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This a list of Sega’s most questionable Decisions over the last years…

January 19, 2011

I’m sure that some people on the Internet have had their temper tantrum over the issue of the Dreamcast Collection being a compilation of titles that have already been released on Digital channels. However, this wasn’t the first time Sega had to deal with Internet outrage due to what I consider a questionable decision.

32X

The 32X was doomed from the start, as the Sega Saturn was going to see the light of day in 6 months...

The 32X debacle was mostly a major misunderstansding between Sega West and Sega of Japan, it was Sega’s last attempt to keep the Genesis alive, in a time where 16-bit consoles were starting to slowly fade away. A project that had a huge marketing campaign behind this, except that Sega of America had no clue at the time that the Saturn was already on it’s way, meaning that the company sort of undermined it’s own momentum, by promoting something that would be abandoned anyway.

 

The Secret Level decable

The team behind Iron Man and Golden Axe: Beast Rider had a short lived stride as one of Sega's dev teams that had made an impression... for all the wrong reasons.

Perhaps one of the most puzzling studio acquisitions from Sega came from the integration of San Francisco’s Secret Level, who at that point were mostly involved in making ports of specific games, such as America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier. Early promising tidits from a possible Golden Axe revival and re-imagining of this hack&slash as a open world RPG of epic proportions. However, with Iron Man’s criticial reactions, the team came under fire and with Golden Axe: Beast Rider being also a huge mess, things got a whole lot worse. After being renamed Sega Studios San Francisco, they wouldn’t last because shortly before Iron Man 2 was released, the team was disbanded.

 

HostessGate

When you go through the trouble of making a western release of a game that appeals to japanese sensibilities, you better make sure nothing gets lost in translation!

Considering the extremely strong reactions towards the content that was cut when Yakuza 3 was planned for a Western release, if you aren’t into games, you will be excused  if you thought that Yakuza 3 was some sort of brothel simulator and not an actual gritty action adventure crime drama involving the japanese criminal underworld. But in all seriousness, when Sega promoted this title to a crowd that essentially loves all things japanese, it would probably be a good idea to keep a lot of the content that makes it uniquely japanese. It’s understandable, given the very limited schedule the dubbing team had to work on this, however, Sega could’ve handled this situation a lot better.

 

The Shenmue/Xbox debacle

Perhaps Sega and Microsoft's biggest blunder of all time...

It was the year 2001, Shenmue 2 was gearing up to be Sega’s biggest card in the company’s deck, however, the Tokyo Game Show of that year has been largely associated with questionable decisions, because Sega and Microsoft shocked the world when Shenmue 2 and Phantasy Star Online would see an exclusive release on the Xbox, effectively axing the Dreamcast version of Shenmue 2. Online flame wars were ignited, in fact, if there was anything that resembled a complete Internet meltdown, second only to Michael Jackson’s sudden death, this was it. Sega took a while to fan out the flames of outrage with by reassuring European fans that Shenmue 2 wouldn’t be left out of their Dreamcasts. A disasterous move for many reasons, the US was the largest market for the Dreamcast at that point and the Xbox was still trying hard to be the next Playstation-like level of mainstream gaming console (a status that the Xbox ironically never actually achieved), so forcing Dreamcast owners to buy a new console in order to continue the story and not allowing gamers to carry over the content that they had gathered up until that point was just pure madness. To add insult to injury, the game was entirely dubbed in english but only get released a year later, but when it actually got released on Xbox, the sales were nothing short of a disaster, pretty much killing off the franchise. So, by this one simple decision, here is what Sega and Microsoft accomplished back then:

  • A complete alienation of the already established Dreamcast community in the US;
  • Shenmue 2 was released towards a console which had a crowd that just didn’t connect with these types of games, resulting in weak sales;
  • Shenmue 2’s visuals were already dated by 2002 standards, specially compared with the more impressive games at the time like Halo;
  • Weak sales played a huge role in the premature ending of this franchise;

And there you have it, folks. A list of what I thought were the moments where Sega dropped the ball in the worst possible way.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. tailsthehedgehog permalink
    January 20, 2011 3:00 am

    Where could be our fanged, furry, stretchy-armed friend in this list?

  2. Max Cady 128 permalink
    January 20, 2011 10:42 am

    I knew I had left out something. But I’ll keep that in mind for a future article, because there’s a lot of stuff that I left out.

    The issue with Nights 2, Golden Axe: Beast Rider and even the 2006 Sonic game. The early Sonic 4 beta could also count.
    I’ll try to address these issues soon in a similar article.

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