Yu Suzuki retires from SEGA R&D

Continues to manage one arcade division.

According to GameSpot, SEGA Sammy has announced that legendary designer and producer Yu Suzuki has retired from active, creative development work.

The creator of Virtua Fighter and Shenmue, who oversaw a string of early arcade classics at SEGA - Space Harrier, Afterburner and OutRun among them - will no longer be an R&D "creative officer". He will remain with the company as manager of the Research & Development department for one of SEGA's arcade divisions, AM Plus.

AM Plus has so far released two games in Japan, Psy Phi and SEGA Race TV. Suzuki has had such a low profile within SEGA recently that Simon Jeffrey, president of the company's American arm, wasn't sure if he was still an employee when Gamasutra asked him last year.

Although his early games will forever be associated with SEGA, Yu Suzuki's work took on a different colour from the Dreamcast era in the late 1990s. He became preoccupied with intense realism in the F355 Challenge racing simulator and the languid adventure series Shenmue, games that had hardcore followings, but never justified their huge development costs.

The Shenmue project was close to Suzuki's heart, but a third game never saw the light of day, and a planned massively multiplayer spin-off, Shenmue Online, was also shelved.

Suzuki's spirit lives on, however, in the evergreen Virtua Fighter and OutRun. OutRun Online Arcade is released on Xbox Live Arcade next week.

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