Pioneering Sega developer Reiko Kodama has passed away at the age of 58.
Sega subsequently confirmed Kodama passed back in May, but was unable to share details in respect to her family, as reported by IGN.
“We pray that the deceased will rest in peace, and we offer our gratitude for her enormous contributions to Sega,” said Sega of Japan.
Kodama worked on some of Sega’s most celebrated games, including Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Skies of Arcadia, and Alex Kidd.
She’s perhaps best known as one of the creative leads on the Phantasy Star series, directing Phantasy Star 4.
In 2019 she won the Pioneer Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards for her 35-year career in an industry dominated by men.
“I’m not sure if it’s because of Sega’s corporate culture or what, but I’ve never felt that I was at a disadvantage just because I’m a woman. I’ve been working on various things related to game development for over 30 years now, and since joining Sega I haven’t been treated any differently from men,” said Kodama in an interview following the award.
Sonic creator Yuji Naka has also shared his condolences on Twitter.
“I have fond memories of working with her on Phantasy Star and Sonic. I went to the wake and funeral and could not believe how sudden it was. I pray for your soul rest in peace,” he wrote.
It has finally been announced that Rieko Kodama has passed away. I have fond memories of working with her on Phantasy Star and Sonic. I went to the wake and funeral and could not believe how sudden it was. I pray for your soul rest in peace.https://t.co/gc7sPCO35g
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) October 27, 2022