25 Years of NiGHTS (Part 1)

The History

Yuji Naka (left) & Naoto Oshima (right) during NiGHTS’ development

It all began on a plane ride.

Yuji Naka was traveling between America and Japan constantly to oversee Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s development. All that time spent in the air made him want to make a game about flight. Though the idea had its roots in 1992, it wouldn’t be until after Sonic & Knuckles’ completion in late 1994 that they were able to begin development for it on SEGA’s newly released SEGA Saturn.

Sonic Team’s primary goal with NiGHTS was to get away from Sonic. They wanted a long break from the character, and desired to create something new that “contradicted” what Sonic was. Early in development, they explored military themes, before eventually setting the game in a dream world.

NiGHTS into Dreams had various influences. Its character design pulled from circus characters, and was inspired by Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystére” show in particular, which Naka saw multiple times during his many trips to America. Sonic Team also did a lot of research into dream studies, as well as the work of psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Friedrich Holtz. Jung in particular was an influence, with ideas such as his “dream archetypes” and “animus and anima” becoming central to the game. Jung’s ideas are too large for the scope of this article, but Naka does briefly touch on these elements in an interview with TRiPPY, owner of the fan site nightsintodreams.com.

The Release

NiGHTS into Dreams released in Japan on July 5, 1996, with releases following in the US on August 20 and in Europe on October 7. In the US, its release was accompanied by a $10 million advertising campaign, with the usual ads one might expect from SEGA in the 90s. Many copies of the game were sold with the SEGA Saturn 3D controller, which was developed alongside the game because Sonic Team felt the standard Saturn controller with its digital pad wasn’t accurate enough for the game. Some US copies also came with a free pillow as a pre-order bonus!

 Overall, the game was a success, at least by the standards of the SEGA Saturn. It was the system’s best selling game in Japan for 1996, selling 392,000 units. In the US, it was the system’s second best selling game of all time (in terms of dollar sales), second only to Madden ’97. The game was well received by critics, and currently holds an 89% average on GameRankings. It received praise for its visuals, soundtrack, and fluid flight game play, though did receive some criticism for its graphical pop-in and not being “full 3D” like Super Mario 64.

The World

So, we’ve gone over the game’s development and release, but the question remains for anyone unfamiliar with the game: what exactly is NiGHTS? Let’s go over that!

The title character, NiGHTS, is an androgynous being created by the game’s villain, Wizeman the Wicked. Wizeman rules the dimension known as Nightmare. He wishes to destroy Nightopia, the world of dreams, and steal the ideya (human dream energy) of dreamers in order to gather energy and open a portal to the waking world. To carry this out, he created the Nightmarens, with NiGHTS and Reala being his most powerful. But while Reala served dutifully, NiGHTS was mischievous and didn’t like taking orders or agree with Wizeman’s plans, so they rebelled. Wizeman captured NiGHTS, and imprisoned them in a structure called an ideya palace.

Notably, NiGHTS was created specifically by Sonic Team to be genderless, though he/him pronouns have historically been used. The game’s director, Takashi Iizuka, says NiGHTS’ gender is up to the player to interpret, so we’ll be using they/them for this article.

In addition to NIGHTS, the game also stars two children, Claris and Elliot. They’re having nightmares over recent real life fears, and suddenly find themselves in Nightopia, where all their ideya, save for their red ideya of courage, are stolen. This is when they meet NiGHTS, trapped inside the ideya palace. Thanks to the red ideya, which only Claris and Elliot possess, they are able to enter the ideya palace and merge with NiGHTS, freeing them for a limited time. The two children then work with NiGHTS to get their ideya back and defeat the nightmaren boss of each world.

The Game

I’ve seen people call NiGHTS everything from a platformer to a flight game, but anyone going in with those expectations will probably be confused. NIGHTS into Dreams is a essentially a side-scrolling score-attack collectathon.  Each level in NiGHTS has four courses (or “mares”), each of which have an ideya to collect from something called an “ideya capture.”

To get the ideya, NiGHTS must collect 20 blue chips, fly into the ideya capture to destroy it, and then bring the ideya back to the ideya palace, which serves as the start and end of each course. Each ideya must be collected within two minutes. If the player runs out of time, NiGHTS is sent back to the ideya palace and the kid must make it back there on their own. If they are caught by the alarm egg, a large floating clock, they get a game over. Once each ideya is collected, NiGHTS then faces the level boss, which also has a two minute timer. To deal with bosses as well as smaller enemies, NiGHTS has two attacks: the drill dash and the paraloop. The drill dash sends NiGHTS drilling into enemies, while the paraloop has NiGHTS flying around an enemy and forming a “loop” with the sparkles that trail them, destroying any smaller enemies caught inside and damaging bosses.

But there’s more to this game than just gathering the ideya and killing enemies. As I said before, NiGHTS is also a score attack game. Doing the bare minimum won’t even be enough to complete the game, since players need a grade of C in all six levels to unlock the seventh level. To do that, one must understand the game’s scoring system.

Nearly everything in this game contributes to player score. Collecting blue chips, flying through rings, killing enemies, and pulling off trick combos after flying through a power ring will all get you points. You can start “links” by linking the collecting of blue chips and rings together, though you have to be fast as links are broken if NiGHTS goes a few seconds without collecting either. Destroying ideya captures quickly also nets NiGHTS a heap of points, though it is after this that the real scoring starts. 

To get high scores in this game, players need to lap a course repeatedly after getting the ideya, netting every point possible until the very last second. Run out of time, and players not only lose NiGHTS, but all of their points, typically leaving them with an F grade for the course. This lends the system a certain risk/reward quality. For people like myself, this is where the game really shines.

Alongside all of this, the game also features an “a-life” system, which is essentially a precursor to chao. All of the levels in NiGHTS are populated by friendly Nightopians, who can be interacted with in limited ways. Both NiGHTS and the kids can hatch them from eggs, and NiGHTS can also hurt them with a drill dash or kill them with a paraloop. Obviously, hurting or killing them will make them fearful or angry with NiGHTS. Meanwhile, killing Nightmarens and hatching eggs will make them happy, causing them to reproduce and increase their population. Aside from giving them different behaviors, this system also changes the in-game music, which changes based on their mood. There are also some special kinds of Nightopians.

Nightopian/Nightmaren hybrids called “Mepians” can also be created when Nightmarens are knocked into Nightopians by NiGHTS. This is very hard to do on purpose, so the couple I’ve created over the years (one of which is in the above gallery) were created by accident. These Mepians will also breed, creating other Mepians as well as, eventually, King Pians (pictured above). King Pians appear purely by chance, and will construct a permanent castle within the level once created. They’ll also attack Nightmarens and any Mepians that attack Nightopians. Overall, a fairly complex system for what can effectively just be background creatures!

The Aftermath

The NiGHTS storybook.

After its release, NiGHTS did stick around as a SEGA IP for a time. The franchise received a now-rare line of plushies, which were distributed exclusively in SEGA’s UFO Catchers, as well as a line of keychain plushies. In December of 1996, a NiGHTS story book was published exclusively in Japan, and in late 1997 the game received a six-issue series from Archie Comics featuring art from Patrick Spaziente.

The most notable NiGHTS thing to come in this period, however, was Christmas NiGHTS. Given away for free as a “sampler,” it’s probably one of the most elaborate demo discs ever made. The demo implemented a cut idea from the main game: time activated events. During most of the year, the game is just a vanilla demo of a single level, Spring Valley, but come November 26 it transforms into a Christmas-themed sequel to the original game.

Cover art for the PAL release of Christmas NiGHTS

Christmas NiGHTS has narrated opening and closing cutscenes, fully reskins Spring Valley into a Christmas level, introduces brand new courses in that level, and is full of presents that can be unlocked throughout the Christmas season. Everything from playable Sonic to a score attack mode to karaoke can be unlocked, as well as loads of game art and photos of merchandise. Outside of the Christmas season, it also includes winter skins for Claris and Elliot from November through to February, playable Reala on April 1, and other minor differences in the level for certain holidays.

Despite its success, Sonic Team did not immediately begin working on a sequel. Instead, they began work on another game that utilized a more advanced version of the NiGHTS engine: Burning Rangers. After finishing that game, Sonic Team would also begin developing what would eventually become Sonic Adventure. At one point, they did begin work on “Air NiGHTS,” a potential NiGHTS sequel for the Dreamcast that would have utilized motion controls, but nothing ever came of it.

Burning Rangers was released in early 1998

What came next for NiGHTS? Head over to part 2 of this article to find out.

Exclusive Interview: Takashi Iizuka Talks Colours, Origins, 2022 and Sonic’s Legacy

There is perhaps nobody more eager or proud to be wishing Sonic the Hedgehog a happy 30th birthday than Takashi Iizuka. Having been deeply involved with the franchise since Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the Sonic Team leader’s hands have touched every single era of the blue blur’s legacy. From designing stages for the Mega Drive classics, to directing fan favourites like Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, to producing the fine-tuned boost-era titles Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations – he’s seen it all.

Continue reading Exclusive Interview: Takashi Iizuka Talks Colours, Origins, 2022 and Sonic’s Legacy

Exclusive: Sonic Origins “Won’t Be Running Off Emulation,” More Classic Sonic Games May Be Remastered

Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has confirmed to The Sonic Stadium that the recently-announced Mega Drive/Genesis classics compilation, Sonic Origins, won’t be a simple emulation job – opening up the possibility for games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles to include reworked visuals and gameplay features.

Continue reading Exclusive: Sonic Origins “Won’t Be Running Off Emulation,” More Classic Sonic Games May Be Remastered

Exclusive: Takashi Iizuka Hopes 2022 Sonic Game Will Lay Foundation For Future Titles

Takashi Iizuka has revealed that his goal with the 2022 Sonic game is to create a landmark title in the franchise that will lay the foundation for future titles – much like Sonic Adventure did 20 years before it.

Continue reading Exclusive: Takashi Iizuka Hopes 2022 Sonic Game Will Lay Foundation For Future Titles

SEGA CCO Talks Utilizing New Gameplay Styles for Sonic

During a Tokyo Game Show Stream, SEGA Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi said a few things about the future of the Sonic franchise. First, he confirmed the obvious: that we’ll continue to get mainline Sonic titles, as well as spin-offs like Team Sonic Racing, in the future. He then went on to talk about recent trends like online gaming, and went on to say that he hopes we’ll look forward to “recent, new gameplay styles in future Sonic games.”

At the moment, we don’t really know what any of that means, aside from the possibility that they are exploring bringing Sonic to other genres that are popular right now. This isn’t the first time someone at SEGA expressed an interest in bringing Sonic into new genres, as Takashi Iizuka said something similar last year. Regarding e-sports specifically, Iizuka did not think the Sonic franchise was suitable for it.

The stream was translated by Twitter user @inazumag11 for Sam Procrastinates. For the original Twitter thread and a clip of the TGS stream, go here.

As we approach Sonic’s 30th anniversary, we should start to get much more concrete info on what SEGA has planned. Stay tuned to Sonic Stadium for all the latest!

Sonic Team Will “Take Good Care” of 2D and 3D Sonic In The Future

If you were the least bit worried about Modern Sonic being tossed aside for Classic Sonic or vice versa, you can lay those fears to rest. According to Sonic Team leader Takashi Iizuka, neither are going anywhere, and both will be “taken care of.”

Continue reading Sonic Team Will “Take Good Care” of 2D and 3D Sonic In The Future

Takashi Iizuka Hopes He Can “Meet Fans’ Desires” For Sonic 30th Anniversary

Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka wants to make you happy. The guy is clearly working flat out to deliver whatever projects SEGA has in store for Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th Anniversary, and in a new interview he’s not shy about his intention to to satisfy every fan out there.  Continue reading Takashi Iizuka Hopes He Can “Meet Fans’ Desires” For Sonic 30th Anniversary

Takashi Iizuka to be Featured in Next Week’s Sonic 2020 Stream

So far, SEGA Japan’s Sonic 2020 streams have been rather uneventful, mostly focusing on merchandise for the Japanese market. While that probably won’t be changing with next week’s episode, it will be the first to feature Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. Continue reading Takashi Iizuka to be Featured in Next Week’s Sonic 2020 Stream

Sonic Talk 62: Copyrights, Shmopyrights

Forgive the lateness of our podcast as we recorded this one a few weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s not chock full of Sonic-ey goodness! In this episode we discuss Jason’s trip to E3, the fan revival of Sonic Runners, Sonic Revolution 2019, Funko Pop Sonic cereal, an unofficial Sonic book that uses fanmade images and much, much more. Because hey, who needs copyrights when you can just slap a bunch of images together, right?

Special Note: We used the cover from the plagiarized Carlton Sonic book for this month’s podcast image. That render on that plagiarized book was created by Deviant Art user FinnAkira, and you can find it here.



Download it here. 

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Iizuka: 2021 Will Be A Big Year For Sonic, Drop-Dash Will Be A Mainstay

In an interview with Game Informer, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka made some exciting comments regarding the future of Sonic, particularly regarding the upcoming 30th anniversary, as well as some other details about the series!

Continue reading Iizuka: 2021 Will Be A Big Year For Sonic, Drop-Dash Will Be A Mainstay

Iizuka wants to take on “a new challenge” for Sonic’s 30th anniversary, might consider bringing Sonic to eSports

In a recent interview with Japanese gaming website 4Gamer, Takashi Iizuka, the head of Sonic Team, answered some questions regarding Sonic’s future. The following excerpts from that interview were translated by Nintendo Everything.

When asked about Sonic’s upcoming 30th anniversary in 2021, Iizuka said that “planning would need to begin now,” and that he’d “really like for us to take on some sort of new challenge for it though.”

On the subject of Sonic in eSports, Iizuka was ambivalent, saying that because Sonic is primarily an action platformer, going into eSports “might not be feasible.” However, he did express a willingness to take on new genre challenges, bringing up the recently released Team Sonic Racing as an example. He indicated that “there’s always the chance that something suited to eSports might come out of those different projects.” The Sonic franchise is no stranger to spin-offs in other genres, so it would appear that an eSports focused Sonic spin-off is at least a possibility, albeit a remote one.

While this likely has nothing to do with Sonic’s still-far-off 30th anniversary, Iizuka did confirm that a new 3D Sonic title was in development earlier this year at SXSW’s Sonic panel.

TSS Preview: Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020

TSS was given the opportunity at E3 to get a first hands-on look at the Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 mobile title, set for release to coincide with the event next year, and although this date is still some time away, we were permitted to play a few rounds on an early demo of the game! Continue reading TSS Preview: Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020

TSS Interview: Takashi Iizuka Hints At Dodon Pa’s Return as ‘Master of Ceremonies’

Team Sonic Racing is officially out tomorrow, and everyone is super-excited to get behind the wheel with the blue blur once again. But perhaps the person most excited about the game’s release is Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka, who will now get to fully enjoy playing multiplayer kart racing games with his son. Continue reading TSS Interview: Takashi Iizuka Hints At Dodon Pa’s Return as ‘Master of Ceremonies’

Takashi Iizuka is Really Interested in Remaking Sonic Adventure

Speaking with Retro Gamer magazine in their newest issue featuring a making of Sonic Adventure feature as teased before, Sonic Team’s boss Takashi Iizuka, who also directed Sonic Adventure (as well as Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, and Shadow the Hedgehog), said the following:

Continue reading Takashi Iizuka is Really Interested in Remaking Sonic Adventure

Happy 20th Birthday Sonic Adventure!

Sonic Adventure celebrates it’s 20th anniversary today after hitting screens in Japan way back in 1998.

We take a look back at what made this game one of the most enduring Sonic the Hedgehog titles, and why SA1 was such a trailblazing title in not only the series, but in video game history.

The Hype

SEGA of the 90’s certainly knew how to pull out all of the stops when it came to generating a buzz around the next Sonic game, and the anticipation of what was in store brought kids and grown-ups alike to fever pitch…and the announcement of Sonic Adventure was no different.

On the 22nd of August 1998, a few thousand lucky punters were invited to attend the first presentation of Sonic Adventure at the Tokyo International Forum – an event that was luckily recorded for posterity (which you can watch below). The first foray into the world of 128-bit high speed action was introduced by Yuji Naka, entering the stage in Rock star fashion by emerging from a balloon to a face-melting guitar riff.

The event also showcased a “Making of Sonic Adventure” semi-documentary presented in a light-hearted manor, in which Sonic Team embarked on a fact-finding trip to central America to visit the Tulum Ruins, the Caribbean Sea, the Tikal Ruins of Guatemala, and Machu Pichu amongst other locations – all of which influenced stages in the game.

Some members of the Team even became ill on their research trip from altitude sickness – talk about dedication to the cause!

The design

Sonic has undergone several redesigns in his 27 ½ year history (we won’t mention the most recent!), but most fans regard the Sonic Adventure iteration of the neon protagonists to be one of the most successful. Characters traded their pot-bellies in for coloured irises and longer limbs, allowing for some incredibly elastic posturing that would become Yuji Uekawa’s instantly recognisable stylisation which remains the norm for modern Sonic artwork to this day. While the classic design of Sonic has since been translated to 3D, the modern Sonic style allowed for a much easier transition to the medium.

Dr Eggman was given a particularly significant redesign, along with both western and eastern franchises aligning on the Japanese name (although Robotnik would be kept as the name for his grandfather in the sequel).

The story mode

Story was not an element that featured heavily in Sonic the Hedgehog games until Sonic Adventure; in fact, one of the initial ideas while the game was on the development bench was to in fact create a Sonic RPG. For Sonic Adventure to include cut scenes and a narrative was a significant change to the game, and novel in that it in itself was derived from the intertwining stories of six different protagonists (one in fact executed in very few other video games at the time).

The seventh and final story in the game, and the true conclusion only accessible once all six main stories were completed, crescendos in the final showdown with Chaos with the player taking the controls of Super Sonic – something undoubtedly cemented as one of the most memorable video game conclusions for many Sonic fans.

Sonic Adventure was also the first Sonic the hedgehog game to include voice acting (besides SEGASonic Arcade) – and while the jury might still be out on the quality of the dialogue, SA1 is definitely one of the most quotable!

The soundtrack

Hum the Green Hill Zone theme and just about any video game fan will tell you that its from a Sonic game – indeed, the soundtrack has always been a core component of what makes a Sonic game so, well, Sonical!

While Sonic Adventure is not the first video game to include vocal tracks (Sonic CD was doing that five years before) it is one of the first to have a fully-fledged album-like feel, complete with a swathe of character themes and a main anthem Open Your Heart, performed Crush 40, that is unparalleled in magnitude. The intro FMV undoubtedly still brings goose bumps to many!

The shift to a rock-centric soundtrack, a decision made by first-time Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue, was a bold move; the music for the original trinity of Sonic games were after all composed by Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True (and most likely Michael Jackson), resulting in a prolific pop influence. However, the move would prove highly successful and would be followed up with the equally popular Live & Learn in the sequel.

The magic of the soundtrack however derives from a brilliant use of multiple genres – rock, pop, rap, electronic, and jazz to name a few all feature throughout.

The game’s soundtrack has endured long enough that it has been celebrated since with the Sonic Adventure Music Experience, which saw Senoue-san and company re-record and perform key songs from the game and its sequel.

DLC

The Dreamcast was the very first games console to provide a connection to the internet as standard, and as such, Sonic Adventure is the very first game in history to include downloadable content! This came in the form of the Sonic Adventure Christmas download, which was only available for the first few days of release (it was no longer available after Christmas day). While this content only included Christmas trees in station square which played played music and gave a seasonal message when interacted with, it was another example of how SEGA and Sonic games were well ahead of the curb.

Happy birthday Sonic Adventure!

What makes Sonic Adventure special to you? Let us know in the comments!

 

Takashi Iizuka: Without Sonic Mania, Ray and Mighty “Would Never See Light of Day” Again

In a new interview with Famitsu, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka revealed some interesting details about how long-lost Sonic characters Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Squirrel managed to make their way into Sonic Mania Plus. While he was happy and excited to be able to bring the two heroes back, he was certain that the door on their return to the series was otherwise closed. Continue reading Takashi Iizuka: Without Sonic Mania, Ray and Mighty “Would Never See Light of Day” Again

Takashi Iizuka and Tyson Hesse to Star in SXSW 2018 Sonic Panel

If you were planning on going to South by Southwest this year, you’re in luck: SEGA is returning to the event with another Sonic panel. Gotta Go Fast: The Official Sonic the Hedgehog Panel, will feature several prominent behind the Sonic the Hedgehog brand, including Sonic Team Head Takashi Iizuka, Sonic Social Media Manager Aaron Webber, Sonic Western Product Development Director Austin Keys, and Sonic comic artist/Sonic Mania Animation Director Tyson Hesse. Continue reading Takashi Iizuka and Tyson Hesse to Star in SXSW 2018 Sonic Panel

TSS Review: Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 Soundtrack Vinyl Editions

During this period of vinyl resurgence, it is great to see seminal Sonic the Hedgehog soundtracks are receiving LP incarnations, and as such, following on from 2017’s Sonic Mania vinyl soundtrack released through Data-Discs, Japanese record label Brave Wave have produced both Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic Adventure 2 soundtracks in 12″ vinyl format. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 Soundtrack Vinyl Editions

Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 Soundtracks To Be Released On Vinyl Record

Sonic music aficionados, get excited! Record label Brave Wave have announced that they will be collaborating with SEGA in order to produce both the SONIC ADVENTURE and SONIC ADVENTURE 2 soundtracks in vinyl format.

The albums will each contain a selection of songs from both games, each coming complete with two 180 gram records (in either a special edition blue / white or blue / red for SA1 and SA2 respectively, or a standard black edition), and will include a booklet containing “a reflective interview with Jun Senoue and head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka” in addition to song lyrics and artwork (track listing below).

While no pricing or release date has been announced, Brave Wave expect the albums to see a release this winter.

Stay tuned to TSS for more information on these releases as they come!

SONIC ADVENTURE VINYL SOUNDTRACK LISTING

Side-A
A1. Introduction …featuring “Open Your Heart”
A2. It Doesn’t Matter …Theme of “SONIC”
A3. Welcome to Station Square
A4. Azure Blue World …for Emerald Coast
A5. Run Through The Speed Highway …for Speed Highway
A6. Pleasure Castle …for Twinkle Park

Side-B
B1. Believe In Myself …Theme of “MILES”
B2. Be Cool, Be Wild and Be Groovy …for Ice Cap
B3. Theme of “Dr. EGGMAN”
B4. Mt. Red: a Symbol of Thrill …for Red Mountain
B5. Blue Star …for Casinopolis
B6. Lazy Days ~Livin’ in Paradise~ …Theme of “BIG”

Side-C
C1. My Sweet Passion …Theme of “AMY”
C2. Mystic Ruin
C3. Theme of “TIKAL”
C4. Unknown from M.E. …Theme of “KNUCKLES”
C5. Theme of “CHAO”

Side-D
D1. Bad Taste Aquarium …for Hot Shelter
D2. Egg Carrier – A Song That Keeps Us On The Move
D3. Skydeck A Go! Go! …for Sky Deck
D4. Theme of “E-102γ”
D5. Open Your Heart …Main Theme of “SONIC ADVENTURE”

SONIC ADVENTURE VINYL SOUNDTRACK LISTING:

Side-A
A1. SA2 …Main Riff for “Sonic Adventure 2”
A2. It Doesn’t Matter …Theme of “SONIC”
A3. Event: Let’s Make It!
A4. Escape From The City …for City Escape
A5. That’s The Way I Like It …for Metal Harbor
A6. Won’t Stop, Just Go! …for Green Forest
A7. Live & Learn …Main Theme of “SONIC ADVENTURE 2”

Side-B
B1. Unknown from M.E. …Theme of “KNUCKLES”
B2. A Ghost’s Pumpkin Soup …for Pumpkin Hill
B3. Dive Into The Mellow …for Aquatic Mine
B4. Believe In Myself …Theme of “MILES”
B5. This Way Out …for Prison Lane

Side-C
C1. Throw It All Away …Theme of “SHADOW”
C2. Vengeance Is Mine …for Radical Highway
C3. Rhythm And Balance …for White Jungle
C4. The Supernatural …for Final Chase
C5. For True Story …for Sonic vs. Shadow
C6. Supporting Me …for Biolizard

Side-D
D1. Fly In The Freedom …Theme of “ROUGE”
D2. Lovely Gate 3 …for Egg Quarters
D3. I’m A Spy …for Security Hall
D4. E.G.G.M.A.N. …Theme of “Dr. EGGMAN”
D5. Soarin’ Over The Space …for Cosmic Wall

 

SDCC Sonic Mania Panel Roundup & Special Stage Reveal

San Diego Comic Con played host to the Sonic Mania Development team yesterday, in a panel that included Takashi Iizuka, programmers Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley, alongside lead artist Tom Fry, composer Tee Lopes and SEGA community manager Aaron Webber. Our man in the field Jason Berry was at the panel, and captured the events as they happened via The Sonic Stadium Twitter. Continue reading SDCC Sonic Mania Panel Roundup & Special Stage Reveal

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice and SEGA 3D Archives 3: Final Stage Will Both Be at Tokyo Game Show 2016

This year’s Tokyo Game Show kicks off on September 15th, and with it will come plenty of big reveals from some of the industry’s biggest developers and publishing giants, as well as over 200,000 people expected to be on the show floor to try out upcoming titles.

SEGA will be attending the event with livestreams going on throughout the show, showing off the likes of Yakuza 6, Persona 5, and the new Puyo Puyo Chronicle among other wares. The latest SEGA 3D Classics compilation title from M2, SEGA 3D Fukkoku Archives 3: Final Stage, and Sanzaru Games’ Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice will also be present, complete with new gameplay footage and a live stage event featuring special guests like M2 President Naoki Horii and Sonic series director Takashi Iizuka respectively.

Check out SEGA’s complete TGS 2016 schedule below!

Continue reading Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice and SEGA 3D Archives 3: Final Stage Will Both Be at Tokyo Game Show 2016

Yuji Naka wishes to pitch Mario & Sonic action game to Takashi Iizuka

Just recently, Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima spoke with the Japanese magazine Famitsu, and commented on the origins of the Mario & Sonic series, as well as Sonic joining Super Smash Bros. Brawl. But Yuji Naka also said that he wishes to give another presentation to Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka about a potential Mario & Sonic action game. See the quote below.

Continue reading Yuji Naka wishes to pitch Mario & Sonic action game to Takashi Iizuka

Takashi Iizuka Is In The U.S. To Oversee New Sonic Games

Well… many suspected that there might be more to Mr Iizuka’s trip to the US than just the SXSW panel, and it seems you were right. The head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka is in Sega of America right now, and according to Gamasutra, he’s there overseeing development on new Sonic games. Continue reading Takashi Iizuka Is In The U.S. To Oversee New Sonic Games

Sonic Adventure Music Event and more announced at the Sonic Appreciation Festival 2015

Sonic Appreciation Festival

As reported earlier, in Japan a Sonic fan event called the Sonic Appreciation Festival just took place and recently wrapped up. Special guests included series producer Takashi Iizuka, character artist and designer Yuji Uekawa, and composers Jun Senoue and Tomoya Ohtani. In the event, several announcements were made, while not of a new game, were still notable.

First and possibly most notable is the announcement of an upcoming concert called the Sonic Adventure Music Festival, which will be held on April 2nd, 2016 at the Future Seven venue in Japan.

Another announcement was that Jun Senoue is working on a new album called “The Works II”. This will be released on February 24th, 2016 in Japan.

A third announcement was that Sega will be holding another concert called the Symphony Sega Concert, which will be held on July 17th, 2016 in Japan also.

Finally on a minor note, it’s been reconfirmed that Sticks and the Deadly Six will be featured in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which is also reconfirmed to launch on 3DS again on February 18th, 2016 in Japan. The Arcade version was also shown off but no info has surfaced, if anything new was shared of that version in particular. And once again there was no word of the Wii U version.

TSSZ has rounded up lots of pictures from the event right here.

I wish to thank SSF1991 aka Donnie at TSSZ, Sonic News Channel and BlueParadox on twitter, and Woun on our own forum for rounding up and delivering the announcement on their respective sites.

Japanese Sonic Fan event to take place at JOYPOLIS, Tokyo

271215eventJapanese Sonic the Hedgehog fans will once again be treated to another Sonic fan event, due to take place at the SEGA JOYPOLIS theme park in Odaiba, Tokyo on Sunday, 27th of December, 2015.

The event, similar to those that have taken place at this venue in the past, will include appearances from Takashi Iizuka, Yuji Uekawa, Tomoya Ohtani and Jun Senoue, and a musical performance. For the first time, a cosplay contest will take place, which will require entrants to submit their photo applications prior to the event in order to be selected for the finals which will take place on stage at the event.

Are you going to Japan in December and are you planning on attending the event? Let us know in the comments!

A Day Out at SONIC FEST 2014

In June I had an opportunity to complete the set of SEGA-affiliated fan events and attend SONIC FEST 2014, SEGA of Japan’s answer to Sonic Boom and Summer of Sonic at SEGA’s Tokyo theme park, JOYPOLIS. SONICFEST this year was also a celebration of Sonic’s golden birthday (the birthday for which the age in years matches the date of the month of birth) which is a big deal in eastern culture. Although I’ve had a lot of contact with fans based in the Europe and the US, I’ve not spoken to many Japanese fans; whether this is because there are fewer of them or because there is a language barrier, I was unsure. Suffice to say we arrived at the gates of JOYPOLIS on Daiba island, unsure what to expect in regards to both the order of the day and turnout.

Queue for Sonic Fest 2014I was pleased to see Japanese Sonic fans are just as enthusiastic as the rest! By the time we had arrived (about 45 minutes before doors opened), the queue was already down the boardwalk, heaving with fans dressed for the occasion, excitedly talking and greeting each other as the queue built. The first 200 fans through the door were given special individually numbered tickets, which allowed them access to the “golden circle” for the main stage event at SONICFEST (other fans could watch but from further back from the stage).

The park itself was open as usual on the day, albeit dressed a little more Sonic-themed than usual. In addition to these extras, the park recently underwent a large refurbishment, removing a lot of the old and outdated features and replacing them with attractions more akin to Sonic’s more modern appearance. A large portion of the first floor in the park is now an area known as the “Sonic Carnival”, an area dedicated to Sonic-centric games, as well as a very impressive Sonic statue, who exclaims various statements (in Japanese) when activated; fittingly, Sonic had been adorned in a crown and fur coat for the day. Several of the games are typical fairground affairs in which the most skilled players are rewarded for their efforts in the form of a lovely Sonic plush.

Sonic statue dressed up!Amongst the standard affair are three unique Sonic games. Sonic Athletics sees players take to treadmills, in order to compete in three track events including sprints, long jumps and hurdles. The players physically run on the treadmill, with the forward pressure applied dictating the velocity of the chosen character. Conversely, Sonic Brain Training requires competitors to flex their grey matter through a series of five of a possible ten games, involving memory, mathematics, fast reflexes and a keen understanding of Japanese! Players stand at podiums containing touch screens, and compete to score the highest each round. Those scoring above 1,000,000 were rewarded with a keepsake card to mark your achievement, with those exceeding 1,200,000 earning a special card (the latter being just out of the reaches of my abilities!). Children can also enjoy the Sonic Ghost Shooting game, where a small cart takes players around a small track while blasting Sonic Adventure 2 era ghosts with a gun.

JOYPOLIS storeFor the seasoned merchandise hunter, JOYPOLIS is heaven. The gift shop is filled with a huge range of current, generally available items, as well as a lot of exclusive pieces which can only be purchased at JOYPOLIS. More excitingly, the UFO machines had been especially stocked for one day only with the entire range of seasonal Sonic plushes, which included Surf Board and Water Melon Sonic (Summer exclusive), Halloween Vampire Sonic (Fall exclusive) and Santa Sonic (Winter exclusive). While some were easily obtained by unhooking a ring holding the plush in the catcher machine, others required you to destroy a load-bearing paper tie with a needle-like UFO arm – One Japanese fan pumped thousands of yen into a machine in order to obtain their prize!

For those feeling a little peckish, a special drink and chilidog combo was available, which came with a sticker to prove you’d devoured the foot-long. A limited edition range of sweets were on offer, including a special branded E-MA capsule which contained little cherry candies.

Iizuka-san introduces the main eventThe main event of the day was a 90 minute show on the main stage, hosted by a gentleman in a SEGA boiler suit [EDIT: The guy is called Sexy Saito! Good to know! Thanks to Shane for the info – T]. He was soon joined on stage by Takashi Iizuka, who introduced the trailer for Sonic Boom (branded as “Sonic Toon” for the eastern market), after which gameplay was demonstrated by Iizuka-san himself, Jun Senoue played a selection of Sonic songs accompanied by Sonic himself with fans accompanying by singing along. AiAi from Super Monkey ball made his presence known for the blowing out of the candles of Sonic’s birthday cake.

Iizuka-san then issued a challenge to the audience for three competitors to go head-to-head against at Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed, with participants receiving a goodie bag of Sonic goods. Amusingly, none of the challengers has the skill to beat Iizuka-san, who came in first in the race!

Posing for photos

Uekawa-san on stageYuji Uekawa, best known for his signature Sonic the hedgehog designs that have graced the franchise since the days of Sonic Adventure, also made a rare stage appearance at SONICFEST to talk to the fans during the show. Soon after, a raffle also took place on stage, with the numbers of the 200 golden circle audiences being drawn at random to receive a special prize. After several of these prizes had been amusingly “modeled” by Senoue-san, we were ecstatic to realise that one of our number had been drawn (The winner being Lewis from Segadriven)! Not only that, Uekawa-san also presented three hand-drawn original Sonic sketches, which were also given away to three lucky winners (unfortunately my number was not picked!)

After advertisements for several SEGA games, the stage events concluded, and fans were invited to a meet and greet session with Iizuka-san, Senoue-san and Uekawa-san, with an impressive range of rare Sonic items being brought out by fans for signing (Kieran also got an opportunity to present Uekawa-san with a hand drawn gift). Post-signing session, I had an opportunity to talk to some Japanese fans and take some photos; some of the hand-made items were incredible, and it was obvious to see that a lot of them were extremely passionate about Sonic. More impressively, we saw an attendee wearing a Summer of Sonic shirt! We also got to meet Act, one of the drummers from Crush 40’s live shows, who was also in attendance for the day.

IMG_2899SONIC FEST was a fantastic day out, and it is great to see that community events like this have also caught on in the east. Hopefully SONIC FEST will be a reoccurring event, and I implore you to go if you’re in Tokyo next year! JOYPOLIS is open all year round, with admission starting from ¥800 ($8 / £5) – you can find more information about the park on the English JOYPOLIS page.

Us at Sonic Fest!

 

The Sonic List: My favorite Sonic related moments

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Iizuka – “Why does that scary fat man keep following me?!” Jason “Hhhhiiiiiiiiiiiii.”

To be honest, if it wasn’t for Barry’s Weekly five list on Segabits, I probably wouldn’t have been inspired to do my own Sonic List column. Seeing how people comment and react to my opinions gives me a great feeling of pride (and sometimes shame). The first time I did one of these columns and saw all the replies, good or bad, it was one of my favorite Sonic related moments. That’s what today’s column is all about. My favorite moments in Sonic-dom. Weather it’s from a game, a cartoon or just part of my life. These are the moments that I remember back with great fondness. Click below and enjoy! Continue reading The Sonic List: My favorite Sonic related moments

SEGA Japan to Demo Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric in Livestream Event June 30th

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SEGA Japan has announced that they will be demoing some of their upcoming games via a livestream event over at NicoVideo Monday June 30th at 9pm JST (1pm BST). Among the games present will be Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for Wii U for its first public demonstration in Japan. Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka will also be on hand for a Q&A with viewers, so we may see some new details come to light. We’ll pass along any new media and information that comes out of the presentation.

Source: NicoVideo

Sonic’s 10th Anniversary: Merchandise and Memories

A few years back, a wineglass emblazoned with the Sonic 10th Anniversary emblem cropped up for sale on eBay. While most seasoned merch-hogs were aware of the trinity of 10th anniversary items that had been offered by the Sonic Factory in 2001 (the statue, the crystal cube and the pewter ring), this was the first time most had seen this item; its authenticity and origin (along with that of the 10th anniversary lighter) has been much debated amongst Sonic collectors.

Luckily, one fan account reveals the origin of these items, and details the happenings of the “Sonic 10th Anniversary Birthday Party in Japan” which took place a day after Sonic’s 10th birthday on the 24th of June, 2001.

Continue reading Sonic’s 10th Anniversary: Merchandise and Memories

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

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

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

Sonic Lost World Playable at Tokyo Game Show 2013

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SEGA Japan has announced their plans for the upcoming Tokyo Game Show that will be held September 19th-22nd and Sonic Lost World will be among the games playable at the event on both its Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms. On September 21st Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka and sound director Tomoya Ohtani will be delivering a presentation titled (in Google translate) “Introducing the charm of “Sonic Lost World” The latest series! ” The presentation is scheduled from 11:00 to 11:45 JST, which translates to 03:00-03:45 BST the same morning for us in the UK.

Saturday 21st September
11:00 to 11:45
Introducing the charm of “Sonic Lost World” The latest series!
[Speakers] Takashi Iizuka (Producer), Tomoya Ohtani (sound director)

SEGA will also be giving away the below Sonic fan and Sonic Lost World sticker sheets. A mug featuring Sonic in his Sketchog form will also be available to buy for 1,500 yen.

Source: Gamer.ne.jp (via Gematsu)

Summer of Sonic 2013: Takashi Iizuka Interview

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

Continue reading Summer of Sonic 2013: Takashi Iizuka Interview