Sega Confirms Rieko Kodama Has Passed Away After Fan Tribute - IGN

Sega Confirms Rieko Kodama Has Passed Away After Fan Tribute – IGN

Rieko Kodama, pioneer developer of Sega classics including Phantasy Star and Skies of Arcadia, has died. She was 59 years old.

The rumors began after a memorial message to Kodama was spotted in the credits of Mega Drive Mini 2. When asked if the message was indeed intended to indicate that Kodama had passed away, Sega producer Yosuke Oskunari said. answered yes.

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

Sega later confirmed that Kodama died in May, but was unable to share further details out of respect for her family’s privacy.

A female pioneer in the video game industry

Known as Phoenix Rie in her early work, Kodama broke into the video game industry in the mid-1980s, where she served as a graphic designer and later 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 creative leads in the Phantasy Star series, serving as the director of Phantasy Star IV.

Although hailed as a trailblazer in a male-dominated industry, Kodama was notoriously averse to the spotlight, deflecting credit to the rest of her team when she received a Pioneer Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards.

“I don’t know if it’s because of Sega’s corporate culture or what, but I’ve never felt like I was at a disadvantage just because I’m a woman. I work on various development-related things. games for over 30 years now, and since I joined Sega, I haven’t been treated any differently than men,” Kodama said in an interview.

In another interview, she said she didn’t think it was all that unusual for women to play games, observing that girls often gravitate towards RPGs. One of his most notable works, Phantasy Star, stood out because it was one of the very few games with a female protagonist.

“Because I’m a woman myself, when I create games I try not to pass them off as fantastic male characters, like people who need to be rescued. I like to create female characters that people of both genders can identify with each other. But we’re seeing more female volunteers in games aimed at female audiences,” Kodama said at the time.

Kodama remained active in the games industry through the 2010s, continuing to work on games including 7th Dragon and Sega Ages. She leaves behind a legacy as one of the leading female developers in gaming history, with her 35-year career in the industry serving as an inspiration for many women to follow.

Thumbnail photo credit: Game Developers Conference

Kat Bailey is senior news writer at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have any advice? DM him at @the_katbot.

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