Sega president Mike Hayes has said the publisher doesn’t want to trade on nostalgia, because it hasn’t been “hugely successful” at it, and acknowledges older IP can’t take on today’s blockbusters.
“We have had experiences where we’ve tried to reinvent old Sega IP … Actually, we haven’t done it hugely successfully, ” Hayes told Gamasutra.
“And therefore we only embark upon something that uses the existing Sega IP if we can make it highly relevant for a modern audience.”
Hayes said Sega dropped the ball a little transitioning Sonic out of the 2D era.
“I think we realized about three or four years ago where we were perhaps going wrong on certain platforms, mostly PlayStation and Xbox. And I think it was because we didn’t actually realize that we’ve got these two broad audiences,” he said.
“We were trying to make something that the whole fan base to enjoy it, but then maybe ten year olds will play it, and it was just like oil and water. I think what we’ve understood now is that we need to try and drive the product in two ways.”
Hayes cited Sonic 4: Episode 1 as an example of a game targeted at gamers who grew up with Sonic and appreciate the traditional platforming aspects, and mentioned downloadable releases of older games doing well, too – but Sega won’t just cash in with modern remakes of beloved franchises.
“To try and reinvent something, we have to create a whole new game, and therefore we’re very selective of what we do,” Hayes explained, adding that he didn’t expect Sega’s most famous IP to return to glory any time soon.
“When Sonic 2 came out, that was the Call of Duty of its time; that was the first core game. Gaming has moved on, Sonic is still as relevant now as he was then, but the way in which you play is different. The relevance is completely different, and Sonic’s never going to become a ‘modern Call of Duty’ as he was then.”
Instead, Hayes said the company is trying to make itself relevant to “the modern gaming audience”.
“We are privileged having a name like Sega. But to so many people there are so many different impressions of what that means, and it would be impossible for us to try and act like a first party company, trying to reinvent and recreate that.”
Sega’s most prominent modern publishing agreement is a multi-title deal with Platinum Games, which has so far yielded Madworld, Infinite Space, Bayonetta, Vanquish and Anarchy Reigns.