Michael Jackson Visits Sega in Japan, December 1996 (New Photos!)

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Gryson, May 3, 2022.

  1. Gryson

    Gryson

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  2. Deathscythe

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    Can't believe Sega would let a Sony eymployee in and give him a tour like that. Talk about playing with snakes!

    All jokes aside good pictures. Absolutly loved VF3!
     
  3. Ted618

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    Just as wonderful as the photos of his 1988 + 1992 visits - those mentions of "possible future development projects" and "Sega's VR technology" are fascinating in particular. MJ seems to have had unparalleled outsider access to these things.

    The "skateboard game" mentioned there is surely Top Skater, but I am really not sure on the gun game - at first glance, it could be an early version of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and the presence of what I am fairly certain are several members of AM3 in the background supports that. However, the information we have about that game's development timeline, though somewhat hazy, throws doubt on this.

    An "early 1997" start is quoted by Retro and Wikipedia, which is backed up by a Sega Saturn Magazine interview with Shinichi Ogasawara. In it he states that work began on Lost World with a vague "about a year ago"; the edition with this interview was published in December 97. But more key are his subsequent comments about creating "everything from scratch" and how AM3 "hadn't even decided what kind of game it was going to be". Though not very specific, that says to me they had not yet got a functioning light gun build running in December 96.

    And look at the gun itself:
    [​IMG]
    That does not resemble any other Sega light gun design I've ever came across thus far. Perhaps it wasn't Lost World, and Jackson instead got to play a canned AM3 title which was further along in development but then cancelled?
     
  4. Galvatron

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    That lightgun looks like the ones used with 1995's Crypt Killer.
     
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  5. Ted618

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    Which just begs the question why Sega seemingly had a Konami light gun lying around at their development headquarters. Leftover design inspiration for future projects, or mere convenience in testing a game?

    As it was close to releasing at the time, it may also be possible that Jackson was playing the original House of the Dead, but if that were the case you'd expect someone like Rikiya Nakagawa or other AM1 personnel to be watching on behind him instead of Mie Kumagai.
     
  6. LockOnTommy11

    LockOnTommy11

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    Following the Sonic 3 situation the narrative always lead me to believe the relationship between MJ and SEGA was strained? Seems like that’s not the case here at all.

    Perhaps there is truth in MJ, rather than SEGA, ending the Sonic 3 co-operation directly?
     
  7. cartridgeculture

    cartridgeculture

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    I believe it's been more or less confirmed that Jackson left the project due to displeasure in hearing his original work played back through FM (possibly in specific regard to Sonic 3's limited sample playback), and had requested his work removed from the project.* The majority of sources also confirmed it wasn't related to his 1993 sexual allegations, although the internet conflated the two for some time (particularly because one of the interviewed sources also conflated the two.)

    Sega didn't appear to have any hard feelings about Jackson leaving the project, but as you can see from Gryson's post below, there was some informal hesitation to work with him for a while because of the allegations (which happened around the same time.) Also, Jackson himself shrunk away from the limelight after the allegations as well, which likely played a part in the collaborations dropping off. Sources from both SoJ and SoA confirm the "cancelled future arcade games". Also, I believe Sega theme park managers sometimes pulled his AS-1 ride post-allegations, but this seems to have been up to the establishment.

    *With the exception of two pieces he collaborated with Brad Buxer on. As far as we know, probably.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  8. Gryson

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    I've seen indication that Sega was unsure of working with him following the allegations (which were made August 1993). There is an account online from a Japanese Sega employee who was responsible for meeting with him about a possible collaboration later in the decade, and there being hesitancy due to the allegations. Eventually, that collaboration took the form of MJ's appearance in Space Channel 5. Sorry for the vagueness here - I don't recall the employee's name now. I might track it down later. But anyway, that was years after Sonic 3.

    I do think the hesitancy about working with him would have been a lot stronger in the US. MJ's name was dragged through the mud by the media when the allegations were made. It's a bit hard for me to imagine RIGHT after the allegations came out that Sega would want to advertise they were working with MJ on a game intended for children. Way too risky.

    Edit: I found it. It was a post by Shuji Utsumi, here:

    https://otocoto.jp/column/utsumi32/

    Google translated:

    https://otocoto-jp.translate.goog/c...l=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

    So it's not really clear if the plans for an arcade game fell through BECAUSE of whatever allegations, or just because MJ was too distracted to work with them.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  9. cartridgeculture

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    Thank you so much for sharing this. While we're at it, do you know if Sega took any other actions in response to Jackson's 1993 allegations? So far, I have:
    • Shuji Utsumi (your source) mentioning hesitancy on SoJ's side to engage in future projects.
    • One of the Sonic 3xMJ interviewees stating there was also some hesitancy for future projects on the SoA side (in the context of "but there was never any official action/statement taken, and it just resulted in a cooling period of relations")
    • SoJ possibly having to shelve a future Jackson arcade title. Both Shuji Utsumi and another Western source (I believe a Sonic 3xMJ interviewee) both confirming the "cancelled future plans/arcade games" thing. I believe the Western source may have gotten it from Utsumi/SoJ, or was just generalizing. Basically, both sides of the Atlantic were looking forward to further collaborations with Jackson before the allegations, but SoJ appears to have been the only one with anything in the pipeline.
    • Managers of Sega theme park venues/ were given the choice of removing the AS-1 ride Michael Jackson in Scramble Training from their establishments if they felt inclined (did this apply to Moonwalker machines too?)
     
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  10. Elratauru

    Elratauru

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    I think I have the missing piece of the puzzle here: AM4 designed the game's cabinet using screenshots and illustrations given to them by AM1 as told in this interview: https://archive.org/details/Official_Sega_Saturn_Magazine_023/page/n61/mode/2up?view=theater

    As seen there, AM4 was in charge of the creation of arcade cabinet hardware, design and all that, I'm not sure where was AM1 located at the buildings, but it's noted that AM1 wanted a new more realistic gun for HotD compared to the one previously used in Virtua Cop, so it would make sense that they were trying some existing ones before to see which was the best lightgun style to use.

    Considering it was released a few months earlier, it would make sense to be HotD, as it probably hadn't come to the states yet.
     
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  11. LupenMoon

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    I find this pic amusing.

    Did MJ visit Sega for specific projects or was it purely just because of his game?
     
  12. Gryson

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    These visits seemed to be purely for enjoyment. Sega probably invited him to keep the door open for future projects together, since they knew how much of a Sega fan he was. It was also great PR on their part and great for company morale. MJ, in turn, got to live the dream of touring Sega's development studios and seeing in-progress games.
     
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  13. Ted618

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    For development of the multiple projects we know he was involved in (Moonwalker, AS-1 films, Sonic 3), MJ naturally made numerous trips on the quiet alongside these more publicised visits. The occasional personal photograph of him with Sega personnel has also surfaced; Fumio Kurokawa's 4Gamer interview with Hisashi Suzuki included this
    [​IMG]
    How Jackson arranged to buy his R360 off of them is something I'd love to know more about too - I've seen one or two anecdotes about it in Japanese sources before. He bought many machines direct from Sega for his game room over the course of the decade, but there has to be a good story behind that one in particular.
     
  14. cartridgeculture

    cartridgeculture

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    I'd be super interested to hear those anecdotes, if its not too much trouble :)