Nintendo Power Interview Naoto Oshima

Naoto Oshima deserves far more credit for the Sonic the Hedgehog series than he ever got during his employment at SEGA Enterprises. The creator of the Sonic character, he has also directed many games and headed projects at Sonic Team, including NiGHTS Into Dreams with Yuji Naka and Sonic CD. He left SEGA shortly after Sonic Adventure, and his lack of presence showed even in Sonic Adventure 2. Forming Artoon though has been a rocky ride for the guy who wants to be the “Walt Disney” of video games, with the amicable Blinx his first non-SEGA creation following the lacklustre Pinobee and questionable sequels to Yoshi’s Island. It’s been an undeserved fall from grace for the poor guy.

Nintendo Power have an interview with the game designer/creator, and about his history in the video game industry. It’s a real interesting read, and Oshima comes across as a really humble guy, taking on all sorts of roles to get a feel for every aspect of game design. One of the ‘original three’ that most fans really count in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise – the other two being programmer Yuji Naka and level designer Hirokazu Yasuhara – he says that he feels best when he’s designing stuff for games. This is in parallel to Naka’s admission to fancying more of a ‘hands on’ approach to making games, shortly before he left Sonic Team to form his own studio.

Other interesting nuggets include his role in Sonic Spinball – he designed the pinball maps for the game, which regardless of your opinion of the spinoff Mega Drive game are pretty decent maps – his entrusting of Sonic’s modern design to Yuji Uekawa from Sonic Adventure onwards (“I think he did a great job”) and lends more credibility to the theory that Sonic CD and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are practically two odds to the same project (“Naka [was sent] to America [to work on] the Genesis version, which… left me to develop the CD version in Japan”).

You can read the article via scans of the magazine, here for Page 1 and here for Page 2.

Naoto Oshima Interview In Nintendo Power – SSMB (thanks NintendoBrad)

5 new Sonic proto’s released

Legend in the Sonic research community drx has managed to get his hands on 5 new Sonic game prototypes including a Sonic CD beta.

List of games are –
* Sonic CD – Prototype 806
* Sonic Adventure 1 (E3 Trial)
* Sonic Adventure 1 LE (dumped from a GD-R)
* Sonic Adventure 2 (Mar 18, 2001 prototype)
* Sonic Adventure 2 (Nov 28, 2000 preview prototype)

So far a member at Sonic Retro has discovered there is a level select in the Sonic CD beta that has Collision Chaos missing from the levels. Expect more developments soon.

Sonic Retro topic

drx’s Hidden Palace site

Official Sonic Gems Collection Information

Earlier today SEGA’s Japanese page for the upcoming Sonic Gems Collection was launched providing a host of new information about the game, all of which can finally be set in concrete thanks to it coming directly from an official source.

The site, which is laced with some beautiful new-classic styled artwork provides us with the following. The game will be released in August this year on Playstation 2 and GameCube. Finally, what everyone has been waiting for, the list of games to be included in this compilation.

Continue reading Official Sonic Gems Collection Information

First Look: Grabbing us by the Gems

Well, with all the rumours being banded about well in advance of E3 2005, the announcement of Sonic Gems Collection was no real surprise, although it was a pleasing addition to the roster of upcoming Sonic titles. ‘Gems’ was first fired up for rumour when SEGA filed a patent for the name of the game, along with a logotype. Many suspected, due to hints being dropped by Yuji Naka and the similar namesake to Mega Collection, Gems would be a compilation of the hard-to-seek Sonic games. One of the bugbears of SMC was the omission of Sonic CD, which Sonic Team would seem want to address.

The demo pod for Sonic Gems Collection was discovered at Nintendo’s E3 booth, which added fuel to the rumours of Gamecube exclusivity. We have a feeling that the game is headed for the PlayStation 2, according to our sources. No word on XBOX, but assuming Mega Collection got the multi-format treatment, it would seem odd that Microsoft would be left out of the Sonic love.

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So, WHAT are we getting? Well, first of all, as hinted in the first paragraph, you will be getting Sonic CD and Sonic the Fighters in the compilation, and what journo’s will be playing at the demo pod. This morning, Sonic Team launched an official Gems Collection website, and confirmed a (potentially tentative) game list, below:

  1. Sonic CD
  2. Sonic the Fighters
  3. Sonic R
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GG)
  5. Sonic Spinball (GG)
  6. Sonic & Tails 2 (GG)
  7. Sonic Drift 2 (GG)
  8. Tails Sky Patrol (GG)
  9. Tails Adventure (GG)

Some may think that Sonic CD, Sonic the Fighters and Sonic R is enough for the compilation, regardless of the conservative choice of adding some Game Gear games. And that’s fair enough. We can clearly see why Sonic Team chose this selection of GG games too – these were the titles that were mercilessly missing from Sonic Mega Collection + on XBOX and PS2 – furthering the idea that this could be heading for consoles other than Gamecube. All the Game Gear games were present in Sonic Adventure: DX however, which makes the selection here rather dubious on Nintendo’s platform.

Despite the appeal of Sonic CD and ‘Fighters, we hope there’s room for some unlockables, akin to the original Mega Collection. Our “Sonic Collectioning” would be complete with at least Chaotix and SEGASonic the Hedgehog in the mix. As mentioned before, it would be slightly odd to have half the offering on a new Gamecube collection being something you could just get elsewhere (SA:DX). The screenshots and common elements seen in Sonic CD and Sonic R show PC versions – which means Gems must be using some kind of PC emulation to run these versions of games. Which is fine by us, as long as we don’t get Windows XP runtime errors booting up Sonic CD.

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The extra offerings are what makes a retro compilation from Sonic Team so good. Sonic Jam still remains the ultimate king, with a 3D explorable world full of Sonic history, artwork and exclusive Japanese movies up the wazoo. Sonic Mega Collection managed a timid smattering of Archie cover scans, a yawnsome full scan of their tiresome “Firsts”, and some movies of little interest. Sonic Mega Collection + took things better (or worse) when the only movies they had involved Sonic Heroes in-development scenes (of which half were just the finished movies anyway). Special extras have turned out to be nothing but a crock as of late.

Let’s hope this changes somewhat – the images above, taken from the official website, shows a new section called “Sonic Museum”. According to the Japanese site, there will be many secrets including movies, character profiles and artwork. So far, so good, Sonic Team. So far, so good.

Now we’re all up to scratch on what Sonic Gems Collection is all about, it’s only a matter of time before we get more details. Hopefully, if we can get extras on the scale of Sonic Jam-style quality (even if we can’t have many of the quality Japanese adverts or movies, just having some will suffice) and squeeze SEGASonic the Hedgehog and Chaotix in there, this collection will surely live up to its name.

E3 Kicks Off!

Woo, this is the calm before the storm. The E3 event’s yet to start (Wednesday), but the major companies are spewing forth their latest consoles and it’s exciting to see! SEGA have been on form though for next gen, and SONICTEAM’s creativity certainly lives on! We’ve just seen a trailer for a new Yuji Project, called Fifth Phantom Saga. Check SONIC NEWS for the first info, and check out the new TSS Game Page for the title. AND, Sonic Gems Collection IS A REALITY. We’ve only seen a Gamecube stand for it though, which fires up the rumours that Gems will be a Nintendo exclusive. SONIC THE FIGHTERS and SONIC CD are the only titles known to be on the Gems Collection at this point. Yuji does love us.

It’s only been a day and all this has spewed forth – remember, only at The Sonic Stadium and SONIC NEWS can you catch the SONICTEAM E3 information and media first. We’re not the #1 Sonic Resource for nowt you know. 😉 Nintendo’s conference is later on, and more SEGA surprises are apparently in store, so we’ll let you know on any breaking details.

TSS REVIEW: Sonic CD

This game was the first Sonic game to use Time travel – they scrapped the idea on Mega Drive. Bookended with fab Sonic anime intro and outro sequences, Sonic CD’s story sees you rescuing Amy Rose from the clutches of Metal Sonic, Eggman’s newest creation built to eradicate Sonic and the world. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic CD