the making of DAYTON USA
racer ever, It might be the best arcade with and all It took was a partnership a usa a military simulation company, am2 research trip and the legendary how daytona team. sega’s crew reveals speed… usa became the king of
there aren’t many game developers that have come to be specifically associated with common natural phenomena, but when you talk about Sega people tend to bring up blue skies. From the Green
Hill Zone to Outrun’s Coconut Beach, many of the best Sega games seem to take place in a colourful eternal summer, where a car crash will only upset your partner a little and environmental destruction can be undone by a heroic hedgehog. Daytona USA fits right into that happy little world, and it doesn’t just feature blue skies, it even has a song about them. The result is a game that doesn’t just stand alongside the likes of Turbo, Outrun, Super Monaco GP and Sega Rally as part of a proud arcade racing heritage, but which perhaps defines it.
Daytona USA was the product of an arcade arms race. Companies were competing to have the most impressive hardware, and racing games seemed to be the chosen area of combat. Namco’s Winning Run and Atari’s Hard Drivin’ had kicked the genre into 3D in the late Eighties, and Sega’s Virtua Racing had set new standards for speed and detail in 1992, but the company was already looking at developing a successor to the Model 1 technology that powered that game. To do this, it entered a partnership with the American military simulator developer GE Aerospace, which was subsequently bought by Martin Marietta.
One of the people involved in developing this new technology was Toshihiro Nagoshi, director and producer of Daytona USA. Although he worked on the software side of development, his presence was important due to Sega’s design philosophy. “Sega as a company traditionally developed the hardware and software parallel,” he explains. “Pushing hardware development forward alone would sometimes overlook the functions necessary for software development. There was also the risk of adding unnecessary functions. To avoid such situations, it’s quite efficient to develop both the hardware and the software that would be running on it, at the same time.” It was Nagoshi’s involvement in this process that provided the concept for Daytona USA.
“When I went to the US to have a meeting about the Model 2 system board, I happened to get the tickets for a [NASCAR] race,” remembers Nagoshi. “That was the first time I ever watched such a race, as in Japan, car racing typically meant Formula 1 for the vast majority of people. I remember it being quite a new experience for me.” Nagoshi returned to Japan determined to create a stock car racing game – and not only did he get that wish, he led development as the director of the game and one of two producers (the other being Yu Suzuki). “It was a huge responsibility for me, but at the same time, this was a game implementing the new technology for the first time, and being able to create such a game as a leader is not a chance that comes by often,” Nagoshi explains. “I tried my best to have as much fun as I could. But of course, in reality it was not that easy, and I often found myself stuck in thought.”
In order to get the project off on the right foot, Nagoshi undertook plenty of research. “I consumed as many videos and books about NASCAR as I could get my hands on. However, despite the extensive research, it was difficult to convey the excitement and fascination of NASCAR racing to the staff in Japan at the time.” One such member of the team who found himself confronted with an unfamiliar racing discipline was game planner Makoto Osaki. “I was not familiar at all with stock car racing,” he confesses. “At the time Formula 1 was the motorsport trend in Japan, which I knew much more about.” However, he took the job extremely seriously. “I bought a sports car,” he responds when asked about the research he did for the game. “I also watched the movie Days Of Thunder more than 100 times!” We’re not quite sure which action shows more dedication to the cause.
Programmer Daichi Katagiri wasn’t hard to get on board. “I was very much interested in motorsports,
“I remember It being quite a new experience for me” toshihiro nagoshi
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