Rieko Kodama’s passing was recently announced by Sega. Online reports of her demise began to circulate after Retro Gamer editor Nick Thorpe tweeted a homage to the developer who was identified in the Mega Drive Mini 2 game’s credits.
The Ares Arcadia Twitter account contacted Sega producer Yosuke Oskunari to see whether this might have been a mistranslation, but Oskunari confirmed that Kodama had passed away. Kodama reportedly passed suddenly in May at the age of 59, but out of respect for her family, Sega opted not to officially acknowledge her loss.
Since 1984, Kodama has been connected to Sega. Kodama started out as a graphic designer for the company before moving into producing and directing roles. Kodama was frequently listed as “Phoenix Rie” in the game credits because Sega initially forbade the use of real names there. Over the course of her 35-year career, Kodama contributed to a number of key projects for Sega, including some of the studio’s most well-liked games.
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Death of Rieko Kodama’s cause
@okunari Hello Okunari-san, usually when writing “In memory of”, it is used for those who have passed away. May I ask if Kodama-san passed away or if this is just an odd use of this phrase? https://t.co/9S0POa66QJ
— Ares Arcadia (@AresArcadia) October 26, 2022
Her family and any internet publications did not immediately provide the reason for her death. Nobody was aware that she had passed away until an obituary was discovered in the staff credits for the Sega Genesis Mini 2 in October 2022.
Medical subjects have made an effort to get in touch with their family and close friends to ask them about the incident. There have been no answers as of yet. Once we get enough data, we’ll update this page. We’ll soon provide more details about Rieko Kodama’s cause of death.
Who is Rieko Kodama?
Japanese video game director, producer, and artist Rieko Kodama, popularly known as Phoenix Rie, worked for Sega. She was born in May 1963, and on May 9, 2022, she died (Japanese: Hepburn: Kodama Rieko). Kodama joined Sega as a graphic designer in 1984. She is well recognised for her work on role-playing games (RPGs), including the original Phantasy Star series, the 7th Dragon series, and Skies of Arcadia. (2000).
She is also well recognised for her artistic work on Sonic the Hedgehog (1988) and Altered Beast for the Sega Genesis and Master System (1991). Kodama started out as a graphic designer, but she gradually worked her way up to become a director and producer, a position she kept until her death in 2022.
Kodama is widely mentioned as one of the first successful females in the video game industry. She was regularly asked what she thought about how women and video games interacted.
Kodama believed that more women were showing interest in the culture since young girls were exposed to video games more as children. She didn’t design games exclusively for female players, but she did develop male and female-friendly characters who don’t have any unfavourable traits for women.
Young Rieko Kodama’s life
Rieko Kodama was born in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan, in May 1963. She enjoyed playing arcade games back when she was little. In high school, Kodama had a liking for designing commercials. After enrolling in college, she was undecided about whether to pursue studies in art or archaeology because she was interested in Egyptology. She was so unsure of herself that she failed every class.
She thought back to her early infatuation with advertising and made the decision to enrol in an advertising design course at a trade school in order to fully dedicate herself to her passion for the arts.
She rapidly became passionate about graphic design and preferred to concentrate on creating her own work than on promoting others in the advertising field. Because it was a new industry, she was intrigued by the video game industry. Home gaming consoles were still quite new, and the Famicom had just been released.
Arcade games continued to dominate the industry as a whole. Kodama was interested in the industry since she didn’t frequently go to arcades and believed that learning more about it would be a fun way to challenge oneself. Phoenix Rie was Kodama’s pen name in her early works. She made her start as a graphic designer in the video game industry in the middle of the 1980s.
Although she has contributed to titles like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Skies of Arcadia, she is best known for her work as the director of Phantasy Star IV, one of the series’ creative forces.
Kodama got a Pioneer Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards despite being acknowledged as a trailblazer in an industry dominated by men, but she was notoriously uncomfortable in the spotlight and deferred credit to the rest of her team.
History of Rieko Kodama’s career
Kodama was employed by Sega in 1984 through a previous coworker of hers who was already a staff member. She initially thought she would love working in graphic and advertising design, but after witnessing the game development sector, she changed her mind.
She swiftly acquired up graphic design talents from Flicky sprite creator Yoshiki Kawasaki (1984). Making characters for the arcade game Champion Boxing was her first job (1984). She continued to work on a number of arcade games, including Sega Ninja (1984).
Due to Sega’s short production cycles and shortage of design manpower, Kodama would occasionally work on five to six titles at once. With Quartet for the arcade and Master System (1986), Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa for the Master System (1986), and Miracle World for the Master System (1986), she contributed artwork for Alex Kidd (1987).
Every day, Kodama would get small requests to make assets for different projects, including the dragon from Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord (1987) and a foe for The Black Onyx’s SG-1000 edition (1987).
Additionally, Kodama served as the newsletter editor for the Japanese Sega Players Enjoy Club (SPEC). Kodama referred to herself as “Phoenix Rie”, “Phenix Rie” [sic], or a close variation, in a number of her early works. This occurred as a result of Sega’s ban at the time on game creators utilising their names in their works. The pseudonym was based on a manga character.