Sega's President lives in an RPG
It started on the 14th of February and will continue through to the 18th; Milia 2000 is a European show for developers and publishers of all forms of computer-based and interactive entertainment.
On the 15th of February, the last keynote speech of the 'Think Tank Summit' was by Sega's President Schoichiro Irimajiri.
This speech caught my attention because it started with 'Iri-san' talking about how he felt Shenmue, Sega's most ambitious game yet, had many similarities with his everyday life. His job is to "suspend reality". Scenes from Shenmue played on a large screen behind him.
Iri-san's life, the ultimate RPG. Sega's business plan is the "RPG for the 21st century of Interactive Entertainment". The walls that surround Sega have melted away to reveal a world of hidden purpose... And so many other quotes I can mangle!
Anyway, most of the speech was about Sega's motivation now being Interactivity, Speed, and Networking. Iri-san made clear that interactivity extends to all games since Pong and isn't just intended as an Internet buzzword. He then went on to talk about the speed of the internet not being fast enough yet, but Sega are working towards building faster internet service backbones and supporting ADSL and cable modems, including looking towards the "Super Wide Band" of optical fibres. But latency is an even greater concern than just data transfer speeds. RPGs will be able to take advantage of online gameplay earlier than fast action games will, because fast response times from other players are not quite so important.
According to Iri-san, Sega will be the first company to tackle all aspects of this technology and "seize the 21st century with a vengence".
Iri-san is keen to say that the machine to do this is still the Dreamcast, pointing out that the machine can still boast great graphics as it has more texture memory than the upcoming competition (he mentioned no names!), and less expensive development tools.
This keynote speech was also used to showcase a peripheral coming soon to Dreamcast, the Dreamcast Camera (tentative title). What can you do with it? You can video chat with someone else over the internet, or even multiple people at once. You can broadcast videos of yourself to competitors within games themselves, and see their faces as well. Also, you can use the device away from the console like a digital camera, and then edit images, send them by email, or put them on a WWW home page. Plus, you can even colaborate with others on the internet to edit the same picture at the same time, with more than one controlled pointer on screen at once! Not sure of the uses that feature has, but it could be fun. It's certainly unique.
DC sales figures (From Sega) :
Figures of DCs connected to Internet :
Finally, and perhaps most importantly in terms of RPG news, is that Peter Molyneux, creator of the God-sim genre with Populous, and head of Lionhead Studios, confirmed to Sega that the 'God-RPG' Black and White will be developed for Dreamcast. It will also make good use of the Dreamcast's online capability, hopefully just as the PC version uses the internet for multi-player chat and gameplay via Black and White: The Gathering.
Want to see and hear this speech for yourselves? Go ahead. It's in RealVideo format at the Milia 200 website. Use either of these two links. And Iri-san does speak English all the way through!
"Let's all chat together, and have fun!"
Source: Milia 2000