The new online Japanese magazine Beep21 has come through again with amazing Sega history. They've just posted the first part of an interview with two hardware designers that worked at Sega in the 1990s. Both remain anonymous. The topic of conversation was the Sega Pluto. New photos of a Pluto prototype numbered 04 have surfaced, and Beep21 tracked down the designers to question. The photos are behind the magazine's paywall and I will respect their wishes not to leak them, but they are the same as the Pluto prototypes already known, just unpainted. I will, however, translate the important details for you here. If you need a refresher, the Pluto was a modified Saturn with modem/HDD that was first revealed by a former SOA employee in 2013. Not much is known about it. Here are the revelations from the interview: The Pluto was a modified Saturn that included a modem and a 500 MB 2.5-inch hard drive. It functioned identically to the Saturn hardware in every other way. Five functioning prototypes were made. Two (01 and 02) were painted and given to Sega of America. Three more (03, 04, and 05) were unpainted and were created to test the casing in Japan. The Pluto was ordered by the head of Sega of America during mid-1995. It was absolutely never intended to be released in Japan. The prototypes were finished around January 1996. Why did the Pluto use a more expensive 2.5-inch HDD rather than a 3.5-inch HDD? Both the modem and the HDD were modular and could be easily removed or swapped. This was intended to allow for easy upgrading to a faster modem or for more storage. The cost of the Pluto would have been outrageously high if it were actually manufactured. Naming Origins There was no real thought given to the ordering of the planets used as codenames for hardware development, despite numerous fan theories over the years. So, where did the whole planet-based naming system come from? It turns out it was taken from IBM! IBM used names of stars as project codenames. IBM referred to the TeraDrive as “Spica.” The people at Sega working on the project were influenced by that and decided to refer to it as “Terra” (meaning Earth; they spelled this as “Tera”). However, Sega found out at the absolute last moment that another company had a trademark for “Terra,” so they revised it to “TeraDrive” with the logic Mega -> Giga -> Tera. Following that, the staff continued to use planet names for the future hardware projects. It also turned out that another company had a trademark for a toy based on the Saturn rocket, so Sega had to revise the official name of the console to “Sega Saturn” [Japanese is ambiguous as to whether this is one word or two]. The Saturn software codenames such as Andromeda (for Panzer Dragoon) were also inspired by IBM’s star-based system. This is the first part of the interview. The second part is supposed to be even longer and will include the reason why SOA ordered the Pluto. It will also apparently include more info on the Jupiter. I will update the thread when it is released. There's a lot to take in here. It's interesting to read that the Saturn was priced (presumably at launch) at a loss equal to one game's value. Perhaps the coolest thing to me here is the whole TeraDrive = Terra comment. All along, Earth was represented in the lineup and nobody ever realized it. Does this mean the TeraDrive is the device to rule them all? And what was SOA thinking? I really want to know the plan for the Pluto. Hopefully the details will be good in part 2 of the interview.