Yu Suzuki contributing to Kinect fighter

Virtua Fighter veteran takes post at Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive studio working on smartphone social games and motion-controlled brawlers.

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Famed Virtua Fighter designer Yu Suzuki may be returning to the ring, but not necessarily to his signature fighting series. Tokyo-based studio Premium Agency today announced that it has secured Suzuki's services as advisor and executive producer of game development.

Suzuki, posing with his GDC Pioneer Award.

While Premium Agency didn't say specifically what projects Suzuki would be working on, the company's CEO expects he "will contribute to the development and launching of worldwide titles continuously, to cover titles of new fighting games for Xbox360 Kinect, also popular in the West, to social application games for smartphones."

The fighting genre isn't entirely new to Premium Agency; the company has previously worked on Namco Bandai's PSP brawler Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive. The studio also lends its CG talents to animation and film work, and it has a growing business in social games and other applications for mobile phones.

Despite Suzuki's expertise in the fighting genre, it may be Premium's other efforts that have attracted his attention. In a career retrospective talk at this year's Game Developers Conference, Suzuki said he had formed a small startup company with a focus on what he perceived as the next big thing: networked games.

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