In gaming companies, people tend to take on a lot of different roles. “Tetsuo” Hisaka, who works over at the SEGA of Japan offices, is one of those people. He wears many hats, from translator, to Customer Support Director, to go-between for SEGA of America and SEGA of Japan. As such, he’s been exposed to many different parts of SEGA, and has a lot of interesting experience to share. Let’s get started!
1. How did you come to work in the Video Game industry and for SEGA? Was it always a dream for you, or was it unexpected?
I was initially working as a freelance translator, but SEGA was seeking someone with strong communication skills, and can fluently switch between Japanese and English. The job description also matched what I wanted to do, so I took the plunge into the Video Game industry. Working for a game company is a dream that a lot of kids have when growing up in Japan, and I was that lucky guy who ended up fulfilling it.
2. We touched on your responsibilities in the introduction, but can you give us a general idea of what your typical day looks like?
The day starts with sorting information that heads my way. This can be reports from Lord Dullahan or Atavist (the Kingdom Conquest Community Managers), account and game related investigation requests from SEGA of America, and upcoming events that SEGA of Japan has planned for the game.
Once I digest all this information, everything needs to be translated from English to Japanese, or vice versa. Depending on the context, this can be a few sentences to a couple of pages. Once everything is in their intended language, I send them out to the proper recipients.
Then I have to attend meetings or go to each team members so that I can get direct feedback on everything for the fastest turnaround. I jot down everything everyone has to say, re-translate what’s been said, and relay everything to the people that are involved.
This is of course on an ideal day! On most days, I’ll have to translate official documents and emails in between, or act as an interpreter for meetings between Japan and America. So, mix and match everything I do in a random order and it would be much closer to my “typical day”.
3. So, you work a lot interfacing between SEGA of Japan and SEGA of America… what kind of challenges does this present, and how do you think it affects your perception of how SEGA functions as a global company?
My skills are definitely put to the test when I’m the interpreter for meetings that involve both SEGA of America and Japan. I’m always fascinated by the differences in approaches that each person has toward resolving a problem. When translating, I have to ensure that what each person is saying is being communicated in their proper context, tone, and intentions.
This global interaction is what makes SEGA unique, I think. Each group gets a point of view that they never heard before, but everyone is willing to learn from each other. There may be disagreements at times, but we all come to mutual terms at the end of the day. I think this kind of cycle is what really helps the game move in a forward, improving direction.
4. What (announced only, please, no spoilers!) titles are you working on here at SEGA? Are you primarily responsible for Mobile titles, or do you divide your time between Mobile and Console games?
As of right now, I’m working mainly with the Kingdom Conquest teams, and occasionally pitching in with the recently released Rhythm Thief & the Paris Caper for iOS. I was also involved with browser-based games when I first started at SEGA, but decided to specialize in mobile titles when I was given the opportunity.
5. You work in Customer Service a great deal, and as such you have a unique perspective into how players interact with SEGA on a granular level. What do you think players can do to better communicate their concerns to CS, or to help the process of a ticket along?
One of the things that can get me down is when the investigations team tells me that a translated investigation request has “insufficient information to do a proper investigation.” While there is no single formula on how people should contact the CS team, details are always appreciated.
Using simple bullet points that list useful information like skill names, battle coordinates, or dungeon names helps the CS team a great deal. Letting us know up front what the problem is or what needs to be investigated also helps in finding a solution quickly. Finally, we’re all passionate players, but keeping our emotions in check is always a good idea.
6. Do you have any funny stories about your time here at SEGA?
Oh yeah, we’re all hard workers, but we love to goof around on occasion to let off some steam.
Just last week, everyone in the KCII team was really amused by Mr. KC’s smug face in his interview, so we decided to project his photo onto our conference room wall as he couldn’t make it to the team meeting on that day.
We also have a company-wide meeting where someone gets nominated to do something totally not related to their job. When it was the KCII Director’s turn, he brought his personal guitar and amp, and started singing some 70’s rock music. We’ve yet to see anyone else do something so left field… and I even managed to snap a photo of him as proof!
7. Were you a gamer prior to working in the Games industry? If so, how do you feel your perspective on games has changed since, if it has at all?
You could say that I was a gamer since I could hold a Famicom controller in my hands, and played lots of different genres since then. My perspective definitely has changed since I joined SEGA. I’m interested in the logic and thought process that people go through when they are conjuring up new monster skills and game mechanics for KCII. Whenever I play other games now, I avoid thinking if something is a “Good” or “Bad” design choice, but rather “What went on in the creator’s mind that made the game this way?”
8. What kind of titles would you like to work on in the future?
I’m a huge fan of management simulation games that doesn’t have a big “end game” per say, and offers a lot of replay value. I’m also really into cooking, so it would be great if I had the opportunity to work on a restaurant simulation game. Aside from the typical budget management, I’d love to be able to buy different ingredients to create original dishes, or customize my restaurant down to the music it plays.
9. Lastly, if you could only play one game for the rest of your life, which would you choose? It doesn’t have to be a SEGA game, don’t worry. This won’t come up in your performance review!
Feeding off of what I said in the previous question, the “Sim City” franchise is probably my game of choice. Everyone has their favorite Sim City iteration, and I have my own, but that’ll be a secret I’ll be keeping. I just love the fact that I can make a city from nothing, tear it all down with disasters, and build it all over again.
KC2 on the AppStore
KC2 on Google Play
KC2 on Amazon