In the latest issue of Nintendo Power, Simon Jeffery comments on the newest coming Sonic games, other current games, and what might be upcoming for Sega.
Interviewer from Nintendo then questions Simon on why he thinks Sonic has done so well in the market since the 16-bit era, while many others have fallen.
“It’s classic character design. It’s the same as the Looney Tunes characters or the Disney characters that were created back in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. So much thought and process went into building Sonic originally back in those days. Many of the other characters that came out of the 16-bit era were created in very a reactionary way. Game companies saw how well Sonic was doing, saw how well Mario was doing, and then they all decided they have to have the cute, woodland critter game. There wasn’t really a whole lot of thought process that went into creating those characters. Sonic has, as a franchise, been very, very scientifically and creatively evolved, really. And so each iteration of the Sonic franchise has had a lot of thought and care and attention and love put into it. So it’s really about that. It’s maintaining the integrity of the original character rather than just exploiting and diluting what Sonic is all about.”
Nintendo asks if Simon is worried about the balance with Sonic Gems Collection, Sonic Rush and Shadow the Hedgehog all coming out. Simon plays the cool way, and dishes out the facts.
“We don’t think so, because, certainly all of the research we’ve done and being as close to the market as we are, we can see that gamers have different expectations for their different platforms. So, someone who has a DS and a Game Boy and a GameCube might be completely comfortable with playing three totally different Sonic franchise games on those systems. And so we see that as an opportunity to grow the franchise and bring more Sonic satisfaction to gamers, rather than just confining a particular series to a particular platform. So we really don’t believe that we’re diluting the franchise, we believe that we’re expanding it.”
Later on Simon Jeffrey is questioned about the downloadable games you’ll be able to download on a Revolution, and if Sega would consider adding the Sega Genesis to the list. Simon chuckled, and responded that they should talk to Nintendo about it. Downloadable Genesis games? I think I speak for most of us when I say: Do it!
Nintendo Power brings up the merger with Sammy, and Simon assures that Sammy has done nothing but good.
“What the merger with Sammy has really given Sega is this new lease on life. What you’re seeing now at Sega is a rebirth, almost, because it’s given Sega the focus and direction and capital needed to be successful in the contemporary video game market, which is very expensive. It’s given us the motivation to become a top global player again in the next few years. We have a very dedicated and supportive Japanese management team now that is absolutely focused on working with Sega of America and Sega of Europe to make that happen. With regard to content, yes, Sega very much involves Sammy in the approval process, but the content-creation decisions are very much Sega’s.”
Near the end, Nintendo asks where Sega and Sonic will be heading in the coming years.
“Well, we’re aiming high. We’re aiming high for Sega, we’re aiming high for Sonic. We think that Sonic, as we teased at E3, is going to be a leading character on the next-gen platforms across pretty much all of them, we hope. We are very happy with where we’re headed on current-gen, next-gen, handhelds . . . we think we’ve got it right, and we’re pretty excited about where we’re going.”
The interview ends with a final question: what was with the Sonic next-gen demo at E3. Simon Jeffrey tells that it’s an illustrative built by Yuji Naka’s of what they expect the next generation to be like.
In the Nintendo Power issue, the Shadow the Hedgehog article dishes out some new information Shadow’s game. The black and mysterious hedgehog will be riding in vehicles from time to time, and the art of Shadow on a motorcycle does nothing to contradict. The article also points out that there will be many Sonic character appearances, even from the Chaotix. It also looks like Eggman will be keeping an eye on Shadow, for there is a small art of Eggman on a monitor with a maniacal smile on. And the bit about exploring different paths? You get to choose at the beginning of each stage whether you want to be on the side of GUN, Dark Arms, or neutral, each edging off to a different ending. Also, depending on who you choose to be your alliant, you will have a partner on some stages, such as Sonic, or even an alien of Dark Arms… Keep posted to TSS for the newest Shadow updates.
It looks like Sega’s on a roll for the moment, and the future. Sonic Gems Collection is coming out August 16th for North American customers, Shadow the Hedgehog looks great, and is headed for a November release and Sonic Rush for a late Fall release. A thanks to Phr0zen for the scans from the issue.