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!

Sonic Generations: Modern Rooftop Run and Hub Videos

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZagLnO3ItlM&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

As we reported October 19th, SEGA France and Sonic team head Takashi Iizuka held their Sonic Generations presentation at the Paris Games Week yesterday morning, and thanks to attendee funkyjeremi83 we have video footage of it. The “new” stage shown was Rooftop Run, which had previously only been shown in screenshot form.

As you can see in the video, Rooftop Run has changed greatly compared to its Sonic Unleashed counterpart. The stage has been given a big facelift in presentation and because it’s one of the last stages in Sonic Generations, the difficulty has been increased.

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

The full 9 stage hub world was also shown at the presentation, and again thanks to funkyjeremi83, you can see footage of that, too.

Thanks to Guito, dbgtsonicx and SSMB member Ryan91 for the heads up!

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.

Takashi Iizuka Attending Gamescom 2011

There’s good news tonight for Sonic fans going to this year’s Gamescom event, with the announcement that Takashi Iizuka will be attending. The Sonic Team head disclosed the news of his attendance just 4 hours ago on his Facebook page with the short message you see below.

これからGamescomに参加するため、ドイツに向けて出発し​ます!それにしても今、朝の6時…眠い…。
I’m going to Germany for Gamescom!

Iizuka has been very busy attending events around the world all year celebrating Sonic the Hedgehog’s 20th Anniversary and it doesn’t look like he’s going to stop anytime soon. We told you last week that SEGA will be going to Gamescom and will be designing their booth in the style of Green Hill Zone from the first Sonic the Hedgehog game on Mega Drive/Genesis. Attendees will be able to go hands-on with both console and handheld versions of Sonic Generations and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the event, too.

Now we have to wonder if Iizuka is attending just to help SEGA with the Sonic 20th Anniversary celebrations and to do the usual interview rounds, or does he have some Sonic announcements to make? I guess we’ll find out this week.

Gamescom will run from 17th-21st August at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

Source: Takashi Iizuka’s Facebook page

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

TSS Exclusive Interviews: Yuji Naka & Takashi Iizuka

Meeting your heroes is a surreal thing indeed. It’s even more surreal if it’s at an event celebrating their main character’s 20th anniversary. And to think a few weeks ago I didn’t know any of this would happen at all… Continue reading TSS Exclusive Interviews: Yuji Naka & Takashi Iizuka

Nintendo Power Sonic Generations 3DS Details

As revealed yesterday, copies of the new issue of Nintendo Power have been delivered to subscribers, which unveil a Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic’s big 20th Anniversary game Sonic Generations. Details from the issue have been shared by Sonic Retro forum member Effexor, and it appears this version of the game will be very unique and not just a port.

Here’s all of the main details:
* The Nintendo 3DS version is being co-developed by Sonic Team and Dimps.
* The director of the 3DS version is Tetsu Katano, who directed Sonic and the Black Knight.
* 2D side-scrolling gameplay for both Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic.
* Momentum based gameplay and platforming are fully featured in the Classic Sonic gameplay.
* Modern Sonic plays a lot like the Sonic Rush games and Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colours.
* Nintendo 3DS version will have exclusive stages and boss stages.
* Green Hill Zone will be the only shared stage in both the HD console version and Nintendo 3DS version.
* Casino Night Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is confirmed for the Nintendo 3DS version.
* Story has some differences between the console and Nintendo 3DS versions, but will be fundamentally the same.
* Console version will have many characters, but the Nintendo 3DS version will only feature the ones who are integral to the story.
* There is no Wii version. Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka says this is because “The primary goal for the console versions of Generations was reimagining the series’s classic zones in vivid, high-definition graphics.”
* Sonic the Hedgehog 3‘s Launch Base Zone ‘Big Arm’ boss fight is in the game, which suggests that stage is also in the game.
* Classic Eggman appears in the above mentioned boss.
* Exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS version are challenges that you can unlock via StreetPass or Play Coins.
* The game also features an exclusive two-player race mode via local wireless connection.
* Modern Sonic stages take advantage of the 3D feature more than the Classic Sonic stages. An example shown and detailed is a part in the Green Hill Zone where Modern Sonic smashes through the bottom of a giant totem pole. The camera then moves to the front of Sonic and lets you see the rest of the pole collapse behind Sonic as he escapes.
* The 3D depth is also highlighted when Modern Sonic occasionally moves between the foreground and the background.
* Jun Senoue and his music team are working on the music for the game.
* Nintendo Power thinks the handful of tracks they’ve heard so far are “fantastic”.
* Special Stages are confirmed and are designed in Sonic Heroes style. As expected, you earn Chaos Emeralds from these stages. Whether or not Super Sonic will be your reward for earning all Chaos Emeralds is unclear right now.

For more information, screenshots and interviews with Takashi Iizuka and Jun Senoue, pick up a copy of Nintendo Power when it hits retailers later this week.

Thanks to Blue Blood for the heads up!

Note: Links to scans are not permitted, so please keep them out of the comments section. Any comments with links to scans will be edited/deleted.

Sonic Generations Demo Approved For Australia

Australia’s Classification Board today approved a demo for Sonic’s new PS3 and Xbox 360 title Sonic Generations. The board rated the demo ‘General’, which deems it fit for all audiences to play. With the demo being rated now and the full game not due out until the holiday season later this year, could we be getting to download a sample of the game sooner rather than later?

A demo for Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was released on Xbox Live Marketplace in September, rather than around the full game’s November release, as with most game’s demos. There’s always the possibility that this could just be a rating for a demo being shown to the press and/or public at various events though, so don’t get your hopes too high.

Sonic’s 20th Birthday is June 23rd and we’re sure a demo release around then would be a welcome surprise for fans.

Source: Australia’s Classification Board (via Siliconera)

New Sonic Generations Gameplay Video Confirms Classic Music

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmN0Z6GAfj0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Spanish gaming website Meristation has posted a new video interview with Sonic Team head in which he confirms other characters will appear in Sonic Generations, but he wouldn’t say whether they would be playable or limited to the story. Plenty of direct-feed gameplay footage is also included in the video, which confirms the original classic Green Hill Zone music will play during classic Sonic’s stage, while a remix of the same music will play during modern Sonic’s stage.

Source: Meristation

What do you think of the game so far? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Thanks to Ferr at the SSMB for the heads up and to Woun at the SSMB for the YouTube upload!

Sonic Generations Previews and Interview With Iizuka

With the official announcement of Sonic Generations comes the first batch of hands-on previews and an interview with Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka from the internets top gaming websites revealing more details about the game. We’ve dissected a few of the features below if you just want the main points.

IGN
Classic Sonic plays as you remember him from the 16 bit days
“On the other there’s the dynamic 3D acrobatics of modern Sonic, complete with homing jump, dash attack, and an added sense of speed.”
IGN give the impression that this game embraces the classic Sonic games better than Sonic 4: Episode 1 did.
Takashi Iizuka responds to IGN’s criticism of Sonic 4: Episode 1 and says this game will have different physics to that game: “In [Sonic the Hedgehog 4] Episode I, we didn’t actually return to the old physics, and nor did we try to create something totally new,” Iizuka says, “What we tried to do was respond to the voices we heard in the fans, and create something based on the feedback we were receiving from fans. On this occasion, with Sonic Generations, we’ve created a game with a totally different game and with completely different physics.”
Momentum gameplay returns in Sonic Generations.
IGN says this game’s levels are all from the series’ 20 year history.
“It’s not a pixel-for-pixel remake”
“There have also been a few concessions to the modern generation”
Speed runs are encouraged
Checkpoints throw up a split time, letting the player know how far down they are on their personal best time, making online leaderboards very likely to be featured in the final game.
In reference to Modern Sonic: “Thankfully, Sonic Generations seems to be taking many of its cues for the 3D sections from Colours, and it shares the Wii games hyperactive imagination. In a handful of short minutes Sonic is spun and sped through the chequered hills with breathless pace, at one point taking a detour through a dank cave which he’s chased out of by a giant chomping robot fish.”
All levels are playable by both Sonic’s.

Gamespot
Current playable demo has the game’s first two levels
“The game will encompass the 20 years of Sonic’s history and will be set across three defining eras: the 2D Mega Drive/Genesis era, the introduction of 3D in the Dreamcast era, and the modern-day HD graphics era.”
“Instead of creating new levels, the developers have re-vamped a bunch of iconic stages throughout these eras in HD and have given players the choice of playing each stage in either classic side-scrolling 2D or in modern-era 3D”
Classic Sonic’s gameplay style and move set is from the classic era, while modern Sonic plays as he does in his respective era, “meaning the spin dash and spin attack for classic Sonic and the homing attack and sonic boost for modern Sonic.”
Green Hill Zone was played in both classic and modern
“Our head spun as we watched Sonic get back into old form in the classic mode, zipping around the various springs, slopes, and loops, jumping for rings, avoiding spikes and generally becoming reacquainted with all his old abilities (the spin dash is a favourite). It’s fast, but it’s nothing compared to what comes next.” From this we can assume that the spin-dash hasn’t been nerfed like in Sonic 4: Episode 1.
Modern Sonic has the camera follow closely behind him, as shown in the trailer and screenshots.
Modern Sonic can use homing attack
“This incarnation of the level also introduced zip lines, which Sonic glides across to avoid pits and large bodies of water. We also saw an underground part that has Sonic sliding across a zip line through a cave while being pursued by a giant mechanical fish. Things got crazy when Sonic decided to use his boost while zipping: it took the game from supersonic to hypersonic with no remorse for the poor sod watching (us).”
Multiple paths return for modern Sonic.
“Our demo was over before we knew it, but it left us feeling giddy with excitement. Or maybe just giddy.”

Gamespot also has an interview with Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka.

Sonic Generations uses the Hedgehog Engine used in Sonic Unleashed
A “playable menu” lets you pick between classic Sonic and modern Sonic and their respective levels.
“Moving forward we would like to continue creating, and ensure Sonic is enjoyed by as many people as possible, not just in games but in other media as well.”
Iizuka says the team is trying to bring everything from Sonic’s 20 year history for all kinds of Sonic fans to enjoy in this new game.

Other previews can be found at Joystiq and Kotaku.

SEGA Officially Announces Sonic Generations for Xbox 360 and PS3

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV1Osnkr5Nc&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

SEGA has just officially announced the title of their new Sonic game for Xbox 360 and PS3. As leaks and rumours suggested, the game is titled Sonic Generations and will be released Holiday 2011. SEGA’s also issued a press release revealing details about the game and its plot, as well as some screenshots and a trailer.

Check out the press release below:

Celebrate 20 years of Sonic the Hedgehog with Sonic Generations™

LONDON & SAN FRANCISCO (April 18th, 2011) – SEGA® Europe Ltd. & SEGA® America, Inc., today announced details of Sonic Generations™, the highly anticipated video game title in development to celebrate Sonic the Hedgehog’s 20th Anniversary. Delivering the definitive gaming experience for Sonic fans old and new, Sonic Generations™ sees Sonic the Hedgehog playable as both the much loved classic 1991 character, and the modern day video game hero he has become in this exciting new fast paced adventure. Sonic Generations™ will speed into stores for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system for Holiday 2011.

Set across three defining eras from 20 years of Sonic the Hedgehog video game history, the instantly recognisable environments of Sonic Generations™ have been re-built in stunning HD and are now playable in both classic side scrolling 2D from 1991, as well as modern 3D style found in Sonic’s most recent adventures. Each incarnation of Sonic in Sonic Generations™ comes complete with his trademark special move, Spin Dash and Spin Attack for Classic Sonic, and Homing Attack and Sonic Boost for Modern Sonic. An innovative new interactive menu system allows for complete immersion in Sonic’s universe with favourite characters and hidden treasures gradually being revealed throughout the game.

“Sonic Generations will certainly be a fitting celebration for Sonic’s 20th Anniversary” commented David Corless, Global Brand Director for Sonic. “By having the classic 1991 Sonic that many fans know and love team up with his modern day incarnation, we are bringing back the nostalgia of the early days of Sonic and combining it with the innovation and stunning HD technology of the modern gaming era. Sonic Generations will bring to life the last twenty years of Sonic’s universe in a truly unique and imaginative way”

Sonic’s universe is thrown into chaos when a mysterious new power creates ‘time holes’ which pull him and his friends back through time. As a result he encounters some surprises from his past history including Classic Sonic, Sonic as he appeared in 1991. Modern Sonic and Classic Sonic must defeat this strange new enemy, save their friends, and find out who really is behind this diabolical deed…

Screenshots can be seen at the games product page at SEGA’s website.

Source: SEGA of America Blog

Check Out SEGA Japan’s New Year’s Card

8-4.jp has posted up scans of various New Year’s postcards that they’ve received from various companies in the gaming industry and one such company is SEGA Japan, who sent out the above post card featuring new artwork of Sonic in a snazzy white tuxedo alongside the 20th Anniversary emblem.

What do you think of the postcard? Do you like Sonic’s posh threads? Should Sonic wear trousers? Speak out in the comments.

Source: 8-4.jp (via GoNintendo)

Iizuka Explains The Secret to Making 2D Gameplay Work

UK Xbox 360 specialist magazine Xbox World 360 recently sent out e-mails to a variety of game developers to find out the secrets of the industry for a feature in their magazine, which has now been made available online on partner site CVG. One of the developers queried was Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka, who was asked “What’s the secret to making 2D work?”, to which he replied with the below statement.

I think there are various kinds of 2D platformer and each one of them focuses on different game elements. In the case of Sonic games, I put a premium on the game tempo of the stage.

A game cannot be constructed with only speed elements and a game with only jump actions is not a Sonic. Though jump actions bring a feeling of tension and cause a lot of stress, it’s an element giving the player a great sense of achievement when completed.

In addition to that, maximizing the feeling of achievement and exhilaration in a game whilst still providing the speed is the basic concept – and also real pleasure – of Sonic games.

Takashi Iizuka has gotten a lot of flack from the fanbase for Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 due to physics being very different to the classic Mega Drive titles among other reasons, and those fans who didn’t enjoy Episode 1 are hopeful things will change in Episode 2. While this statement doesn’t mention physics, does it give you some hope for Episode 2 and any other future 2D Sonic games? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Xbox World 360 @ CVG (via GoNintendo)

SEGA Teases Sonic 20th Anniversary “Projects”, Teaser Site Live


It’s already 2011 in Japan and so SEGA Japan has seen fit to kick-start Sonic the Hedgehog and the Puyo Puyo series’ 20th Anniversary year off with the tease that they have a variety of projects in the works to celebrate this milestone for the blue blur and its popular puzzler. What these “projects” are is anyone’s guess for the time being, but we’ll keep an eye out for new info and media in the year ahead. For now, you can check out a teaser website for Sonic’s 20th that is now live, though there’s not much to see at the moment.

What would you like to see for Sonic’s big 20th Anniversary? Speak out in the comments.

Source: Andriasang

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.

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.

Takashi Iizuka Comments on Sonic and Nintendo 3DS

In the previous issue of Nintendo Power, various game developers opinions on Nintendo 3DS were gathered and among them was Takashi Iizuka, producer at Sonic Team.

Takashi Izuka – Producer, Sonic Team:

“At Sonic Team, we’re already studying the Nintendo 3DS. We’re very interested in the platform. We think the depth of 3D could really help the sense of speed, especially when you’re playing Sonic from behind-the-back perspective.”

Fans may recall a document that hit the net, confirming SEGA’s planned Super Monkey Ball and Sonic the Hedgehog titles for the handheld, but SEGA has yet to announce or show anything officially. Iizuka’s comment is only based on concepts, but would you like a handheld Sonic game with a “behind-the-back perspective” like Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colours? Discuss in the comments.

Source: GoNintendo

Sonic’s Birthday Contest Winners Announced

Edit

SEGA has announced the UK and U.S. winners of Sonic’s Birthday Contest along with a full statement regarding the course of action taken in regards to selecting a winner after the contest’s voting was stopped due some irregularities found in the voting system.

The full statement from the contest’s official website is below:

Today we are very pleased to announce the winners of Sonic’s Birthday Contest! The contest challenged the community in coming up with a video that showed the passion and excitement of being a Sonic fan and we were completely blown away by the 300+ videos submitted by everyone! Having enjoyed watching each and every one we finally picked our top 10 videos. And today, at long last, we are very proud to announce the winners of our first, second and third place prizes…

But before we announce these, and to keep you in suspense, we would like to address the concerns with the user participation portion of the contest. As you know we discovered voting irregularities on July 16th and ceased user participation a few days later. It was our original goal to create an opportunity for a winner to be picked by the community but due to these voting irregularities we have had to come up with a different solution. It’s important to all of us at SEGA that this process is made as transparent as possible because we respect and admire all the hardworking fans that created videos in the Birthday Contest.

In looking at the voting data we learned we could not discern the difference between legit and non-legit votes with any accuracy we were comfortable with. We felt it would be unfair to scrub the votes down to the first day or two of voting and award based on that. We also briefly discussed creating a new voting system – but the delay in crafting this new tool would take some time and be extremely limiting; quite the opposite of what we wanted initially.

The goal of this promotion was to do something big, something new and something that would reward the ceaseless efforts of the Sonic community that we are so regularly impressed with. Therefore we decided the fairest option would be for the Sonic Team themselves, along with a team of SEGA employees from our Japanese, American and European offices who worked on the Sonic Birthday Contest, to choose the winners.

Each person within this group has voted on their top videos from the 10 that were pre-selected. And so, after much deliberation, we are very proud and hugely excited to announce the US & UK winners:

Here are the winners (which include TSS and SSMB founder Svend ‘ Dreadknux’ Joscelyne, congrats dude!) :

UK
Grand Prize Winner
“Blue Sky Dreams”
Joe M. from Glasgow, Lanarkshire
A trip for two to Japan to meet Sonic Team and be of the first to play Sonic the Hedgehog 4
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58sTptVl3Mc&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

1st Place Prize Winner
“Mobiuscard”
Kristian F. from Warrington, Cheshire
A 32 gigabyte iPod Touch with Sonic the Hedgehog 2
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSWNAQ0Qv28&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

2nd Place Prize Winner
“Sonic & Me”
Svend J. from Southend-on-Sea, Essex
A 32 gigabyte iPod Touch with Sonic the Hedgehog 2
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EKHkAfWe0c&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

U.S.

Grand Prize Winner
“Needlemouse the Musical”
Nathan M. from Los Angeles, CA
A trip for two to Japan to meet Sonic Team and be of the first to play Sonic the Hedgehog 4

1st Place Prize Winner
“Past Cool Birthday”
Tabitha W. from Galveston, Indiana
A 32 gigabyte iPod Touch with Sonic the Hedgehog 2
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94YRdocD8Dc&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

2nd Place Prize Winner
“A Day in the Life”
Andrew S. from Walnut Creek, California
A 32 gigabyte iPod Touch with Sonic the Hedgehog 2
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWgtfaY-2do&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Congratulations to all of the winners from everyone here at The Sonic Stadium!
Did your favourite get picked? Do you agree with SEGA’s decision for selecting the winners after what happened with the voting? Discuss in the comments.

Rumour: Dimps Going Solo On Sonic 4: Episode 2?

We all know Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is a joint venture between Sonic Team and Dimps but what about Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2? We’ve barely seen much of Episode 1 but the staff over at Xbox360Achievements.org are already looking into Episode 2 according to a new listing at their site in which they have the below info.

Episode 2 listing –

Developed By:
Dimps

Published By:
SEGA

Genre:
Platformer

Release Date:
US:
Europe:
Japan:

ESRB: E for Everyone

Episode 1 listing –

Developed By:
Sonic Team/Dimps

Published By:
SEGA

Genre:
Platformer

Release Date:
US:
Europe:
Japan:

So as you can see there is a difference in developers, if the site has got this right then Episode 2 will be a Dimps solo project and the game looks to have already been given its ESRB rating too which to no surprise is an E but oddly they havent listed Episode 1’s E rating we’ve known about for ages.

Take all of this with a very teency pinch of salt for now, we’ll let you know if we hear anything more.

Sonic 3 Level Designer Working On Sonic 4

Following the news of Dimps working on retro revival game Sonic the Hedgehog 4 it has now come to light that the level designer who worked on Sonic 3 & Knuckles is also working on Sonic 4.

The revelation was made by SEGA of America community staff member Ruby Eclipse at the SEGA forums after fans cried out to them for the information.
Ruby Eclipse made the following statement :

Hi everyone,

After a listing on the official Xbox marketplace went up earlier this week, a lot of you have been asking us about who’s developing Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I. Some of you even called me out specifically asking for an answer – and today, I’m happy to say that we can provide you with the details you want.

So, is it just Dimps? Just Sonic Team? The answer is a bit of both:

Yes, Dimps is working on the game. But there’s actually more to it than just that: at the same time, we also have members of Sonic Team, including the original senior level designer from Sonic 3 & Knuckles on the SEGA Genesis working alongside them. It is most definitely a partnership, and the result of this teamwork is something many of us are excited for.

So, as requested – there you have it!

This combination of developers could bring a bright future for the game, Sonic Team gave us the classic Sonic games while Dimps have brought us the well received Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush titles.

How do you feel about this news? Let us know in the comments.

Source: SEGA forums via Destructoid

Win A Christmas Cards from Sonic Team? Japan Only Please!

NOFAIR

I think at one time or another we’ve all complained that our friends across the Atlantic or Pacific really do get a much better deal than ourselves when it comes to getting Sonic stuff. Well, this season the Japanese have really beaten everyone on the scale of awesomeness…

Continue reading Win A Christmas Cards from Sonic Team? Japan Only Please!

Hashimoto Jumps Ship To Square-Enix? [Confirmed]

If rumours and an official LinkedIn profile are to be believed, one of the key players in Sonic Team, technical director Yoshihisa Hashimoto, has left in order to further his career in RPG developer Square-Enix.

Hashimoto is best known for his work recently in Sonic Unleashed, where he helped create the Hedgehog Engine and was the latest in the studio’s “revolving door” system to take the reins on the Sonic franchise and drag it out of the quality quagmire. Before his Director role he had a hand in many Sonic Team games since 1997, including writing enemy programming for Sonic Adventure, the Chao engine for Sonic Adventure 2 and coding tasks for Sonic Advances 1 and 2. It is believed he left Sonic Team as long ago as late April, to take a position at Square-Enix in a similar technical director capacity.

The rumour mill has been turning since GoNintendo carried the rumour, but doubters suggest that a discrepency in his LinkedIn profile (the incorrect Japanese naming of his latest work, Sonic Unleashed) could be a sign of a hoax. If true, it only throws more weight under the suggestion that Sega are seriously re-organising how they are developing and producing their Sonic titles.

We’ve contacted Sega for comment, and will update when we get a response. Thanks to the SSMB for the heads up.

UPDATE: ArchAngelUK has responded to our calls, confirming Hashimoto-san’s departure:

I can confirm that Yoshihisa Hashimoto has left SEGA to pursue another opportunity and we’d like to wish him well in his future endeavours.

Sonic Channel Colouring Page Art Update

shadow-sonic-channel-colouring-page sonic-sonic-channel-colouring-page

Sonic Channel, the Japanese official Sonic website has updated today with the second of this years colouring pages with official artwork from Sonic Team. First we had Sonic in a cheery walking pose and now we have Shadow standing with his hand to his chest maybe taking an oath? If you like the look of these, or would like to see Sonic in a shade of green and Shadow in a shade of purple or just want to colour them in properly (you boring person) you can download them from Sonic Channel here.

Tetsu Katano and Yuji Naka on recent Sonic

yuji-naka

At a recent event in London where Sonic Team’s upcoming Sonic and the Black Knight title for Wii was being showcased, Eurogamer managed to grasp a video interview with Tetsu Katano, who is well known for his work on past achievements such as Sonic Adventure 1 & 2.

In the interview, Tetsu responds to feedback about recent Sonic game gimmicks, his awareness of the criticism and how they implemented into the game. When asked about returning to Sonic’s 2D gameplay, Tetsu let’s us know they do like to target the core Sonic users but it’s under discussion at the moment and he can’t say alot about it. A new game for the hardcore Sonic fans in development, perhaps?

Yuji Naka also had a look at the new game while he was at the event, and explains his feelings on the recent Sonic since he left Sonic Team. Naka-san explains how he is happy to be free to work on new projects now he doesn’t have to work so hard on Sonic. He sees today’s Sonic as one that is breaking out of the mould he made and taking a new direction, and hopes this will be one the fans can enjoy.

You can check out the video interviews here. Yuji Naka on let’s Tap: 0:00-06:09, Tetsu Katano: 6:10 and shortly afterwards Yuji Naka’s thoughts on recent Sonic.

What are your oppinion’s on these statements? Do you like Sonic’s recent direction? Is the TSS front page getting too clogged up with Yuji Naka love? Let us know in the comments.

Rumour: 4Chan’s ‘Wentos’ Hints At Future Sonic Team Plans

wentosthreadimageThe SSMB Forums have brought to light a discussion that has recently taken place on popular imageboard 4chan. In it, an anonymous tipster called “Wentos the Travelling Salesman” has hinted at details that could be included in the next major Sonic title. Click the image on the left there to give it a good read.

Claiming that he knows a few people in the Localisation department of SEGA, it appears he has been privvy to Hashimoto’s desire to create the perfect Sonic game, as he tells captivated posters on the imageboard that the current Sonic Team is built of old school fans fresh out of college. It is suggested that the new team will handle the series for some time yet. “Wentos” also let slip on the conclusion to the reaction of Unleashed;

“The next Sonic will be just Sonic with optional characters in the sense that they were optional back in Sonic 2 and 3; the levels will be in the style of Unleashed daytime levels, though there will be an increased focus on careful platforming to replace what the Werehog strived for.”

Having said that, it was then suggested that an announcement on this project is unlikely to happen for some time. Dubious 4chan readers were challenged to archive the thread and see if the crystal ball-gazing was in fact on the money. “Wentos” then wrote some development information regarding Sonic Unleashed, and how the Wii version was specifically made to recoup the losses of the intentionally superior Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 releases. Continue reading Rumour: 4Chan’s ‘Wentos’ Hints At Future Sonic Team Plans

The Crossfire: Take A Break, Sonic

Happy New Year, Happy New Crossfire. I finally have something to talk about that is not a repeat of 100 threads on the first page of the Sonic the Hedgehog forum on the SSMB. Let’s get on with it.

GiantBomb.com, a site founded by former GameSpot employees, were handing out “Game of the Year” awards this past week, as so many gaming websites do. To differentiate themselves from the thousands of wanks telling people what their favorite games were, Giant Bomb added some entertaining joke awards and dubious honors. One such dubious honor was the “Take A Break” award, where a particular franchise should lay low for a while for it being over-saturated, of poor quality, or all of the above. Well, Sonic is once again the butt of everybody’s joke:

2008 continued the trend of Sega producing bad Sonic the Hedgehog games. It’s a trend that’s been ongoing since, well, depending on your perspective, you could claim it went all the way back to the Genesis. Personally, we pin Sonic’s continuing failure to please on polygons, and the gameplay’s failure to stay true to the series’ high-speed roots. There’s only one problem: Sonic Unleashed has moments that attempt to stick to what Sonic does best–running too fast for you to do anything other than watch–and it’s totally boring.

Aside from a few handheld outings, the franchise has been a mess since Sonic & Knuckles. Perhaps instead of continuing to bash their head against the hedgehog year in and year out, the folks at Sega should take a few huge steps back, take a break, and figure out a new direction. Because it’s become pretty obvious that what they’re doing now isn’t working.

With that said, would a break actually help the franchise or does it really matter how much time there is between games? Can a break put an end to THE ALL-KNOWING CYCLE?! Bring on my personal viewpoints already… Continue reading The Crossfire: Take A Break, Sonic

SEGA giving away Sonic Team Wii

Remember the blue Sonic Team branded SEGA Dreamcast released in Japan back in the day? Svend managed to grab the blue VMU that went with it but has yet to get the console rarity. It’s something he incessantly mutters when he strolls into TSS Towers.

SEGA Germany is launching a contest to co-incide with the launch of Sonic and the Secret Rings over there, and the prizes are enough to trigger a fatal relapse. Open to German fans and extended to visitors of SEGA Europe’s official Sonic City Blognik, one lucky fan could win a Nintendo Wii decorated with the Sonic Team logo! Continue reading SEGA giving away Sonic Team Wii

SoS and NextGen Goodness!

After sending an email to SEGA Europe, with a generic 6 question list, =TSS= founder Svend Joscelyne (AKA Dreadknux) recieved a response – but what he wasn’t expecting was who replied to it — Masahiro Kumono and Shun Nakamura; project leaders for the upcoming game “Sonic the Hedgehog,” scheduled for release on the PS3 and X-Box 360 later this year.

The two Sega representatives revealed exclusively to TSS details about the new Sonic game, one in particular being that Amy Rose — Sonic’s self proclaimed fiance (the nerve, eh? =P) — will indeed have an appearance, stifling all the rumors of a supposed love interest between Sonic and the new “Princess Elise” character, who will have a vital role in the plot of the new Sonic title. Continue reading SoS and NextGen Goodness!

Sonic 2006: Amy A Possibility

The Summer of Sonic website, a massive official fan-project led by The Sonic Stadium, has gained information that seems to confirm that Amy Rose is set to make an appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog for PS3 and XBOX 360.

In responding to a small set of Q&A questions exclusively for the Summer of Sonic website, arranged by SEGA Europe and TSS, producer Masahiro Kumono (also the new Head of Sonic Team since Yuji Naka’s departure) and director Shun Nakamura briefly stated their feelings for the Sonic franchise and where they see it heading after 15 years of popularity.

When asked what Sonic character was their favourite, Kumono-san stated that Amy was a preference, saying that “I like Amy, who appears as an amigo [friend/support] character in this title [Sonic 2006]. She has that same active personality, which build up the story as well as the game.Continue reading Sonic 2006: Amy A Possibility

Sonic 2006 wins Gamespot peoples choice award

Congratulations are in order for Sonic Team as the fandom rejoices at the apparent return to form for the 2006 Sonic game aptly named Sonic the Hedgehog (working title). Apparently this is not just a mentality shared by the fans, because the many game journalist that attended the E3 show were more than optimistic for the spiky ones first next generation outing.

The popular game site Gamespot held a vote, called E3 2006 Peoples Choice Winner, whereby its members were able to vote for their favourite game from a wide selection of those showcased during E3. In total 20 games were voted hottest in show, although none were ranked in terms of the number of votes. Sonic made it into the line-up winning the members of Sonic Team a celebratory hamper which they were keen to show off on Sonic Channels staff column and its E3 article. Continue reading Sonic 2006 wins Gamespot peoples choice award

Wii me and PS3

There’s been a mixing pot of Sonic news lately, none of which has been deserving of a full-blown article, which is why Sonic News has rounded them up into handy little news reports.

SEGA’s FPS a phantom of it’s former self?

In Japan there have been rumours suggesting that, due impart to an absences from E3, Fifth Phantom Saga (developed by Sonic Team) for the PS3 had been canned. HarihariSonic of Japanese Sonic fan site Act Select quelled these rumours by revealing SEGA were still listing the game down on its products page of their Japanese site.

For anybody interested in Fifth Phantom Saga you can visit the official Japanese site here: Fifth Phantom Saga

Sonic Wild Fire E3 demonstration

Gamespot has a video of the Sonic Wild Fire demonstration members of the press were show during E3 available to download for registered members here. Continue reading Wii me and PS3

E3 2006: SEGA annouce Sonic Wild Fire for Wii

SEGA have dropped the bomb again with their announcement earlier today of yet another new Sonic title, Sonic Wild Fire for the Nintendo Wii. SEGA currently have not released any screens or media other than the below image of Sonic holding a Wii-mote, but have been rather generous with story and gameplay details. Continue reading E3 2006: SEGA annouce Sonic Wild Fire for Wii

Yuji Naka quits to work in a restaurant

Earlier this month Sonic News reported that Yuji Naka (often attributed to the creation of the Sonic franchise) was to leave SEGA and form his own development studio. While some of the rumours surrounding Naka’s resignation have been confirmed, he will not however be leaving SEGA to setup his own development studio, instead he plans to persue a career in the catering business. Naka has used his available finances to setup a Japanese Tea House.

Yumeshiya, as his restaurant is known, sells a variety of dishes, which unfortunately I’m unable to name as I don’t speak Japanese. However if you’re ever in Japan and fancy some Miso Soup and rice then Yumeshiya is the place to go.

yumeshiya_naka2

Yuji Naka to leave SEGA?

Just minutes ago news has broken (VIA a next-gen.biz update) that Yuji Naka, head of Sonic Team throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog series, is planning to leave SEGA/Sonic Team shortly. Details are uncertain at this point, however it is understood Naka will be forming new game development studio, which according to rumours, will still be in alliance with SEGA.

Further details are still yet to be revealed, but stay with SONIC NEWS to find out as it breaks.