Legendary Sega developer and producer Reiko Kodama passed away at age 59.
According to IGN, she had actually died in May of this year but details were not shared earlier out of respect for the privacy of her family. Her passing was confirmed by Sega following a memorial message for Kodama being spotted in the credits of the Sega Genesis Mini 2.
Sega producer Yosuke Oskunari replied to a Twitter post on the topic saying it was “as you understand it”.
As you understand it. We respected her.
— Yosuke Okunari /奥成洋輔 (@okunari) October 27, 2022
Reiko Kodama also referred to as Pheonix Rie in her earlier works started work at Sega in 1984 as an artist. Notable games she worked on include the Alex Kidd series, Altered Beast, Phantasy Star, and Sonic The Hedgehog.
She would later serve as the producer for the RPG classic Skies of Arcadia and the 7th Dragon series as well as directed two games in her career: Phantasy Star IV and Magic Knight Rayearth. To this day, these are considered some of the best RPGs Sega has ever published.
Kodama is also recognized as being one of the earliest notable women working in the games industry. She has advocated for making games that have elements that can appeal to both boys and girls and believed that it was important to make the gaming industry and gaming culture more inclusive towards women.
In 2018, Kodama received the Pioneer Award at Game Developers Choice Awards for her contributions to the gaming industry.
We give our condolences to Reiko Kodama’s friends and family