There's some incredibly sad news coming out of Japan today - with Sega confirming the legendary game developer Rieko Kodama passed away earlier this year in May. She was just weeks out from her 59th Birthday. No other details have been shared out of respect for her family's privacy.
Sega producer Yosuke Oskunari revealed Kodama publically acknowledged this after a memorial message for her was discovered in the credits of the Mega Drive Mini 2:
Kodama was one of the first females in video game development to make a name for herself, and was often associated with Sega's role-playing games. She's also been formally recognised as a pioneer of the industry - with her career in game development spanning more than three decades.
Rieko Kodama started out at Sega in 1984 as a graphic designer - working on games like Champion Boxing, Alex Kidd, Altered Beast and Sonic the Hedgehog, and went on to become a director and producer for series like Phantasy Star and Skies of Arcadia. In more recent years, she was the lead producer on the Sega Ages line.
On behalf of the entire community here at Nintendo Life, our thoughts go out to Kodama's family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time.
Note: Rieko Kodama was 58 when she passed away earlier this year, not 59 as previously stated. We've updated the article accordingly and apologise for the error.