Over the past week, the internet has been all a buzz over the first trailer for the upcoming Sonic movie. Well three people in particular have offered some words regarding the film, all of which Sonic fans should recognize.
There’s a wealth of information to be gained from these previously unseen images!
It turns out that Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Hirokazu Yasuhara was in Krakow, Poland to hold a presentation at the Digital Dragons Conference Centre. And with him, he brought some interesting new insights into the development process of the first two Sonic games!
Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Hirokazu Yasuhara has officially joined the ranks of Nintendo, Sega’s old business rival in the 90’s, settling into NoA’s Nintendo Software Technology branch. While both Nintendo and Yasuhara have indeed confirmed the move, no details as to what is Yasuhara’s new role have been revealed yet.
To Sonic and Sega fans, Yasuhara is best recognized for creating Sonic the Hedgehog alongside Yuji Naka and Naoto Ōshima, working within SEGA as director, designer, and game planner for the Genesis and Saturn entries of the series. While he is known for his work from Sonic 1 through Sonic R, his portfolio also extends to other popular games such as Naughty Dog’s Jak and Daxter and Uncharted franchises, as well as the Pacman 30th Anniversary arcade game for Namco-Bandai.
Namco Bandai Games have revealed that Hirokazu Yasuhara, co-creator/level designer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog series, is working on a Pac-Man ‘comeback’ game, due for release on the character’s 30th Anniversary in 2010.
American EVP and COO Makato Iwai mentioned the details to gaming website Gamasutra, where they plan to use the game designer to bring about a full return to form for the ghost-eating yellow blob. “As a group, we feel like we should do something to make him come back. So, there’s one project that we started working on, and [Yasuhara is] part of it.”
Yasuhara has recently expressed his desire to create a new character action game, saying that such platforming games have a chance of becoming popular again. Iwai said to Gamasutra how working on Pac-Man is “sort of meeting his wish 100 percent, in a sense.”
Before recently joining NBGA as Senior Game Designer, Yasuhara worked for Naughty Dog on projects such as Uncharted. His claim to fame came as one of the ‘original trio’ of developers that helped establish Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive. His last involvement in the series was the Saturn racer, Sonic R.
With his impressive philosophies on game design and his awesome track record on platforming games (Sonic and beyond), it would have been cool to have seen him try his hand at reworking Sonic the Hedgehog instead of Pac-Man. Either way, it’s good to hear the man continuing to do what he loves – and Pac-Man’s 3D games have been considerably poorer than Sonic’s so if any character needs the help it’s the Pac.
Namco’s Iwai: Sonic Co-Creator Working On Pac-Man Comeback Game – Gamasutra (via Kotaku)
In a recent interview with Gamasutra about Game Design Psychology Hirokazu Yasuhara was asked a few questions regarding the creation of Sonic. Heres a portion of the interview –
Ahh, that’s great. So…this may be a question you answered long ago, but when Sonic was created, Sega, as I understand, wanted a mascot. So how were the three of you chosen, or were you just coming up with this yourselves? Like, Ohshima, Naka and yourself.
HY: Like, how we wound up choosing between an armadillo and a hedgehog?
Did they tell you three to do it, or did they say “OK, everybody at Sega, come up with an idea”?
HY: No, it was just us three, and the mission statement was just “You guys have to make a mascot for Sega.”
How many design iterations and ideas did you go through before you came up with this?
HY: Well, in the very beginning, the project staff consisted entirely of Naka and Ohshima, back before I joined them. The main thing Naka had thought up at that time was a game engine that scrolled really, really fast — the problem after that was to figure out what kind of game we could make with that.
We didn’t have any game at that time, so we had to think about that first. I thought it’d be enough to have a game where you ran really fast, but we couldn’t get anything to work. Naka was really adamant about the idea that the game should be playable with one button, since Mario needed two — jump, and run or attack. Continue reading Hirokazu Yasuhara talks about inventing Sonic