Juro Watari

From Sega Retro

Juro Watari
Place of birth: Suginami, Tokyo, Japan[1]
Date of birth: 1964-12-11[1] (age 59)
Employment history:
Sega Enterprises (1991-04[2] – )
Sega (?? – 2021-02[3][4])
Role(s): Director, producer
Twitter: @WATRIX_2021

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Juro Watari (亙 重郎), also known as Dr. Watari, is a Japanese video game director and producer. He is best-known for the Cyber Troopers Virtual-On franchise and 7th Dragon III Code: VFD.



After graduating university in 1991, Juro Watari joined Sega Enterprises and was assigned to AM R&D Dept. 3 as a game designer/director. He spent 3 months developing a pitch for a vertical shooter, but was shut down at every opportunity[5]. Around October, AM3 manager Hisao Oguchi offered Watari a role directing a game based on the Wally wo Sagase! picture book series[5].

Wally wo Sagase! was followed by Jurassic Park, which Watari co-directed with newcomer Kenji Kanno, followed shortly thereafter by some game design contributions to Hard Dunk. However, these titles are not typically represented in Watari's work histories[6].

Following the release of AM2's Virtua Fighter in 1993, the idea for AM3 to create its own 3D fighting game came up, with Watari tackling the project starting in March 1994[7][5]. This resulted in Cyber Troopers Virtual-On, a game with robot characters loosely inspired by robot anime Watari had grown up with such as Choudenji Robo Combattler V, Magne Robo Gakeen, Blocker Gundan 4 Machine Blaster[8]. It was also loosely inspired by his then obsession with basketball game NBA Jam, but reducing the action from 5 on 5 to 1 on 1[5]. Virtual-On was a big success in Japan, and led to Watari becoming a well-known figure in the video game scene. Under the name Dr. Watari, he wrote many articles for Sega Saturn Magazine detailing how to get better at the game.

In 1997, Watari was promoted to producer, and produced not only the next Virtual-On entry, but also L.A. Machineguns[6], Touch de Uno![9] and Virtua Athlete 2K. Watari's is only known to have produced further Virtual-On games after AM3 became Hitmaker, suggesting that his role may have changed. He also supervised Virtual-On developed by other companies for Dai 3 Ji Super Robot Taisen Alpha: Shuuen no Ginga e and Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 31: Cyber Troopers Virtual-On.

After AM3

In 2008, AM3 was dissolved and Watari was moved to AM2[10], where he helped with several home console ports of the Virtual-On series. A few years later he and several other creators associated with the Virtual-On series moved to CS3, where Watari produced Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD and Dennou Senki Virtual-On x Toaru Majutsu no Index: Toaru Majutsu no Virtual-On.

Watari resigned from Sega in February 2021[3][4], 4 months before the release of his last game produced for the company, Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown[11].

Production history



Magazine articles

Main article: Juro Watari/Magazine articles.


Main article: Photos of Juro Watari