Yutaka Sugano, honorary member of MO5.COM

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Yutaka Sugano

credits: Nico Datiche

MO5.COM is pleased to announce that creator of Shinobi, Yutaka Sugano recently joined the association as Honorary Member.

He regards the work of our association as highly welcome and necessary, and he therefore decided to support us and become Honorary Member. Such an important figure of the video game industry will undoubtedly help us grow and gain further popularity.

Born on May 22th 1961, Yutaka Sugano studied mining engineering in college when he discovered Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns (1985) by SEGA, which made him want to work for that company. There, he co-designed Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars (1986), then designed on his own Shinobi (1987) that was a huge success and spawned many sequels even though it almost got cancelled. He then designed Crack Down (1989) and the initial version of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (1990) when SEGA asked him to go to the USA to be part of the company’s arcade subsidiary, then a new studio created by Mark Cerny, SEGA Technical Institute. There, he designed Dick Tracy (1990), worked on the bonus stages for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992), and produced Sonic Spinball (1993). To prepare for the launch of the Saturn, SEGA asked Yutaka Sugano to return to Japan where he worked as a producer on half a dozen titles including Sonic 3D Blast (1996), and was in particular in charge of coordinating SEGA’s teams and partners around the world. Then he helped with the launch of the Dreamcast but decided to leave with other members of SEGA staff, such as Fantasy Zone and Sonic’s creators Yoji Ishii and Naoto Ohshima, to form Artoon and work on other systems. There, he designed games like Pinobee (2001), Ghost Vibration (2002), and Swords of Destiny (2005). By then, Artoon became a subsidiary of AQ Interactive, which allowed him to work as a project manager on Blue Dragon (2006), Hironobu Sakaguchi’s first RPG since he left Square Enix. But when AQ Interactive decided to merge all their subsidiaries in 2010, Yutaka Sugano, Yoji Ishii, and Naoto Ohshima left to form another company, Arzest. Sugano acted initially as vice-president and helped design Wii Play: Motion (2011) and Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (2016). Arzest then recruited a new Chief Technical Officer and Sugano is now the Corporate Officer of the company.

Shinobi (arcade)
Shinobi (1987, arcade)
Crack Down (arcade)
Crack Down (1989, arcade)
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (Mega Drive)
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (1993, Mega Drive)
Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn)
Sonic 3D Blast (1996, Saturn)
Pinobee: Wings of Adventure (Game Boy Advance)
Pinobee: Wings of Adventure (2001, Game Boy Advance)
Blue Dragon (Xbox 360)
Blue Dragon (2006, Xbox 360)
FlingSmash (Wii)
FlingSmash (2010, Wii)
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (3DS)
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (2016, 3DS)

MO5.COM would like to thank John Szczepaniak, author of the three books The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers, for helping us get in touch with Sugano-san.

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