Takashi Iizuka Hopes He Can “Meet Fans’ Desires” For Sonic 30th Anniversary

Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka wants to make you happy. The guy is clearly working flat out to deliver whatever projects SEGA has in store for Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th Anniversary, and in a new interview he’s not shy about his intention to to satisfy every fan out there. 

As it’s Sonic’s birthday this month – as well as SEGA’s 60th anniversary – the producer and studio boss had some time to sit down with Otaquest (a website established by music celebrity Taku Takahashi, of pop group m-flo, which worked with SEGA on a Shadow the Hedgehog remix back in 2005… so quite a fitting website to be interviewed by). He was asked about Sonic’s milestone anniversary and, while Iizuka did not spill any beans on what was being planned, he did share that he was hopeful that fans would like it.

“It seems just like yesterday that we celebrated the 20th anniversary of his birth, but he will be celebrating his 30th anniversary next year in a matter of days. In the past 10 years, we have been blessed with a number of hit titles that represent “Sonic Mania”, and we have been able to leave our mark with many achievements such as TV anime and Hollywood movies,” he said.

“I’m grateful for all of the fans who have loved and supported Sonic for so long, and I hope that I can make it a year to celebrate the 30th anniversary with all of the fans in order to meet their desires. We would like to continue to grow our brand as one that can be enjoyed by people around the world, so we look forward to your support.”

As to what Sonic Team is working on right now, that’s currently up for debate depending on what rumours you listen to. Something to do with Sonic Adventure, if recent SEGA America hirings are anything to go by. But, Iizuka also shared some interesting opinions that might offer some clues.

When asked about the ‘A-Life’ system first introduced in NiGHTS into Dreams and then implemented into Sonic Adventure’s Chao Gardens, Iizuka revealed that he was “thrilled that there are still requests for a sequel,” and also hinted that we might not see the last of Classic Sonic (either in collaborative projects like Sonic Generations, or in solo projects like Sonic Mania).

“Not much time has passed since the distinction between “classic” and “modern” was made, in fact, it was since 2011’s “Sonic Generations” title,” Iizuka said when asked about the challenge of balancing Modern and Classic Sonic gameplay styles.

“Even before that, in addition to the main 3D series, there was a high demand for the 2D action games such as the Sonic Advance series, so we revived the old Sonic as Classic Sonic for the 20th-anniversary title, Sonic Generations. We initially thought that it would be a 20th Anniversary project only, however after that we had a strong demand for a new classic Sonic standalone title, that became 2017’s Sonic Mania. We would like to take good care of these two very popular iterations of Sonic’s in the future.”

Interesting stuff! What are your hopes for Sonic’s 30th Anniversary project? Let us know in the comments section below!

Source: OTAQUEST

Published by

Dreadknux

Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.

67 Comments

  1. Great article, lots to look forward to hopefully!

    Can we get a link to this part please?

    SEGA America hirings relating to Sonic Adventure.

    Cant find anything online for this.
    Thanks!

      1. Thanks Dreadknux, I can see the correlation now. Cool that he came back too, I loved his work in the dreamcast era.

  2. He wants EVERYONE to be happy? We might see Classic Sonic again? Oh boy… this is starting to sound like Forces all over again.

    1. Here’s hoping he’s just part of his own games and not thrown into another modern game for no reason. I really want 3D Sonic to move forward and stop living in the past….

    2. They need to stop reusing Zavok. He has no purpose to the story nor any business of being in any game but the one he was introduced in.

  3. Hopefully they’re working on a new Sonic Adventure style game and taking the measures to make it actually great!

    Also I hope the game would include a Chao Garden or they could also make a Chao Garden mobile game that connects with the console game (so you could use the rings you collect from the console version into the Chao app, unlock stuff, etc.).

    1. This!
      Good grief we have been begging for Chao garden bon our mobile phones since the dawn of time.

      I even asked him myself at summer of sonic!

      Just smiled and said nothing committal…

      Sheesh sega take my money…

    1. I want the phantom ruby to be explored more.
      Sonic Mania 2 should just be Sonic Xtreme (revisit/reimagine)
      Sonic Adventure-esque game should be about “alternate dimension” such as Satam; Adventures; Underground; Fleetway; etc…

    2. Well that’s why we got Spyro and Crash remakes, to make new installments. So maybe that is what Sega will do with Adventure? As long as it’s done well.

      As for Mania 2, Sega is stupid for letting that development team go. They should have capitalized on that game IMMEDIATELY after it released and became a smash hit! But nooooo Iizuka had to tie it into Forces just to build his own ego.

  4. “We might not see the last of Classic Sonic”

    The ending to Sonic Forces confirmed that when Sonic said “Cheer up Tails, I’m sure we’ll run into him again”

    That might make alot of people mad, but it’s no surprise to me.

    1. Iizuka will run back to Generations on every anniversary. It’s not that offensive, but it’s not creative at all. It just shows how incompetent he is as head of Sonic Team on top of Sonic Mania turning out better than his game even with all his meddling. Iizuka needs to be fired. “JUST DO IT!”

  5. I want a new Sonic Adventure inspired game with playable characters, new characters, a Chao garden, a chao garden mobile game, all returning gardens, current voice actors, time travel, no classic Sonic and a new villain.

    New characters:
    Speedy the Hedgehog (Sonic’s future descendant) – blue with yellow stripes, white gloves, lightning medallion and red boots
    Sakura Rose the Hedgehog (Speedy’s younger sister) – pink, purple shirt, white, gloves, red skirt, heart medallion, red lipstick, pink high-heeled boots.
    Punch the Echidna (Knuckles future descendant) – orange, blue vest, sky medallion, white gloves, blue boots.

    Voice actors for new characters:
    Johnny Yong Bosch – Speedy the Hedgehog
    Erica Lindbeck – Sakura Rose the Hedgehog
    Robbie Daymond – Punch the Echidna

  6. What fans of the Sonic series and the general public expect is that in the next Sonic games, the development team is not afraid to take some risks, idealize new things, reinvent concepts and have ambitious thoughts.
    All we want is for the franchise to stop going back so far, for games to stay away from the elements of the classic series and stop relying so much on nostalgia.
    One of the main criticisms that are made of Sonic Forces is the fact that the game wasted the potential for good ideas and was trying to reuse the same elements from previous games, like the mechanics of the wisps, the old scenarios, gameplay of the Classic Sonic, and among other ingredients that overshadowed the potential for innovative concepts that could have been put into the game.
    It often gives the impression that the Sonic Forces development team was afraid of being rejected by critics.
    All the fans want is for the next projects to be more ambitious, and for Sonic Team to try to extract and make the most of the franchise’s potential, its ideas, and that the direction intends to seek to evolve the series and take your games forward.
    That’s all we ask for.

    1. I’d like to see a Sonic game where Chaos 0 and Tikal would return to help Sonic and friends defeat Dr. Eggman and stop his latest evil scheme and have Metal Sonic and Infinite make a reappearance. And perhaps a Mario/Sonic crossover adventure game with the same hope I said earlier.

    2. Personally I think Sonic Forces was just lazy, not only they reused the ideas you mention but they did so in a worse way than in the past, for what it had going for it it should have been the same or even better than Generations but instead they recycled almost everything. Maybe they aren’t afraid of critics and they just lost passion, in that case they should keep hiring more fans / people passionate about the franchise to work in new modern Sonic games.

      1. Like indie devs. 🙂 Indie devs are making Sega’s other lost properties and bringing them back. Why not 3D Sonic?

    3. The wisps in the game had nothing to do how they were handled in previous games the bizzare controls and combat of the Avatar was brand new.
      “the development team is not afraid to take some risks, idealize new things, reinvent concepts and have ambitious thoughts.”
      They did because they took the risk of taking a sledgehammer to Modern Sonic’s gameplay and stage design from Generations, if they were afraid of being rejected by critics they would have copied that game exactly instead of making what felt like a mobile game knockoff of Modern Sonic in Generations with more automation than ever before. Nobody ever talks about these things! It’s always wisp blah blah wisps blah blah WISPS!!!! and overthinking timelines and canon rather than actually talking about the game design and how far Sonic Team has regressed. It’s a crying shame that Mario fans make interesting analyses of how the feeling of jumps are handled in 2D and 3D and various other inserting game design things but Sonic fans are cursed to overanalyzing metahumor, wisps and how Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car fits into the canon.

      “All the fans want is for the next projects to be more ambitious”
      Then you get another Lost World, don’t try to hide behind wisps and classic inspired level art, that game took risks and was ambitious in all the worst ways just like all of Sonic Team’s failures. For Sonic Team and Iizuka to extract the most potential from Sonic they should give up the series and drop the Sonic from their team name.

      1. And the fall of TSSZ brings the cynicism of SSJSonicXX14 to the sonic stadium… Lovely, even more commentary on why Sonic Team should drop Sonic because someone else will surely do it better. Your thinking never ceases to amaze.

      2. Sorry, but it is clear that the most recent games were very restricted and the developers’ ideas were limited.
        The mistake that Sonic Team made in the past decade (2010), was just to be shy and leave the series stagnant without evolving after receiving negative and unfair evaluations of some games between the period of 2005 and 2009.
        They removed the other playable characters precisely because they received unfair criticism of them, they simplified the stories because the media said that Sonic’s plots should not be taken seriously, they are inserted elements of the classic games and taking a few steps back because the reviews said that the “classic” era was the golden age and that nothing beats those silly mega drive games.
        They are constantly being pressured by the western media that is taking advantage of the fragile image of the series since 2006 to profit from exaggeratedly negative reviews of modern 3D Sonic games, this has confused their perception and makes them move backwards the series.
        The quality of the latest games is good, all the titles that have been released recently are very polished and complete products. However, none of them have evolved in any respect compared to previous games and have not even extracted the full potential of their ideas.
        Sonic Forces had many interesting concepts, the most serious theme, the customizable avatar, Hub Worlds, the environments, story, just look at the concept arts and you will see how much potential the game had. But they were probably concerned with pleasing the critics, so they simplified the whole game.
        So no, the solution is not to give up on a series that sells million and that has several fans around the world despite the negative comments.
        They just need to ignore what the media profiteers sites supposedly specialized in games are saying and ask fans, the general public who buys their products, ask themselves what Sonic games need and evaluate their mistakes and successes over the years.
        Sonic games need ambition, they need good stories, new ideas, stop relying too much on nostalgia they need to evolve and reach new heights.
        The series has a lot of potential to be explored, the franchise, the universe, the characters are very versatile, they can use them to do whatever they want.
        All they need to do is look and move forward, try to expand and evolve everything that the games in the series have established so far.
        That’s it.

  7. I think its gonna be another boost formula witch i don’t mind at all. If they mix the boost formula with a adventure series, then that would be a perfect combination for a true Modern Sonic game they can developed. There already working on the 30th anniversary game right now.

  8. 1) Respect for Satam
    2) Sonic Xtreme revisit/reimagine
    3) Sonic 3& Knuckles Whitehead version
    4) Sega Sonic the Hedgehog
    5) Flynn and Penders kissing….

    1. Sonic Team have to Respect for SatAM. Care for SatAM. No matter what. That is the true strength of Sonic. That is everybody’s wish. Love for SatAM and AoSTH forever!

    2. 1) Good luck. Sonic Team seems to make Sonic into a parody of his former self. Why do you think so many AOSTH memes get shared instead of posts paying omage to SatAM? Thankfully Arron Webber left Sonic Twitter for good, but Iizuka still remains with his bad direction. I want to see SatAM get the Bluray treatment like Sonic X got. I can’t stand Sonic X, but Sega for some reason considers it cannon, even when it takes just as many creative liberties with the IP as any other Sonic show or movie. Thankfully I still have the DVDs, although there’s a scratch on one disc that makes only one episode mess up a little. It would be nice to purchase it again but for Bluray.

      2) The fans are already making Sonic Xtreme a reality. But if Sega were to go back to it, I think a bonus on a Saturn Mini would be the way to go like how Nintendo included Star Fox 2 on the SNES Classic or how Sega gave the Genesis/Mega Drive Mini the new Genesis version of Darius. Other than that, it should be a download in their Sega Ages for Switch. (For that matter, BRING SEGA AGES TO ALL PLATFORMS!!!)

      3) Man, do I wish, but AGAIN, fans took care of that already. we have Sonic 3 AIR, Sonic 3 Complete, Sonic 3 HD… Heck we even have a modded version of the Sonic and Knuckles collection for Windows that fixes the music.

      4) They DID bring it up about two months ago, asking how badly fans wanted to see it in Sega Ages. Let them know. 🙂

      5) Yeah no. They go together like water and oil. :p

    1. How about a new Sonic R, but with better controls and the entire cast of Sonic? Also you could have tracks from every game. It would have boosting and drifting, but as the characters themselves! I hate boost gameplay, but a racing game would be a perfect fit. Just get rid of the tank controls, and you’re set. 🙂

  9. No matter how fast or slow the development of the future Sonic game is, I want the Sonic games to stay alive, and both I and Darryl Heine hope a Sega Sonic game featuring characters from the Sat AM (Sally Acorn’s Freedom Fighters) from this next and/or next year onwards.

    1. I don’t want satam forced upon the gameplay. I just want respect for the efforts made before Segakuza decided what was “CANNON”…

      1. But I care about the SatAM characters. That’s why Sega Sonic game featuring characters from the SatAM (Sally Acorn’s Freedom Fighters) from this next and/or next year onwards. They should be in their new home. It is time to save them. For the sake of God, I’ll never allow any refusals no matter what.

      2. Sadly, Iizuka ruined everything. You said “I don’t want satam forced upon the gameplay. I just want respect for the efforts made before Segakuza decided what was “CANNON””, but none of the “canon” games received good ratings. Always negative critics. One commenter said, “I think Sonic Forces was just lazy, not only they reused the ideas you mention but they did so in a worse way than in the past, for what it had going for it it should have been the same or even better than Generations but instead they recycled almost everything.” And another said, “The wisps in the game had nothing to do how they were handled in previous games the bizzare controls and combat of the Avatar was brand new.
        “the development team is not afraid to take some risks, idealize new things, reinvent concepts and have ambitious thoughts.”
        They did because they took the risk of taking a sledgehammer to Modern Sonic’s gameplay and stage design from Generations, if they were afraid of being rejected by critics they would have copied that game exactly instead of making what felt like a mobile game knockoff of Modern Sonic in Generations with more automation than ever before. Nobody ever talks about these things! It’s always wisp blah blah wisps blah blah WISPS!!!! and overthinking timelines and canon rather than actually talking about the game design and how far Sonic Team has regressed. It’s a crying shame that Mario fans make interesting analyses of how the feeling of jumps are handled in 2D and 3D and various other inserting game design things but Sonic fans are cursed to overanalyzing metahumor, wisps and how Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car fits into the canon.”

        In other words, Iizuka had really failed everything. There’s no way you’ll respect for the efforts made before… and the fall of TSSZ brings the cynicism of SSJSonicXX14 to the sonic stadium… It’s really the demise of the Sonic franchise, it’s signs getting real. Looks like no choice but to tell Sega to stop paying salary to Iizuka, and Sonic Team should drop Sonic because someone else will surely do it better. All of ambitions are nothing but the worst ways just like all of Sonic Team’s failures. For Sonic Team and Iizuka to extract the most potential from Sonic they should give up the series, selling Sonic to either Microsoft, Udon Entertainment, WarnerMedia or even Archie Comics. and drop the Sonic from their team name.

        This is serious. This is not a joke. I have felt it.

      3. Cannon stories in Sonic games are so loose. Every game feels like an alternate Sonic or a spin-off. Nothing wrong with that from a gameplay sense since it mixes things up all the time, but storywise it keeps splitting the fandom into warring factions. I say have it all exist as a multiverse like how the Archie comic introduced it. Multiverses are big now, especially in films. You could treat the live action Sonic movies as their own thing and still make Sonic any way you want. I sort of prefer pre-06 cannon since it clicked better, but that was because every game after kept trying to reinvent the wheel. Sonic Generations was an ok way of tying it together, but then Forces treated it as alternate universes instead of past and present. Classic and Modern Sonic shouldn’t be alternate versions of Sonic, but Iizuka doesn’t understand how timelines and multiverses work. I think he just didn’t want to be tied down or have to worry about continuity. But then you have him go against that by saying it’s cannon. What sucks is Generations already cemented it before. It might have just been a marketing stunt to toss in Classic Sonic but still treat it as “new”. It reminds me of how Nintendo kept redoing “New” Super Mario Bros. like 4 times in a row. Iizuka needs to understand that there are Sonic fans who want a good story again and want to keep following it from game to game. I’m not saying Sonic is like Legend of Zelda or anything, but the games CAN tell an overall evolving narrative and work. I miss the cool build up of the Genesis games and Adventure games. Also the Adventure games didn’t give the middle ginger to the Genesis games. They embraced the longtime fans and gave everyone something GOOD. Iizuka has never been able to deliver that feeling. We need the old Sonic Team back. That, or hire some actual talent. Pontac and Graf SUCK. I’m tired of HOOBA DOOBA Sonic. I want the hero Sonic to come back.

    2. Bunnie’s gameplay can be like Bionic Commando, Rotor would have vehicle stages like Tails and Robotnik in SA2. Sally would be tactical espionage and hacking not unlike Splinter Cell, MGS, ect. Dulcy would be like Panzer Dragoon. Sonic would be like SA 1 and 2 and Tails would get his flying stages back from SA1. Knuckles would be introduced and used to track down the 7 wonders of mobius which turn out to be chaos emeralds. Naugus would be the final boss.

  10. Pretty sure SEGA heard y’all loud and clear. Seriously, people and their classic Sonic ptsd…
    Don’t blame them for trying the same hand again after the success of Generations.

    I for one am glad he’s decided to take good care of both iterations of Sonic. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to put them back together AGAIN.

    1. He could have called Forces a sequel to Generations instead of saying they are from different dimensions. Then fans would have been excited instead of upset that he LIED. “This is not sequel. This is brand new experience.” His words, not mine.

    2. The kids think Classic Sonic is an attack on Modern Sonic. Honestly if they’d just give the old games a shot and see where their favorite mascot came from they might appreciate the franchise as a whole.

    1. They did that in Heroes like how they brought back Shadow. But he hasn’t appeared in a game as a real playable character in ages.

  11. I can’t wait until next year for Sonic’s 30th anniversary, that’s going to be AWESOME!! I can’t believe that Sega is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, this is also AWESOME!! In 30 more years Sonic the hedgehog will be 60 years old. I think Sonic will be celebrating really “big” when he turns 60.

  12. Old and new characters to appear as well as worlds. Also guest characters from the IDW series and other areas of Sonic. I want the 30th and 35th Anniversary games to be big and contain a lot of content. I expect this one to be one of the biggest. For the 35th Anniversary game, they will probably add some guest characters and worlds from other areas of Sonic, as well as some new ones. I hope Tangle, Whisper, Rough, Tumble, Dr. Starline, and Jewel and any new character that comes up in IDW shows up in the games. Also, I want new worlds and not previous ones.

  13. Unless its the much rumored SA1 remake, I rather have a Sonic Mania 2 then whatever Sonic Team is working on right now.

    1. It’s the dumb memes that are holding Sonic back from greatness. Why do you think they pulled Webber off of Sonic Twitter? Besides, Mother 3 already exists and has been fan translated. If Nintendo doesn’t have the guts to release it (rumors are flying that they might actually do it since there’s been posts about the trilogy recently) so you might as well emulate it. I tried it out myself and did not regret it one bit.

  14. Sonic adventure and sonic adventure 2 remake.

    Sonic adventure 3 (with Chao garden).

    Chao garden app for Mobile (With some prize system that connects any Sega game… Mobile or console) (ex. If you play bayonetta and get some S scores… That means you get gifts in your Chao garden app)

    1. 06 sucked hard, that wasn’t Silver’s fault, and he has been included in almost every modern game since. (granted as cameos like the rest, but that’s because Sonic Team is deathly afraid to let you play as anyone other than Sonic, either that or they like linear gameplay and Silver’s powers would “complicate” things. I wish Yuji Naka was there to put in that extra effort.) Now you CAN play as him in racing games and stuff, but I think Silver should have his own spin off game designed with his psychic abilities in mind. I’ve played a Genesis hack called S FACTOR that had Silver playable in 2d and it was a lot of fun. It proves that his gameplay style can work with a little tweaking.

  15. I need something fresh. Sonic is a great character but often his games are very meh. Give us something spectacular SEGA! He’s had a fantastic comic book run and I’d love to see as much detail in the story and gameplay as I’d expect from a Nintendo game:)

    1. Depends on when the story starts. Forces could have had a more interesting version by actually using sandworms to attack you or have it be the first boss, but nooooooo that takes too much effort and time. (even though they pushed it back to “make it better”) It was just a bland start to a bland game. I don’t hate Green Hill like the rest of people, but I admit it isn’t very creative to reuse it so much. Then again, it IS where Sonic lives, and you had idiot fans back then complain about Sonic living with humans. (even though the movie made it work) So just do it like the comics and have a place like Knothole for Sonic to live. (which the movie did)

  16. IF they do ever end up making SA3, I honestly hope it ignores or retcons everything post-SA2. If it fails, they can just ignore its existence like they do with other titles, go back to the whacked-out preexisting timeline, but I cant see a third adventure game working in the current state of the sonic universe. I feel like Forces was the last chance they had to try to make a serious game work. Really, I can only imagine it being fixed with a part 2 to forces–gameplay fixed, story hitting the expectations we originally had through continuation, and none of that text-and-speech cutscene nonsense. Real cutscenes, please.
    Idw is already pretty much covering all that ground, though. Its just unfortunate all the limitations sega has put on the writers that prevent the story’s best potential. I actually totally understand and agree with the no-romance bit. Its not a necessary asset. The rest just feels like it constricts and suffocates character’s abilities to grow and develop. But I digress.
    I just hope the next game is objectively good. I was originally against Sonic Mania because I felt like it was a waste of sega’s time, resources, and energy with a mass amount of retro-style fangames in existence–seemingly both a bit easier to create, and seemingly overall better designed than 3D fan projects. It was just a nostaliga grab, to me. And I still think it still is in some regards, but the team put so much love into it, I cant help but appreciate it anyway, and it is fun. As such, I dont care if they make another sonic mania. Its not exactly on my wishlist, but it would most likely be well-made, and i’d play it. I just dont want to see any more rehashed zones. I want to see new and unique levels, new badniks, etc. Same for a 3D title, just, give me new stuff, smooth gameplay. And I do not enjoy playing 2D sections in 3D games, so hopefully those stop. We can still have 2D sonic. Its been overwhelmingly well responded to, to have 2D as 2D. I’m more than ok with them being separated.

    1. I totally agree. I think Shadow dying the way he did left an impact on the story and emotional depth that was undone immediately afterwards with Heroes. Even with Robotnik reconsidering his life choices, Tails stepping up to avenge Sonic, Amy becoming a better overall character, Knuckles and Rouge hitting it off, it was a nice way to finish it and set up a potential next installment. It felt like an epic movie.

  17. Here’s what I want for the next Sonic game:

    1) Sonic Mania 2 with all new zones and music
    2) Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 remakes that stay faithful to the originals
    3) Sonic Adventure 3 including the return of a Chao Garden
    Hey if Crash Bandicoot can make a new 4th game and pretend everything after Crash 3 never happened, Sonic Adventure 3 can do the same.

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