Shenmue, Virtua Fighter creator leaving post at Sega

Yu Suzuki confirms plans to vacate current position in September, will remain with publisher in advisory capacity.

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Legendary designer Yu Suzuki is continuing to loosen his ties to his employer of nearly three decades. According to a Gamasutra report, the creator of seminal series like Virtua Fighter and Shenmue plans to leave his current post at Sega.

Yu Suzuki, future Sega advisor.
Yu Suzuki, future Sega advisor.

"In 2008, I established YS NET, my current company," Suzuki told Gamasutra. "I'll be leaving my current job at Sega this September, and after that point, I'll remain on as an advisor."

This won't be the first time Suzuki's role with Sega has diminished. In 2009, Suzuki "retired" from his position as a creative officer for R&D for the publisher, instead managing just the R&D efforts for the AM Plus division.

Sega won't be the only company receiving Suzuki's advice. Earlier this month, Tokyo-based studio Premium Agency announced that it had secured Suzuki's services as advisor and executive producer of game development. The company is currently working on smartphone games and a Kinect-enabled fighter.

After joining Sega in 1983, Suzuki quickly established himself with a succession of arcade classics, including Space Harrier, After Burner, and OutRun. However, the developer grew more experimental in later years, devoting time to projects such as the Ferrari F355 Challenge arcade game. The monstrous machine was eye catching, with three screens to provide players with better peripheral vision, but its laserlike focus on simulating driving a single model of car in painstaking detail limited its mass appeal.

Then there was the ambitious Shenmue series. Although it attracted a hardcore fan base, the first two Shenmue installments were not commercially successful, and a planned third game in the series never materialized. Although it has been more than eight years since the North American release of Shenmue II, Suzuki has said he still wants to make a third game in the franchise.

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