Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog have one person in their corner to ensure the franchise produces quality video games in the future, the COO and President of Sega Sammy, Haruki Satomi. Haruki Satomi, the Sega Sammy Holdings president, had an interview with CNBC as the YBO summit in British Columbia recently. Haruki Satomi, who is also a Young President’s Organization member, was available to discuss his role in the turnaround for Sega Sammy after the Sega and Sammy merger in 2004, the video game industry, and the business plans for the release of mobile gaming in the future.
Apart from answering questions regarding his envision for Sega Sammy over the next 5 years and how Satomi got started in the business, he also answered questions about what occurred before 2004 and why it was so difficult to save Sega while the company continued to haemorrhage money and fans. Satomi stated that the company essentially disappointed fans which led to dissatisfaction from their loyal player base and various internal issues down the line.
“When we launched a Sonic video game several years ago, the reception was extremely bad. Video game rating sites, such as Metacritic, scores a game out of 100 and the Sonic game we released back then only managed to score 30,” Satomi stated. “We obviously didn’t meet the expectations of the enormous fan base we had. Once I took the lead, I promised myself that it will never happen again and I informed our sales and development team that we can’t release a video game unless we’re 100% sure it’s the best we can produce.”
Sonic the Hedgehog Game
Haruki Satomi was referring to the Sonic the Hedgehog game that was released in 2006. The game was an extreme disappointment to players and critics where Metascore gave it a mere 46% rating. The Sonic the Hedgehog games have experienced somewhat of a rollercoaster ride in terms of quality along with a mixed variation of serviceable or decent titles.
There hasn’t been any comeback from the company that loyal fans can appreciate, but the latest games that feature Sonic has been rather promising. Haruki Satomi will take the lessons learned and the feedback from players and critics during the tough time after Sonic the Hedgehog was introduced on Xbox 360 in 2006 to make Sega Sammy as affluent as possible in the future.
“There are loads of messages and emails from fans that ask me to develop this kind of video game, or to bring back specific titles, or to improve the overall quality of a specific title, so I do my best to answer these requests and questions as best I can,” Satomi said.
Sonic Mania was certainly a turning point for the Sonic series and Satomi believes it’s one of the better-performing games by the company when it comes to critical success. It managed to score 85 on the Metacritic site and that is exactly what Satomi plans to do going forward, produce another game that will be loved by fans and critics.