Opinion Zone 67: SammyClassicSonicFan Interview

For those of you who don’t know, SammyClassicSonicFan (Sammy Harbors) was a kid on YouTube who use to have very powerful raging rants on YouTube about our favourite blue mascot. In fact they were so popular he sort of become a “internet meme celebrity”. Ever seen any GIF, or meme with the word frick? That’s him. However one day he just sort of gave up and quit the internet completely, until a year or so again when he restarted his video uploading on a infrequent basis. While the personality is borderline treated as a fictional myth at this point, he is a real person. And even though he is a very introverted person, he once sat down with us for a chat about all these shenanigans from his own personal perspective.

Have you ever wondered if the rants were genuine or played up for camera? Have you ever pondered if he’s seen Chadtronic and what he thinks of him? Maybe you are even curious what he is up to these days or why he stopped originally? Well this will have all your queries put to rest! We also test him on his Sonic trivia in a fun little quiz, because it only seems fair we find out how well he truly knows that fricking hedgehog. This was an interview we recorded a year and a half or so ago, but I think it’s important to remind people that he is just as human as the rest of us. What better time for a throwback Thursday!

Sonic The Hedgehog At 25 – A Double Tap Interview

The Sonic Show’s own Jay Egge Mann got a chance to sit down and chat to the Double Tap podcast alongside James Booth from Hardlight! Everyone’s favourite Blue Hedgehog is 25 years old. After his recent Birthday celebrations at the San Diego Comic-Con and London, we celebrate his incredible legacy and what lays in the future for SEGA’s most popular character.

Free Comic Book Day is May 2nd, Plus a Free Advanced Preview of Worlds Unite

Worlds Unite creeps ever closer with the free prelude AND a sneak peek at part 1.

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Remember to set your alarms for early; Free Comic Book Day is tomorrow, and no doubt people will be snapping at the heel for free goodies. In honour of the occasion, IGN have interviewed new editor Vincent Lovallo regarding Worlds Unite. Lovallo speaks at length about the behind the scenes of getting so many familiar faces together, the prelude story included in the FCBD issue, how some thing will be running down in the crossover itself, and even hints at the wake that follows!

If that wasn’t enough to get your appetite going, there’s a preview for the Free Comic Book Day issue for both sides of the book, where we reflect on the path worn for Mega Man to reach this point and begin to learn about the Genesis portals that are so integral to the events of Worlds Unite. Not only that, but there’s a sneak peak at part 1 of the main event with some pages from Sonic Universe #76!

We will have even more on the start of Worlds Unite closer to its release in about three weeks time. In the meantime, plan according to snag your copy of the FCBD issue. Me, I’m already routing my bus times to compete with the comic runner in the Roebuck for my issue.

Source: IGN

Stephen Frost: Sonic Boom is a Licensing Success

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Former SEGA America producer Stephen Frost has called Sonic Boom a “huge success”, thanks to the project’s cartoon and toy licensing initiatives.

In an audio interview with SEGA Nerds, the producer – who has been at the forefront of all Sonic Boom-related developments, from the video games to the cartoon and merchandising efforts – said that the animated show in particular helped broaden the audience for Sonic the Hedgehog in the US. This also encouraged an explosion of toy sales, which Frost added initially sold out in 24 hours.

Speaking of his response to the fallout from the release of the Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal games, Frost was positive about the effect the licensing drive had on reaching a large audience. “Obviously there are pros and cons to Sonic Boom,” he said. “As a whole… for some reason I think people still focus on the game aspect of Sonic Boom. And rightly so because Sonic’s always been a game [character]. But you also have to think about the other things we tried to do with Sonic.

“The goal of Sonic Boom, as I’ve said over the last year or so, is to reach a larger audience with Sonic – to make him relevant again. There’s a very loyal Sonic fanbase [out there], no doubt. But there’s no arguing that every year [the audience] gets smaller and smaller.”

Frost likened the dwarfing audience for Sonic the Hedgehog to other AAA video game franchises on the market. “Even if you have a [AAA budget title] every year, the install base is going to get smaller… So the attempt with Sonic Boom was to appeal to an audience that was not familiar with Sonic – or, were fans previously but weren’t anymore for whatever reason.

“I think from that standpoint it was a success. The audience for the cartoon is [healthy], the toys are selling really well. I remember hearing reports that in the early days, Sonic Boom toys at Toys R Us were selling out in 24 hours – that wasn’t just [sales] from fans, it was from people who were looking for something new.”

The reason for the interest in the toys, Frost noted, was because the “new direction” that the Sonic Boom series took allowed merchandising partners to create more interesting figures based on the new worlds, vehicles and character designs. For licensing partners, Sonic Boom presented “a breath of fresh air into their thinking process and ability to go in a [new] direction.”

Frost also added that Archie and the Sonic voice actors were also appreciative of the opportunity that Sonic Boom presented. For Archie, it offered a chance to create new stories and a new book based on the series, and for voice actors they were able to add nuance to their respective characters.

“I know of so many people who have not been interested [in the Sonic games] that now arbitrarily watch the cartoons and buy the toys, and that’s a huge success,” Frost said. “There are cases where people have come into the Sonic world for the first time, because of either the new toys, or the look of the characters (love it or not), or the cartoon. And that’s why I consider that a big success.”

Speaking about the video games themselves, Frost was pragmatic. “Could the games be better? Yes… [But] I see that we tried to do something different. I think the challenge is that – if you think about the fact that Sonic Team has been making Sonic games for 20-odd years. They understand Sonic and all the things that make a Sonic game.

“In a relatively short amount of time we had to teach new teams what Sonic is all about. But not only that — if I was to say to a team, ‘make a speed-based Sonic game’, they’d have to start from zero and catch up to 24 years of experience in one [development cycle]. Now imagine asking them to reinvent Sonic, to try something different – still capture the speed but also be different enough that when people look at it they know it’s a new experience. It’s really tough!

“We had very ambitious goals. We really wanted to deliver on something that people were excited about, that managed to capture speed but also add new gameplay components… I think that the failures of the game were [of] it being overly-ambitious initially, and the fact that not only were we trying to make a basic Sonic game but we were trying to add to it. We over-extended our grasp in some ways.”

Frost noted that there were a number of positive things that came from the development of the Sonic Boom games – for instance, the popular co-op mode, which he hopes will be a concept that Sonic Team will consider for future mainline Sonic titles.

Naturally, a lot of people have compared Sonic Boom to Sonic Team’s efforts, and Frost accepted that the project’s game development ended up being a victim of the team’s ambition. “There’s a reason why the Sonic games are relatively high quality – they’re basic in design,” he said, talking about how many Sonic titles follow a similar strand of gameplay design. “You have speed, homing attacks… but because of that [streamlined gameplay], and because Sonic Team have been doing that for so long, they can fine-tune that [with every game release].

“We were trying to add in bungee mechanics, combat, puzzles, vehicles, hopefully a more compelling story, and a bunch of different environments. It’s just a lot. And I think that’s the thing. If there’s any lesson that I’ll take forward with me, it’s that being too ambitious can be bad.”

There’s a lot more in the interview with SEGA Nerds – the discussion about Sonic Boom starts at 1:42:00.


Editor’s Note: This article originally offered a brief overview of points taken from the interview that were presented out of context. We have since rewritten the story in its entirety and removed all conjecture from the piece. We apologise for any confusion caused.

New Sonic Boom: RoL Details Revealed, Chaos Crystals, Time Travel & More

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVT93XgmRME[/youtube]

An E3 2014 demo and interview with Big Red Button’s Mark Vernon has revealed some new details on Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for Wii U. The previously seen crystals are called ‘Chaos Crystals’ and there are nine of them to collect through the game’s story. Vernon also goes into more detail about the game’s time travel element and reveals that players will go to the past and the future, seeing areas in both times.

The name of the underwater base level played is ‘Ancient Template’ and in this demonstration we get to see some of the hidden areas of the level. Vernon gives us a look at the collectibles menu and a ‘Freeze Rod’ weapon that, as you guessed, freezes enemies in ice. It’s clarified that while these weapons are obtained from enemies, the enemies can’t actually use them and they are one-time limited use only. You can’t store them.

Vernon also explains that collectibles will earn you upgrades, which aren’t just for making your characters stronger, but also unlock new abilities. When asked about a release date, Vernon says he can’t remember the exact date, but it’ll probably be the first half of November. Finally, merchandise fans will want to stick around until the end to have a close look at some of the upcoming Sonic Boom action figures.

Source: The Family Gaming Team

Sonic Boom is “a unified design and vision”, says Frost

A new interview with Sonic Boom producer Stephen Frost over at Gamasutra has gone into detail about the vision of the new extension of the Sonic franchise, giving some insight into how the collaborative efforts come together. Frost talks about a wealth of things from the creation of Sticks, the audience they’re aiming for and how he wants the whole of Boom to have a connected feeling to it.

Talking about the game itself, Frost touches on how Boom won’t be all existing Sonic fan’s cup of tea –

“We wanted a new kind of direction or branch of Sonic,” Frost says. “There are a lot of people who are familiar with Sonic, or fans of Sonic, who might be intimidated, or don’t play the traditional speed-based gameplay.”

In fact, there are even Sonic fans who have lost access to the franchise, says Frost: “We have this fan base who loves the character, but this is not their type of game.”

He then goes onto explain how he was initially worried about how Rise of Lyric seemed to have no core elements of Sonic, but development has improved on this with some signature speed –

Changing the Sonic formula too much can be a bit dangerous, though: “We had a point early in the early prototype phase where we’re sitting back and we were like, ‘You know, if we remove Sonic and the team from this… it could be anything,'” Frost recalls.

That’s changed, he says: Now, “there’s enough speed, enough core elements that make Sonic, Sonic in the game.”

It’s a team effort, guys.

Another interesting part to the article is where Frost goes into detail about how the synergy works across Sonic Team, the animation department, and Big Red Button when creating the identity for Boom. He specifically goes into detail about the newcomer Sticks, which he believes represents the “unified vision” despite there being multiple teams behind the character look and personality –

He told me this story about the creation of Boom’s new character, Sticks: “Sticks’ personality and core being was established by the animation team, but there was no design for her, so we took her core personality, and Sonic Team started doing sketches and ideas after that, and then based off of that, Big Red Button took that and fleshed it out into a 3D design.”

That kind of interaction leads to “a unified design and vision” for the franchise, moving forward, Frost says.

I’ve included the link to the interview below. It’s much more behind the scenes, but an interesting read nonetheless. Give it a look, and let us know what you think about what Frost expressed here in our comments below. Remember, this week is our collaboration with Sonic Retro and SEGAbits for Sonic’s 23rd birthday – keep tagging with #Sonic23on23 to keep the party going!

Source: Gamasutra

SEGAbits talks Sonic Boom with Stephen Frost

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE4mF9D–d0[/youtube]

As well the new behind the scenes video we got of Sonic Boom today, we also got this little gem from the folks over at SEGAbits! The Swingin’ Report Show hosts, Barry and George, plus David of Sonic Retro, sit down with Sonic Boom producer Stephen Frost to chat all about the new branch of the Sonic franchise, leaving some hints for what fans can expect from both the video game and show. It’s an hour long of goodness, so sit down, relax, and get your headphones on.

So, are you on the Sonic Boom hype train yet?

Iizuka: Lost World is a “Must-Buy” Title

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Ahead of Sonic Lost World’s release,  Nintendo Life have sat down with the one and only Takashi Iizuka to talk exclusivity, hardware limitations and the current reputation of the franchise among other interesting morsels for you to get your hedgehog-hungry teeth into!

Continue reading Iizuka: Lost World is a “Must-Buy” Title

Summer of Sonic 2013: Kazuyuki Hoshino Interview

Kazuyuki HoshinoIn the second part of our Summer of Sonic interviews, I sat down to talk robots and character design with Metal Sonic and Amy Rose’s creator – Kazuyuki Hoshino!

TSS: First of all, what does it mean to you to be here at Summer of Sonic?

Kazuyuki Hoshino: It’s great to be here and meet the fans who have continued to love the characters that I have created!

TSS: How do you go about the process of creating the Badniks and other enemies for Sonic games?

Kazuyuki Hoshino: Other than creating some of the key central characters I’ve also created lots of sub-characters. Whenever I create a main character, someone that’s central to the story or series, I always fully immerse myself in that character to really put myself in their shoes. When I was younger I always dreamed of my creations being sold as figurines in shops so people could buy some of the things that I had created. I’ve always kept this in mind when creating characters so I can design them to look great not only for their purpose, but so they would look good as figurines too.

TSS: Out of all the enemy characters you have created, which would you say is your favourite (Metal Sonic excluded!).

Kazuyuki Hoshino: Although he’s not as much of an enemy anymore, I’d definitely have to say Shadow the Hedgehog.

TSS: How did designing for NiGHTS differ to designing for Sonic games?

Kazuyuki Hoshino: When I’m creating characters for Sonic, I always have in mind that it needs to be appealing to millions of people. Sonic has such a big mass audience so I try and design to meet that taste. With NiGHTS, it has a very particular theme with quite a specific and niche market so I can push the boat out a little further to make designs that are more dream-like and psychological.

TSS: What were your biggest challenges in terms of design when making the transition from 2D to 3D games?

Kazuyuki Hoshino: When designing in 3D, you have to make sure that you create everything so that even the parts that weren’t visible before in 2D are now visible in 3D and they look good. You have to figure out how every part of the design would look from different angles and make it work. In the classic Sonic games he only had to be shown from the perspective that made him look best, now that everything is in 3D, you see Sonic from behind a lot more than you ever would have in 2D so now you have to make sure he and all of the other characters look good from all angles. Shadow has a red stripe going down his back and this is because we wanted to make him look both cool from behind and distinctively different from Sonic.

TSS: If you were to re-design Metal Sonic today, what new features would you give him, if any?

Kazuyuki Hoshino: When we originally created Metal Sonic, the thing I really had a focus on was making him look metallic because he is, of course, called Metal Sonic. If I were to re-design him, I would potentially challenge this and try to give him a different feel and texture that you would pick up just from looking at him. For example, a new feature I would perhaps give him is the ability to become invisible. You know in Sci-Fi films where they have the light-reflection technology that camouflages  the user? I’d love to experiment with things like that and incorporate that technology into not only his skillset, but his visual design too.

TSS: You’ve created many iconic and memorable characters over the years. Do you think that we might see an art book dedicated to your works one day?

Kazuyuki Hoshino: I’m honoured that this question has been asked several times already today! I don’t have any plans at the moment to create a compilation of all the art that I’ve created so far. It would be great to have though and my Mother actually looks at art books quite often so she would be incredibly proud!

TSS: Thank you very much for your time, Hoshino-san!

Thanks again to Bobby Wertheim for translations!

Summer of Sonic 2013: Takashi Iizuka Interview

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I once again had the amazing opportunity to sit down with the head honcho over at Sonic Team – Takashi Iizuka! In the interview we talk Summer of Sonic, Lost World, Colour Powers and Sonic’s future. It’s quite a read so you definitely don’t want to miss it!

Continue reading Summer of Sonic 2013: Takashi Iizuka Interview

Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray Plays Sonic Games Before Big Matches

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On Sunday, Tennis star Andy Murray made history by being the first British Male to win Wimbledon since Since Fred Perry, 77 years ago. Following his gold medal at the Olympic Games last year, Andy Murray has since won the US open and is currently ranked the world number 2. I should point out, his victory at Wimbledon was against the world number 1.

Why am I telling you this? Well, The Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter & Facebook page has claimed that in an interview with The Sun newspaper, Andy Murray told them, that to relax before a big game, he plays Sonic the Hedgehog.

Thats right my friends, in order to relax and ease nerves, Andy Murray aparently plays Sonic games. The paper didn’t say which Sonic games he plays or on what system, so could we argue that technically Andy Murray is a Sonic fan? That might be a bit too far, but this might be scientific proof that Sonic the Hedgehog helped Andy Murray win Wimbledon… .. … though I suspect the fact he’s awesome at Tennis is more a deciding factor.

Andy Murray for ASRT DLC anyone?

Source: Sonic the Hedgehog twitter.

SEGA Planning Exciting Things for Sonic as a Brand “in the Near Future”

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GamesBeat recently spoke to two members of staff from SEGA in a new interview: senior director of digital marketing Mike Evans and director of online operations Ethan Einhorn. When asked about the current console tradition and how SEGA views the market right now, Einhorn briefly mentions some “very exciting” plans for Sonic in the near future in the below snippet.

Ethan Einhorn: We’re taking, on the console side, more of a pillar approach. We’re doing some very exciting things with Sonic as a brand in the near future. We’re also very heavily focused on strategy, as you’ve seen with our pickup of [Company of Heroes developer] Relic, as well as what we’re doing with [Total War developer] Creative Assembly. Of course, we’re continuing to do core titles like Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Hit the jump for more.
Continue reading SEGA Planning Exciting Things for Sonic as a Brand “in the Near Future”

Wreck-it Ralph Director Rich Moore on Sonic

Rich Moore and Iizuka

The Sonic Channel has recently posted an interview held by Takashi Iizuka with Rich Moore, director of the recent video game-filled movie Wreck-it Ralph (Sugar Rush in Japan). The two directors talk about Sonic’s cameos in Wreck-it Ralph, what a sequel could mean for the blue blur and what other SEGA franchises Rich would love to see included in a potential follow-up.

Hit the jump for the full interview and some more images!

Continue reading Wreck-it Ralph Director Rich Moore on Sonic

Steve Lycett & Gareth Wilson Reveal New ASRT Details

ASRT Executive producer Steve Lycett and track designer Gareth Wilson sat down with SegaBits for a bit of a chat last week and revealed a few small details about the game. Covering a variety of topics a few pieces of new information was uncovered. Check out the details after the break.

Continue reading Steve Lycett & Gareth Wilson Reveal New ASRT Details

Sonic 4: Episode 2 Teaser Trailer Unveiled at GameSpot

As stated yesterday, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 has been officially announced today over at GameSpot with a teaser trailer that reveals a new playable character. Unexpected though, an interview with Ken Balough came with it revealing more details about this episode. Balough says SEGA has listened to fan feedback from Episode 1 and in response they have added a new graphics engine, a new physics engine and fixed the uncurling.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 will be released in 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Nework, iOS, Windows Phone 7 and Android devices. Yes, it doesn’t appear to be coming to any Nintendo platforms, unfortunately.

Source: GameSpot

Continue reading Sonic 4: Episode 2 Teaser Trailer Unveiled at GameSpot

Iizuka: “We Will Probably See Sonic Going into Other Genres of Games”

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In an interview with GameReactor.eu, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka talks about where we might see the Sonic franchise go in the future. When asked how he sees the next 20 years for Sonic, Iizuka explains that while Sonic Team will keep a focus on Sonic action titles, they would also like Sonic to reach out to a wider audience. To achieve this, Iizuka says “We will probably see Sonic going into other genres of games and also seeing Sonic in different media.”

Source: GameReactor.eu

What genres and media would you like to see the Sonic franchise explore? Let us know in the comments.

Iizuka: “I would like to make a new standard Sonic”

In an interview with Gamasutra, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has explained that he would like to make a new standard Sonic in 2012 and the years ahead. Rather than continue on with the formula built with Sonic Generations, it appears Iizuka would like to develop something fresh in the future.

It seems that as far as current-gen Sonic goes, there have been false starts. The PlayStation 3 Sonic, the first one, was supposed to be a new beginning, and then there was Unleashed, which had good and bad about it. It seems like Generations is yet again starting over; are we at a point where you feel comfortable with the mark you’re making and can move forward?

I wouldn’t say that I think Generations is a new start. Instead, it’s more of the peaks of the past 20 years, is the way we’re approaching this. Generations is about taking the past 20 years of history and rolling it into one really fun product. I think, as a result, I would like to make a new standard Sonic, a modern Sonic if you will, in 2012 and beyond.

You can read the full interview over at Gamasutra.

Would you like to see fresh new Sonic experiences in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks to RUSSTYBONE and interface for the heads up!

Nintendo TV News’ Sonic Generations Preview Now Scheduled For October 28th

You may remember we reported September 9th that UK Wii Nintendo Channel show Nintendo TV News announced that they would have an exclusive preview for the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations in their then next episode on September 23rd. Well, that preview never came and has been missing since with no word of when we can expect it. That is, until today.

At the end of today’s show it was announced that next Friday’s show on October 28th will now feature their Sonic Generations 3DS preview as well as an interview with Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. Let’s just hope the show airs as planned this time. We’ll pass on any new information revealed in the episode.

Source: Nintendo TV News

GameSpot Interviews Sonic Team About Sonic Generations

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEABevfCKlI&feature=feedu[/youtube]

Gaming news site GameSpot has posted up the above video interview with Sonic Generations producer Takashi Iizuka, director Hiroshi Miyamoto and sound director Jun Senoue. The 4 minutes and 52 seconds long interview covers topics such as level selection, music and the set-up for the game’s story.

Source: GameSpot

Thanks to Graham for the news tip and to Woun for the YouTube upload!

Got a news tip? Send it in to thesonicstadium@googlemail.com, shadzter@sonicstadium.org or via Twitter at @Shadzter and we’ll credit you for the find.

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.

Balough Speaks to Retro About Sonic CD & Sonic 4

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWGJpl_xheI&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

Sonic Retro has informed us today that Shade Vortex didn’t speak to SEGA’s Patrick Riley yesterday. The Sonic Retro and SSMB forumer was actually speaking to SEGA’s Ken Balough, as shown in the above video interview with Balough that Shade Vortex has uploaded.

The interview gives us more information about the new Sonic CD port and its importance to Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. If you don’t have time to watch the whole video interview, Sonic Retro has gathered the main points together in text form. You can read them below.

* It’s commonly understood that Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles form what is called “The Death Egg Trilogy” because of the overarching story of Eggman’s Death Egg across the titles. Sonic CD was a self-contained adventure that hovered around that area with the most popular belief to be between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, despite no true concrete evidence.

* Sonic 4 is trying to bridge all of them together more. It’s not trying to give Sonic CD a concrete place in the timeline, just say that “It happened prior to Sonic 4: Episode 1.” It does not mean Sonic CD is immediately before Sonic 4: Episode 1 and after Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

* The events of Sonic CD are important to Episode 2. You can see Metal Sonic in the ending. The idea is you’ll see how Metal Sonic comes back after his destruction in Sonic CD and his return. (Knuckles Chaotix unavailable for comment.)

* Sega is supportive on Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, calling it “a really good piece of technology.”

* “You’ve got to work within the confines of what a publisher is and what a publisher does in order to get all the benefits as well. We as a publisher will get the benefits from working with really talented developers, and developers on the flip side get the benefits of working with a publisher and all the things and all the exposure they get and they can bring to the table, as well as working on really big brands, like Sonic.”

* On Metal Sonic: “He’s appeared in some of these [games], but we’ve never made him so integral to that continuity. We’ve had him back, but no one ever explained how he comes back after CD. He’s just there. So, we’re going make sure that we fill in some of these really nice… I almost think of it like Star Wars, right? We’re going to go back and explain this really cool era that was the Clone Wars? We’re going to go back and explain this really cool era that was the classic experience, and show you guys some really fun stuff.”

* With regards to Sonic 2 Spindash and the “HD Filter”: “Stay tuned.” He doesn’t want to confirm anything until details are more concrete. However, a filter will be present.

* On Sonic CD not being on 3DS, Vita: “We never really intended to release it yet for the Playstation Vita, or the Playstation Go, or the Nintendo 3DS… those were never really on the table. We were always talking about, ‘It was either digital console or mobile devices.’

* He’s unable to comment on why the game isn’t on WiiWare.

* The U.S. Soundtrack will not be included at this time due to licensing issues. However, there’s a couple of more surprises to be revealed later down the road.

* The trailers have nothing to do with the continuity of the games. They’re their own thing designed by Balough. The ‘detour’ talked about previously is Sonic going to the past so players can relive Sonic CD and understand its events and references in Sonic 4: Episode 2.

Source: Sonic Retro

Thanks to Sonic Retro staffer GeneHF for the heads up!

SEGA West CEO Sees Chances Ahead For Sonic to “arc out to do different things”

Following comments on Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 a few days ago, VG247 has posted up their full interview with SEGA West CEO Mike Hayes, and it features a couple more pieces of discussion about Sonic. When asked what his standout moment for the company is, Hayes expresses his pride for SEGA and Nintendo’s bringing together of both of their mascots for the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series.

“In my time at Sega, I’d come back to Chronicles, but I have to say Mario and Sonic simply because of many things,” said Hayes when asked for a standout moment.

“For me personally, doing that deal with Nintendo when we were such adversaries and bringing the two greatest icons together, for me, is a real sense of pride. Then the fact that its sold 20 million units so far on the two that we’ve released mean people like it, which is great.

That’s not the only standout moment for Hayes, though. The SEGA West boss also talks about his fondness for Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, which he admires because it does something different with the Sonic the Hedgehog brand.

“But in terms of imagination, I actually thought what we did with Chronicles was pretty good, which was actually trying to do something with Sonic that wasn’t just about speed and getting from A to B as effectively as possible. And that, I thought, was a pretty good game. Sold reasonably well, didn’t break any record, but I enjoyed that because it was different.

With Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood in mind, Hayes thinks there are more chances ahead to arc Sonic out to do other things.

“And that gives us kind of a clue about mainly the future of Sonic. There are chances for him to sort of arc out to do different things, maybe.”

Hayes ends the interview by noting the success of Sonic Colours in sales, ratings and popularity.

I like [2010 Wii and DS title] Colours a lot because I think that’s the best main platform standalone Sonic that we’ve done in many years. And it was hugely popular and it did extremely well based in America and Europe. I just think that was an excellent game, I think [Team Sonic producer Takashi] Iizuka did a good job on that and it rated pretty well. But for me, from my time at Sega, I’d probably say M&S and Chronicles.”

Source: VG247

Would you like to see the Sonic the Hedgehog series explore other genres? If so, which ones? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Sonic 4: Episode 1 Sells Over 1 Million, Ep 2 Info On The Way “very soon”

In a recent interview with VG247, SEGA West CEO Mike Hayes revealed that digital download title Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 has sold over one million units across all platforms since its release in October last year.

“It did very well and it continues to do well,” Hayes told us in a phone interview this afternoon.

“Particularly when it gets a little shot in the arm with some promotion or some price activity, sales are quite phenomenal. Its downloaded clearly over a million units, so its sold particularly well and continues to sell.”

Hayes also told the website to expect information on Episode 2 “very soon”, but wouldn’t clarify how soon. Instead Mr.Hayes just said “look out for that one.”

Source: VG247 (via GoNintendo)

Thanks to SSMB member Emeraio at the SSMB for the heads up!

ONM’s Full Fan Interview With Takashi Iizuka

Following August 5th’s portion of an ONM interview with Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuksa regarding pleasing fans of the older Sonic titles, the magazine has posted up the full interview on their website. The interview is made up of questions from fans about the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, but as is the norm so far for the portable edition, there are not really any new details about the game to share that we haven’t known for a while now. Outside of that, Takashi Iizuka expressed an interest in making titles for Nintendo’s new home console Wii U.

You can read the interview at ONM’s website.

Would you like to see a new Sonic game on Wii U? Let us know in the comments.

Old Sonic Fans ‘hard to please’ Says Iizuka

In a portion of a soon to be published interview with ONM, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has expressed difficulty to please old Sonic fans when creating new Sonic titles. Iizuka says the team are always making efforts to build new gameplay innovations, but they then find it hard to please the fans who prefer the gameplay found in the older games. With Sonic Generations, Iizuka thinks classic fans will find some enjoyment, though, and he says Sonic Team is looking into continuing the Sonic 4 series, too.

Check out the interview quotes below:

“Our team are always trying to present new gameplay innovations so it’s hard to please fans who like the gameplay from the older games,” said Iizuka.

“However, we have included the older gameplay as part of Sonic’s 20th Anniversary, so we think the fans of the older games will enjoy it [Generations] as well. We are also looking into continuing the Sonic 4 series which was released on WiiWare, and we’ll keep developing titles so more fans will enjoy the games.”

Source: ONM

Iizuka: Shadow The Hedgehog’s Target Audience Was U.S. Gamers

In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine UK, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has explained that Gamecube, Xbox and PS2 title Shadow the Hedgehog was aimed at U.S. gamers. Iizuka says the reason for this is because first-person and third-person shooters had garnered so much popularity in the U.S. market and the development team saw Shadow as the perfect character to work with shooter-based gameplay.

Check out the full quote below:

“After Sonic Adventure, we had two studios, in the US and Japan,” explained the producer of Sonic Colours. “The Japanese Studio was to develop a Sonic game in the standard style, and the US studio was to develop something different which could contribute to the Sonic franchise.”

“That background generated the Shadow game as he appeared from Sonic Adventure. We wanted to offer other game systems to attract a different audience from traditional Sonic fans. In the US, first and third-person shooters were popular and we decided to go with a character who could work with them.”

Source: Official Nintendo Magazine UK

Sonic Free Riders Rocky Ridge Gameplay, Interview

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACjjO2zaweY&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

DualShockers has posted up a video interview with SEGA’s Dan Gallardo where they discuss the publishers first Xbox 360 Kinect title Sonic Free Riders. Nothing is revealed that we didn’t already know, but we do get some assurance that SEGA has treated this game as a full Xbox 360 title and not a quickly put together mini game title. Gallard explains, “It will be online, you’ll get the unlockables, you’ll get the characters, you’ll get the variety of environments, you’ll get everything you expect with a 360 title, all in one.” With all of the game modes, tracks, characters and features shown in the final build of the game on Gamespot’s On The Spot show, it’s no surprise that some hard work has been put into this title.

Apart from the interview, you get to see plenty of new gameplay footage of the Western themed Rocky Ridge track from the Tokyo Game Show demo of the game, complete with huge jumps and minecart steering action.

Source: DualShockers

Thanks to Woun at the SSMB for the YouTube conversion!

NintendoLife Interviews Ken Balough, Episode 2 Info in 2011

Nintendo specialist website NintendoLife has posted up an interview they held with SEGA’s Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough to chat about Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. Not much is revealed that we don’t already know, but there are plenty of teases made about Episode 2.

Balough reaffirms that the story for the whole series is already written and says we can probably expect details about Episode 2 in 2011:

I can tell you we’ve written the story for the whole saga, but we have not announced the amount of episodes yet. That said, you can probably expect to hear more about Episode II in 2011. (He smiles)

Those who would like to see the episodes lock-on in a similar fashion to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, may be in luck with Balough’s next vague teaser, but he can’t reveal what may be carried over right now:

The Episodes will definitely make up a larger game. After completing them all, you’ll have experienced a larger overall story arc that lives up to the epic nature of earlier Sonics. As for what carries over – you’ll have to wait and see!

Fans purchasing the game for Wii need not worry about the game being less of an experience due to the WiiWare file size limit. Balough explains that the game is near-enough the same:

It was definitely a challenge because there was less room to work with, but the team was super committed to bringing their full vision to the Wii.

Ultimately the content is identical. The Team was really committed to making sure everyone got a great Sonic 4 experience, so the graphics and the motion controls on the Special Stages are the only real differences on the Wii version.

When asked if there is anything he would like to say to gamers who have been waiting for Sonic’s return to classic 2D, Balough expresses the teams passion for this new entry to the series:

I’ll like to let everyone know that we at SEGA definitely understand the desire Sonic fans have had for return of a 2D game. The entire team are Genesis Sonic fans and we’re all proud to be bringing back Sonic with Sonic the Hedgehog 4. This is the game we’ve all wanted to play since we were kids, and we really hope everyone out there shares our passion and enjoys playing this game as much as we did making it!

Check out the full interview at NintendoLife.

Iizuka: Sonic Colours “is one of the best Sonic games ever”

In a bold statement to Official Nintendo Magazine UK, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka said that he thinks Sonic Colours is one of the best Sonic games ever.

“This is a similar title to Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, but the similarity comes from the concept – keeping the tempo very fluid,” said Iizuka. “A similar concept applies here. Is it the best since then? We always strive to make the best Sonic game yet. It’s at least on a par with Sonic Adventure Battle 2, and I’m confident it is one of the best Sonic games ever.”

The game has been getting a positive response from fans and critics thus far, but will it really be one of the best Sonic games ever? Let’s hope that Iizuka is right when the game is released on Wii & DS this November.

Source: Official Nintendo Magazine UK

Iizuka: “We recognise there are different needs”

CVG has published a new interview with Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka today. In the interview we find out Iizuka’s thoughts on how Sonic Colours compares to past 3D titles and why this latest entry isn’t being released on Xbox 360 and PS3.

Iizuka explains that the comparison between past 3D Sonic games and Sonic Colours is the cast of characters. The older titles had a large playable cast, while Colours has Sonic alone, which he says is what the fans want.

If you look at previous 3D Sonic games, it began with Sonic Adventure and moved on to others. Those titles always had Sonic as the main characters but also had different rival characters. Those characters were like different action characters – Sonic was the speed character. This time around in Sonic Colours the team really wanted to focus on high-speed Sonic, which is what made the Sonic games special to begin with. The focus was always on the Sonic character itself, they wanted to make Sonic as the only playable character because fans only want to play as Sonic.

Instead of having other characters with different gameplay twists, Iizuka says this time they decided to implement the Wisp power-ups, so they could keep Sonic’s fast-paced gameplay and not break the tempo.

At the same time they also want a different twist to the gameplay and that is why we introduced the Colour powers. The focus is on high-speed Sonic and those colour powers are in more of a complimentary role. We wanted high-speed to be the main focus and didn’t really want to break up the tempo. It’s more like we tried to blend in those actions in a more efficient way, not really distracting the player from the core gameplay.

When asked if Sonic fits with the Xbox 360 and PS3 audiences, Iizuka details why they went with the Nintendo platforms for Sonic Colours and that Sonic still has an audience on the HD platforms.

It’s not that Sonic is for the Nintendo platform, it’s more like when we looked at the target audience for this particular title we wanted to expand the franchise more to newcomers. That is why we chose the Nintendo platforms.

This doesn’t mean that the PS3 and 360 don’t have an audience for Sonic any more, it’s just this title in particular is more tailor made for the Nintendo platform fans – more like fun, enjoyable and vibrant, which Nintendo platforms excel at. It’s more that this type of game is more tailored to those platforms.

Finally, Iizuka tells CVG how Sonic Team recognise there are different needs in the Sonic fanbase, how some want speed, others want platforming and the rest want something new. He says they are looking forward to developing more titles in the future that cater to these different groups of fans.

This year the reason the team is releasing Sonic 4 and Sonic Colours in the same release window is because we recognise there are different needs in terms of Sonic games and characters. There is the platforming, the high-speed and people looking for something new. This is the style that the team thinks works best, looking at the classic fans in one way and the new one in another.

It’s pretty hard for the team to satisfy those two very different fans with just one title. We probably look forward to developing titles which are made more towards the core and casual Sonic fans, that’s probably one of the ways the team thinks it can keep Sonic popular and expand fans for the future.

For the full interview, head over to CVG.

Gamespot Interviews Morimoto-San On Sonic Free Riders

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqxn8pTSrK8[/youtube]

Gamespot has posted up an interview they held at the Tokyo Game Show with Sonic Free Riders Producer, Kenjiro Morimoto. Gamespot’s Laura Parker kicks things off by asking “What is it about the Sonic Riders series that lends itself to Kinect?” Morimoto-San explains that they felt the running in a traditional Sonic game would be too difficult to make user friendly and that the hoverboard riding gameplay style was a better fit for Kinect. Morimoto-San then speaks about the level-up system, another staple for the series, where you can upgrade your Extreme Gear’s abilities in a race by collect a certain amount of rings. Finally, Morimoto-San says you will be able to customize your Extreme Gear with parts that will give you various abilities to use on the track.

Source: Gamespot

Thanks to Woun at the SSMB for the heads-up and YouTube conversion.

SPOnG Interviews Takashi Iizuka

SPOnG has posted up their full interview with Sonic Team Producer Takashi Iizuka, an interview they posted a sample of on Friday, which revealed that the light-hearted and pick-up-and-play gameplay style of the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series influenced Sonic Colours.

The interview was held by Sonic Stadium founder Svend Joscelyne (aka Dreadknux), who works as a journalist at SPOnG. In the interview Joscelyne asks some very interesting questions that are certainly a step-up from most interviews that ask the same tired old questions.

The interview begins with Joscelyne querying the inspirations behind the various Wisp powers in Sonic Colours, which Iizuka explains are to help Sonic reach news areas in the game.

The basics for all the colour powers come from the desire to let Sonic go to places that he normally can’t access on his own. When we sit down to think of new Wisps and their functions, we look at the kind of areas that Sonic cannot reach, despite his speed and platforming powers.

We’ve all seen that the game borrows its speed from Sonic Unleashed, but just how much focus is there on speed in this game? Iizuka says that you can speed through the stages without the aid of Wisp powers if you like, but you won’t get to truly explore the stages and gain those hidden red rings without them

You can speed through each stage as fast as you like, without using Wisps, but what those colour powers actually do is give players a chance to explore and replay all of those stages too. Collecting the hidden red rings is one reward for doing so, and the world map shows how many you have found in each level. Without using the Wisps, you won’t always be able to get those red rings.

Some fans may have wondered if Dimps is working on the Wii version of Sonic Colours, after helping out with Sonic Unleashed on Wii. Well, this interview gives us confirmation that Sonic Team are working solo on the Wii version and Dimps is working solo on the DS version.

For Sonic Colours, our two teams worked quite well together on the concept, but we developed the 2D Nintendo DS and 3D Wii versions rather independently. The Wii version is fully developed internally, because we know a lot more about 3D Sonic development than some other developers. Dimps has the experience to make a 2D Sonic game as best as they can, and so they have exclusively worked on the Nintendo DS version – they had no real input in terms of the Wii development.

In recent months there has been more interest in the Sonic fan-base growing towards Sonic Colours over Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. Joscelyne asks Iizuka’s thoughts on this.

It’s not so much a feeling of surprise, but the team and I really appreciate that a lot of classic fans are looking forward to Sonic Colours as well. I mean, Sonic Colours was created largely as a 3D title for the people who have become fans of the Sonic franchise most recently, but it’s good to hear that the game has been received so well from the older fans too.

Next, Joscelyne asks Iizuka about THAT recent statement about Sonic Colours being built for a ‘younger audience’, a statement that was later corrected by a member of staff from SEGA. Joscelyne asks why a distinction was made and if it was a misquote or a mistranslation, to which Iizuka responds with the below answer in full.

It wasn’t really a misquote or a mistranslation. The reason why I said ‘younger audiences’ is because the team and I wanted to capitalise on the new audience that we gained through the success of the Mario & Sonic games. Those titles in particular really worked well for Sonic as a character because it made our potential audience much broader than existing Sonic fans.

That created an opportunity for us to build a bigger fanbase, but we noticed that there weren’t that many mainstream Sonic titles available for the Wii and DS post-Mario & Sonic. That’s why Sonic Colours is a proper platforming mainstream game, so that those new fans can discover and learn more about the franchise beyond those spinoff titles. In that way, it’s not really focused on young audiences in terms of age, but more as in maintaining that broader market.

Even though this is the case, if you look at the core gameplay elements of Sonic Colours, you’ll notice that this is a true platforming action game that the core fans can also enjoy. The ultimate goal for Sonic Colours has always been to make the best Sonic title we can for the widest possible target audience. The market nature that the Wii and DS have is the reason why I used the term ‘younger audiences’.

Next, Joscelyne asks for Iizuka’s feelings about Sonic’s downward spiral in recent years and Yuji Naka’s exit from Sonic Team in 2006 to create his own company, Prope. While Iizuka was sad to see Naka go, he gives fans assurance that Naka’s absence hasn’t changed the team as much as some people would like to think. “Sonic Team is always Sonic Team” he says.

I really miss Naka-san and was sad to see him leave when he decided to form his own company. But even at that time, he wasn’t the only person making decisions for the games. Concepts and gameplay elements were all discussed as a team, for example. So while it was very sad to see him go, Sonic Team is always Sonic Team and it didn’t necessarily mean that Sonic was destined to head in a different direction post-Naka-san. At least, not as different as some people may think.

The interview ends with a little something fans of Sonic Colours direction will be glad to hear, as Joscelyne asks Iizuka “Is it safe to say then, that future Sonic titles will have the same kind of colourful, simple, laid-back feel that Sonic Colours has?” to which Iizuka replies:

Yes, that’s the vision that I have.

To read the full interview, head over to SPOnG.

Joscelyne also reveals some interesting details from his playtime with Sonic Colours on Wii:

Taking a producer role on Sonic Colours, the Sonic Team head demonstrated two new Wisp powers that the blue blur can take advantage of – the Red Spikes and the Green Hover. Like the other abilities, these work as optional gameplay gimmicks that can help Sonic overcome otherwise challenging platforming segments, but they can also be used to open up new routes and explore the stages in their full glory.

Spikes will let Sonic stick to any given surface and roll along it, making him invincible at the same time. Pressing the B trigger on the Wii Remote will let Sonic perform a traditional spindash move and zip along the surface he’s on.

Using the Hover ability turns Sonic into a giant green Sonic head and gives you the power to hover, of course – which is very handy in levels where you might need to take advantage of any platforms sitting in the sky. If there’s a trail of rings, pressing B will make Sonic automatically follow it until its end. A bit like the Light Speed Dash in Sonic Adventure games, only without the potential death.

These new Wisps were being demonstrated on a brand new level, called Starlight Carnival – a beautifully bright, colourful stage set in space that reminds me a hell of a lot like a combination of Sonic CD’s Stardust Speedway and Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road.

Platforming, dodging and floating was all going on against a backdrop featuring a fleet of Dr. Eggman’s starships. Iizuka is keen to stress that the presence of starships “is not as serious as it sounds,” pointing out the light-hearted Disneyland-inspired level design and the infectiously happy soundtrack.

What do you think of Iizuka’s latest statements? Discuss in the comments.

Iizuka: Mario & Sonic Helped Define Sonic Colours

‘The Takashi Iizuka Chronicles’ continue with another statement from the Sonic Team boss, who recently spoke to gaming website SPOnG in an interview that will be posted in full at a later date, but for now SPOnG has shared a portion to whet your appetite.

Some Sonic fans have felt that since the Sonic Adventure titles, the series has relied too heavily on story and character development, which is very different to the earlier games simple plots. Iizuka feels the same way and thinks Sonic should be headed in more of a fun and ‘pick up and play’ direction for Sonic Colours, similar to the Mario & Sonic Olympics games.

“What I felt was that the franchise had become too serious and the story had become very deep, whereas I see Sonic as more of a laid-back, enjoyable and fun experience. I kind of rediscovered that through Mario & Sonic in a way, because that game was very much a ‘pick up and play’ affair that everyone can jump in and enjoy.

I think that’s a better direction for the Sonic brand, and that’s why Sonic Colours has a much more fun, enjoyable kind of setting.”

We’ll look out for the full interview and report back. Do you agree with Iizuka’s statement regarding Sonic Colours direction? Speak out in the comments.

Source: SPOnG

Sonic Free Riders Interview & More Gameplay Videos

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9WBsHXafXY[/youtube]

GamerLive.TV grabbed the above interview with Sonic Free Riders’ Brand Manager, James Gray. In the interview, James confirms that the game will support 2 players offline and will also contain a 2 player co-op mode. This information matches what is on the Xbox.com product page. Online multiplayer is also confirmed, but James couldn’t reveal how many players will be supported at this time. Characters will play exactly the same, with the abilities focused instead on what customization of gear you choose to play with.

James says that all of your favourite Sonic characters will be there, but couldn’t reveal any that aren’t in the demo. Tracks outside of the demo also couldn’t be revealed, but emphasis is put on there being “a very good amount, with different landscapes and different routes.”

Some more gameplay videos have also come out of Gamescom, including one from Spark at Spindash.de. You can check out the videos below.

Spark at Spindash.de
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVa2KA6yOtQ&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

SegaStuff.de
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhZU6RGJeZI[/youtube]

Videogamer.com via xsuperstargamesx YouTube channel
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZXNzScXPRw[/youtube]

EnglishMumdotcom
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svcWK4J5msw[/youtube]

wwejerk85
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeYceCFcJsQ[/youtube]