Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka has spoken out against publisher Square Enix over the release of Balan Wonderworld, claiming he was removed from the project as director months before the game’s launch – which led him to sue the Final Fantasy company.Continue reading Yuji Naka Reveals He Sued Square Enix For Balan Wonderworld Removal, Criticises Game Release ‘A Disgrace’
Reminder: Balan Wonderworld Demo Out Now
If you want to try Balan Wonderworld, the latest game from Sonic creators Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima, it now has a demo out on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, and Steam! If you don’t have the time or just want a second opinion, we’ll have our own impressions article up later today.
Balan Wonderworld will be out on all platforms March 26. It is being published by Square Enix and co-developed by Balan Company and Arzest.
Happy Birthday Naoto Ohshima!
Video game legend and former Sonic Team character designer Naoto Ohshima turned 54 today. Ohshima is best known for designing Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Eggman, as well as directing Sonic Team classics like Sonic CD, NiGHTS into Dreams and Burning Rangers. After leaving Sonic Team following the completion of Sonic Adventure, Ohshima formed Artoon, where he would go on to create Blinx the Timesweeper (an attempt at creating a platforming mascot for the original Xbox) and act as a producer for a few Yoshi games.
These days, Ohshima serves as the Vice President of Arzest, a Japanese video game studio he helped form after leaving Artoon in 2010.
From all of us here at the Sonic Stadium, happy birthday Naoto Ohshima!
Check out some art from Ohshima below:
Yuji Naka wishes to pitch Mario & Sonic action game to Takashi Iizuka
Just recently, Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima spoke with the Japanese magazine Famitsu, and commented on the origins of the Mario & Sonic series, as well as Sonic joining Super Smash Bros. Brawl. But Yuji Naka also said that he wishes to give another presentation to Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka about a potential Mario & Sonic action game. See the quote below.
Continue reading Yuji Naka wishes to pitch Mario & Sonic action game to Takashi Iizuka
Arzest, formed by key ex-Sega folks, worked on M&S Rio 2016 3DS
The names you’re about to see may surprise you.
A user by the name of Cyberman65 has uploaded the true ending and credits of Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for 3DS, and one company in particular mentioned (at 3:43 in the video above) who assisted in the development of the game along with the people who specifically worked on the game, will be very familiar to Sonic fans.
That company is Arzest, and the company was co-formed by none other than Naoto Ohshima (along with fellow ex-Sonic Team and Team Andromeda (Panzer Dragoon) veterans Yoji Iishi and Yutaka Sugano), who fans will very likely know is one of Sonic’s creators, most known for having originally designed his and Eggman’s appearances.
Arzest’s portion of the credits are as follows:
Directors: Masahito Shimizu, Noboru Shirasu
Art Director: Yoshihide Sasagawa
Technical Director: Tomoo Kondo
Game Designers: Jun Imanishi, Daisuke Hagiya, Ryo Sato, Takashi Nakashima, Mitsunori Yamazaki, Tadaaki Moriya, Rena Sakaguchi, Hidemi Hamada, Makoto Hara, Gen Murayama, Gen Shiomi, Koji Arai, Akihiko Sato, Teppei Iwanaga, Mitsunori Shimazu, Motoharu Nakajima
Stage Artists: Daisuke Kojima, Kana Fujibayashi, Ayana Katsumata, Masaya Takahashi
Character Animators: Hiroshi Arai, Eriko Kato, Yuya Iwama
Graphic U.I. Artists: Yuno Endoh, Chihiro Ishikura, Chika Yamamoto, Makoto Sonoda, Akihito Kato, Tsutomu Hatanaka, Tatsuya Ishikawa, Michiru Sasamori
SFX Artists: Tatsuro Matsunaga, Yasuhisa Nakagawa
Cutscene Artsist: Yuichi Nakamura
Programmers: Shinji Iseki, Naotaka Ueda, Kouichi Watanabe, Mikio Kume, Kenji Miyakawa, Kohei Iwata, Takanori Yoshida, Manabu Kobayashi, Akihiko Ohyama, Kazuya Azuma, Kenichi Otani, Hiroshi Fujinishi, Toshinori Suzuki, Norio Suzuki Fumie Morishita
Art Supervisor: Masamichi Harada
Supervisor: Naoto Ohshima
Producer: Yutaka Sugano
Executive Producer: Yoji Iishi
Naoto Ohshima would work with Sega on Sonic games and more until Sonic Adventure 1 on Dreamcast, on which he filled the roles of CG Movie Producer, Story Event Coordinator, one of the Event Motion Designers, and Opening Movie Editor. Afterward in 1999, he left along with Yoji Iishi and Yutaka Sugano (and numerous others) to form a company called Artoon. Their first game would be Pinobee for the Game Boy Advance (it also got a PS1 port later on).
They’re most known for projects like Blinx the Time Sweeper on the original Xbox, Blue Dragon on Xbox 360, and also Yoshi’s Topsy Turvy on the GBA and Yoshi’s Island DS. One of their final works under the name was Flingsmash for Wii directly with Nintendo. In 2005 Artoon was bought by AQ Interactive (now after mergers and renames they’re part of Marvelous). In 2010, AQ decided to absorb all of their developers (Artoon, Cavia, and Feelplus), and thus Artoon would cease to exist as a name.
In that same year, Artoon’s founders including Naoto Ohshima would leave AQ and form Arzest, along with many other Artoon folks.
Their first task was working on Wii Play Motion for Nintendo, alongside many other companies like Spike Chunsoft (makers of Shiren the Wanderer, among many other franchises), Good-Feel (Yoshi’s Woolly World, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and Wario Land: Shake It), Skip (Chibi-Robo), Vanpool (Dillon’s Rolling Western), ND Cube (Mario Party after MP8), Mitchell Corp (Polarium) and… Prope, formed by none other than Yuji Naka himself (they made games like Rodea the Sky Solider on Wii and “Ivy the Kiwi?” also on Wii and DS). Arzest handled three mini-games; Spooky Search, Jump Park, and Cone Zone. Prope on the other hand only made one; Trigger Twist.
Speaking of which, it’s actually a known fact that Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima actually BOTH came up with a ghost-themed mini-game and Naoto Ohshima got to keep his in the end. Yuji Naka mentioned this in the Iwata Asks for the game;
Right. But it got shelved it. When this project came up, we worked on it some more and made a prototype, but it clashed with Oshima-san’s project. They were both about ghosts. Ours was removed from competition, but in the two weeks left for prototypes, we made Trigger Twist.
Great minds think alike as they say.
Back to Arzest. Their first major project was Yoshi’s New Island for 3DS. Since then they’ve mostly been focused on mobile efforts including helping with Mistwalker’s Terra Battle and also a game called Boost Beast.
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for 3DS is their first major game since, but they actually are not the only developer who assisted with the project. Spike Chunsoft also lent a hand as well.
To be clear, Arzest’s role seems more of a smaller hand, rather than fully taking charge of it like with Yoshi’s New Island which was officially an Arzest-developed game. But it’s very surprising to see Naoto Ohshima actually officially work on a Sonic-related game for the first time since leaving Sega in 1999. However some might point out he was listed as Special thanks for Sonic Generations HD, but there’s no certainty of what that thanks is for. He very likely had no real part in its development. In fact, MobyGames, which collects credits for a lot of games, makes no mention of him, and I also watched a video of the credits in the game, no mention either, I even checked a video of the credits of the 3DS version (skip to 14:05), nothing. I honestly wouldn’t believe that claim at all to begin with.
And there you have it. What are your thoughts on the news of Arzest’s involvement with the game? Let us know in the comments below!