I just wrote a goddamn Crossfire feature on SEGA’s wonderful PR department at 8 PM Central Standard Time on August 11th. On the same day 3 hours later, I read the following blunder of an interview. What an absolutely delicious convenience. Sometimes, I simply love just posting the news, but this story is another opportunity that I cannot refuse to inject hilarious, yet warranted, opinion into.
SEGA should just stop doing interviews. They say blockheaded things in these one-on-one discussions with the gaming media and it really brings a palm to my face. The latest installment in “SEGA PR Adventures” (now available on Wii Shop Channel) features Mr. Simon Jeffery, the president of SEGA of America. We have been down this road before. Remember when he called us all 13-year olds for liking Sonic? I know Svend does.
In late July, Simon Jeffery was on a “quest for cool” during an interview with Forbes Magazine, as reported by Kotaku. He really set the bar low by saying that SEGA should be equal to or better than THQ. Yes, T-H-Q.
If that was not enough “lulz” for you, as of yesterday, he is practically asking, no, begging for us to be disgruntled at him once more in his latest interview with Gamasutra. His first Sonic related question was why Sonic is hopping around play-styles in order to find his niche in the 3D world. His response:
SJ: I think the Japanese side, at Sonic Team, have realized that old Sonic doesn’t really gel with today’s consumer and today’s kids especially.
SSMB member, Machenstein, had the perfect response to this malarky:
Oh really? Then why do you still sell old Sonic games on the Virtual Console and XBLA? Why even use the tagline “back to the roots” to hype your games even when they look nothing like the roots?
Correct, Machenstein! According to this sales chart, Sonic 1, 2, and 3 are in the top 30 games downloaded by Wii owners and Sonic 1 and 2 are in the Top 40 for XBLA. Oh, and do you remember when Sonic 1 Mobile sold 8 million copies? Those sales figures are a sure fire sign that old Sonic is alive and ticking. Look, brosky, if you wanted to simply say that you are trying to reinvent Sonic until he finds his groove, that is totally cool, but to say that old-school Sonic has lost its appeal is probably taking it a bit too far. It is also too far when you contradict yourself two questions later when asked about Unleashed’s gameplay:
SJ: But then a large part of the gameplay is absolutely traditional Sonic — 2D speed, and nothing else.
Traditional Sonic? You mean, like…old Sonic?
Ok, ok…I’m done laughing. Let’s move on to the second question, which concerns “mascot branding:”
SJ: Yeah, I don’t think mascot branding is particularly relevant in today’s gaming market, to be honest. There’s very, very few. Nintendo has Mario, but they probably don’t like the fact that people always associate them with Mario when they’ve got all these other games and brands and characters.
If you took a look at Nintendo releases over the GameCube and Wii, you will see Mario’s name everywhere. He’s playing tennis, baseball, and soccer (oh, and I guess he drives a go-kart). He’s a mad partier, too, brosky. I saw him do a kegstand just last week. If Nintendo wanted to push themselves away from Mario, they would most likely stop putting Mario in everything. Therefore, you are most likely wrong, Mr. Probably.
You should really take your own advice on mascot branding, Simon Jeffery. I mean, if you wanted to make a new swordplay game, you had the chance to speak up and make it a new intellectual property. However, you just stood on the sidelines and let the Black Knight happen. There are three Sonic games coming down the pipe in the next year. Three. It does not sound like you are trying too hard to distance yourself and SEGA from Sonic.
So, Svend, can we get another interview with Simon Jeffery? I’d love to see how he corrects this trainwreck.