A major talent in the gaming industry passed away recently, but many may not have known until now. Rieko Kodama was a leading creative force at Sega, having contributed greatly to some of the companies biggest franchises. However, it would seem that Kodama passed away in May 2022, earlier this year. Kodama was 58 years old.
Rieko Kodama’s passing was first noticed in the credits of the Sega Genesis Mini 2, which released very recently. In the staff roll credits for the device, “In memory of Rieko Kodama” was included. This led players to speculate on whether Kodama had died or if it was just a strange turn of phrase. Unfortunately, Sega staff such as creative producer Yosuke Okunari acknowledged and confirmed that Kodama had indeed passed away. Former Sonic Team lead Yuji Naka would go on to share that Kodama’s passing was actually back in May 9, 2022, and her family and friends kept arrangements and announcements private following her passing.
Rieko Kodama was a fairly prolific force within Sega’s major history and franchise successes. Much of her best work was related to Phantasy Star. Kodama helped create the visual style of Phantasy Star and Phantasy Star 2. She would then go on to direct Phantasy Star 4. Additionally, she was one of a handful of creative forces that pushed for the development and release of Skies of Arcadia. As shared by Yuji Naka, Rieko also played a major role in helping him create early Sonic the Hedgehog games.
It feels safe to say there are large portions of Sega’s illustrious history that wouldn’t be the same with Kodama. Shacknews wishes Rieko Kodama’s family and friends the best and celebrates her contributions to gaming as we know it.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Legendary Sega creative Rieko Kodama has passed away at 58
Damn, that's a shame. Phantasy Star 1, 2 and 4 were at the heart of my childhood.