Looking to start 2022 with an amazing discovery? How about this? Virtua Fighter 3 could have made it to the Nintendo 64 if former Sega of America boss Bernie Stolar got his way.
This bomb comes from a former games journalist. James Milkewho is now a producer at Limited Run Games. To do this, we need to go back to 2000; a time when Sega was still actively supporting its Dreamcast console but was at a crossroads. The company was in dire financial straits, and despite the rather positive commercial results of the Dreamcast in the west, it was about to take a long and painful step into the world of third-party publishing. However, this seismic shift was not officially announced until early 2001, and in 2000 there was definitely no shortage of people who were fully convinced that Sega would remain an equipment manufacturer forever.
The craziest thing I know is that Bernie just got a deal with Greg Fischbach without getting approval from Sega of Japan.
It would seem that Stolar, who was the first executive vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment America before joining Sega and was instrumental in launching the original PlayStation in the US, had already planned ahead because, according to Milke, he was the middleman of the deal with the CEO of Acclaim. Greg Fischbach on integrating select Sega games into competing systems.
“I was the preview editor at Gamespot in San Francisco, and I had a reliable source at Acclaim,” explains Milke. “One day, in the midst of the early Dreamcast era, my source told me a behind-the-scenes story about a crazy day at work where shit mostly hit fans because Bernie Stolar made a deal with Greg Fiskbach ported Virtua Fighter 3 and Crazy Taxi to the Nintendo 64 that from a technical point of view, it sounded crazy as this platform would not have been able to produce anything resembling the quality level of the Model 3. “
Surprisingly, Stolar appears to have followed this particular agreement. “The craziest thing, as far as I know, Bernie just got a deal with Greg Fischbach without getting approval from Sega of Japan – they had a contract and everything. As far as I remember the script, Sega Japan found out about it and was naturally like “we don’t have the ability to do this.” I don’t remember if this rebuke came from senior management or the development teams who came back and said “it’s not even possible,” but the short version was that Stolar was told that he would have to break this contract because there’s no way could not happen. A colleague from Sega of America who worked two floors above us in San Francisco also confirmed this story to me. “
Milke’s memories provide valuable context for a rather strange situation that happened around the same time. Remember when the Acclaim name appeared on the box for Ferrari F355 on the Dreamcast – one of Sega’s biggest AAA games in 2000? We now seem to have an explanation for this oddity. “Whether it was for contractual reasons or just to save face, Bernie ended up letting Acclaim publish the Ferrari F355 on the Dreamcast as compensation for not receiving those two pieces of fantasy e-cigarette software,” Milke says.
So why wasn’t it reported then, you ask? Well, Milke wanted to, but it was not so easy. “Surprisingly, my source was going to let me publish this story – or at least was not going to stop me – but I was not going to name my source, firstly, because I protect my sources, and secondly, they are not could have waited a long time for Acclaim if it had anything to do with them.Somehow the managing editor of Gamespot, despite her journalistic credentials, which she reminded me quite often, demanded to name my source, otherwise she was going to kill the story. was that, without a source, it was basically a baseless rumor that made no sense as they do it in sports and political reporting. all the time… If I remember correctly, Gamespot put out a squalid, almost apologetic version of the story because it didn’t get any response because nobody really remembers it. “
Whether it was for contract reasons or just to save face, Bernie ended up letting Acclaim publish the Ferrari F355 on the Dreamcast as compensation.
For additional context, it’s worth noting that around the same time Milke’s Gamespot employee and longtime friend Sam Kennedy ran a piece This hinted that Sega was looking at a hardware-free future. “Sega of America invited Sam and me to a CSK / Sega charity event where we were able to interview Sega and CSK Chairman Isao Okawa. Sega was one of the Big Three at the time, and that was before they became multiplatform, ”Milke explains.“ He recently invested a huge amount of his personal fortune in Sega to ensure the success of the Dreamcast, so I asked him bluntly if Sega would continue to be in the console market despite the increasing challenges from both the PlayStation and Nintendo. He answered quite bluntly, saying that “hardware is not the future of Sega.” When Sam told the story on Gamespot, I vividly remember how Sega fan sites openly contested the news, basically saying, “Obviously this was something that was lost in translation,” although I really was there and couldn’t be wrong about what was said. “
Sega even went so far that reply to report, saying, “It may have been a wrong translation of what Okawa said in Japanese.” Despite the fact that the signs were obvious to everyone (Sonic’s Pocket Adventure (for example, released on Neo Geo Pocket Color in 1999), there was still a surprising amount of faith that Sega would remain a hardware manufacturer – and an SOA spokesperson went as far as to tell Gamespot, “We definitely do have more hardware.” …
As we all know, this belief was misplaced. Sega will to officially announce that he was leaving the hardware business in January 2001. And you know what? Crazy Taxi Port for PlayStation 2 will appear in May of the same year – courtesy of Acclaim… Wheeler 18 followed in November and the F355 Challenge the following year. also published by Acclaim. So, while Stolar’s amazing deal to introduce Virtua Fighter 3 and Crazy Taxi on the N64 was eventually turned down, he eventually get his way – although not as elegantly as he would like.