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Rieko Kodama, the pioneering developer behind Sega classics together with Phantasy Star and Skies of Arcadia, has died. She was 59.

The rumors started after a memorial message to Kodama was noticed within the credit of Mega Drive Mini 2. Requested whether or not the message was certainly supposed to point that Kodama had died, Sega producer Yosuke Oskunari mentioned that she had.

“As you perceive it,” Okunari wrote. “We revered her.”

Sega subsequently confirmed that Kodama died in Could, however was unable to share any additional particulars out of respect for the privateness of her household.

A pioneering girl within the video games business

Generally known as Phoenix Rie in her early works, Kodama broke into the video games business within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, the place she served as a graphic designer after which later as a producer and director. Her credit embrace the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Skies of Arcadia, however she is best-known for her work as one of many inventive leads of the Phantasy Star sequence, serving because the director of Phantasy Star IV.

Although lauded as a pioneer in an business dominated by males, Kodama was famously averse to the highlight, deflecting credit score to the remainder of her staff when she was awarded a Pioneer Award on the Sport Builders Selection Awards.

“I’m unsure if it’s due to Sega’s company tradition or what, however I’ve by no means felt that I used to be at an obstacle simply because I’m a lady. I’ve been engaged on numerous issues associated to recreation growth for over 30 years now, and since becoming a member of Sega I haven’t been handled any in a different way from males,” Kodama mentioned in an interview.

In one other interview, she mentioned that she did not suppose it was that uncommon for girls to play video games, observing that ladies usually gravitate towards RPGs. Considered one of her most notable works, Phantasy Star, stood out as a result of it was one of many only a few video games with a feminine protagonist.

“As I am a lady myself, after I make video games, I attempt to not simply have them be male fantasy figures, as individuals needing to be rescued. I wish to make feminine characters individuals of each genders can relate to. However we’re seeing extra strong-willed girls in video games geared in direction of feminine audiences,” Kodama mentioned on the time.

Kodama remained lively within the video games business by the 2010s, persevering with to work on video games incuding seventh Dragon and Sega Ages. She leaves behind a legacy as one of many foremost feminine builders in gaming historical past, her 35-year profession within the business serving as inspiration for a lot of girls to observe.

Thumbnail photograph credit score: Sport Builders Convention

Kat Bailey is a Senior Information Editor at IGN in addition to co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Ship her a DM at @the_katbot.


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