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Working Designs almost published Phantasy Star IV, Sega of America wanted it to fail

cj_iwakura

Member
This thread is absolutely full of fascinating lore, but this was a recently interesting bit:


http://www.gaijinworks.com/interact...Storytime-Thread&p=97178&viewfull=1#post97178

vireland said:
Yeah, I wanted to do Shining Force III (I still do, actually - all of them), but it wasn't going to happen. But this reminded me,(again) of one SEGA title that pissed me off - Phantasy Star IV. We stepped in to do that when SoA passed because they said was no market for it (total bull) and it wouldn't sell. But when they learned we got involved and were going to license it from SoJ.

SoA magically became interested again, but only so they could sell it for a ridiculous price to PROVE there was no market, rather than have us succeed with it and prove them wrong to SoJ. That $100 price had nothing to do with reality and everything to do with them trying to kill the title at launch with a price like 60% over the norm to prove a point. They failed. Even at $100, it sold out.

Also, how Bernie Stolar made it his goal to kill the Saturn:

Saturn was never going to WIN that generation here, but with ANYONE else, it could have made a respectable showing. You have to remember there were almost TWO YEARS of NOTHING because Bernie killed Saturn too early, trying to push the DC release up when that didn't happen. Two years of okay sales are much better than literally nothing. It was a dark time, and SEGA never really recovered, especially at retail that remained wary for the DC after what SEGA did to them for Saturn's launch and unexpected, abrupt end.


Stolar hated RPGs - he's the ONLY reason they were delayed on Sony before he was shown the door. I know this because I literally flew to Japan to try to get around his no-RPG edict for Sony and I was told that they couldn't help me, I had to go through SCEA. Fortunately, Bernie was shown the door and the rest is history for the golden era of RPGs on PS1.

From what I experienced, Bernie took his wrong-headed ideas to SEGA where he helped kill the company - at least for all practical purposes. SEGA we have now is a shadow of what it was, and lots of that is on him and his little toadie Gretchen.

And he also almost did Shadowrun Sega CD:

Haha, yes. I have a beta version gold disc of that somewhere that they sent me to evaluate. I think that was a situation like 3x3 Eyes and After Armageddon - games I wanted to do or was close to doing, but victims of timing. The opportunities came too late in the cycle.

The man should write a book on his experiences, ton of fascinating game history.
 

dracula_x

Member
Interesting (from Wikipedia):

Stolar was also the first Executive Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment America, where he was integral in building the original PlayStation's game catalog. After leaving Sony, he accepted an offer to become President and Chief Operating Officer at Sega of America, who were engaging with the development and launch of the Dreamcast.

so it probably explains this – http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=931915

Did SCEA hinder the release of 2D games during the PS1 era?
 
Game industry executives are awful. There are exceptions to the rule, but it's a problem. I think Jim Sterling put it best. I can't remember his exact words, but it was funny and accurate.
 

jay

Member
I can't believe that decades later I am still angry when reading about what Sega did to itself.
 

Datschge

Member
Wow, didn't know Bernie Stolar was my biggest villain to my mid 1990's self (I stopped gaming around that time due to what appears to have been his influence).
 

MightyKAC

Member
Bernie fucking Stolar.

That guy was straight up cancer to every video game console he was ever associated with back in the 80's and 90's.

Edit: LOL I wonder if that guy has twitter. We should tweet him this thread.
 

Voorhees

Member
I always wondered why in the hell PSIV cost $99 dollars when it came out. I had to do an absolute fuckton of begging and pleading to get that for my birthday. What an asshole.
 
My god this thread depresses me.

Phantasy Star 4 is my favorite game of all time.

Shining Force 3 (points to avatar) is something I've been fighting for an English release/remaster for as long as I've been on the freaking internet (as apart of Shining Force Central's forums/community) and to see how badly it was all managed is just crushing.

Shining Force 3 is amazing, its what Fire Emblem Fates tried to do but they did it right. The story is freaking amazing and its a political story done well (unlike FF12's BS story) and it came out so many years before either of those two games hell you still wouldn't be able to play SF3 in English if not for the fans translating so it could be enjoyed by western audiences because Sega still doesn't give a flying fuck.

Shining Force should be one of Fire Emblem's chief competitors but now all we get is these generic as all hell JRPG's that they don't even bother bringing to the west anymore. It just really makes me sad how a series that I think in many ways is vastly superior to Fire Emblem has fallen to the wayside because of shitty of a company Sega was and unfortunately still is.
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Phantasy star 4 is by far the best JRPG on the Genesis, and pretty much up there with one of my favorites period. So its sad to see something like this confirmed.
 

Ridley327

Member
Is Stolar still involved in anything gaming-related?

Yeah, he's installed over at Jordan Freeman Group, who have been behind some of the more recent classic PC game remasters via the ZOOM Platform. Small potatoes considering what he used to run, that's for sure.
 

MightyKAC

Member
There's a LONG list of shady to downright ILLEGAL things that I would do to get a Shining Force 3 HD remake done by GaijinWorks.

And I would regret NONE of it.
 
My god this thread depresses me.

Phantasy Star 4 is my favorite game of all time.

Shining Force 3 (points to avatar) is something I've been fighting for an English release/remaster for as long as I've been on the freaking internet (as apart of Shining Force Central's forums/community) and to see how badly it was all managed is just crushing.

Shining Force 3 is amazing, its what Fire Emblem Fates tried to do but they did it right. The story is freaking amazing and its a political story done well (unlike FF12's BS story) and it came out so many years before either of those two games hell you still wouldn't be able to play SF3 in English if not for the fans translating so it could be enjoyed by western audiences because Sega still doesn't give a flying fuck.

Shining Force should be one of Fire Emblem's chief competitors but now all we get is these generic as all hell JRPG's that they don't even bother bringing to the west anymore. It just really makes me sad how a series that I think in many ways is vastly superior to Fire Emblem has fallen to the wayside because of shitty of a company Sega was and unfortunately still is.

Wait, SF3 got a fan translation? All three episodes? Damn, that's awesome. I guess I gotta figure out how to get ahold of it. Probably expensive as hell.
 

kdoll08

Member
I remember when my friends found out I paid $90 for PS4 and how they reacted. I loved the PS series and still go back to play them yearly. I regret nothing.
 
Phantasy Star IV was my first JRPG, so I wonder if it even would've received a PAL release if Working Designs had localised it. I'm happy things worked out the way it did.

As for Bernie Stolar, what did SOA even do between killing the Saturn and starting work on the Dreamcast? Sit around doing nothing?
 
And here I was somewhat misguided back in the R.G.V.S. days thinking Vic wass trolling us about Sega dying etc. He knew what was up.
 
FFVII halo effect.

Bernie was awful.

Yeah, I'd imagine SCEA becoming more friendly to RPGs and similarly weeb games was a mix of Stolar being gone and FFVII becoming the biggest RPG release in history. Up until then it seemed like a niche genre for nerds when Sony was trying to appeal to a more mainstream crowd.

Didn't Sony kill Working Designs during the PS2 era? Was that related to the same guy?

Seems like it was actually a she who was bringing Stolar-like approval policies back to Sony, who Vic talks about earlier in the thread (page 4) but doesn't name. Apparently a lot of people got away with similar games in that era without having to do 2-in-1 packs or other bullshit because they had Japanese parent companies who could go over that person's head (NISA, for one example,) but WD didn't, so they got fucked. Just another example of Sony's problems in that era.
 
I'm still mad at Working Designs for Albert Odyssey.

They made the game unplayable with that awful writing.

I'm actually still hoping for some kind of retranslation or something. I can't play it like that, it's too infuriating.
 

goodcow

Member
As for Bernie Stolar, what did SOA even do between killing the Saturn and starting work on the Dreamcast? Sit around doing nothing?

Bernie's RPG hating and Saturn policies aside, didn't he fight SOJ really hard to launch the Dreamcast at $199 with a 56k modem included in the US? The third party launch support, other than EA, was also fantastic.
 

Tizoc

Member
Am I being short sighted by saying SEGA were doing fine while Tom Kalinske was them? After his departure their US presence went the way of the dodo.
 

Ferr986

Member
Not surprised. SoA was a mess. They wanted to do their own shit compared to Japan, thinking they knew what was the best for the west. Turns out they didn't.
 

Lyte Edge

All I got for the Vernal Equinox was this stupid tag
Interesting, although I remember other RPGs also being sold for $99.99 at the time, like Final Fantasy III and Chrono Trigger.
 

Wilsongt

Member
So many good saturn games doomed to fail. Vic should have fought harder for Shining Force III. At least they wouldn't have run into any licensing issues and continuity issues like with Shining Wisdom.

Maybe.
 
This is awful but I'm glad Phantasy Star 4 wasn't filled with terrible pop culture references and bad jokes.

Yep. I mean, that's what I was getting at with my post I guess. I just don't want that kind of translation. I think finding a balance is okay. Ted Woolsey did a good job with balancing it.
 
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