Sega has reportedly started work on restarting two cult titles with big budgets: Crazy taxi and Jet Set radio. According to a report from Bloomberg referring to “people who are familiar with its plans”, the Japanese gaming giant wants to create new games that can become global hits such as Fortnite and provide recurring revenue.
Fortnite, has, of course, built its success on a number of characteristics. It is cross-platform, free to play and generates money for publisher Epic Games through the use of cosmetic microtransactions. Bloomberg does not indicate that Sega follows this form exactly, but it’s hard to know how you would create one Fornite-as a hit without … replicating Fornites key features.
Vague hints of Sega’s plans in this department have been popping up for a while now. The company’s annual earnings report for the year ended March 2021 states Jet Set radio and Crazy taxi as “examples of previous IP” it wanted to use through reboots, remasters and re-recordings. (Other games mentioned included Rez, Panzer Dragoonand Rages streets.) This same report discussed an internal “Super Game” initiative that Sony Director Shuji Utsumi later explained would mean building multi-platform AAA titles with global releases. (He also alluded vaguely to NFTs, but honestly, I think leaders are just saying this as a reflex right now.)
Earlier this month, Utsumi said several Super Game projects were currently underway, and Bloomberg now says that these include Crazy taxi and Jet Set radio. The new Crazy taxi the game has been under development for a year, he says Bloombergwith a targeted release from 2024 to 2025. No such time frame for Jet Set radio mentioned, and the publication emphasizes that “both new games are in the early stages of creation and can still be canceled.”
Things are still very much under development, but it’s tempting to imagine what Sega can do with these features. Both titles arrived on Sega’s Dreamcast in 2000 (Crazy taxi appeared in arcades the previous year) and got cult sequels for their stylish graphics and soundtracks. Crazy taxi got players tasked with delivering ticket prices around a fictional San Francisco as quickly as possible while based in Tokyo Jet Set radio offered a variety of game modes focusing on inline skating and graffiti tagging.
Both titles are much more focused on gameplay than story, however Jet Set radios use of factions and competitions seems particularly suitable for the kind of multiplayer with mass participation that has helped to make Fortnite so popular. And who knows, maybe a restart of Crazy taxi will mean a new theme song from Offspring? It would definitely get the attention of everyone who played these titles at the release.