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Sega Confirms Phantasy Star Creator Rieko Kodama Has Died

Rieko Kodama, the pioneer female developer known for Sega classics like the Phantasy Star RPG series and Skies of Arcadia, has passed away. She was 58.

Her death was discovered via a memorial message in the credits of the Mega Drive Mini 2. The message was intended to clarify her death according to Sega producer Yosuke Okunari. According to ex-Sega programmer Yuji Naka she passed away on 9 May 2022, but it was kept private out of respect for her family. Here’s a quote from Sega of Japan (via IGN Japan)

“We pray that the deceased will rest in peace, and we offer our gratitude for her enormous contributions to Sega.”

Rieko Kodama (or Phoenix Rie in the early 80s and 90s game credits) started out as a graphic designer, then was a producer and director. Her credits include Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Skies of Arcadia, and the legendary Phantasy Star series. She directed Phantasy Star IV which was arguably the best entry in the series.

Kodama remained active in the games industry through the 2010s, working on titles like 7th Dragon and Sega Ages. She left a legacy of being one of the most prominent female video game developers in gaming history, inspiring other women to do the same.

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