Ryuta Ueda, the artist behind 2000’s Dreamcast action game Jet Set Radio and director for the original Yakuza games, announced he officially returned to Sega after almost a decade away from the video game industry. Before departing Sega in 2006, he spent time directing the first two PlayStation 2 Yakuza titles and set the series in motion. After seven years with Yahoo! Japan, Ueda has announced he has rejoined Sega, just after it was announced that Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi departed for NetEase.
Jet Set Radio is an action-adventure game developed by Sega that drew influence from Japanese pop culture during the 1990s. Recognized as one of the first games to feature cel-shaded graphics, Ueda brought Jet Set Radio‘s fabled aesthetic to life by adding exaggerated shapes, thick lines, and flatly bright colors. While each Sega Dreamcast titles were discontinued in early 2001, Jet Set Radio is considered to be inimitable due to Ueda’s distinctive art direction and visual style.
Returning to the video game industry after almost seven years at Yahoo! Japan, Ueda announced in a Facebook post (via Nintendo Life) that he returned to Sega in May during this year. Though the move seemingly went unnoticed until now, several months later, Ueda stated that he was thankful for everyone he met and all of the lessons he learned throughout the many projects he worked on at Yahoo! Japan. He explained, “From now on, I will focus on making games again. Not only do I feel the excitement of making things, but I am also smiling a little at the thought of seeing old friends and meeting new people. I would like to fully demonstrate what I have cultivated through experience.”
Ueda began his work at Sega in the mid-90s by designing creatures for the Panzer Dragoon game series, before going on to serve as Jet Set Radio‘s art director and Yakuza’s director. After leaving Sega, he went on to make Rise of Nightmares, an Xbox 360 title, which was designed specifically for Microsoft’s motion sensor device, the Kinect. Receiving mixed reception on the title, Ueda decided to quit the video game industry and went on to work for Yahoo! Japan as a business manager.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Sega is interested in rebooting many of its beloved franchises, including both titles Ueda had previously worked on. Though not a confirmation Sega is definitely bringing these franchises back, the company seems to have noticed enduring interest in Jet Set Radio and recently added the game’s Beat as a playable character to Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania. And although Yakuza creator Nagoshi is leaving, the return of Ueda presents the possibility the series could continue without him.
Source: Nintendo Life