rescue the animals from his vile clutches in the game that started it all for the fastest hedgehog – Sonic!

Thunder BladeIn Thunder Blade, players control a helicopter and use guns and missiles to destroy enemy vehicles while flying between buildings, through caves, and into enemy bases. The re-mastered version boasts stereoscopic 3D visuals and adds a host of new features.

Galaxy Force IIAs the star pilot of the Space Federation, it’s up to you to strap yourself into your TRY-X fighter and turn the tables on the invade forces of Halcyon and the Fourth Empire in this 3D shoot ‘em up. This remastered version has upgraded graphics with double the resolution of the original for a more pleasing aesthetic.

Altered BeastSummoned from the dead by Zeus, players in Altered Beast must shape shift into various beasts and fight off hordes of demons to rescue the captured Athena from the clutches of Neff. Offers local co-op multiplayer.

Sega 3D Classics Collection

Fantasy Zone II W

Sega 3D Classics Collection

Maze Walker

Sega 3D Classics Collection

Galaxy Force II

Sega 3D Classics Collection

Altered Beast

The game will be released at a value price of $29.99 for the 3DS in stores and digitally on the Nintendo eShop for the 3DS, with retail packaging that features original artwork by Pokémon art director, Ken Sugimori (another added plus). For more information, please visit 3dclassics.sega.com.

 
   
   
 

Sonic Runners 2.0 arrives, and the Spike wall is gone!

(This isn't a real screenshot, but man, we wish it was.)

Long time no see, everyone!

Aaron from SEGA here. Normally, I don’t work on the mobile titles, but today is a special exception – I get to tell you all about the Sonic Runners 2.0 update, as well as talk about your feedback as fans, and what it means going forward!

Oh, and today is National Cookie Day (no joke), so to get us started, please enjoy this picture of  a delicious chocolate chip cookie:

COOOOOKIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Are you hungry yet? Good. Grab yourself a cookie of your own, and do your civic duty to your country.

 

Alright, so this update is pretty huge.

 

We’re talking Big the Cat levels of huge – you’ll see when we get to the patch notes in just a minute. As Sonic Runners evolves and changes with 2.0, it’s worth noting that already, the team made some improvements and fixes based on feedback from you guys. Take, for example, this beautiful (not actually beautiful) spike wall that started appearing when the update first hit:

RIP in Pepperonis, spike wall

R.i.p. in pepperonis, evil spike wall

A ton of you guys reached out to us on Twitter asking about it, so I sent a quick line in to Sonic Team. Within days, a maintenance was being completed and the Spike Wall was gone.

Huge thanks to all of you out there for letting us know! If you guys spot any other key issues, or have feedback you want to share with us, we encourage you – please send it our way! You can comment here on the blogs, you can reach us on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. We read the internets. We’re watching you right now, even, taking note of that cookie you just finished eating. You’ve got a crumb on your cheek. No, the other side – yeah, there you go.

Alright, ready for the full patch notes? They’re lengthy, so let’s get started!

 

Sonic Runners 2.0 – Update details

PATCH NOTES TIME HERE WE GO

’Quick Mode’ Added.

Challenge stages for the best score within the time limit.

 

 

’Daily Battle’ Added.

Challenge new rivals daily for the best score.

 

 

Runners’ League/Ranking Parameters Adjusted.

Increased chance of winning an SR Buddy in each League Division.

Promotion/demotion parameters for A and S-League Divisions adjusted.

Rewards updated.

Past ranking scores reset.

 

Login Bonus Added

Log in daily to receive a bonus (one per day).

 

Limit Break Added to Playable Characters.

Combine doubles of the same character to limit break.

The resulting character will have an added score bonus and,

when limit-broken, the ‘Quick Mode’ time limit will be extended.

 

Buddy Max Level Increased.

Buddy Max-Level increased to Lv.10.

 

Premium Roulette Updated.

Roulette Tickets added.

Drop rate of rare items increased.

Multiple spin roulette (x3 & x5) added.

Adjustments made to no. of special eggs awarded when double Buddies or Characters land.

 

Item Roulette Updated.

Roulette Tickets added.

Multiple spin roulette (x3 & x5) added.

Adjustments made to no. of special eggs awarded when double Buddies land.

Drop rate of N (Normal) Buddies increased.

 

No. of Lives Increased & Life Recharge Time Reduced.

No. of lives increased from 3 to 5.

Life recharge time reduced from 30mins to 15mins.

 

Friend Invite Rewards Updated.

Invite Reward character changed.

 

Tutorial Simplified.

 

 

Other/Bug Fixes:

UI Updated.

 

Various Parameters Adjusted.

The following parameters were adjusted in accordance with newly added game modes.

Overall scoring.

Playable character abilities.

Buddy abilities.

Scores needed to progress on the Episode Map.

Are you still reading these? Good. Just checking.

 

Various Performance Improvements.

Fixed forced shutdown issue.

Adjusted data load times and data load volumes.

 

Misc./Minor bug fixes.

 

 

Characters /Buddies 

Along with our 2.0.0 version update,

we’re also revising the way scoring is calculated.

As a result, we also revised the skills of each character and Buddy.

Changes were made to the following effects:

 

– Characters –

Shadow: Score Bonus

Rouge: Score Bonus

Blaze: Animals Rescued

Omega: Enemy Bonus

Metal Sonic: Enemy/Obstacle Bonus

Classic Sonic: Distance Bonus

Tikal: Distance Bonus/Animals Rescued

Silver: Total Score Reduction

Big: Total Score Reduction

Cream: Total Score Reduction

Espio: Rings Collected

Charmy: Rings Collected

Vector: Rings Collected

Amitie-Style Amy: Animals Rescued

Halloween Shadow: Score Bonus

Halloween Rouge: Score Bonus

Halloween Omega: Enemy Bonus

 

– SR Buddies –

Light Chaos: Bonus Effect (Score/Distance/Rings/Animals)

Hero Chaos: Ring Bonus

Dark Chaos: Score from Enemies Destroyed

Chip: Last Dash Effect Duration

Shahra: Activation Combo Amount

Caliburn: Number of Attacks

King Arthur’s Ghost: Time Limit Increased/Number of Attacks

RC Tornado: Collectible Ring Amount

RC Battle Cruiser: Red Star Ring Drop Rate

Merlina: Activation Combo Amount

Erazor Djinn: Activation Combo Amount

RC Moon Mech: Additional Attack Rate

Carbuncle: Activation Combo Amount

Kuna: Item Activation Rate

Chaos: Activation Rate

Death Egg: Continue Activation Rate

Red Crystal Monster (S): Activation Combo Amount

Red Crystal Monster (L): Activation Combo Amount

Golden Goose: Activation Combo Amount

Mother Wisp: Score Boost Amount

RC Pirate Spaceship: Ring Appearance Rate

Golden Angel: Golden Enemy Appearance Rate

NiGHTS: Effect Duration

Reala: Effect Duration

RC Tornado 2: Bonus Rate

King Boom Boo: Activation Rate

O-Papa: Activation Combo Amount

Opa-Opa: Activation Combo Amount

 

– R Buddies –

Egg Chao: Distance Bonus

Pumpkin Chao: Score Bonus

Skull Chao: Animal Bonus

Yacker: Effect Duration

RC Golden Piggy Bank: Rings Restored

Wizard Chao: Effect Duration

RC Turtle: Activation Combo Amount

RC UFO: Activation Combo Amount

Easter Bunny: Activation Combo Amount

Magic Lamp: Flicky Appearance Rate

Star-Shaped Missile: Effect Area

Suketoudara: Activation Rate

Rappy: Gold Rappy Appearance Rate

Blowfish Transporter: Activation Combo Amount

Genesis: Time Before Combo Reset

Cartridge: Starting Combo Amount

Green Crystal Monster (S): Activation Combo Amount

Green Crystal Monster (L): Activation Combo Amount

RC Airship: Combo Boost Amount

Desert Chao: Activation Rate

RC Satellite: Activation Rate

Marine Chao: Activation Rate

Nightopian: Activation Rate

Orca: Activation Combo Amount

Sonic Omochao: Activation Rate

Tails Omochao: Activation Rate

Knuckles Omochao: Activation Rate

Boo: Activation Combo Amount

Halloween Chao: Activation Rate

Heavy Bomb: Enemies Destroyed

 

– N Buddies –

Hero Chao: Bonus Effect (Score/Distance/Rings/Animals)

Gold Chao: Ring Bonus

Dark Chao: Enemy Bonus

Jewel Chao: Distance Bonus

Normal Chao: Score Bonus

Omochao: Animal Bonus

RC Monkey: Combo Bonus Duration

RC Spring: Trampoline Effect Duration

RC Electromagnet: Magnet Effect Duration

Baby Cyan Wisp: Cyan Laser Effect Duration

Baby Indigo Wisp: Indigo Asteroid Effect Duration

Baby Yellow Wisp: Yellow Drill Effect Duration

RC Pinwheel: Activation Rate

RC Piggy Bank: Rings Restored

Easter Chao: Activation Rate

Purple Papurisu: Activation Combo Amount

Mag Lv. 1: Activation Combo Amount

 

Whew!

You still with us? Hey, don’t you doze off!

Alright, so that covers pretty much all the major items from the 2.0 Update, and we hope that you guys will enjoy them! As always, we welcome your feedback and I’ll be here to help offer a direct line into Sonic Team, at least for a little while!

Happy Friday everyone, and Happy National Cookie day, too!

Om nom nom. 

 
   
   
 

Alien Isolation – The Collection Information and Base Game Price Drop!

 

AI: The Collection

 

Alien: Isolation – The Collection is now available on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One!

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of ‘The Collection’ will be $39.99 at launch, with Steam users able to take advantage of a 50% discount of the $59.99 price in an exclusive 24 hour launch day promotion.

Alien: Isolation – The Collection

Xbox One – $39.99
PlayStation 4 – $39.99
Steam (PC/Mac/Linux) – $59.99

Additionally, the cost of the digital version of Alien: Isolation on all consoles (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360) will be reduced to $29.99, beginning today.

 

Title New Price
Alien Isolation (Xbox One) $29.99
Alien Isolation (Xbox 360) $29.99
Alien Isolation (PlayStation 4) $29.99
Alien Isolation (PlayStation 3) $29.99
Alien Isolation Season Pass $29.99
Crew Expendable DLC $3.99
Last Survivor DLC $3.99

 

 
   
   
 

Top 5 Movies to Get Hyped for Yakuza 5!

Yakuza 5

 

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about Yakuza 5, so we wanted to post a quick update on it. A few weird development bugs that popped up in localization are taking some time to iron out. Without getting too technical, there were just certain parts that didn’t like switching the Japanese text out for English, and we had to actually search through the source code to find a fix, taking more time than we expected. But! Everything is more or less back on track. Once we have details, we’ll make sure to share them!

“SEGA PLZ!” we’re sure you’re screaming in frustration. “How am I supposed to experience the awesomeness of the Japanese underworld if I have to wait longer?!” Well, to help you out through these trying times, we put together a list of some appropriate movies you can watch to get hyped for Yakuza 5. NOTE: just as Yakuza 5 is rated M, most/all of these movies are rated R by the MPAA, so please take that into consideration.

5. “Tokyo Drifter” – In the 60s, Seijun Suzuki was one of the most prolific and masterful directors of Yakuza films. While “Branded to Kill” is a particularly great movie, Yakuza 5 can relate a little more to “Tokyo Drifter.” After his gang boss retires, Tetsu lives the life of a drifter, wandering around Japan. But being ex-Yakuza doesn’t stop other bosses from sending assassins after you…

4. “Infernal Affairs 1 + 2” – Ok, while this series of Chinese crime thrillers is totally on point, if you replaced the Chinese actors with some big-wig Hollywood types and move the setting from Hong Kong to Boston, you’d have “The Departed,” which was inspired by “Infernal Affairs.” Basically, the Triads put a mole in the police, while the police put a mole in the Triads, and it’s a race to find each other out.

3. “Pulp Fiction” – Arguably Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, the interwoven stories between the cast of anti-heroes echoes the same structure of Yakuza 5, where players will bounce between the game’s 5 playable characters and carefully navigate the power struggle between warring clans. Sure, you’ve probably watched it already. WATCH IT AGAIN.

2. “Yojimbo” – From the legendary Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune comes this samurai film about a ronin who winds up in a village torn by two warring clans. Ok, it’s not a traditional gangster film, but watch it anyways just to see two crime bosses vie for the ronin’s services as a bodyguard (hint: “Yojimbo” means “bodyguard” in Japanese) as he masterfully plays them against one another. If you just HAVE to have tommy guns, “Last Man Standing” starring Bruce Willis has very similar trappings. Plus: it has Christopher Walken too. Minus: it has a bathtub scene….only with Willis.

1. “Sonatine” – Alright, so it’s a bit more arthouse than any of the films mentioned above, but let’s look at the facts: It was written, directed, and stars “Beat” Takeshi Kitano. It has some of the best gangster outfits ever. (I’m looking at you, double-breasted, lavender suit.) And if you’ve never seen a “Beat” Takeshi movie before, you kind of get a great picture of why you don’t mess with him. Some shopkeep mouths off to him at the beginning of the movie, and just before Takeshi leaves for Okinawa to broker a peace deal amongst two bosses, he makes a quick stop by the wharf, where the shopkeep is dangling at the end of a crane. “How long do you think he can hold his breath?” he asks a junior gang member. And well, you get the point. Best part? You do occasionally get to see his humanity peek out from his gangster façade, but a split-second later, and he’s shooting whoever’s disrespected him.

 
Well, there you have it! Hopefully that should tide you over (and hopefully most of those are streaming on Netflix or the like), but in the meantime stay tuned for more Yakuza 5 updates!

 
   
   
 


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