Sega America's CEO Simon Jeffery has in an interview with
confirmed that games development legend Yu Suzuki is no longer working with the successful publisher.
Jeffery said of Suzuki: Last I heard, he was doing some online stuff in China. He's kind of his own man right now. Every now and again, he'll come up with an idea, and I don't think anything has come out of that yet, but we're still working with him. He's not an employee anymore as far as I know.”
Suzuki enjoys a cult following owing to his involvement in many of Sega's most cherished franchises, including Shenmue, Virtua Fighter, Outrun, Virtua Cop, After Burner, Hang On and Space Harrier.
Elsewhere in the interview, Jeffrey explains that Sega is currently strategising the best way to make the most of its rich back-catalogue on services such as Xbox Live Arcade:
We've got a great, really rich catalogue that people grew up with, and a lot of that old content is seeing a second life on the Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade. We're seeing rising demand and interest in some of those old IPs.
I think we're going to try and be a bit more strategic about which ones we bring back to life, but we'll continue to do it. There's nothing we can talk about right now, but we're pretty impressed with what Namco has done with some of their catalogue and contemporising their IP and making it much more market-appropriate.
We're looking at arcade, and we're looking at Game Gear. The interest in digital delivery media and the iPhone has really caused us to look back to the past and the great golden days of Sega gaming in all formats, not just the Genesis.”
UPDATE: "I can safely say that Yu Suzuki is in fact still a Sega employee," Simon Jeffrey said in a corrective statement made to Gamasutra, adding that Suzuki "...is a Creative Officer of Sega Corp."