Takashi Iizuka Talks About The Past and Future of Sonic

In an interview posted today at Pocket Gamer, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has explained why he thinks Sonic games haven’t fared too well with critics over the last several years. Iizuka says that over time Sonic’s various titles have been shared out across different teams, where each one has their own ideas of what makes a Sonic game. This is now changing, as Iizuka is taking full responsibility and control over all Sonic games going forward and hopes this will improve things.

So originally it was more or less the same team working on all the different Sonic titles, but after a few years, for various reasons, we started to delegate Sonic games to different groups of people.

And everyone in the office has their own idea of what Sonic should be, so we started to see slightly varied, slightly different directions of Sonic games.

I was conscious of this, so I’m now back with full responsibility of all things Sonic. I have control over the direction of not just Sonic Generations, but all the Sonic titles that we will develop in the future.

So I have more control, and hopefully this will provide better appearances for future titles.

When asked about what’s next for Sonic, Iizuka says we can expect more Sonic titles after Sonic Generations. As well as Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 in the digital download space, there is going to be “a whole new adventure, of course.”

Sonic Generations sort of acts as the end of one period. After Sonic Generations, we will work on new Sonic titles. There’s going to be a whole new adventure, of course.

For the digital and mobile space, we have Sonic 4 – Episode 1 is already out, and we’ve already started creating Episode 2.

We’re going to continue to explore the reimaginationing of classic Sonic, but at the same time we will also keep looking into the gaming space around modern Sonic games.

To read the full interview, which includes information you may or may not already know about the 3DS version of Sonic Generations, head over to Pocket Gamer.


    1. i friggin hope so! damn sonic adventure 3 needs to see the light of day already. Do you really think thats what he meant though?

      1. Most likely no. This is not what he meant. He probably means the type of plot and and enviromental level designs or something. idk. But I doubt he means any specific game. I could see this era ending too.

      2. Sonic Adventure 3 was never supposed to see the light of day! It would be cool though. I hope they don’t announce it any time soon, because i have still to beat Sonic Adventure 2: Battle! 😛

    2. YES.
      Sonic Heroes =/= Sonic Adventure 3, no matter what anyone else tells you.

      BUT as to the article, I hope that this means problems for Archie, the Game Gear spin-offs (Sonic Labyrinth? really?), and everything else non-canon Sonic: “I’m now back with full responsibility of all things Sonic.” =D In any case, he better deliver on his promises.

      1. YOU FAIL. Somic heroes = sonic heroes. Not SA 3. You know what makes sonic adventure 3? Sonic adventure 3. I cant wait til when/if iy comes out so people like you can shut up.

        1. =/= means DOESN’T equal, he was saying Sonic Heroes ISN’T Sonic Adventure 3. And I would agree, but it’s about as close as we’ve gotten.

      2. From what I can tell, Sonic Heroes, Sonic 06, and Sonic Unleashed were all attempts at SA3. Heroes and Unleashed went off in a different direction during production, and 06 was simply too rushed to suffice as an SA3. I don’t really care if there’ll ever be an SA3 or not. I just enjoy playing the games that Sega did make, rather than complaining about what they haven’t made.

    3. I hope so..they’d really be on the right track in recouping their fans if they did so..Not they have’nt started on that path but they need to keep pursuing it..

  1. – We’re going to continue to explore the reimaginationing of classic Sonic, but at the same time we will also keep looking into the gaming space around modern Sonic games.

    Seems awesome 😮

  2. I guess the Episode 4 series will try to please the retro fans while modern fans will get games like Colors. I think Generations will give us that while continuing on these aspects for later games.

  3. This makes sense
    I just hope that they don’t get pressured by old fans to kill out the modern game play and replace it with the old.
    We can only play Green Hill Zone for so long.
    I prefer the 3D levels and combat moves, there should be more 🙁

  4. I think they had the right idea with Sonic Colors — A modern game with an all-new adventure, but with lots of classic Sonic references. That way you get an almost perfect blend of new and old.

    1. This is true. That could be expanded upon too by adding a couple new moves to modern sonic and maybe giving him the classic’s physics when in the 2.5D sections

    Welcome Sonic Generatiosn HD and Sonic CD port.

    Sonic Rush – DIMPS = horrible
    Sonic Unleashed – Sonic Team – good
    Sonic 4 EP1 – DIMPS – horrible
    Sonic Colors -very good

      1. Sonic Rush was awesome, Sonic Advance 2 and 3 were awesome, so was 1. Sonic Colors DS was fun, and Sonic Unleashed was great. Heck, Sonic 4 wasn’t even that bad either! AND Sonic Generations 3DS looks intense! Why does every Sonic fan hate the the company that has kept true to the classic games?? Well, at least the 2-D Speedy platformer classic side.

    1. Well, DIMPS did make the Wii version of Unleashed and the DS version of Colours.

      Ah, I remember when Sonic Rush came out and everybody loved it. Now it’s considered horrible. How fickle this fanbase can be…

      1. Sometimes, it does kinda pains me when I see so much hate for Dimps – without them, I wouldn’t have the Advance Trilogy, Rush series & Colours DS. It was them who also constantly modified the Classic 2D style gameplay & evolved it from Sonic Advance all the way to Sonic Colours DS. It’s also to note that Dimps did take part in the Wii version of Sonic Unleashed, BUT, it was only the Day Stages (which I found quite enjoyable, considering that they usually make the 2D styled Sonic games instead).

        & sure they didn’t do perfect job on S4:E1, but it’s not as bad as most games (eg ’06, Labyrinth), there’s no such thing as perfection. So saying that Sega needs to fire Dimps, just for 1 game, is basically like saying everything they did in the past to refresh the old gameplay is not needed anymore.

        It’s also because of them I got back into Sonic (after my Mega Drive II) with one of the greatest Sonic games I had ever played in my life; Sonic Advance 3.

          1. eh sonic advance 3 wasnt the best it i like it alot but not my top fav in the list of handhelds but nowhere near the end either

          2. Sorry; I was just using ’06 as an example of a game that wasn’t received very well – I actually thought that the concept of ’06 was cool (excluding Elise’s kiss) & found it fun at some points (it deserves to be remade & completed).

          3. I feel the same! I loved all the newer, more criticized Sonic games like Sonic Riders, Sonic 06, even Shadow the Hedgehog! Heck, I even like Sonic R!

        1. DIMPS did the Day Stages from Sonic Unleashed? I’m the last to know, as usual. DIMPS just gained 5 Reputation points from me. The Day Stages were basically the best things that that game had to offer, so I love DIMPS for that. And yes, we wouldn’t have the Sonic Advance trilogy (and, by extension, Sonic Battle and Cream), nor the Sonic Rush duo (including Blaze, Eggman Nega, Johnny, and Marine) if it weren’t for them. Plus, all those sprites…

          In any case, the Day Stages were the best of Sonic Unleashed. Sonic Generations looks like it uses the Day Stage engine, and well, too. Noice.


          1. Well, Cream was actually created for Heroes. They just put her in Advance 2 so they wouldn’t need to dedicate Heroes story time to introducing her. I doubt Cheese would exist without the Advance series, though.

          2. @ Sock fox
            ME GUSTA. But seriously, I don’t understand why they would have introduced her in Heroes. Advance 2 story actually seemed decent and floated around as enough of a debut. Searching for your lost Chao would kinda be a copy and paste of Bigs story.

      2. Yeah but to be fair, everyone loved Unleashed at first as well. ALMOST everyone loved Sonic 4. Over time, haters gon’ hate. That’s all. lol

        1. Wait wait wait wait. Almost everyone loved Sonic 4? When did this happen? I’m pretty sure it was immediately two huge camps: “This is going to be terrible” and “hey wait and see it’s only a trailer!” There was always a very vocal, very large group of people against Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and those people were not swayed by the final product. In fact, many of their suspicions were confirmed.

          Sonic Unleashed…there were some who liked it who don’t now, but that’s more a case of Colors/Generations doing the same formula but doing it better than what Unleashed did, as it was the first game of its type. Also, there’s no werehog, a design choice no one really wanted to be forced to play through. There’s a reason so many people said those stages would have been better suited to be another character entirely.

      3. Yeah. I also remember when SA1 and SA2 were considered amazing too. Judging by the way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised that in about 5-6 years or so, Sonic Colors would be considered “horrible”.

    2. sonic unleashed was terrible. there is nothing fun about laggy framrate and poor button mashing gameplay. wow, man.

      1. I always feel like I understand what ppl mean by “button mashing”, then I start trying to recall a game that WASN’T something other than button mashing.

        Heck, in animations when someone’s playing a videogame that’s how it’s exaggerated. Like, ALWAYS! It’s just a buncha button mashing. That’s the image I get when I hear that term. I guess people only notice it if they don’t like the game and don’t realize it if they’re having fun. lol Kind’ve like texting. Ugh.. lol

  6. So, there is a possibility that we will be getting retro, and modern games? :/ Just do what you want Iizuka, don’t listen to any bitchy fanboys, but everyone NEEDS TO LET GO OF THE PAST. Ughhhh, as much as I love Classic Sonic, I NEVER wanna see him come back after Generations…Modern Sonic is the key Sonic Team needs to work on! Oh we’ll…I can live w/this.

    1. WELL! He’s got a never-ending story. It’s bound to pop up now and again! Especially after so many years. There’s actually a history to go back to now. lol Besides, Eggman’s a scientist. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t continue some old methods in new ways til he figured out how to overcome it. I mean he’s only released a monster twice, messed with non-living ancient powers 5 times, machines 7 times and natual resources/living beings 4 times. He’s gotta lot of researching to be done. lol

      1. I’d actually look forward to Eggman messing with gods and inter-dimension beings more in the near future (not to sound like a huge nerd xD). It seems like when SEGA takes that route, it gets a little more interesting story wise the same way Gamefreak is able to push Pokemon together with our real world history.

  7. I don’t think Dimps have done badly, Rush games, Advance games, sonic 4, colours. If that’s shit I like shit! More shit please!! =)

  8. Awesome. Frankly, I loved recent games (except ’06 and Secret Rings), and seem to enjoy games that others don’t (Shadow). But, it’s nice to see someone is taking full control now and unifying the teams.

    This should also help with characters, as they display different personalities and even downright uncharacteristic ideas…(Shadow in Free Riders being a good example).

    Keep it up (and bring back Chao Gardens, please?)

    1. Chao Gardens = meh. It seemed like a lot of work just to train a Chao JUST so that you could get those last few Emblems in SADX and SA2B… which is still a pain for me (W.I.P.). If Chao Gardens come into the next level of Sonic games, it should rather be optional.

      1. Well… they WERE optional. You didn’t NEED all the emblems to finish the games.

        Personally I never thought the Metal Sonic skin and 30 seconds of Green Hill Zone were really worth the effort of getting all the emblems. I just got them all for the fun of the challenge. 😛

      2. Sock has a point. It WAS optional. You didn’t need the last few emblems. Emblems are what you get for completing extras to unlock extras. So if you want to get all emblems of a game then one would assume it’s because you wanted to do everything the game had to offer, which, in this case, includes Chao Gardens.

        Plus, being optional, I think it should be there for those who enjoy doing it. It doesn’t really hurt the game. It’s just an additional feature. 🙂

  9. When was the last time Iizuka was in charge? I know he ahndled Sonic Adventure 2 and then handed the reigns back to Naka for Heroes, Shadow, and 2006, but was he fully in charge of Unleashed or did he delegate that, starting the cycle? I hope he wasn’t fully in charge of Unleashed so that Adventure 2 servers as an indicator to what is to come after Generations. I’m sure boost gameplay will live on somehow, though, and the Genesis games and a certain Classic Sonic won’t budge either.

    1. I, uh…I loved Unleashed…The Night stages were my favorite. Day stages were either really cheap with deaths or Sonic was too uncontrollable (resulting in those cheap deaths XD).

      …That, and I like to smash things to pieces anyways.

    2. These are his roles in these specific games:

      Sonic 3 & Knuckles – Senior Game Designer
      Sonic Adventure – Director, Character Game Designer, Chaos Game Designer, Level Designer
      Sonic Adventure 2 – Director, Game Designer, Enemy Game Designer, Level Designer
      Sonic Unleashed (PS360 versions) – Level Designer
      Sonic Colors – Producer
      Sonic Generations – Producer

      In Sonic 06 he’s just a “Special Thanks” (meaning he really had nothing to do with the production of the game)
      In Secret Rings and Black Knight he is also only “Special Thanks”.

      There’s more but these are probably the big ones. lol

  10. Well now that it is one person mainly in charge, hopefully the criticisms of the series will be easier to adress in future titles.

    And I personally don’t like how they seem to consider “Modern” Sonic and “Retro” Sonic two completely different entities. I am just a SONIC fan, and I’d like to see the best aspects of both the modern series and the classics utilized in new games. I don’t want them to become two seperate sub-series.

    1. No one is calling them different entities. They have different designs and gameplays. “Retro” and “Modern” refers to the style of Sonic. They gotta classify the difference somehow.
      In Sonic Generations he meets his “past self” that’s all.

  11. I’m a happy camper. Iizuka was the guy who turned Sonic around, and I love his vision of the series. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  12. The night stages in SU were horrible, controls were bad all around, except now I have played the day stages so many times I have it memorized and they are actually quite satisfying speed runs. Which brings me to my main point. SONIC GAMES ARE ABOUT SPEED! I think this is an essential element that has been butchered by the other playable characters sections of the adventures and hero series, also the unleashed series. If I’m playing Sonic and then suddenly have to put on the brakes so I can fart around with an emerald detector or a blaster cannon I’m no longer having a Sonic experience. I think this is why there was a big push for classic Sonic to come back. It’s SPEED PLATFORMING above all else that makes or brakes the game.

    1. Really? Maybe it’s your controller. WereHog controlled find for me. When I told it to go left, it went left. When I wanted to jump, it jumped. When I wanted to slash, it slash. XD
      In the Day Stages, stop trying to memorize the stage and start trying to build up your reflexes. That’s the game. lol I mean, all Sonic games cause you to memorize the stage and then know what to expect. If you didn’t, you would ALWAYS lose unless the stage was just too easy and predictable. lol =p

      Fans were asking for shooting in Sonic games. Sonic Team, at the time, didn’t think shooting was fitting to the franchise. Their solution was Gamma. He wasn’t as fast as Sonic but was still faster than most games. It was still platforming. And you got to blow stuff up. Yes, it may not be Sonic, but it’s still fun. And that’s why it’s not Sonic running around shooting things, it’s Gamma.

      You see, some people aren’t fans of Sonic and have ALWAYS seen it as just “running through loops getting rings”. It sounds boring to a lot of people. Adding other characters gives you many gameplay types. It’s like multiple games in one and never gets TOO repetitive. Now all they gotta do is make each character optional like an extra story or something and you got a winner. So no one is forced to play other characters and no one is forced to not play them. =) I mean, I want a Tails and Knuckles experience too without them having to have their own entire game. Those don’t usually turn out as good. (especially with them being friends with Sonic making their own games kinda pointless since Sonic’s a badass and would save the world before them anyways. XD)

    2. You were obviously playing it wrong. I played the hell out of the Werehog and he was probably the greatest thing since Sonic got that snazzy ring xD Sonic games aren’t primarily about speed. It’s just 70% of it. The remainder of it is opening to new experiences (i.e. The Time Break, Werehog, Swords, Gun Play). If you want to play something that’s exactly the same every time, the digimon fanbase is always open.

  13. “Takashi Iizuka has explained why he thinks Sonic games haven’t fared too well with critics over the last several years”

    Well Iizuka, that just means you need to be fired if you can’t do you’re job correctly. Miyamato is laughing at you, foo’. LOL!

    1. I always thought it was weird how I LIKE Mario but I don’t LOVE the series because nothing special ever happens in Mario. He barely has any mainstream games, mostly a buncha sports, spinoff and party games, and the majority of them aren’t exciting or engaging. No interesting story, he’s not an interesting character and has no interesting personality. His level designs aren’t interesting and his games are incredibly easy. It’s fun to play for an hour and return later kinda thing because it doesn’t feel like a real game of this modern time to me. It’s just a game I go to play like checkers (if I were to ever play checkers) lol. It’s just a pass-time. A virtual puzzle. It’s kinda hard to disappoint fans of something that doesn’t set standards so high anyways. lol

      I guess that’s what Sonic needs to do. Make such simple games no one cares about wanting anything major so if they ever do make a game like that it’ll be “amazing”. lol naaah.

      1. You don’t seem to understand what Mario’s all about. Mario games (canon) are not as easy as you say. I can bet a nickel if you played the original Mario, you couldn’t even pass world 1! XD

        Mario maybe as simple as you say, but you really haven’t played the games if is all you can say, really. Maybe you have, I could be wrong, I can only assert based on what you said. Overall though I like both series, but let’s be serious. When it comes to 3D Nnitendo can whip a Mario game in their Sleep and SEGA has to listen to fanbrats that while and complain because his eyes are green. -.-‘

  14. There’s going to be a whole new adventure, of course.

    Could be hinting at the long awaited Sonic Adventure 3 or if anything the Series is having a True Proper reboot after generations which seems to be more of just a celebration title.

    We’re going to continue to explore the reimaginationing of classic Sonic

    So does that Mean Classic Sonic isnt just for Generations? but may have his own Series for Classic fans? wouldnt surprise me since Classic Sonic has won most votes on Fav sonic Design and ofcourse most gamers say Classic is there fav etc. even critics have been Slagging off modern and saying his a fake and loving Classic sonic, Check Nintendo Official magazines Preview of Sonic Generations 3DS and read how they Call Modern sonic a impostor sonic and how they find him annoying by his voice etc.

    But that confuses me since Nintendo magazine gave Colours a good review and said roger wasn’t bad but now all of a sudden since Classic arrived they now say the New VA is annoying and Modern sonic is a fake? its the same guy who reviewed Colours too.

  15. Give me MOAR open levels, MOAR alternate routes, MOAR (Like 6-9) Playables without boost but with Unique abilities to get trough stages designed exclusively for them.

    And [b]DON’T[/b] I say [b]DON’T[/b] make them optional. This can hurt story with potential. You have to play other stories to experience the story.

  16. I am curious to see what will be able to take on Generations after this entry. The series has changed so much over the years, and even bringing CD back was a humble surprise. What’s left? Playing Generations, and making things right.

    1. dude if sega gave us Sonic Adventure 3 with chao gardens, i dont care if they never made a sonic game after that. but then i guess if sega made a sonic adventure 3, people would be saying “i want adventure 4!”

  17. Well since Iizuka is back in charge, maybe he will finally make Sonic Adventure 3 since the last game he directed was Sonic Adventure 2.

  18. This is seriously annoying. Why do people think that a “Sonic Adventure 3” will be great based on the name alone? Have you learned nothing from Sonic the Hedgehog 4?

    Besides, we got Sonic Adventure 3 five years ago. It was called Sonic The Hedgehog.

      1. Ok then, tell me why Sonic Adventure 3 would be amazing.

        Oh wait, you can’t. That’s because you have no idea how the game would play, look, sound, etc.

  19. “a whole new adventure, of course.”


    anyways, Izuka’s ego seems to be bigger than the Egg Carrier itself, I’ve got no complains about any Sonic games I’ve played so far. He should really stop listening to the fanbase for his own sake.

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