Rieko Kodama, the leading developer behind Sega classics including Phantasy Star and Skies of Arcadia, has passed away. She was 58 years old.
The rumors started after a memorial message to Kodama was spotted in the credits of Mega Drive Mini 2. When asked if the message was actually intended to mention Kodama’s death, Sega producer Yosuke Oskunari said she was dead.
Finally, the staff credits include a commemorative letter to Rikko Kodama. She started as an artist on games like Alex Kidd In Miracle World, Phantasy Star, and Sonic The Hedgehog, and was a producer on Skies Of Arcadia, 7th Dragon and most recently Switch Sega Ages games. pic.twitter.com/v6xk8oUNYO
– Nick Thorpe (@HKT3030) October 26 2022
“As You Understand It,” Okonari wrote. “We respected her.”
Sega later confirmed that Kodama passed away in May, but was unable to share any other details out of respect for her family’s privacy.
Sega of Japan added: “We pray that the deceased rest in peace, and our gratitude for her tremendous contributions to Sega.” [Translation by IGN Japan]
A pioneer in the gaming industry
Known as Phoenix Rie in her early work, Kodama became famous in the game industry in the mid-1980s, working as a graphic designer and later as a producer and director. Her credits include Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Skies of Arcadia, but she is best known for her work as one of the pioneers of the Phantasy Star series, serving as the director of Phantasy Star IV.
Despite being lauded as a pioneer in a male-dominated industry, Kodama was known to hate the spotlight, turning credit to the rest of her team when she was awarded a Pioneer at the Game Developers Choice Awards.
as you understand it. We respected it.
– Yosuke Okunari / 奥 (okunari) October 27 2022
“I’m not sure if it’s because of Sega culture or what, but I’ve never felt like I was at a disadvantage just because I’m a woman. I’ve been working on various things related to game development for over 30 years now and since joining Sega I haven’t been treated No treatment is different from men,” Kodama said in an interview.
In another interviewShe said she doesn’t think it’s unusual for women to play games, noting that girls often gravitate toward role-playing games. One of her most notable works, Phantasy Star, stood out because it was one of the very few games with the protagonist.
“Since I’m a woman myself, when I make games, I try not to make them just male fictional characters, because people need to be rescued. I like to make female characters that people of both sexes can relate to. But we also see more,” Kodama said at the time. of strong-willed women in games geared toward female audiences.”
Kodama remained active in the gaming industry through 2010, and continued to work on games that included the 7 Dragon and Sega Ages. She has left behind a legacy as one of the most important female developers in gaming history, and her 35-year career in the industry has been an inspiration to many women.
Thumbnail Credit: Game Developers Conference
Kat Bailey is IGN’s Senior News Editor as well as a co-host for Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have a tip? Send her a direct message at the_katbot.