Sega’s 60th Anniversary

Rumors regarding Sega’s big celebration.

If you’re not aware, Sega’s 60th anniversary happens on June 3rd. This a monumental event worth getting excited about! There’s a lot of interesting rumors swirling too. How exactly is Sega going to celebrate this anniversary? At this moment, it’s a-wait-and-see scenario. Your guess is as good as mine. Still, there’s some interesting and delicious tidbits worth sinking our teeth into. Let’s go down this rabbit hole together.

Normally, I’m not one to get so giddy and jump on the rumor train. But, for Sega, I’m willing to make an exception. I am genuinely curious about what’s going on behind the scenes at Sega HQ.

Sega has been a company that I have associated with so many positive memories. As a tyke, I enjoyed the Sega Master System in the late 80’s. The Sega Genesis and its add-ons in the heyday of the 90’s are gaming excellence. I mourned Sega’s guns-blazing exit of the console market with the demise of the Dreamcast. Truly a console ahead of its time.

Sega gave life to several generations of great consoles, each near and dear to my heart. Even as a software developer Sega has also produced out some fantastic games. To sum it up, Sega has been an integral part of gaming experience.

So what’s Sega’s news?

All sources point to an upcoming exclusive Famitsu article in the upcoming June 4th issue. Zenji Nishikawa, the journalist responsible for the article, compares his pending article on the same level of groundbreaking newsworthiness as Wired’s exclusive on the PlayStation 5 last year. He later confirms that the article in question involves Sega. Here’s his quote, with special thanks to Gematsu for the translation:

“My column in next week’s issue of Famitsu is crazy. I got a huge scoop… It’s a world premiere article. And an exclusive. It may not be Nikkei or Weekly Bunshun, but if you want to know if it’s a scoop that big…it totally is! It’s a scoop from a game company that everyone loves. An insane scoop. Last year, Wired got the exclusive story on PlayStation 5, right? Other media didn’t. It’s that level of a scoop. I interviewed a certain company’s executive and technical staff, it’s really revolutionary… really, it’s a revolution.

It’ll be in Famitsu next Thursday. I already sent in my manuscript, so the proofs are being made now. It’s a scoop on a level that when the story comes out, other media will make a fuss to the company like, “Why didn’t you let us cover it?” Maybe people will say, “Who was the first to break that story?,” “It was Zenji Nishikawa, right?” It’s a scoop as major as the PlayStation 5 scoop. I just wanted to say that in advance.

I can’t say [anything more] here, but it’s OK for me to tease it (laughs). I was told that it’s OK to do so at various meetings. It’s being talked about in other places. Just not by the media. It’ll rile up the games industry.”

What could Nishikawa be hinting at? Oh man, what could it be? After all, he used the word revolutionary! That certainly must mean something, right?

Sony is also rumored to have a PlayStation 5 presentation on or around June 3rd. Could they have a role to play in Sega’s anniversary?

Then there’s this mystifying series of ads…

Sega’s 60th Anniversary Ad Campaign

Feast your eyes on these two viral-worthy cinematic gems. This one from March, and this one from April.

Sega Shiro declaring his love of all things Sega.

On their own, these are totally obscure and confusing right? Well that’s actor Maito Fujioka. In the video, he’s a character named Sega Shiro. Maito is the son of Hiroshi Fujioka, who is well-known for his portrayal Segata Sanshiro. Does that name ring any bells for my fellow Sega fans?

Segata Sanshiro, a legendary, ruthless purveyor of the Sega Saturn.

Yep, THE Segata Sanshiro, the beloved mascot for the Sega Saturn ad campaign in Japan. I didn’t need reminding, but the 90’s were so weird and awesome. Sega really pushed a level of absurdity that was truly wild and crazy. I loved it. Thankfully, it looks like Sega Shiro isn’t off throwing people or putting them into chokeholds like his dad is infamous for. He’s just a tad bit tamer, but still loves Sega dearly.

What is also cool: Sega Shiro’s has an official page on the Sega website. He’s compiled Sega’s history into a little notebook! (You can get a peek at what’s going on by right clicking in Chrome and translating to English.) You get the idea. I have to admit, it’s some pretty cool fan service.

So, why on earth would Sega be dropping cash for this new ad campaign, one complete with the reveal of a new character? Certainly Sega’s 60th Anniversary is worth building up some excitement. What’s Sega’s angle? A hint at new hardware? A Sega Saturn Mini? An all-in-one? I haven’t the faintest clue! What do you think?

New Hardware?

Despite Segata Sanshiro being the mascot for Saturn, it doesn’t seem likely that Sega Shiro is going to push Sega’s new console. I can’t imagine Sega has the capital to push out a new console in 2020. This would be wagering a huge bet in an already crowded console market.

Sony and Microsoft and Sony will soon announce the price points and release of their new consoles. The Switch is going strong. Atari and Intellivision have consoles of their own on the way. There’s far too much competition right now. Sadly, I think it’s fair to rule out the Dreamcast 2 or Sega Neptune.

So, what else could Sega be planning?

Could we have a Saturn or Dreamcast Mini in the works? I love both consoles, though we never owned a Saturn. However, I’d jump at the opportunity to play Sega Saturn games, since the cost for entry on some of the best games is CRAZY!

My Dreamcast is over 20 years old too, so it’s honestly a matter of time before its disc drive fails. I’d love a way to keep playing the Dreamcast’s great library. I think after the warm reception of the Genesis mini, both consoles could see a miniature version. But, this doesn’t seem like the big revelation that Nishikawa would be dropping hints about.

Sega’s Exclusive Partnership?

I think it’s entirely possible that Sega is leaning into a heavy partnership with Sony or Nintendo. Could it be a long-term exclusivity deal? Is it an announcement of Sony or Nintendo acquiring Sega? I’m really curious.

There is a laundry list of successful Sega (published or developed) games that I’ve enjoyed, even after Sega stopped making hardware. There’s also a lot of great franchises that have sat dormant and underutilized. I think this type of news seems more likely.

Sonic, Yakuza, Bayonetta, Hatsune Miku, Total War, Football Manager all do fairly well on their own. Streets of Rage 4 even garnered a lot of positive critical reception after being re-envisioned by LizardCube.

Shining Force, Phantasy Star, Jet Set Radio, OutRun, NiGHTS, Golden Axe, House of the Dead, Fantasy Zone, Shinobi. Each of these has fantastic history within Sega. Could these series possibly see a revival? There’s also plenty of others great series, quite honestly, too many to list. I for one welcome a compilation of Sega AGES. Or a cross-console anthology of Sega’s ranging from the most famous and successful to the incredibly obscure games?

Whatever Sega’s 60th anniversary brings to the party, I’m curious and eager to know more.

For now, I suppose we’re just left to wait until June 3rd. I do love daydreaming about the possibilities though. Join me in this pipe dream and let’s get to some wishful thinking. Here’s to 60 wonderful years of Sega. I’d love to hear your favorite memories of Sega, what you think the rumors are about, and what you think comes next from Sega!