The creators of Phantasy Star, in their own words, in episode 154
Plus: A look at a whole lot of recent SEGA music releases.
Congratulations, Retronauts fan! You're about to listen to what is easily the most complex and demanding episode we've ever put together. The logistics behind this podcast were really quite remarkable, involving a whole lot of moving parts… but the payoff, I think, was worth it. While I was in Japan for BitSummit last month, SEGA allowed me the rare and incredible opportunity to visit their offices and interview Rieko Kodama and Toru Yoshida, veteran designers who have worked on numerous franchises ranging from Alex Kidd to Sonic. To my knowledge, neither has appeared on podcasts before (and certainly not on English-language podcasts), so it was more than worth the challenges involved to hear about the origins of one of the greatest RPG series of all times in its creators' own words.
There are two topics of note here: One, we briefly discuss SEGA retro compilations like Sega Genesis Classics for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and the upcoming SEGA Ages series for Switch (the latter of which Ms. Kodama is overseeing). Then, we talk about the Phantasy Star games, which Ms. Kodama and Mr. Yoshida became involved in as artists but eventually ended up co-directing (with the series' final, legendary, single-player entry, Phantasy Star IV).
The second portion of the show continues the SEGA theme, as I return to the studio and take a deep dive into three incredible recent releases by DataDiscs: After Burner II, Space Harrier, and Streets of Rage 3.
All in all, this has been a profoundly challenging episode to arrange and assemble. However, I'm really proud of the end result, and I hope everyone else will enjoy the outcome.
Thanks to Alex Aniel of BraveWave for interpreting our interview, to everyone at SEGA Japan and SEGA Europe for making the interview possible, and to DataDiscs for the review material. Expect further coverage of SEGA Genesis Classics and SEGA Ages soon!
Note: Ms. Kodama passed along a small clarification about her decision to get into games. She says, "I began searching for a job the same year the Famicom was released. At the same time, arcade games were also quite popular, and I thought working in the video game industry could be interesting. That's how I came to choose Sega." (She was not an active arcade-goer at the time.)
Episode description: All SEGA, all the time! First, a chat with Phantasy Star designers Rieko Kodama and Toru Yoshida. Then, an in-depth look at DataDiscs' releases of the classic OSTs for After Burner II, Space Harrier, and Streets of Rage 3. Special thanks to BraveWave's Alex Aniel!