By Joe Sigadel / April 1st, 2016
Recently we came across a Game Informer article claiming that SEGA would be taking over publishing responsibilities for Atlus games in North America, as it finishes its acquisition of the company best known for the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona franchises. We decided to reach out to SEGA ourselves to find out just what that means for Atlus’s titles, and were told that the Atlus brand and logo would be sticking around, and they’d still be allowed to act independently when it comes to localizing 3rd party titles, along with indie games. But don’t take my word for it, you can read SEGA’s press statement in full below, which also includes information on the future of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.
SEGA of America Finalizes Acquisition of Atlus U.S.A. by Absorbing Publishing Duties
New Corporate Structure Streamlines Publishing in the Americas
IRVINE, Calif. – March 30, 2016 – To finalize SEGA’s acquisition of Atlus Co. Ltd (Japan) and Atlus U.S.A. in 2013, SEGA of America will now be the sole company responsible for publishing duties in North America. Each entity will continue to preserve their individual brand identities for upcoming video game and product releases. The new SEGA of America offices are located in Los Angeles and Irvine, California.
This change is to simplify business accounts, and affects the companies in name only – both Atlus U.S.A. and SEGA of America will still act autonomously, and no games or products will be adversely affected by the publisher unification. Since Atlus U.S.A.—renowned for the award-winning Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, and Etrian Odyssey franchises—integrated with SEGA of America, the ATLUS expertise has allowed SEGA to localize and publish popular Japanese titles in the west, including the Yakuza series, Project DIVA series, and more.
“After nearly a year working under the SEGA Games division, both SEGA of America and Atlus U.S.A. have thrived and released a combined total of 23 game products,” said Naoto Hiraoka, CEO, Atlus U.S.A., Inc. “Between ATLUS’ ability to localize and release Japanese video game products efficiently and the strength of SEGA of America’s reputation as a leading publisher in the industry, the situation could not be more symbiotic for both companies.”
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the iconic SEGA speedster, Sonic the Hedgehog. On top of many recent licensing deals, game announcements, and marketing partnerships for the brand, SEGA has appointed Ivo Gerscovich the new head of the Sonic business unit as the chief brand officer of Sonic and senior vice president of SEGA of America. He will oversee all aspects of Sonic business for the Americas and EMEA markets.
In his new role, Gerscovich will provide guidance for game development, TV production and distribution, marketing, and licensing. With his extensive experience at numerous digital and motion picture entertainment companies the Sonic business unit will help shape the future of Sonic the Hedgehog in upcoming video games, television series, retail products, and a feature-length film.
” I consider it an honor to be part of growing the iconic global brand at such a storied company,” said Gerscovich. “Even after 25 years, Sonic’s speed, attitude, and cool quotient still resonate strongly with fans of all ages. This 25th anniversary celebration year will see the Sonic The Hedgehog brand propelled to maximum velocity while breaking new ground to surprise and delight fans around the world.”
Furthering SEGA’s commitment to growing the Sonic brand is a paradigm shift towards global engagement by transitioning Takashi Iizuka, vice president of product development, from SEGA headquarters in Japan to the Sonic business unit in Los Angeles. Iizuka (Sonic franchise and NiGHTS franchise) has a long, storied history with SEGA development and has been with the company since 1992. By joining the Los Angeles office, Iizuka will streamline the production process for all forms of Sonic entertainment and products, and will establish Los Angeles as the centralized hub for the global brand.
“There were challenging times for SEGA of America in San Francisco, but now I am confident that the collaboration between SEGA and Atlus U.S.A. will make us a uniquely positioned publisher poised to deliver top quality games from Japan,” said Tatsuyuki Miyazaki, CEO of SEGA of America and ATLUS U.S.A. board member. “Plus, the Sonic business team, with Ivo’s strong leadership and the addition of renowned Sonic Team creator Iizuka in the Los Angeles office, SEGA of America is in the best position yet to diversify and grow its business. SEGA of America is entering new age of publishing, and going back to the road to prosperity.”
About SEGA® of America, Inc.:
SEGA® of America, Inc. is the American arm of Tokyo, Japan-based SEGA Games Co., Ltd., a worldwide leader in interactive entertainment both inside and outside the home. The company develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software products for a variety of hardware platforms including PC, wireless devices, and those manufactured by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. SEGA of America’s website is located at www.sega.com.
Source: Press Release
AtlusPersonapress releaseSegaShin Megami TenseiSonic the Hedgehog