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]

Iizuka Teases 20th Anniversary Game In Interview

It appears that while Takashi Iizuka was publicly doing his interview rounds with the media over a week ago, UK retailer GAME also got to have a chat with him and quietly published their interview over on their Sonic Colours product page. Continue reading Iizuka Teases 20th Anniversary Game In Interview

Nintendo Power’s Sonic 4 Interview With Jun Senoue

U.S. magazine Nintendo Power has grabbed some time for a chat about Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 with renowned music artist Jun Senoue.  Jun, as some of you will know, is providing the music for this new 2D entry in the series like he did with the last games in the classic series with Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. In the interview, we see that maximum effort has been made to give Sonic 4’s soundtrack a classic and fun feel, even to the point that a Genesis/Mega Drive development kit would have been used if the right tech were available. Now THAT is dedication!

Thanks to Chaosmaster8753 at the SSMB, who grabbed a copy of the magazine, we have the interview in text form below –

Nintendo Power: What was your reaction when you first heard that Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was finally going to happen after more than 15 years?

Jun Senoue: Takashi Iizuka and I worked together for a long time-from Sonic Adventure through NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. Before that, the first Sonic game either of us ever worked on was Sonic the Hedgehog 3. So we first met…I think it was 17 years ago now. Anyway, he came to me one day out of the blue and told me that we were going to do a classic Sonic game again! At that moment, we didn’t know yet if it was going to be called Sonic the Hedgehog 4. But from the beginning, he wanted me to compose the music in the same style as the classic Genesis games. Both he and I were really excited about the project and had a lot of fun working on it.

NP: How did you change or adapt your musical style for this return to the classic-style Sonic?

JS: Due to hardware limitations of the Genesis, we could only work with a certain number of notes and a certain number of sounds. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a game for current consoles, but I tried to compose the tracks the old-fashioned way. I went back to the basics. I didn’t actually go back and use the old FM sound tapes, but I tried to compose with as few notes as I could. I went about it largely the same way I did with the music for the Genesis. Actually, I did try to dig up a development kit for the Genesis. But it requires an old Japanese PC from NEC-not a very common PC-and I couldn’t find one of those. So all I could do was sample some sounds from the original Sonic.

NP: What was your approach to creating the sound for the various zones in the game?

JS: Splash Hill Zone is the first level in the game and it’s very similar to the opening levels in the original Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and Sonic 2. So I wanted the music to be similar; the key word was “fun”. Likewise, the second level is a casino-themed world, so I tried to draw from Sonic 2’s Casino Night Zone. And I think the special stage music in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 will remind you of the original game’s special stage. I tried to compose the songs with a similar beat or similar tempo to the first two games in the series. I want players to get the same kind of impression.

NP: Do you have a favorite track that you’ve composed for the game?

JS: I’d say the opening level of Splash Hill Zone. When I saw the game for the very first time, that track just came to me immediately. [Sonic Team director Toshiyuki] Nagahara really dislikes that song, though. He wanted me to compose a new one, but it was important to me, so I didn’t change it. [Laughs] I also really like the music for the first level of Mad Gear Zone.

NP: Since Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was the first game in the franchise that you worked on, does it feel like things have sort of come first circle now with Sonic 4?

JS: Absolutely. There are people I work with now who played Sonic 3 when they were very young children! That’s pretty amazing to me.

Thanks again to chaosmaster8753 at the SSMB for the heads up!

1UP Interview Yuji Naka

1UP have posted up an interview today with a man the entire Sonic fanbase may have heard of, the legendary Yuji Naka who brought our favourite blue hedgehog into the lives of gamers worldwide. The interview has a big focus on Naka’s Prope studio and their most recent game Ivy the Kiwi? but in the 3rd and 4th pages 1UP bring out some questions about classic Sonic title Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and it’s multiplayer feature aswell as development with SEGA Saturn titles NiGHTS into Dreams, Sonic Jam, Sonic Xtreme and how time restraints resulted in development for Sonic’s first true 3D jump shifting from Saturn to Dreamcast.

The interview is an interesting read into Sonic 2’s production and the struggle inside SEGA and Sonic Team during the Saturn era, you can check that section of the interview out below but if you want to read about Yuji Naka’s creative Ivy the Kiwi? title too you can read the whole interview at 1UP.

Sega Days

1UP: I’d like to do a bit of time traveling, now, and go back through your career at Sega. I have a small list of games that you were involved in, and I’d like to ask for at least one memory from your time making them that stands out. First is Girl’s Garden, your very first game for the SG-1000 console.

YN: Yeah, it was the first one I created after I joined Sega. Back then, the [SG-1000] hardware wasn’t really selling to girls, so my boss at the time came up to me and said, “come up with a game that can relate to the female audience,” so I started making it. I thought it was just a little test for me, but my boss really liked it and was like, “OK, we’re going to make this into a product.” Altogether it took four months to make that game, but the first two months were just me nonchalantly putting it together, since I was still in that “test” phase. The next two months were really hectic, since I had to finish it all up. Looking back, I really don’t want anybody to go in there and look at the programming, because as a game, it looks like it’s working, but inside it’s just awful. [Laughs]

1UP: Well, we were all young once.

YN: I was 18, in fact. That’s when I joined Sega. I wasn’t that bright, so I couldn’t get into college, but I was able to join Sega.

1UP: It worked out, though.

YN: Indeed. I was lucky. [Laughs]

1UP: Next is Phantasy Star, certainly the first one on Master System, but even all the early 2D installments. Since it was from a more innocent time, and this was a relatively large-scale game, an RPG, I’d imagine there might be some good memories.

YN: Actually, the very first Phantasy Star only took four and a half months to create, so it was in no way a big title.

1UP: Well, compared to Girl’s Garden…

[Laughs]

YN: That’s true. Girl’s Garden was the first, and then I had a little more experience, a few more games under my belt, so in that case, Phantasy Star was a big title. [Before that,] there was a Commodore 64 game called 3D Dungeon, and the motion and animation was very smooth, and I was blown away by how that worked. I wanted to create something similar on the Mark III/Master System. Maybe a dungeon or maze you could fly through to communicate a sense of speed, but the only problem was that it was moving too smooth and people started getting motion sick. So we decided to make it a little slower and maybe put an RPG around it, like Phantasy Star.

Back then, when we were making a 3D dungeon, we thought we could turn it into an arcade game, because that was when everything was 2D, and to see a big 3D dungeon on [a monitor] was pretty refreshing.

1UP: But making an arcade game of it never got past being an idea.

YN: Right, they [the arcade division] didn’t consider it.

1UP: Next is Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which I bring up especially because it turned into such a big deal at the time, and you were making it in America.

YN: The main reason we had the team over here [in America] was to figure out how to best appeal to the U.S. Sega also wanted to make the Mega Drive a bigger hit in Japan, so we wanted to put a label on Sonic 2 saying it was a huge hit in America. We were starting to create Sonic 2 in Japan, but were kind of guessing; “maybe they’d like something like this, maybe we can do it this way.” I decided the best way was to go to America and get their feedback directly. We went to San Francisco, and watching the kids in the focus groups play it and see their reactions was really helpful. And that certainly changed my game creation style — my concept of game design was on a more worldwide scale, and that was a really important highlight of my life.

Another thing I thought of: In Sonic 1, it was all about how fast you could move, and so one thing we wanted to add was a race where you could compete against someone else. We made the two-player mode with a split screen, but the only problem was the screen was too small back then. So, after we started on Sonic 2, I thought we really needed a two-player mode as part of expanding on the original. We did a lot of fine adjustment in the speed and such, but I think it turned out how we envisioned it.

1UP: The split screen was pretty impressive back then.

YN: Especially with the Genesis resolution, all the games are usually 320×224, but for Sonic 2, it’s in the 400 range, so programming-wise, it was a lot more difficult [to pull off the split screen]. There’s a lot of hurdles that we had to go through, but when it worked, it was something I was really proud of, and as a programmer, I’m really happy about that title.

1UP: I’d like to jump forward in time, with a little more obscure title: Sonic Jam on Saturn, the collection of the Genesis Sonic games. Basically, I just want to know what was the idea in making that at that time.

YN: We were actually creating a 3D Sonic for the Sega Saturn, but right when we were in the thick of development, Sega was getting ready for the next console, Dreamcast. It was at a crucial point where, if we were going to move ahead with the project, we’d better move it to Dreamcast, or else we wouldn’t be able to finish it [for Saturn] in time. But we did have a certain amount of 3D graphics for the Saturn version, so we decided to [keep that and] pull in and emulate the Genesis games. For the Sega Saturn users back then, I’m sorry we couldn’t create a 3D Sonic for them, but [in Jam] you were able to have a glimpse.

1UP: Right, and there were other Saturn games from Sonic Team like NiGHTS and Burning Rangers that had clear passion behind them, so maybe it wasn’t a great loss. But regardless, is there part of you that regrets not making a “real” 3D Sonic for Saturn?

YN: Honestly, I was making so many Sonics, I wanted to make something new. But after NiGHTS, we were making Sonic, but it just would have been too late for that period. Because there’s only me, there’s no other Yuji Naka, I could only be the main programmer for NiGHTS, I couldn’t do many projects at once. But after NiGHTS, Sega wanted me to oversee more projects, so that was the last game on which I was main programmer.

Every hardware launch, there’s those crucial moments of timing. Saturn didn’t have Sonic, and the GameCube had Luigi’s Mansion; no Mario at the beginning. But Dreamcast did have Sonic from the beginning, and I think that’s why it did well. Now that I’ve grown and can look back at those days, yeah, I think I should have thought more about the company, but back then I didn’t care. I just wanted to create what I wanted to create.

But it’s the same with Nintendo: There are times when Mr. Miyamoto isn’t involved with [all] projects. And with 3DS, I’m surprised they’re using Kid Icarus for launch, and not Mario. [Of course,] at the booth, you can see Mario Kart and Paper Mario, and maybe the public will view it differently, but in my opinion, I thought it would be better to have [a traditional] Mario with 3DS.

1UP: Speaking of Dreamcast, how did you feel about the Dreamcast years and the games you produced for it? It really seemed like a time when Sega was at its most creative, and I was wondering if maybe you felt “renewed” as a game creator in those days?

YN: Yeah. From whatever failures came from the Saturn, we didn’t want to repeat our mistakes, so we had a lot of executives and software creators get together and figure out what to do; how to sell the next console. There were sooo many meetings, and we had inside advisors and outside advisors all giving us comments. But more than anything, I think [former Sega presidents] Irimajiri and Okawa had a lot of passion back then, and they were really pushing ahead to make a new console, and all the employees really felt that. So we wanted to meet their expectations, and I think as a team we worked really well.

I was remembering the “dream team” meetings that happened every week. We were deciding what kind of hardware to do, what kind of software, the specs… all of that was done in those weekly meetings.

1UP: Those were the same collaborative meetings between the hardware and software teams?

YN: Yeah. Usually when you talk about hardware and software, there are different teams that don’t really communicate with each other, but back then, I think that was one of the things that really worked well for our company. And on top of the business team [joining], there were the outside advisors, and another thing that was interesting is that we often changed the venue of the meeting rooms. We used the advisors’ offices, basically to stimulate inspiration, because when you’re in the same meeting room every time, you can’t think too differently.

1UP: Well, thank you for time traveling with me. I have one last big question, from one of our readers. Gixman asked: if you had the chance, what classic Sega franchise would you like to work on again for a next-gen system?

[Naka thinks for a moment]

1UP: Did you have a favorite Sega game that wasn’t one of your own?

YN: I really like Yu Suzuki’s games, because I feel like I want to play his games again.

1UP: Yeah, a lot of people do. I loved it when OutRun 2 came out.

YN: He might be able to use his talents more on the arcade side. Well, I’m not sure I want to make Sonic again, but… Girl’s Garden! It’s a really fun game. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I was using an emulator to play it recently, and I was really surprised how much fun it was. [Laughs]

1UP: Even though you weren’t completely satisfied with the programming?

YN: Well, I was young, and it was one of those projects where we all put our minds together and were joking around, just having a good time making it. One other thing is that, because I was so young back then, I had so much flexibility and ideas. And it goes back to Ivy the Kiwi?, where it was the young employees bringing their ideas together. As you get older as a creator, your thinking tends to be one-sided, or not as flexible as it used to be. So when I hear what the young creators are coming up with, it really inspires me, and I want to expand that as much as possible. And I’ve been called a “game creator” for a long time, but it’s not like I come up with everything. It’s all a team effort, and saying “that’s a good idea, how can we use that?” and putting all the good parts together into a good game. My thinking isn’t necessarily making something new and moving forward from there, but based on my experience, I get to see what has potential and can expand it from there.

1UP: So to answer the original question: You’d remake Girl’s Garden?

YN: Yeah, maybe with a super hot girl! [Laughs] The game itself was about a girl trying to win this guy’s heart, and all these other girls are trying to get him, so you bring him flowers while he’s waiting at his house. Doesn’t that sound like a fun game to you? From a guy’s point of view, all you have to do is stay at home and all these girls are fighting over you, so what else could you want?

1UP: Yeah, it’s a nice idea. Sounds like it reflected your youth.

YN: I guess so, huh? [Laughs]

Source: 1UP via GoNintendo

GameStop Interview SEGA’s Aaron Webber (RubyEclipse)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiV3MRD9djA&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

GameStop (that’s not a typo, I do mean GameStop not GameSpot) are at E3 and have managed to grab the above interview with SEGA of America Community Manager Aaron Webber or RubyEclipse as alot of you will know him. Aaron is asked about Valkyria Chronicles 2 on PSP and Vanquish on Xbox 360/PS3 but if you skip to the 3:13 mark he speaks about Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. Aaron reiterates the announcement a short while back regarding the games extra development time that’s been added to implement fan feedback to the game while also reaffirming the fact that the E3 demo contains just a few changes with more to come. As soon as we hear about the further edits we’ll let you know.

Gamespot’s E3 Sonic 4 Interview With Gameplay Footage

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oobVTAz_0U[/youtube]

E3 2010 is getting closer and some of the media are already kicking off their coverage including Gamespot who yesterday posted up the above Sonic 4 interview with Ken Balough who’s role is Associate Digital Brand Manager at SEGA. Ken reveals all 3 Act’s of Splash Hill Zone will be playable at E3 including the boss battle, he says they’ve taken the Special Stages(where motion control’s will now be optional) out of the demo to keep the queue moving so everyone can get to play the game.

Alot of the info gained from the interview we already know from past interviews but the footage shown is new in the sense that we can just barely see some of the changes already implemented such as a fix to Sonic’s speed momentum and accelleration meaning Spin Dash is more useful, tweaks to the jump appear to have also been made so it’s less floaty. Ken says you won’t see all of the changes made in the E3 demo so we’ll have to wait until a later date to see those. Judge for yourself from the footage and see if you notice any changes then let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Gamespot
Thanks to Sykotech at the SSMB for the heads up and thanks to Phos there for the YouTube coversion of the video.

TSS Staffer nuckles87 and new member of the team Jason the Jackass will be attending E3 to bring readers of The Sonic Stadium exclusive coverage of all things Sonic aswell as bringing SEGA Bits exclusive coverage of SEGA’s other titles on the show floor so stick with us for all of your E3 Sonic needs.

The Jun Senoue Interview – Part 3

My busy schedule (which has included scoping out potential locations for Summer of Sonic) has meant this has been heavily delayed, but here it is! The illusive final part of the Jun Senoue Interview! Because there were so many questions asked by the fans, Jun agreed to answer some more of the other frequently asked questions:

T-Bird: BlueHedgehog25 asks are you planning on having any Crush 40 or similar songs featuring on the Rock Band Network?

Jun: I’m hoping that we can have some Crush 40 songs on Rock Band in the near future.

T-Bird: Exciting! Sure the fans will be please to hear that! Waaurufu asks who was the designer of your Sonic the hedgehog guitar?

Jun: Yuji Uekawa Sonic Team illustrator and character designer provided me with the artwork. Hiroki Hayashi, one of the people who is in charge over at ESP guitars took care of the rest!

T-Bird: Here’s a good question from SuperStingray: Where did the name Crush 40 come from, and what happened to Crushes 1-39?

Jun: I picked the word “Crush” up because of my favorite soda drink and Johnny added “40” onto the end. You will have to ask Johnny about other numbers!

T-Bird: A less Sonical pair of questions now! Pelon13 asks what is your favourite food, and what is your favourite colour?

Jun: Mexican food is my favourite, but it is very hard to find really good Mexican restuarants in Japan. Talking about colors, my favorites are Red, Purple, Black.

T-Bird: Moving back to technical preferences, Kasey asks what your favourite guitar is and what amplifier set-up do you preferentially use?

Jun: I like the combination of ESP guitar with Schecter pick-ups and Soldano amplifier with Soldano or Bogner cabinets. I only have small ones from Bogner at this moment though. With regards to “Knight Of The Wind” on “The Best Of Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs”, I tracked all backing guitars once again with Soldano amplifier and Soldano cabinet.

T-Bird: Gwiz210 wants to know if Bubblicious Blvd. are planning on recording an album or an EP in the near future?

Jun: Nope! Bubblicious Blvd. is not a serious project at all. We [Jun, Mike etc…] just try to have play any dates we can in our spare time at the moment. Jan. 9th was the first day we were introduced to each other and we played the gig without any rehearsals! We’ve only met twice since then back on February the 20th to rehearse and to play another show a day later on February 21st.

We have played just three times, two shows and one rehearsal!

T-Bird: With regards to that gig, how did it go?

Jun: Talking about the show on Feb. 21st, it went much better than 1st gig since we’ve learned the songs 🙂 I was really surprised that a singer I used to work with back in the early 90’s came to the show to say hi to me! We had a dinner the other day, discussed several things and we will have a show on May 16th in Shibuya, Tokyo. The band was not famous but we had some good memories!

We will have a show with my drummer and bass player this time but I hope all four members from that era can share the stage in the near future.

T-Bird: Sounds like a very busy schedule! Nozwhompolton asks are there any plans to give Blaze the cat a theme? If so, will it be similar to the Sir Percival theme or something different like the Vela-Nova track from Sonic Rush?

Jun: When I worked for “Sonic And The Black Knight”, I had a plan to make her theme song and yes, my idea was to make a full-length version of “Sir Percival Theme”. I could not make it for several reasons…. the main reason being the short instrumental I composed for “Sir Percival” was good enough for the scene, and we didn’t need the longer one for use elsewhere in the game.

And that’s all folks! Hopefully we will be speaking to Jun again in the summer with regards to the Sonic the Hedgehog 4 soundtrack…and maybe some other things too!

ONM’s Sonic 4 Interview With Takashi Iizuka

Official Nintendo Magazine UK have posted up their Sonic 4 interview which contains questions fans sent into ONM staff to be put forward to SEGA’s Takashi Iizuka.

Here’s the list of questions and answers below –

Why has Sonic 4 taken so long to come about? – BADGERGAMER

Takashi Iizuka: Ever since Sonic Adventure was released in 1998, Sonic has evolved into a game which is faster and features new actions for Sonic. On the other hand, the sense of speed from side scrolling means that the popularity of ‘classic’ series still remains high. Even now a lot of fans enjoy playing those classic games via the Wii’s Virtual Console. The aim for Sonic 4 is to provide a ‘new classic series’ using modern techniques that have only been around for the past few years for fans from all around the world who love the ‘classical’ series.

How long has Sonic The Hedgehog 4 been in development and how has the approach for designing a downloadable game differed from the way you design other Sonic games? – MK Skillz

TI: About a year including concept development. As this is a downloadable title, the data size and price is very different from a packaged title. We just focused on old school classic game content to minimise data size and price.

Why did you decide to make it episodic? – Aki-toriko

TI: The object of this project was to make a game with a lower price which can be played and downloaded easily from the beginning. We are exploring making each episode volume small and having an increased number of possible episodes.

Why did you decide to use the WiiWare service rather than releasing the game on one disc? – Deku Scrub

TI: As stated previously, this was always planned as downloadable exclusive title. We thought the users who purchased classic games like ‘Sonic 1’ and ‘Sonic 2’ through the Wii Virtual Console would be the most interested in the downloadable titles.

Were you inspired by the success of New Super Mario Bros on both Wii and DS? In terms of giving the retro fans what they wanted? – FlibyFlow

TI: At first we weren’t aware of it. At the beginning of the development we wanted to create a downloadable exclusive title but knowing that the Wii version of New Super Mario Bros. has become a major hit in Japan and also around the world, it encouraged us as even now 2D platform action is loved by a lot of people.

All The classic games since Sonic 2 have featured Miles “Tails” Prower. Will Tails be featured in any one of these episodic adventures? – SuperKnightAI

TI: Tails won’t appear in Episode I. I’ll leave it to your imagination whether he’ll appear for further episodes!

What made you decide to include the Homing Attack, and does it have any impact on the classic- gameplay? – MK Skillz

TI: As you know, Homing Attack was an action featured from ‘Sonic Adventure’ and it didn’t appear in the classic series. In Sonic 4 the Homing Attack is added, and this provides sense of speed that none of the classic series have.

Can we expect only levels or enemies inspired by the original games or will there be anything completely new? – bleedOrange

TI: Sonic 4 stages have motifs that remind us of previous series, but they have been designed to be completely new for this game. We prepared many gimmicks and devices that are classic and also some you have never seen before!

Now Sonic has returned to his old roots, will he remain this way from now on or will we still see him return in his 3D adventures such as Sonic Adventure and Sonic Unleashed? – Dooby

TI: I think Sonic 4 is positioned as a game which provides simple classic gameplay, so it is not considered the same as something which evolved as a 3D action series. I cannot answer how 3D action series will expand from now on unfortunately.

Will Super Sonic be available to players who collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds? – Sonic Boom

TI: It is one of the biggest characteristics of the classic series but whether it is in this game or not, I’ll leave to your imagination.

In your opinion does this game have most in common with the Sonic the Hedgehog trilogy, the Sonic Advance games, or the Sonic Rush games? – spambot404

TI: Of course Sonic the Hedgehog trilogy is the one this has most in common with. With the DS Sonic series, you have various actions like grind or boost. What I am creating with this title is a simple platform action game that you can enjoy with one button.

Any chance we could see a return of the Vs Mode from Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, where you have to race a mate to the end of the zone? – Random_guy_14

TI: We don’t provide Vs Mode in Episode I. Unfortunately, I cannot answer about further episodes at this point.

Will the Wii version offer something different to the PS3 version? – The Batman

TI: Basically we prepared identical game content so users could enjoy playing with their preferred hardware platform. However, some hardware specific capabilities are implemented. For Wii, you can enjoy a special stage by using the Wii Remote’s tilt control.

What is your favourite thing about the game so far? – Flash7

TI: What I like most is being able to provide new [games like the] classic series after 16 years. Developing a classic Sonic world that used to be pixel art and making it high-res by using CG rendering means a lot for me as I was one of the developers of the original classic title.

Source: ONM

Thanks to Velotix Lexovetikan at the SSMB for the heads up!

New Sonic 4 Screens And Info From Nintendo Power

Nintendo Power subscriber Illuminou_Orb over at the SSMB has just received the latest issue and has kindly scanned up the promised Sonic 4 interview which as an added bonus also contains plenty of new screenshots from Splash Hill Zone. The interview with Takashi Iizuka confirms fan favourite Jun Senoue will be the music director for this game so we know the music is in very good hands.

Thanks to Illuminous_Orb for providing the scans at the SSMB.

Sonic 4 Interview In Latest Nintendo Power & Game Informer


UPDATE 3:
More info from the same NeoGAF member

Some more info…

While Sonic 4 will have shields, Episode 1 will only include the one hit shield. Just enough to help get your rings to the end of the stage.

Izuka says the reason they went episodic is that the game is too big to smaller hard drives (Wii and iPhone likely?) to fit in all at once and he didn’t see players paying $60 for a 2-D Sonic game on disc. (Hellllooo. New Super Mario Bros Wii anyone?!!)

Thanks to Dusk the Biohazard Keeper at the SSMB for the heads up.

UPDATE 2: Game Informer screenshots confirm the reports at NeoGAF and also reveal tunnels from the classic series are back thanks to JasonTheJackass for sending us the screenshots.
UPDATE: We’ve got word in that Game Informer magazine also have a Sonic 4 interview with Takashi Iizuka according to a member at NeoGAF who claims to have a copy –

Game Informer interviewed Izuka who gave some new info on the game. Highlights include..

What about Tails and Knuckles you ask? “Fans will be very pleased with the cast in episode 2.”

Episode 1 is a prologue.

Moves include: Spin Dash, Rolling Attack, homing attack and a new move yet unknown.

About homing attack: “I wanted the user to enjoy an easy-to-play feeling by the attack sequence that this [homing attack] allows, and find the fun routes in the air.”

Classic special stages make a return.

Hornet Badnik. (Forget his name. Not Buzzbomber) Shown in screen shots.

Other screenshot shows Sonic smash though a wall that becomes a bunch of checkered bricks.

Another screenshot shows Sonic grabbing a handrail which goes across a wire. (Very Advance)XP

No floaty LBP physics. Classic Sonic Gameplay, classic Sonic speed. Says Izuka.

Not 3-D, but all CG pre-render.

Gamers will get classic “try again” ending if not successful at getting all emeralds. If you get all emeralds, you get cliffhanger ending for episode 2.

“If Sonic 4’s return to form (there they go again. ) is the Sonic experience you have been waiting 16 years for, then we strongly encourage you to try this.”

Thanks to Doctor Eggman at the SSMB and JasontheJackass in this articles comments for the heads up.

Original article below –

According to subscribers of Nintendo Power the U.S. official Nintendo magazine the latest issue contains an interview about Sonic 4 but no details further than that have been given as of yet. A scan of the magazine cover supports the fact it does indeed contain something Sonic 4 related. If you have the issue we’d appreciate it if you could send us any new information revealed to shadzter@sonicstadium.org and we’ll credit you in this article.

In other news the magazine has reviewed Sonic Classic Collection for DS and given it a score of 7/10.

Source: GoNintendo

The Jun Senoue Interview – Part One

Shibuya, Tokyo, 7:30PM on a Sunday evening. Night time means nothing in this city, as the streets are still rammed full of shoppers going in and out of the many music, entertainment and fashion stores that line every main street and side alleyway. A sign and a menu is all that marks the rather uninteresting entrance to a well-known Italian restaurant, and three floors down, I’m sitting with the legendary Jun Senoue. Jun has been at the forefront of Sonic the Hedgehog music since 1993 and has since redefined the face of Sonic music with the formation of Crush 40 and their soundtrack to Sonic Adventure. TSS and junsenoue.com have been lucky enough to grab Jun for an exclusive interview

T-Bird: So Jun, how are you, and what projects have been keeping you busy?

Jun: I’m working on several projects, at this moment I can only tell you that I’m working on Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll which was released this month. I was not the composer; I took care of finding the singers and talent in a similar way I did for Sonic Unleashed and Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. The composers were Tomoya Ohtani and Mariko Nanba. There are eight vocal songs which meant I had to find eight singers; In the end these were two Japanese singers, three North Americans and three from Europe, with the genres of the tracks focusing on dance and club tunes.

T-Bird: To sort of follow on, can we expect any new material from you this year? I think “The Works” went down exceptionally well last year, and the burning question on everybody’s lips is when is the second Crush 40 album due out?

Jun: Yeah…we [Jun and Johnny Gioeli] are discussing when we should start work on the next album, or the next show. Originally I had a plan to do other Crush 40 shows here in Tokyo in early May, but Johnny is quite busy with Axel Rudi Pell [the German rock act Johnny performs with] so maybe we will get around to doing some shows. We had a TGS (Tokyo Game Show) performance in 2008, and a lot of kids wanted to be there. Unfortunately they could not attend as the event was during school time, so the aim is to do some shows during the summer or spring vacations.

T-Bird: Wow, that’d be very cool for the Japanese audiences! I think one of the most impressive soundtracks from last year was the Sonic and the Black Knight OST on the principle it was so musically diverse – how did you go about getting in touch with Tommy Tallerico, and what was it like working with him and Richard Jacques amongst others?

Jun: Talking about Sonic and the Black Knight, I ideally wanted to work with the guys who provided the songs to previous Sonic titles instead of teaming up with the SEGA composers I usually team up with. I asked Richard Jacques, then spoke to Howard Drossin. Talking about Tommy though, he was not an original Sonic composer. I’ve known him for years and we are good friends, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to team up with him and have him as a composer on this title.

Tommy provided us with ten ideas for tracks, and basically I selected three ideas from his list. He composed one of them from the start to the finish, and then the other two tracks I used the ideas and took care of them, arranged them and tracked the music with my band. It was a very fun experience!

T-Bird: I bet! Ok…(laughs) I guess this would be a good time to bring up Sonic the hedgehog 4: Episode 1 which has just been announced this week. Any thoughts? Anything you can tell us like, are you involved with the soundtrack?

Jun: Uhh…Ok. My answer is this; I hope I can tell you all the details in late spring or early summer!

T-Bird: Haha! Ok, I guess we will just have to wait then! As we mentioned before, you’ve heard of the Summer of Sonic. In 2008 we had TJ Davis and Richard Jacques, last year we had Bentley Jones return to perform…any chance in the near future for a Crush 40 appearance?

Jun: Talking about the shows we’ve done so far: with had a TGS performance back in 2008, and for that we played along with some backing tracks. For our next shows in Japan (more later!) we plan to have full band. If we come over to the UK, we will probably do something similar to what we did at TGS, but yes, we [Jun and Johnny] will be talking about it!

Don’t miss the second part of the Jun Senoue interview tomorrow, where Jun has answered some of the burning questions posed to him by you, the fans!

A massive thank you to Jeriaska from Gamasutra for the excellent photos!

Inside Xbox UK Interview Sumo Digital

If you live in the UK turn on your Xbox 360 and get it connected to Xbox Live because a new interview has hit Inside Xbox with Sumo Digitals Executive Producer Steve Lycett and Lead Artist Dave Blewett. In the interview Steve Lycett speaks about all of the various modes in the game and reveals two new multiplayer modes called Capture the Chao and Knockout, Capture the Chao is like any first-person shooters Capture the Flag and Knockout is like a survivor mode with the person in last place given just 15 seconds to get back in the pack or else they get kicked out.

Dave Blewett discusses how Avatar support and Banjo-Kazooie came to be and bringing very old SEGA characters up to todays 3D graphical standard.

There is also some new gameplay footage from a wide variety of the tracks too, it’s a very interesting interview so switch on your Xbox 360 and give it a watch.

ASR: New Preview and Interview With Steve Lycett

Sumo Digital Producer Steve Lycett has informed us of a new preview from 2D-X for Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing and a new interview he’s recently had with Digital Spy. The interview touches upon ASR demo’s for Xbox 360, PS3 and even DS, implementing Ryo Hazuki and wether they’d like to take on Shenmue 3.

As for the preview it’s very positive from graphics to characters to controls, the previewer even goes as far to say that the game has now jumped from mere consideration to a game he’s now really looking forward to.

We’ll keep you up to date on everything Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing as we gear up to launch 23rd Feb in the U.S. and 26th Feb in Europe.

Thanks to Steve Lycett for the heads up and links!

Community Interview: Hazard the Porgoyle

Remember when Dreadknux said that you could “get in touch” with us here at TSS?  Well, a visitor of ours did.  He has been featured here before and wanted to showcase his improvement for all of you.  I said, “Well, hey, your improvement is so great and your art has always been awesome.  Why not do an interview?”  And here we are… about to sit down with “Hazard the Porgoyle,” a guy who “lives to recreate Sonic boss battles.”

Brad Flick: Welcome back to the front page, Haz.  It’s great to finally talk to you.  I’m a big fan of your boss battle art.

Hazard the Porgoyle: Thanks… and thanks for featuring me here at TSS again.

Brad Flick: No problem.  So, what inspired you to start recreating boss battles from Sonic?

Hazard the Porgoyle: When I joined deviantART in 2005, all I had to present were a couple of Sonic Adventure Egg Carrier clay figures and some fancharacter drawings. I did obtain a Sonic Adventure 2 Battle strategy guide prior to that, and in it was a render of the Biolizard. I figured, “Why not recreate that model on paper, then insert the background around it?” So, for a couple of years I carried around a (rather shoddy) hand drawing of just that.  When I drifted away from hand drawing and delved into Macromedia Flash 7, I thought, “While I’m trying to learn this program, I might as well see what that old picture looks like when redrawn in Flash.” I posted the result, and (even regarding its quality) it was a hit. (Nowadays, and after a load of edits, that picture looks a little something like this http://hazard-the-porgoyle.deviantart.com/art/The-Prototype-The-Biolizard-87732400 ) From there, I began to think, what other seldom drawn scenes from the Sonic series can I put a new perspective on?  Such is my motto today.

BF: Cool.  You were featured a year ago in the “Fanatics” series when we were in the blog format last January.  The series only ran for a few months, so not a whole lot of artists were highlighted here How did that make you feel to be featured?

HP: At the time, (and even today) it couldn’t have felt better. It was such a pleasant surprise, (surprise is an understatement – I nearly jumped out of my skin) and I will certainly cherish the memory of that January morning forever. It started so normally, except that I had 48 messages out of nowhere, and continuing my morning routine by visiting my favorite Sonic Fan Site I found, well, you know.  Alas, after a time I was troubled – I saw how my skills were growing, and how by comparison, quite a few of my pictures had an off model Sonic and completely unrealistic shading.

BF: You thought that you had unrealistic shading then?  You certainly look like you’ve gotten better at it.  Do you think that you’ve improved a lot in the last year?

HP: It would seem that risks make all the difference. As time has passed, I not only improved my shading (switching from slapping radial gradients on everything to Photoshop 7’s Burn and Dodge tools) and accuracy, but also started playing with even more dynamic perspectives. My accuracy standards have also driven me to never leave any stone unturned. (Action Replay float codes anyone?) Details I thought were “good enough” in the past… not so much nowadays. If I had to bullet point it all, it’d look something like:

– Started drawing Sonic correctly.

– Vastly improved efficiency.  Pictures that may take others a week to do can be completed in a day or two by me.

– Learned how lighting works in the real world, and have applied that to my shading techniques.

– Starting expanding the cast found in my pictures.

– Started to truly understand Geometry and Perspective, leading to more dynamic scenes.

BF: It shows.  Your DeviantArt profile is full of your boss images.  What have you accomplished since starting your DA profile?

HP: Now I’m starting to wish I left one badly drawn picture for comparison, but hey, that in itself is an accomplishment. As I have improved and expanded my skills, I’ve extensively overhauled my Sonic Boss gallery to make sure every moment of the Sonic Series has equal representation through my hands. Specifically, my greatest accomplishments have to be my large animation projects. “To End a King’s Reign” and “For the Fallen Land’s Fate…” both take all of the same elements found in any still picture, and sets them into motion. But no, this doesn’t mean they’re perfect, (they are quite repetitive) but what I have learned form those projects can and will lead to bigger and better things. Oh, and nearly quadrupling my Boss gallery in a single year ain’t too shabby, neither.

BF: It also is amazing that you’ve managed to touch base with almost every game, including Sonic Labyrinth! What do you hope to do with your boss battle art, if anything?

HP: I don’t plan on things changing too much – I draw solely for the people of the Sonic community, just to see their reactions to finding that “Hey, someone does remember that boss.”  I’m learning what I hope are skills that will better my chances of working in the field that I hope to enter, but other than that, these pictures are for the fans.

BF: What are your other works of art that you are proud of?

HP: Outside of Sonic bosses, I may not do much, but when I put my skills towards other projects, I make it count. Case in point, in Spring ’09, Chicago held its Farmers Markets Reusable Bag Design Contest. No prizes for guessing who won that and got their picture taken with the mayor.   Closing statements: People of the Sonic Community, it’s only because of you that I have improved at all. Without feedback, I’d still be stuck in yesteryear’s patterns. Comments are always valued, and I hope to build my knowledge for the production of even greater pictures and animations. Brad, I cannot express my gratitude for you taking time out of your schedule to create this article, and I hope it marks the beginning of a productive and fulfilling year.

BF: And just for fun… which Sonic games are your favorite?

HP: There can never be a clear cut winner (I seem to go through phases with this sort of thing), but it boils down to Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, and Sonic Rush Adventure. The rich level design of S3&K keeps it from getting stale, the replay value of the hunters’ stages and Chao in SA2B keeps it fresh, and Rush Adventure’s fast and frantic boss battles are always a joy to experience.

BF: Thanks for the interview, Haz.  It was great to hear about your improvement as an artist.

HP: No, thank you.  Being featured here is an honor.

BF: Before you go… tell me… what the hell is a “porgoyle?”

HP: I knew this wasn’t going to conclude without that loose end being tied up. Porcupine Gargoyle, my friend. I was only about 11 or 12 when I made that really awkward concept up.

BF: That’s… really ridiculous.  Oh, fancharacters…

Visit Hazard’s DeviantArt Gallery of Sonic Boss Battles!


Gamespot @ SEGA Update. Sonic Related Interview Coming

We have been keeping you up to date on the Gamespot @ SEGA event and as promised Gamespot have begun posting up their interviews at the event. Currently they have posted interviews with the Yakuza 3 and Infinite Space developers but they inform that more is on the way in the coming week including an interview with “an exclusive interview with Sega head of consumer business Naoya Tsurumi to talk things House of Sonic.”

We’ll keep an eye out and let you know as soon as the interview hits their website and write up any interesting information that may come from it.

At the top right of Gamespot’s SEGA event page a piece of Sonic art can be spotted that is actually fan art by awesome SSMB member ENVY16. Way to use Google Gamespot, needs more credit to ENVY16 though.

Source: Gamespot

“Voice of Eggman” Mike Pollock Live on SSR Sunday 4:00PM GMT on DJ Darkspeeds

DJDarkspeedsLOGO_DEC2009

Bonkers Aussie Sonic superfan Elson “Darkspeeds” Wong usually goes full-tilt when he wants to do something, and he’s certainly added some spice to the SEGASonic:Radio line-up; this week will be no exception! Voice actor Mike Pollock, best known as the voice of Dr. Eggman in the Western version of Sonic X will be joining Darkspeeds for a chat on his show!

Continue reading “Voice of Eggman” Mike Pollock Live on SSR Sunday 4:00PM GMT on DJ Darkspeeds

#9 Mike Pollock Interview, the Voice of Dr. Eggman! (Revisit)

Last week, Brad Flick (aka Slingerland or Slingerland’s Corner Fame) talked to Mike Pollock, the current voice of Dr. Eggman and they had a grand ol’ time.  If you’ve got 21 minutes to spare, you can listen in as we discuss Mike’s work on Sonic Unleashed and other Sonic titles.  In addition, Mike talks about how he got into voice acting and he reminisces on his early days in New York radio and his work on his only film, Little Tug’s Big Adventure.  He also does some voices for us!

Mike is currently signed to do voice work on an upcoming, to be announced Wii title.  He recently was the announcer for AC/DC’s Black Ice album and has acquired credits for his work on commercials, Ultimate Muscle, and Kirby!  Right Back At Ya!.  Fo more information on Mike Pollock, visit his website.

 

Originall posted March 31, 2009