Q&A: Sega Europe's Matt Woodley

Sega Europe has been busy buying up various studios and expanding others--we talk to creative director Matt Woodley about the thinking behind the strategy.

The past 12 months have been a busy time in the games industry, particularly for Sega Europe. Following acquisitions of studios Creative Assembly (developer of the Total War series) and Sports Interactive (of Football Manager fame), it was recently announced that Sega's Racing Studio outfit would double in size.

At a time when some high-profile publishers are feeling the pinch, Sega seems to have bucked the trend. GameSpot UK recently caught up with Matt Woodley, Sega Europe's creative director, to find out a little more.

GameSpot UK: Sega has made some interesting purchases recently--what has the reasoning behind these acquisitions been?

Matt Woodley: It's part of our strategy to improve our release schedule by working with the best developers worldwide, not just those in Japan. As two examples, Sports Interactive and Creative Assembly not only make the best games in their genres but also make the types of games that were missing from Sega's previous lineup. We had gaps to fill and went for the best to fill them. That's true of all the individual titles we have been acquiring, too, not just company acquisitions. For example, Bizarre Creations is working on The Club for us--we needed a superb third-person shooter that would take the genre to a new level, and it looks like that's exactly what we are getting.

Although it's by no means an easy target to achieve, we are striving to make the best games possible across a wide variety of genres. Hopefully, we can do this by investing in the talent we have whilst innovating at all levels. Making games isn't a science, but you sure as hell can minimise the risk by working with and nurturing the best talent. That's a big part of our philosophy. Let's be honest, Sega is driven by a desire to be successful and thus driven by making money, but the deal with our industry is that well-developed, researched, and marketed games tend to bring you such rewards, so that's our daily focus.

GSUK: Racing Studio has also expanded now--which titles will they be working on?

MW: For now, the only title we have announced is the next-generation version of Sega Rally. I'm talking to you right now from the Studio, having just seen the latest code on PlayStation 3, and have to say I'm very impressed.

GSUK: It's a difficult time for big brands in the industry--with others feeling the heat, how is Sega getting on?

MW: I think that Sega is in a completely different position to most publishers in the industry. We have a genuine vision and the support of the most dynamic and intelligent executives I have come across. Sega is part of a large Japanese group--Sega Sammy Holdings--and the desire of our board is that the company succeed, and we have been given the appropriate resources to do that. It will take time, but I'm totally confident that Sega will once again be the biggest brand in video games--worldwide.

GSUK: Are we likely to see further acquisitions this year?

MW: I can't comment on this.

GSUK: How will Sega approach the issue of next-generation titles--spiralling costs and development time are surely an issue?

MW: Well we've done OK so far with decent launch titles for 360, and I genuinely think that our PlayStation 3 launch lineup is looking the best out there, but we are totally aware of the pitfalls--mainly because we have such experience in developing for new hardware. Spiralling costs everyone needs to manage through careful planning--the industry needs people with great project-planning abilities as much as it needs great creative talent.

GSUK: Thanks for your time.

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Discussion

69 comments
DarknessOfFate1
DarknessOfFate1

ill always love sega for the genesis and master system truly godly systems and they sure were smart buying TCA. they are the best game devs arioudn right now.

posiedonblade
posiedonblade

It seems like people either love or hate sega. Total War for Wii!

Devilwillcry
Devilwillcry

GO SEGA, get back in there and put out some good software this time. I was very displeased with your games last gen. make me proud of Virtua Fighter 5 and Sonic and brign back Vector man, that game was awesome. I misss my days of Sega.

777_solidsnake
777_solidsnake

hmmm if i heard him correct he was IMPRESSED WITH PS3!!! Gosh i hate fanboys hopefully this will shut them up. i love SEGA, does anybody remember "Vector Man"?

bobblehead07
bobblehead07

Koo news.....i wonder whatever happen to the Streets of Rage games. Those were my favorite.

wetdrop
wetdrop

Sega will not make another console. there can be only 3. Four consoles is just to many. It spreads everything too thin. Besides when you make games for 3 consoles your trippling what you would make on just making the game for 1 console. Hardware isn't where the money is its the software ask bill gates.

caddilac_pimpin
caddilac_pimpin

i love the football manager series they have out which is coming out in december

Enderexor
Enderexor

*Sigh* I used to love what Sega did. But now they are making nothing that is even close to the older games. Look at Shadow the Hedge Hog for an example of how far they have fallen. If they fummble this one then they will almost certainly go belly up in no time flat. If they bring back that old charm then they stand a chance to accend to their posistion of greatness and maybe make the Dreamcast 2. However excuse me if I don't hold out much hope. Sonic could return or die.

Benan
Benan

SEGA always made good stuff ,and their best move was stay out of hardware war ,way to go SEGA ..,Sonic still rocks

filodelallata
filodelallata

go on sega,make the dreamcast 2 a realitty!!!

Doolum
Doolum

With the end of the Dreamcast,Sega has had lots of time to put more time on game developing,and with the acquisition of these two great studios we can expect Sega to deliver quite a punch in the future

jsambeckwith
jsambeckwith

Since we're going nowhere, i'll go out of my head...

Kaji_ryoji
Kaji_ryoji

Ganbatte Sega ..este es el año del erizo!!!!

MCCHA
MCCHA

Sonic is awesome!!

sephiroth_4
sephiroth_4

I don't like Sega's releasing games on different platforms on a whim. That's not fair to gamers who love Sega franchices and don't want to buy all systems or in my case, can't afford them just yet. Also, Microsoft better pay for all the 3rd party help they can get or else Sony will dominate again, no matter the price of the systems and games, but not with my help. $600 and $60-100 games. pfffft.

Zar_InHELL
Zar_InHELL

Way to go Sega !!! and thanks for bying Guilty gear X SLASH !!! I always love ya sega keep working hard , ur gonna be in the top again !

Nc23Nick
Nc23Nick

hmmmm......i never played anygame on the saga consule but sonic......and it was the best so im routining 4 saga

Icekxg
Icekxg

I USED to love Sega, I mean come on, Eternal Champiions, Sonic, Shenmue, Phantasy Star, Shining Force...great games, but ever since they stopped making consoles, their games SUCKED! PSO was great until they made you start paying to play it. Shining Force isn't even a tactical game anymore. And where the heck is Shenmue 3??? I'm sorry, but if it wasn't for Sammy helping them out, all these acquisitions would just sound like an Enron scam.

00Rambol00
00Rambol00

samuel_mejia, like to see u do better "samuel_mejia sucks" hehe and no teknocack, he gets poo all for saying his opinion

Minhveryhard
Minhveryhard

I think that "hardware" will be as good as Wii, X360, PS3.

insinuendo
insinuendo

Seag are the best. They have changed quite a lot over the years but still are one f the most consistant developers in the world. Shame we haven't seen a NiGHTS or Chakan game but I'm sure that day will come.

ragin_massaih
ragin_massaih

GOOD- NOW HURRY UP AND GIVE US SHENMUE FOR GODS SAKE!!!!!!

Nintendo_Man
Nintendo_Man moderator

Where is Daytona? Sega's most popular Arcade racer, most major arcades even today still have them.

rulo_rezn0r
rulo_rezn0r

We Want a Panzer Dragoon Saga remake!!!!

_Sam_
_Sam_

Smart moves!

sgrocker77
sgrocker77

they made sonic AND condemned......2 greatest games ever

Nawras
Nawras

The best thing that Sega did is stayed out of hardware and stuck to software - that way they will always have the Sega spirit on all consoles. **goes back to play Dreamcast**

KLTREHH2
KLTREHH2

SONIC WAS THE BEST GAME , SEGA WAS THE BEST CONSOLE !!!

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

Welcome back to the big time, Sega! You've been gone too long.

XAF1
XAF1

All I can say is I hope Sega good luck because I haven't been inpressed by anything they have done since they became the new Sega. As a company that is looking to make money it needs to learn that most of it's popular franchises should go multi-platform as long as the consoles can handle them, VF5 for example. Until Sega of Japan can take American Xbox 360 gamers more seriously they will still be limiting their sells in America when it comes to their original fans. I give it credit for buying up new companies but none of them have really gained half the clought as Sega's original stuff use to. I know we are talking Sega in the UK here but when I think Sega/Sammy I think of the company as a whole.

PierceLogic
PierceLogic

This would be a good chance for Sega to jump back into the console market with its own system. Maybe they should focus less on the PS3 and work on their own hardware. Sega Exodus, anyone? ;)

DarkSan00
DarkSan00

right! sega sux hard, the problem is that it failed with consoles and sonic games have SUCH A HORRIBLE CAMERA

RedBuffy
RedBuffy

SEGA Rocks, We miss you! Can I see another NIghts game, Mr. Bones., Eternal Champions, Bug, Panzer Dragon, World Series Baseball? Please SEGA comeback to classics!!!

2w-sephiroth
2w-sephiroth

Hell.... I would be happy to have Shenmue 3 in my hands and get all crazy. I have spend some money with the shenmues and yes I did love and have lots of fun but cant they at least make an online book or something explaining what happens in Shenmue 3? a book? a flash movie or something like that? we deserve that at least god!!! I did love Shenmue 1, it had everything and was considered the best game like wow. Then shenmue 2 was even better. I did really enjoy Dreamcast but was destroyed by the other 3 companies... and It was really low powerfull in comparison with Xbox, gc and PS2. Saturn was a failure and they tried for a second time. It was not going to be easy and bah. I did enjoy brutally with Shenmue and Jet Set Radio. I hope they make another Jet Set Radio soon... please... oh god I want a new Jet Set Radio!!! I will say 1 thing, Shenmue 3, the story at least please :S

teknocack
teknocack

samuel_mejia, You get points for at least being contrary! Cheers!!!

shazaila
shazaila

I loved sega, and still do. It brings back classic memories from its sonic games, good times.

yoshinatsu666
yoshinatsu666

As a Mega-SEGA fan, I have to say that, as the next generation comes closer, Sega keeps getting better and better, ESPECIALLY in its graphics overall. In the past I would constantly hear really BAD comments about SEGA games and SEGA's graphics, but I think that this is long gone now. Way to go SEGA. 15 Years of Sonic, still rocking the Universe.

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Randomd00d
Randomd00d

sounds neat... im always good with sega... SOnic is prety dang kool!

JLCrogue
JLCrogue

I'm glad that Sega is finally coming out with some good ol' western games. This could be very good for them. :)

MB_E102
MB_E102

BIGGEST... REQUEST... EVER... please... Sega, come out with a new system. I want a Sonic game on a Sega: ______, please. You're dreamcast revolutionized video games... despite what anybody else thinks. You had online gaming, 3 years before the PS2, 4 and a half before the XBox... and... you were the only REAL online Publisher... please. Just ONE more.

mark_unix
mark_unix

Sega just supports Japan, and Japanese company's in general aren't very big on Microsoft for some strange reason 8S