A while back I did an interview with Yu Suzuki for Gamasutra/Game Developer. He was in the bay area for a little while, and I presumed he would be doing interviews with loads of people, so I talked to him for around 45 minutes in the Game Developer magazine office, then figured I should let him go to his next meeting, so as to not monopolize his time. Suzuki and his PR folks looked at each other and shrugged, saying “I guess we’ll get lunch!” Turns out mine was one of two appointments period, and I could’ve talked for as long as I wanted. Live and learn, I suppose. The results of the interview are here, and looking back through it, there’s really so much more I could have and should have asked.
Getting him to warm up was interesting. In the middle of the interview, I had the random thought to ask him who he thought the best assembly-language programmers at Sega were, and this actually became a turning point, past which he was much more interested in speaking in general. In fact, he got so excited about programming that he decided to get out his laptop and show me several lines of code he had done for Shenmue Town in Visual Basic, which is his preferred language at the moment. Perhaps the best part of this code was a snippet at the top, which I will undoubtedly botch from memory. Here’s the gist of how it went:
You’ll note that he either pioneered or honed in 3D each of the genres mentioned. At the end of our meeting though, he shattered my expectations. After closing the code window, he moved over to a folder called “projects.” In there were no less than 10 work-in-progress ideas, about half of which were familiar Suzuki-led brands, appended with other words such as “shooter” or “experience.” The other half were entirely new projects. I won’t say what they were, because he asked me not to, but these aren’t just pie-in-the-sky ideas. He showed me videos of one game he wants to get funded, which had characters running around in a full world, and it was not the recently-semi-announced Kinect fighting game. Suzuki is definitely moving in a different direction with YS Net, which I think will be a natural extension from, but quite different from his existing legacy.