don't click here

Rieko Kodama (1963-2022)

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by The Joebro64, Oct 27, 2022.

  1. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    SAY HELLO TO MY CHOCOLATE BLEND Member
    2,011
    1,309
    93
    [​IMG]

    1963 - 2022

    Rieko Kodama, artist, director, and producer at Sega who joined the company in 1984, died in May but the news was not made public until today. She was 58. She and her family went out of their way to avoid public attention, so her death wasn't public knowledge until Retro Gamer's Nick Thorpe (our own @NiktheGreek) discovered a tribute in the Mega Drive / Genesis Mini 2. Sega subsequently confirmed she'd passed in May.

    To say that this is a massive loss is a gigantic understatement. Without her, Sega wouldn't be the same. Her production history spans all the way from the SG-1000 to the Nintendo Switch, with significant contributions to defining titles including the Phantasy Star series, Altered Beast, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Skies of Arcadia.

    Rest in peace.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2022
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  2. JaxTH

    JaxTH

    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    9,860
    375
    63
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    That means she died a week after her 59th birthday.
     
  3. Very sad news :( RIP
     
  4. Aesculapius Piranha

    Aesculapius Piranha

    つづく Oldbie
    4,523
    130
    43
    Unknown
    Diva
    Phoenix Rie passing is definitely a gutting moment. Just heard. Am sad.
     
  5. RDNexus

    RDNexus

    Member
    SEGA sure lost one great person. RIP :flunked:
     
  6. The KKM

    The KKM

    Welcome to the nExt level Member
    2,269
    72
    28
    Portugal
    IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog comic books
    https://twitter.com/judy_totoya/status/1585478362143035393

    Judy Totoya's thoughts about her, on twitter. DeepL translation.

    Obviously sad, but I appreciate we're only being told months later. I think this was very nice and respectful- they kept it private to her family and friends, and it's only come to be known to everyone else months later as part of a small heartfelt dedicatory in a product full of her work.
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • List
  7. Vanishing Vision

    Vanishing Vision

    Member
    168
    142
    43
    RIP. She was a big part of some excellent arcade and early console games, including one of my favorites; Quartet. I've been playing the Master System version a lot today as a tribute.
     
  8. doc eggfan

    doc eggfan

    Are you pondering what I'm pondering? Wiki Sysop
    9,558
    138
    43
    ACT
    GreatMegaLD, GreatSC3k, Great SG1k
    Oh man... 59 is way too young.
     
  9. BlueSkiesAM2

    BlueSkiesAM2

    Member
    495
    242
    43
    Denmark
    I just saw this on Naka’s Instagram and was shocked I missed the news before seeing it was kept private.

    That’s absolutely horrible. I always loved her work and thought she deserved way more recognition from the general public for her contributions to the industry. It’s disappointing to see all these publications talking about her work today after her death was made public when they should have been singing her praises for years and years. At least she received the pioneer award at GDC a few years back.

    I recall a pretty recent video interview about Skies of Arcadia where she said something about the game not being good enough because it underperformed and it was heart wrenching that she felt that way about a creation that people in our fandom held so dear.

    RIP Phoenix Rie.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2022
  10. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    SAY HELLO TO MY CHOCOLATE BLEND Member
    2,011
    1,309
    93
    That was a mistake - outlets initially reported she was 59, but it emerged overnight that she'd died on May 9, which would make her 58. And 58 is way too young. ;-;

    Edit: Yuji Naka's posted a tribute and included a picture from her funeral:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. JaredAFX

    JaredAFX

    You telling me a shrimp fried this rice? Member
    873
    17
    18
    Florida
    Downloading megahertz
    I'm going to be honest, I didn't know who she was until last night. And I really wish it didn't take this news for me to finally learn about her.

    May her memory be a blessing.
     
  12. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    shaving is boring Wiki Sysop
    7,313
    1,295
    93
    Northumberland, UK
    hey wiki you're so fine
    In a way, it was probably this community that shed light on her existence. The Japanese were big on using pseudonyms in video game credits, specifically so you didn't know who the developers were (a policy dropped at Sega in 1993/1994, a decade after she started making games), so casual players of Sonic 1 and 2 would just see the praise going to the mysterious "Phoenix Rie".

    You could find this all out if you followed Phantasy Star lore and read Japanese interviews, but you're not in the wrong for not knowing. We still don't know her full production history - SG-1000 and Master System credits have practically been lost to time. We know she was an artist in Sonic 1 - judging from Yuji Naka's post, she might have been responsible for Labyrinth Zone. But we don't know, and that's kinda terrible when you think about it.


    In fact, Rieko Kodama might be the most successful woman in video games. There are female musicians that have made huge contributions, but does it compare to being top dawg of Phantasy Zone and Skies of Arcadia? Food for thought.
     
  13. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    Member
    1,780
    574
    93
    RIP. She left quite a legacy, having contributed to some of the most amazing and influential Sega games ever.
     
  14. Overlord

    Overlord

    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    18,809
    692
    93
    Long-term happiness
    A massive loss, she did an absolute ton for Sega and we'd be looking at a very different company output without her.
     
  15. Pirate Dragon

    Pirate Dragon

    Member
    426
    55
    28
    Very sad news, many of the games she was involved in were favourites of mine as a kid.
     
  16. Ted618

    Ted618

    Member
    313
    173
    43
    Of anyone to rest in peace, Kodama should; she leaves behind a legacy of some of the most unique video games ever made, and I cannot possibly imagine how influential she has been for young women looking to get into game development over the years. I do sadly echo sentiments about feeling somewhat uneasy over this burst of praise from certain places that never really gave it her before, although I suppose it's better than nobody caring at all.

    I do also wonder whether the likes of Mie Kumagai will get this same posthumous recognition. She was often widely credited as the first woman to lead a proper game studio, but perhaps doing Virtua Tennis and many other quality arcade games won't be retrospectively seen as that much of a notable production history in the eyes of others now.

    I have always really admired Skies and the beautifully defined direction that she took with it, yet largely because of its official inaccessibility, have never quite got round to actually playing it. It will always be one of the biggest cases of Sega leaving creative potential behind though, and probably a permanent one now - even when putting it on 3DS could have been an obvious slam dunk, considering how well both's capabilities would complement each other.

    It's not a great conclusion to come to, but Sega effectively failed that game, and we did as well. Judging from her thoughts on it, Kodama by extension also. And let alone more people only now starting to praise her works after many given enough notice in her lifetime, the worst thing to come out of this is Sega Shop Europe still shamelessly advertising the F4F Aika statue, just hours after Japan had officially confirmed her passing. Really not a good look.
     
  17. Brainulator

    Brainulator

    Regular garden-variety member Member
    This really hurts. May she rest in peace; she really deserves it.
     
  18. Konami beat SEGA to that. I forget her name now and I'm in work, but Konami made a women head of their studio and she worked on the likes of 7 Blades Ect, EDGE Mag did a nice little preview with her and the 7 blades team

    I won't pretend to had been the biggest Kodama fan, but I did love her Deep Fear game and Magic Knight; Deep Fear is such a overlooked gem of a game, taking all the best bits of RE gameplay and mixing it with a bit of James Cameron - The Abyss. I loved that game and play it like 3 times every year. I love the music in the game too
     
  19. Aesculapius Piranha

    Aesculapius Piranha

    つづく Oldbie
    4,523
    130
    43
    Unknown
    Diva
    A fun thing to do is spend time googling the aliases from the Sonic 1 credits... Some amazing people behind those names.
     
  20. Aerosol

    Aerosol

    Not here. Moderator
    11,025
    388
    63
    Not where I want to be.
    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    Add me to the list of people ashamed to only learn of her contributions because of the announcement of her passing. I very likely wouldn't be here without her.