Seaman Can’t be Marketed, Says Yoot Saito

Seaman Can’t be Marketed, Says Yoot Saito

by June 27, 2000

In an interview conducted with GameWEEK magazine, creator of Seaman Yoot Saito went on record saying that he is not pleased with the marketing angle Sega of America is taking with his title. Here’s a snippet from that interview:

GW: …Seaman is shipping July 11 in North America. What’s the marketing angle?

YS: The challenge for Sega and Vivarium is, “How do we create the market? How do we make it appealing to consumers?” The Sega guys don’t really understand Seaman. Space Channel 5, Ecco the Dolphin…those are “conventional” titles. But Seaman is very “unconventional,” so they don’t put a lot of effort behind it. To me, the Sega marketing guys are muscle brains-they only focus on football, basketball and Sonic stuff. It is exciting to be fighting against the Sega decision-makers.

GW: I assume you are personally involved with the marketing efforts?

YS: May I be honest? I was very mad at the Sega of America marketing people in the sense that they don’t pay much attention to [the game]-they don’t like it.

The development of Seaman started on PC a few years back in Berkeley, California. Electronic Arts—or I should say Maxis, the SimCity people-really liked it, but finally it turned out that, at the time, PC power wasn’t able to run the game properly. I gave up on that platform and met with Sega. So I decided to move Vivarium employees to Japan to be closer to Sega. Except for Irimajiri-san (then president of Sega of Japan), who invited us to work on the Dreamcast hardware, no one at Sega thought much of Seaman. Some of the employees at Sega say that Irimajiri-san is a crazy guy. He saw something in my project and it paid off. By the way, I still have a good relationship with the EA people, but they aren’t releasing Dreamcast titles.