SimSonic is a member of Magitek Software, but has his own solo project with ShenSonic - a Sonic 'spin' on Ryo Hazuki's Dreamcast outing. He also contributed to our SAGE Compo prize. Nice chap.
TSS: SimSonic, a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to you.
SS: The pleasure's all mine. ^_^
TSS: What is your Fan Game all about?
SS: Well, it is simply a Sonic-styled version of Shenmue, made with Multimedia Express.
TSS: Obviously, as the name suggests ShenSonic is basically a rip off, Sonic version of Shenmue. Why did you feel the need to do this? Was it just funny at the time, or do you feel there are aspects in Shenmue that a Sonic Fan Game could benefit from?
SS: Umm... I was at my friend's place and we were playing Shenmue. Then I had an idea of what would it be like if it wasn't Ryo you were playing as... but Sonic! My friend said that was a funny idea, and I thought so too. The upside here is that there isn't that many Sonic RPG's around, I think I've already made something new.
TSS: When did you first get the idea for ShenSonic?
SS: As I said, at my friend's place while playing Shenmue.
TSS: What kind of feel are you trying to create with this game in particular?
SS: The 'funny' feel of playing Shenmue that has Sonic characters in it... and the feel of something new in fan-gaming.
TSS: How will the different features work exactly? In Shenmue, Ryo Hazuki has special events such as fighting scenes and Quick Timer Events. How will you be able to replicate these in a 2D RPG, or are you planning to feature unique elements, and not bother with QTEs or fighting?
SS: Demo 2 already has two simple QTEs. So QTEs will defenitely be big part of ShenSonic, like they are in Shenmue. The free fighting... I don't know yet. Maybe there will be something Sonic styled in it... but Sonic would be pretty fun to fight with using his fists, wouldn't he?
TSS: I've noticed one of the mini games on offer was a race between Sonic and Knuckles. How many mini games will there be in the final version, and will they take on a different style to standard RPG gameplay? For example, the race between Sonic & Knuckles could be a 2D platformer, whereas the normal game as 'Sonic Hazuki' is 2D RPG.
SS: There are four mini-games in Demo 2. And more are coming! I don't know the exact number yet though... and yes, they will be a bit different in gameplay style from the normal game.
TSS: Are there any special features that make your game special or different from other games on show at SAGE? What about features that you are especially proud of?
SS: Well, the simple fact that it is an RPG already makes it different. Almost all of the others are platformers. The only competitor is MAD2 and it's a... you know, not so serious RPG... and others don't have shops, collectibles, save/load and so on.
TSS: Shenmue on the Dreamcast was very interactive. As ShenSonic is a 2D version of this, how interactive will the game be? Will you be able to 'play' your DC in Hazuki's home (obviously not any replicated DC games, mock up ones, such as a very small Sonic Adventure 2D or something) for example?
SS: You can at this time switch the lights off/on and such. But the only place in Shenmue which is fully interactive is the Hazuki Residence. So the 2D shouldn't be a problem... And maybe you can play DC later on...
TSS: How long has development taken so far - hopefully not as long as the real Shenmue. ^_^
SS: No it sure hasn't... yet. Well, it has taken a bit further than the Demo 2... not much though. But I have now made almost all of the basic things.
TSS: Any major hitches you have encountered? Spill on your biggest development problem so far. Go on, please?
SS: The first one was Save/Load... and then all the rest like QTEs. But I have managed to make all of them in the end.
TSS: How well do you think ShenSonic is progressing?
SS: It could be processing a bit faster. But I'm lazy... And I have to have inspiration, you can't make it good without it.
TSS: Can you exclusively reveal to The Sonic Stadium when ShenSonic may be finished by?
SS: Even I don't know it yet... but let's see later.
TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other entries here at SAGE?
SS: It will be hard against all those great games... and the fact that it's a Sonic RPG, how will people react? Most of the other games on show are platformers, so hopefully mine might stand out.
TSS: Finally, what's the best game at SAGE on show, in your opinion?
SS: Sonic Madventure 2 and Thirdscape are good, but Demo 2 is the game that I would want to play. But, it is made by me...
TSS: SimSonic, developer of ShenSonic, thank you for your time to take this exclusive interview.
SS: No problem. I'm a bit flattered you know. Long live Sonic!