Sega Confirms Rieko Kodama Has Died After Fans Spot Tribute

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

This rumor started after a memorial message for Kodama was found in the account of the Mega Drive Mini 2. When asked if the message really indicated that Kodama had died, Sega producer Yosuke Oskunari said that he had.

“As you understand,” Okunari wrote. “We respect her.”

Sega later confirmed that Kodama had died in May, but declined to comment out of respect for her family’s privacy.

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A pioneer woman in sports

Known as Phoenix Rie in her early works, Kodama entered 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 lead actors of the Phantasy Star series, serving as the director of Phantasy Star IV.

Despite being hailed as a pioneer in a male-dominated industry, Kodama is known for her aversion to speculation, crediting the rest of her team when she was presented with the Pioneer Award at the Game Developers Awards.

“I’m not sure if it’s because of Sega’s corporate culture or what, but I’ve never felt that I’m in trouble just because I’m a woman. I’ve worked in different things related to game development for a long time. For 30 years now, and since I joined Sega I have not been discriminated against by men,” said Kodama in an interview.

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In an interview with the media, she said she didn’t think it was a new thing for women to play games, considering how girls tend to be more inclined towards RPGs. One of her most famous works, Phantasy Star, stood out because it was one of the few games with a female protagonist.

“As I’m a woman myself, when I do games, I try not to make them into professional men, like people who need saving. I want to make female characters that people of both sexes can relate to. them. But we have to. see more strong women in games that are reserved for women,” Kodama said at the time.

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Kodama remained active in the games industry until the 2010s, continuing to work on games that included 7th Dragon and Sega Ages. She left a legacy as one of the most up-and-coming women in the history of comedy, her 35-year career in the industry serving as an inspiration for many women to follow.

Thumbnail Image Credit: Game Developers Conference

Kat Bailey is a senior News Editor at IGN and co-founder of Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.


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