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Toshihiro Nagoshi Steps Down as SEGA CCO, Roger Craig Smith No Longer Voicing Sonic the Hedgehog

On April 1, Toshihiro Nagoshi will retire from his role as Chief Creative Officer at SEGA. The news comes amidst restructuring of both business and leadership at SEGA Corporation. Meanwhile, Roger Craig Smith has also revealed that after ten years, he will no longer be providing the voice of Sonic The Hedgehog, arguably SEGA’s biggest franchise.

Toshihiro Nagoshi is best known for his work on the Yakuza franchise, although he’s also been involved in Super Monkey Ball, Daytona USA, Shenmue, Virtua Fighter, and many others. He’s been with SEGA since 1989; despite stepping down as CCO, he will remain at the company in a role of Creative Director.

SEGA Sammy is undergoing a more widespread management restructure right now to “accelerate global business development by streamlining the group’s structure and accelerating decision-making”. Haruki Satomi will now become SEGA’s CEO while Hajime Satomi remains in the company as an Honorary Chairman of the Board. Yukio Sugino will become President and COO.

Not only has the management changed, but the company’s business structure has also changed — their pachinko and console/PC/amusement arcade game businesses are being split into two different companies owned by Sammy Corporation. This won’t stop the development of any new titles, though. The publisher revealed at the end of last year that they had several unannounced new projects that had been in development since the start of 2020.

In other SEGA-related news, after ten years Roger Craig Smith will no longer be voicing the character of Sonic the Hedgehog. The actor has provided the voice of the character in TV series and video games, beginning with Sonic Free Riders and ending with Chao In Space in 2019, and undoubtedly helped the franchise hit 1.14 billion lifetime copies sold. The news was first revealed in a tweet that indicated it may not have been the actor’s decision to step away from the role, though officially we don’t know the details behind his departure from voicing Sonic.

The Sonic The Hedgehog Twitter account has since released an official statement thanking him for his work.

Sonic the Hedgehog was last voiced by Ben Schwartz in the Sonic the Hedgehog movie last year, a role he will reprise for the sequel that’s currently set to release in 2022. Whether the actor will also voice the hedgehog outside of the movies remains to be seen. We’re expecting to see the hedgehog at some point this year anyway as SEGA is unlikely to let his 30th anniversary pass by without mention.

[Source: SEGASammy (1, 2) via Famitsu, Twitter (1, 2)