Childhood and employment at Sega
Takashi Oda was born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1967. He grew up as an avid arcade player. Initially going to college for architecture and interior design, Oda was inspired by his friend — a graduate and Sega employee — to join Sega in 1992. Oda helped develop Astronomicon, an attraction for the SEGA-affiliated theme park Joypolis in Osaka, Japan, before directing the arcade games Puzzle & Action: Treasure Hunt and Motor Raid.
The House of the Dead series
As part of Sega AM1, Oda led development on a light gun game after sister group Sega AM2 released Virtua Cop in 1994. AM1 decided upon a horror theme to distinguish themselves, choosing zombies as the main enemies for realism. Oda stated that the team "[knew] they didn't want children playing this game". He was influenced by the 1996 crime thriller film Seven and the manga Black Jack, the latter of which had morally gray characters and storylines. The project, ultimately named The House of the Dead, was released in 1996 to critical and commercial success.
Oda directed three sequels: The House of the Dead 2 in 1998, The House of the Dead III in 2002, and The House of the Dead 4 in 2005. He was also involved with the attraction The House of the Dead 4 Special, a short expansion to 4's story.
Another sequel, The House of the Dead 5, was shelved in 2012; Oda considers it a sixth "phantom" entry in the series, but wants to focus on future games instead. After a hiatus, he directed Sega's second attempt at producing a fifth game, House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn, which was released in 2018.
Oda is not involved with The House of the Dead spin-off games, though he lets their development teams create their own stories. He was credited as a "creative supervisor" for The House of the Dead: Overkill, making story suggestions and sharing some "rules" of The House of the Dead series with developer Headstrong Games. Benjamin Anseaume and Artur Gregozync, producers of the upcoming 2021 rail shooter The House of the Dead: Remake, claimed that they did not communicate with Oda and Sega AM1 for the project.
Oda believes that The House of the Dead series should be approachable to all players. He has also maintained that the difficulty be balanced, so players can improve through practice to earn high scores and "no continue" playthroughs.
When devising a game's story, rather than keeping notes, Oda keeps its skeletal framework in his head.
- "セガ第一研究開発本部 〜 セガの考えるゲームプランナーとは？ R&D1運営室 企画統括マネージャー 小田隆志氏の場合 [SEGA First Research and Development Headquarters-What is SEGA's idea of a game planner? In the case of Takashi Oda, Planning Manager, R&D1 Administration Office] (Japanese). Career Laboratory (April 16, 2014). Archived from the original on April 11, 2020. Retrieved on September 7, 2020.
- "代表作：『ザ・ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド』シリーズ ディレクター" (Japanese) pp. 1-2. SEGA Interactive Inc.. Archived from the original on October 10th, 2019.
- "Interview: The House of the Dead", Sega Saturn Magazine, issue 23, September 1997, page 58.
- "The House of the Dead-1997 Developer Interview". shmupulations.com. “"Oda: "I did that because our target audience was adults and up. From the start of the project we knew we didn’t want children playing this game."”
- Kori (September 7, 2012). "Website of the Dead’s Exclusive Interview with Takashi Oda". The Website of the Dead. Archived from the original on April 19, 2020.
- "ゾンビがいっぱい『HOD4』" (Japanese). Sega Voice. Archived from the original on March 20, 2020.
- Fragments of Silicon Season 14, Episode 22B: Artur Gregoznyc of Forever Entertainment - FragmentsofSilicon - YouTube