GDC 2011: Yu Sukuzi to receive Pioneer Award

by: Peter Skeritt -
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SEGA announced today that Yu Suzuki-- whose credits include Hang-On, Out Run, After Burner, Virtua Fighter, and Shenmue-- will be the recipient of one of the industry's highest honors: The Pioneer Award. 

Sukuki is still working with SEGA, as an advisor, and has 25 years of experience with the company. He is credited with working on no fewer than 24 games, ranging from arcade titles to adventure games. His games are still receiving sequels today. After Burner Climax, Out Run Online Arcade, and Virtua Fighter 5 have all been released during this console generation, carrying on Suzuki's vision and knack for great gameplay. 

It is expected that Suzuki will be accepting the honor in person during the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, which will take place on March 2nd at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. We join SEGA and the rest of the industry in saluting Yu Suzuki and thanking him for his years of creativity, vision, and, of course, his timeless video games. 

SEGA's full press release is after the jump. 
Creator of Shenmue and Virtua Fighter Series to Be Recognized for Nearly Three Decades of Creative and Influential Career Achievements
TOKYO ( February 11, 2011) – SEGA® Corporation is proud to announce that Yu Suzuki will be the recipient of the Pioneer Award, a Special Award presented as part of the 2011 Game Developers Choice Awards and one of the highest honors in video game development.
The Pioneer Award celebrates those individuals who developed a breakthrough technology, game concept, or gameplay design at a crucial juncture in video game history. Yu Suzuki will be accepting his award at the eleventh annual Choice Awards ceremony on March 2, 2011, during the Game Developers Conference 2011 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
Suzuki, currently a Special Advisor at SEGA® Corporation overseeing the company’s worldwide content strategy, joined SEGA in 1983 and has been one of SEGA’s leading video game creators for almost three decades. Suzuki is known for many industry firsts and genre-breaking games, including critically acclaimed and renowned game franchises such as Virtua Fighter™ and Shenmue™.
One of his earliest works was the first real-time simulation arcade racer Hang-On™ in 1985, followed by the immersive rail shooter Space Harrier™, which featured the first full color computer graphics in Japan, and the driving simulation Out Run™. With the aerial combat simulation After Burner™ and the racing game F355 Challenge™, Suzuki then delivered some of the world’s most celebrated games of all time. His internationally renowned 1993 creation Virtua Fighter spawned the 3-D fighting genre and has been recognized for its contribution in the fields of Art & Entertainment by the Smithsonian Institution.
In 1999, the release of the visually stunning Shenmue for the SEGA Dreamcast™ console marked the first console title for Suzuki. Shenmue would break new ground with its open-world 3D gameplay, its non-linear story and revolutionized the adventure game genre by giving players unprecedented control over the game’s character through Suzuki’s "FREE" (Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment) concept.
Until today Suzuki has been responsible for the creation of more than two dozen titles at SEGA. In 2003, he became the sixth person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Science’s “Hall of Fame.”
Yu Suzuki will be on stage to receive the Pioneer Award at the eleventh annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco on March 2, 2011. In addition to receiving the coveted Pioneer Award, Suzuki will also be presenting a lecture during the main conference portion of the GDC at 10:30AM on Wednesday, March 2, 2011, discussing some of the landmark game titles that he has created over the past two decades.
For more information about the ceremony, please visit
For more information about SEGA, please visit
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