Sega “Re-Imagining a Beloved IP”

Pleasedon’tbeSonic.Pleasedon’tbeSonic.Pleasedon’tbeSonic.Pleasedon’tbeSonic.

According to an ad for a new executive producer at Sega of America, it looks like one of Sega’s IP’s will be getting a reboot. With Iizuka’s confusing talks about “a new standard for Sonic”, I worry that it may be our favorite blue Hedgehog again. Just when he’s making good ground and Modern Sonic’s finally finding his feet. We’ll probably know more in 2012 I’m sure. Until then, start biting those fingernails.

[Source: Gamerzines]

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

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l5739EElBc[/youtube]

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

Source: GameReactor.eu

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full interview over at Gamasutra.

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

Thanks to RUSSTYBONE and interface for the heads up!

Original Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog Unlockable in Sonic Generations

Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka announced at SEGA France’s Paris Games Week presentation over the weekend that the original Mega Drive/Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog game will be an unlockable bonus in Sonic Generations. This won’t be news to those who followed the June demo leaks, but for those who didn’t, this should be very welcome news. That is unless you own the original or one of the many ports out there already.

Source: Destructoid (via PSX Extreme)

Thanks to SSMB member Blur of Blue for the news tip!

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!

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

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

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

Source: Nintendo TV News

SEGA France to Demonstrate ‘New’ Sonic Generations Stage at Paris Games Week

SEGA France has unveiled all of their Paris Games Week offerings via The Blue Room (their blog). Attendees will be able to go hands-on with the PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS versions of Sonic Generations, both Wii and Nintendo 3DS versions of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the upcoming digital download port of Sonic CD and Virtua Tennis 4 for PlayStation Vita.

The creator of the Yakuza and Super Monkey Ball franchises Toshihiro Nagoshi will also be there to give the first public presentation outside of Japan for his latest game Binary Domain and Sonic fans will get their first public demonstration of a new stage from Sonic Generations by Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. As we’ve seen all of the game’s stages in trailers, this stage won’t be completely “new”, but there are still four stages we’ve not seen very much of, like Speed Highway, Crisis City, Rooftop Run and Planet Wisp, so it will likely be one of those stages.

Here’s the full schedule for the presentations and autograph sessions below:

Saturday 10:15: Presentation of a new level of Sonic Generations
Saturday 10:45: Autograph session of Iizuka san to Space Dedications

Saturday 16h30: Presentation of Binary Domain Conference Room
5:00 p.m. Saturday: Autograph session of Nagoshi san to Space Dedications

Sunday 13h15: Presentation of Binary Domain indoor demo
1:45 p.m. Sunday: Autograph session in the Space Nagoshi san Dedications

Sunday 14h00: Presentation of a new level of Sonic Generations
Sunday 14:30: Autograph session in the Space Iizuka san Dedications

Will you be attending the event? Which Sonic Generations stage are you hoping to see? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sources: The Blue Room (aka SEGA France’s blog) and SEGA Mag

If you are attending and are able to to film the Sonic Generations demonstration, we’d greatly appreciate if you could send us your footage/photos to contact@sonicstadium.org or tweet us at @dreadknux or @Shadzter. We’ll give you full credit on the site in our report.

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.

Sonic 4: Episode 2 Planned For 2012 Release

Those waiting eagerly for the second installment of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 should expect to see a title in 2012. According to the head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka in an interview with Eurogamer:

“This year, 2011, is the anniversary, so we’re focusing on the celebration title,” Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka told Eurogamer, “But moving forward to 2012, Sonic will still be going, so I’d hope to provide Episode 2 then.”

There was no comment from Iizuka with regards to whether or not there would be a release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 3, and our guess will be that this would be dependent on the reception the second title in the episodic series gets.

For now, Iizuka has stated that priorities are set on the anniversary title, and that the plan has always been to release episode 2 after Sonic Generations.

For now, we will have to sit tight – it may be a while before we hear anything more with regards to this game.

SOURCE: Eurogamer

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

Summer of Sonic 2011: Sonic Team on Stage

The Summer of Sonic may have taken place three weeks ago now but that’s not the end of my coverage of the event. Quite a lot happened on the day after the Stadium’s exclusive interview with Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka. If by some small chance you missed it click here and drink it in. if you’re already familiar with that then I suppose you should read on. A lot happened on the Summer of Sonic stage but few things could live up to Naka-sand and Iizuka-san appearing on stage for a rather lengthy chat with one Mr Joscelyne. Well if didn’t feel very long listening to it on the show floor but let me tell you it felt a hell of a long longer writing this up for you all! But enough of my moaning, here is the first stage interview transcribed in full.

Svend Joscelyne: Can you briefly describe how you both got into the games industry and what it was that really got you excited about working with video games?

Yuji Naka: I joined the games industry when I was 18 years old and the reason I joined was probably the same as everybody else; I really liked games! At the time I used to go to game centres (arcades) a lot and I really wanted to create the games I saw in them. I happened to take an interview with SEGA and they accepted my interview. I’ve now been in the industry 27 years and I’ve really enjoyed my time.

Takashi Iizuka: From a young age as a child I really enjoyed drawing and I used to draw Manga and staple the pages together and create my own little Manga book. So I really enjoyed coming up with new stories and the whole process of creating a Manga. I actually moved away from this for a time and during University I thought to myself I want to be in a job where I’m creating something and a story. That’s why I joined the games industry.

SJ: So Takashi Iizuka, how would you say it’s different to create games between modern and classic Sonic titles given that you’ve been involved in level design in Sonic 3 & Knuckles and also that you’ve been in charge of the modern games.

TI: Classic Sonic was first on Megadrive and we saw Sonic 1,2 and 3 in the Classic Sonic style. With that you just used the d-pad and a single button so it was very accessible and simple to pick up and play and get a taste of what Sonic is all about. With modern Sonic it’s all about the high speed action and the level design is created in such a way to allow the smooth and speedy sensation you are intended to get from the modern style Sonic. I think this is really Unique to Sonic, it’s the only game in the world where you can get that sort of sensation of speed in platform action. I think this is something we’ve built upon for the past 20 years.

SJ: So for Mr Yuji Naka, you worked closely with a US development team for Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Given that Sonic was designed for a western audience what was your experience working with SEGA Technical Institute as opposed to a domestic development team?

YN: In Sonic 1 we were a purely Japanese development team so all the staff were Japanese. In Sonic 2 we saw a mix of this, so we had some foreign staff and some Japanese staff working together. The difference I experienced was the overseas staff had a very different way in using colour and level design. So in Sonic 2 I think you see some very unique levels and these are really good levels. They tended to be created by the overseas staff. At the moment I’m here speaking in Japanese and I’m really sorry that I’m not speaking to you in English but as you may notice my English is not native! So we had some communication issues working with the overseas staff. In Sonic 3 we saw the arrival of Iizuka-san and the return of an all Japanese development team. This was due to the issues I mentioned earlier regarding communication. If the opportunity arises and if we have the time we would really like to work with overseas staff again on a Sonic title.

SJ: It’s a good thing you mentioned Sonic The Hedgehog 3 because I was just about to get onto that. Iizuka-san you were the level designer for Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and lot of kids remember that game for one specific thing; the Carnival Nights Zone Barrel (Queue laughter from Iizuka-san and the crowd) where the only way to proceed through the level was to press up, down, up, down many times to proceed through the stage. Were you involved in that part of the level design process and do you look back on that now and think “How many kids lives did I ruin by implementing that barrel?”.

TI: The short answer is no, that wasn’t me (The crowd laughs and applauds)! The person responsible for that level is the lead level designer for Sonic 1, 2 and 3. His name is Yasuhara.

YN: I presume people found that level quite difficult to understand and I would actually be the person responsible for programming it. I am so sorry! Thank you (The crowd laughs and applauds again)!

SJ: This next question really goes to the both of you. What was the feeling within the Sonic Team that made you decide to dramatically change Sonic’s appearance back in 1998. Was there a feeling that Sonic was becoming unpopular? What was the feeling there?

YN: This change came about when the game moved on from 2D to 3D. At this time the intention was for Sonic to be a loved character for many years like Micky Mouse. Micky Mouse has been loved over the many years he’s been in existence and he’s been completely redesigned around five times. So when we regarded it like that we wanted to change Sonic to continue his appeal. I think being here after 20 years of Sonic being around makes me extremely happy that people have continued to love and support Sonic.

TI: Those are the reasons that Naka-san mentioned earlier but from a technical point of view classic Sonic’s design was created so that he’d be seen from the side in 2D. So when we created the game in 3D we had to have the camera angle from behind Sonic. If we carried along with the old design his arms and legs would have been very difficult to see because the old design was only created to be seen from the side in 2D. So that is a technical reason why we decided to change the design.

SJ: and for Naka-san, when Sonic The Hedgehog 1 was released for the SEGA Megadrive, SEGA Japan and SEGA America and even SEGA Europe had their own different back-story for the reason for Sonic The Hedgehogs existence. Do you know much about the western storyline that SEGA created and what do you think about it?

YN: To be honest I’m quite surprised to hear this. I didn’t know there was such a big gap in the storyline between the Japanese Sonic The Hedgehog and the Western Sonic The Hedgehog. Were they that different?

SJ: There was a whole storyline that SEGA created on the American side that involved how Sonic went from a brown hedgehog to a blue hedgehog and involved a scientist called Dr Ovi Kintobor transforming into what we know as Dr Robotnik using the power of the chaos emeralds to turn him into a negative character. I believe it was slightly different to the Japanese back-story.

YN: I’m very surprised to hear this story, where is this written?

(The crowd laughs)

SJ: SEGA of America and SEGA Europe wrote it back in 1991! It’s not in game, it’s within comics, marketing, press and PR materials.

(Svend addresses the crowd)

SJ: You guys have heard the back story, right?

(The crowd replies with a unified “Yeah!”)

SJ: It exists, I didn’t make it up.

YN: Aaaaah! Back in the early days we didn’t have the internet or e-mail so communicating globally was extremely difficult. we were having to communicate over the telephone and with faxes so it was really hard to control what was going on globally and to keep a unified direction. Looking back now hearing this after 20 years I can laugh about it and think it’s great that this has happened. I think if I’d heard about it at the time I would have been very angry!

(The crowd laughs and applauds)

SJ: I’m glad I brought it up now and not back then! So Iizuka-san, it’s the 20th anniversary of Sonic The Hedgehog but it’s also the 10th anniversary of Shadow The Hedgehog (Queue cheering from the crowd!). We have some fans here! Clearly when you directed Sonic Adventure 2 he was only intended for that one game but were you surprised as to how popular he’d become?

TI: The Shadow character idea was something that we all had in our minds in the dev team when we were creating the first Sonic Adventure. When creating that game we had the intention of creating a rival character for Sonic Adventure 2 and we didn’t really talk about it that much but we were all thinking about it. When we were working on Sonic Adventure 2 we all did a bit of brainstorming and we brought this to the table and prepared the storyline for the Dark side and the Hero side. As you know in the story Shadow was only meant to appear in that single title. But because of the reaction of the fans we decided to bring him back in Sonic Heroes and eventually you saw him in his own title.

(The crowd responds with a mix of cheers and boos)

SJ: Don’t boo Shadow, he deserves some love too! That’s why he’s so angry. In some ways, well actually in many ways, Sonic has inspired a generation of, shall we say copycat animal mascots; Bubsy the Bobcat, Crash Bandicoot, Aero the Acrobat. Have you guys ever played any of those games and what do you think of them?

(As the translator repeats the question in Japanese Yuji Naka looks confused and asks for the names of the characters a second time. The crowd is amused).

YN: Of the those games I’ve only actually played Crash Bandicoot. When I was creating Sonic 2, my boss was called Mark Cerny and this person moved on from the team half way into development. He’s actually the guy responsible for creating Crash Bandicoot. As he worked really closely with us he could see the flow of how we created Sonic and what Sonic was all about so you may draw some similarities between these games. For example as he saw us placing rings and really putting a lot of effort and creativity in placing them in their locations I heard from him that he was putting a lot of effort into placing apples all over his levels as well.

And with that both Naka-san and Iizuka-san would exit the stage to a round of applause. Come back later though for the second stage interview where they would both field questions submitted by the fans, with the added bonus of Jun Senoue joining them.

The Sonic Show’s Summer of Sonic Retrospective

This year’s Summer of Sonic convention had so much going on…competitions, Sonic Generations, music performances, guests and loads more – even if you attended, you no doubt missed some parts of the day.

But have no fear! Discoponies and the cyberwizards over at The Sonic Show have put together a 75-minute Summer of Sonic retrospective show, absolutely packed with all the events of the day!

Even if that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for Summer of Sonic or if you’re still feeling blue and missing hanging out with all your fellow Sonic fans…there is a whole heap of other bonus footage to catch including the Nevermind the Buzzbombers competition, all 40 minutes of Julien-K’s performance, and of the uncut, unedited Sonic Team Interview!

You have absolutely no excuse to be bored this weekend!

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

E3 2011 Q&A: Takashi Iizuka on Sonic Generations

(NOTE: Because this is a Q&A with questions taken from staff from both Sonic Stadium and Segabits, this article will be posted on both sites simultaneously.)

On the Tuesday afternoon of E3, Alex and I got the privilege of seeing the first new footage of City Escape from Sonic Generations played by Takashi Iizuka himself. Seeing little classic Sonic going through the famous SA2 level was a thrill. We saw as the large GUN truck made every attempt possible to run down the roly-poly hedgehog as two new remixes of “Escape from the city” played through both levels. As he played through he told some interesting tidbits including the fact that outside of Green Hill zone, all stages on the 3DS will be different from the HD versions and will have levels based on the portable versions of Sonic’s games. Also voice overs will be done for all nationalities. Not just Japanese and English. He quit the last level as the GUN truck with it’s giant sawblades ran over modern Sonic as he ran out of boost. Here, our Q&A commenced.

There have been some who were wondering why the Wii was not given a port when the 3DS, which has comparable graphics has one. Why not port the 3DS version to the Wii?

The 3DS version is a celebration of Sonic’s portable history. As such it only makes sense that we keep that history on a portable system.

There have been rumors of hub worlds between levels similar to Unleashed. Is this something you can confirm?

Ha, ha. Well, as we’ve said. Classic and Modern Sonic meet through time anomalies as a mysterious force is erasing time. Areas are a wash of pure white. As classic and modern beat these classic levels more color comes into the world. You could say the white space starts as a hub that opens up more as the color comes back in.

Will there be any online features or DLC?
We cannot discuss anything for DLC at this time, but we are planning for online leaderboards.

Will there be more than two acts per zone?

Yes. I cannot give more detail than that at this time, but there will be several acts in each world.

Can you discuss what systems will be represented on the 3DS version such as Game Gear?

Game Gear? (Laughter) No. For the 3DS we wanted to go with systems of more recent memory. So we are more focused on levels from the GBA and DS.

We have seen boss fights with classic Eggman. Will modern Eggman be joining him?

We cannot discuss that due to story elements not yet revealed. I can say there will be remixes of classic boss fights through Sonic’s history.

Since Sonic Colors got it’s soundtrack published onto iTunes, will there be a Sonic Generations soundtrack as well?

(Laughter) Well, we know that Nintendo just announced a 25th Anniversary soundtrack for the Legend of Zelda. We are currently releasing 20th Anniversary soundtracks for many of our older Sonic games. As far as Sonic Generations goes, I cannot confirm anything at this time, but I’m glad your interested.

How early on did you go on the idea for a split between classic and modern Sonic gameplay?

Shortly after Unleashed, we were discussing what kind of game to make to celebrate Sonic’s 20th Anniversary. It was around that time that we decided that classic/modern split would be the best.

How many zones are being planned for the game?

That is something we cannot discuss at this time. (The next day, The E3 Insider  magazine said 9 worlds were planned with a release date of October. It was later debunked by Aaron Webber.)

With that, our time was up and we gave our thank you’s and goodbyes.As we I told Mr. Iizuka how much I loved last year’s Sonic Colors. He seemed genuinely happy and pleased by that.I was surprised at how many of our questions we were able to get in as most of the other press was fairly quiet. I will say that neither me or Alex are pleased by the omission of Game Gear levels for the 3DS.

 

 

Sonic Boom: Behind the Scenes

One of the most frequent questions we get asked every year is whether or not Summer of Sonic would ever be held in the United States, but due to many reasons “SoSUS” never come to fruition. Unsurprisingly though there has been a huge demand for a Sonic convention state-side, and it was really only a matter of time before one materialised.

With the Sonic’s 20th anniversary around the corner, SEGA of America spearheaded plans to create their own official convention, the appropriately named Sonic Boom. Aaron Webber, the newly appointed Sonic Brand Manager took on the role of chief coordinator for Sonic Boom and got in touch with Dreadknux and myself a few weeks back, and cordially invited us both to the event.

We didn’t need to be asked twice!

The convention had been carefully timed to coincide with the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles’ downtown convention centre venue. Sonic Boom was scheduled to take place in the moody and ambient environment of Club Nokia, a versatile bar come night club within walking distance of E3; a perfect site to celebrate twenty years of Sonic the Hedgehog.

I arrived at the venue early in the afternoon with Aaron, and before we’d even made our way upstairs we were greeted by fans queuing outside Club Nokia; some of them had been camped out since 6am that morning in order to score a place inside the venue as they had not been able to acquire a ticket. If that’s not dedication, I really don’t know what is! Kellie and Julian from the American community team (who you will know from the Free Stuff Friday videos!) were running around upstairs in the venue coordinating the setup of stands, pods and making sure everything was in place – a familiar scene to anyone who has been involved in the organisation of Summer of Sonic!

Even more familiar faces were up on stage as Jun Senoue, Johnny Gioeli and Alex Makhlouf (from Cash Cash, the band involved with the Sonic Colors soundtrack) were performing a dry run of the tracks they were going to be playing later on that evening. After a warm reunion with the guys I sat back to take some snaps and enjoy the privileged position of being an invited guest backstage at an event. I must have looked pretty dumb, but nevertheless I could not get rid of the huge grin on my face as the guys blistered through their fresh new set list, which included a brand new version of Sonic CD’s “Sonic Boom” and Sonic R’s “Super Sonic Racing”. What’s more, Alex’s accompaniment on synthesiser added another layer of ecstasy to the already monstrous set, and took the lead on the funky fresh new version of “Escape from the City” which will be gracing the in-game soundtrack for Sonic Generations!

I got an opportunity to briefly catch up with Johnny after rehearsals, and as always was up for a bit of laugh, as you can see from the picture (although I don’t think SEGA will be taking him on as their new mascot – stick to your day job, Johnny!). Another act rehearsing on stage before the doors opened was the cast of Needlemouse the musical. American fans will remember this bunch as the winners of the 19th anniversary competition last year, and were the lucky recipients of a trip to Japan to play Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode One. These guys were fantastic and incredibly animated on stage, so much so most of us assisting set up had to pause to watch and laugh at the jokes they were cracking. AJ and the bunch came to talk to me after their run-through, and were even kind enough to let me have my picture taken with them – an absolutely great bunch of guys and gals and well-deserving of the incredible ovation they received later in the evening (watch their performance here!).

By 5 o’clock the venue was taking shape, with the merchandise stands set up (each entrant received a Sonic hat, a special edition Sonic Generations T-Shirt and badge set) and nearly twenty gaming stations were primed and ready to give the throng of rabid Sonic fans outside a chance to play the demo of Sonic Generations. A number of photo booths had also been established to allow fans to record photographic postcards and video messages for Sonic’s birthday (you can check out Aaron and my postcard here, Dread’s postcard here and Yuji Naka’s here). Outside a huge queue of fans had formed, eagerly awaiting entry into the venue. Aaron and I went outside to rattle the crowd up a bit, and got to shake the hands of a few fans that had recognised Aaron and me.

At 6 o’clock sharp the doors opened and the mass of fans piled in. I took a brief trip upstairs to the VIP lounge, where the likes of Iizuka-san, Oshima-san and Naka-san were meeting other industry members at an exclusive VIP event. Unfortunately I was not introduced to Naka-san, but I was reintroduced to Iizuka-san, who smiled courteously as we had already met that week! Dreadknux appeared at the venue after his busy day at E3 (and was fashionably late as always!) and we proceeded downstairs to the main event floor.

A heap of guys came to greet Dread and I (there are far too many of you to mention!) and it really made our day – so if you came up and said hi, thanks loads; it really a pleasure to meet you all! TSS staffer, Sonic Retro writer and Sonic Show star Brad Flick was down on the time trial competition station hastily jotting down top scores on Green Hill Zone – you will have to keep an eye out for some hilarious pictures of Brad and Dreadknux in their bronik poses! Similarly to Summer of Sonic, there were a massive variety of cosplayers at the event too, including SSMB’s own mikeblastdude who came in an awesome Metal Sonic getup, and an excellent Charmy the Bee cosplayer. We also caught up with Scarred Sun from Retro and Shayne representing TSSZ news. I’ve never met either in reality before so we got to have a good chinwag and posed for a few photos for posterity – both are fantastic people and I certainly hope we get to all meet again in the near future.

Aaron appeared on stage to welcome all of the guests to Sonic Boom, and it wasn’t long before Jun, Johnny and Alex were on stage blowing the socks off all those in attendance. A lucky few spotted Naka-san on the event floor and managed to grab his autograph and a photo before he disappeared backstage once more. Jun, not one for passing up the opportunity to meet fans, came down off stage with the legendary Sonic guitar to sign autos and pose for pictures with a handful of fortunate fans.

Following Needlemouse: the Musical, the best of the cosplayers were invited on stage to participate in the cosplay contest, and Iizuka-san, Miyamoto-san and Senoue-san were all invited up to wish Sonic a happy birthday and to sing him a happy birthday song…and of course, Sonic was present too, along with his birthday cake! It wasn’t long before Dread and I found ourselves up on stage, telling the Los Angeles crowd all about Summer of Sonic. I had been really nervous beforehand about how the crowd would receive us on stage (especially considering the acts we were following!) but the audience were really receptive, and cheered us on – thank you all for letting us talk to you briefly, and hopefully we’ve enticed some of you to come to Summer of Sonic!

Naka-san and Miyamoto-san, along with Oshima-san joined the cast on stage at the end of the show once again and were presented with the graffiti artist’s drawing of classic and modern Sonic which had been created over the course of the evening. I’m sure most will agree the evening past all too quickly, and before long it was time to close up the evenings proceedings.

Dread and I pitched in to assist with the clean up, and ended up collapsing in the dressing room to have a chin-wag with Alex (who is also a massive Sonic nerd by the way!) After moving a precious cargo of guitars, we emerged on the street next to the Nokia theatre and ran into our good friend Richard Jacques, who was just as surprised to see us as we were to see him! Exhausted, we crashed for a few drinks at a local bar as well as a few last photographs of the day, and toasted the success of Sonic Boom.

I’d like to end by applauding the fantastic job Aaron and the team at SoA did putting together an event of this magnitude in such a short period of time, and all those involved in the stage entertainment over the course of the evening. America has now had a taste of a Sonic convention, and I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of Sonic Boom. I’d also like to thank Aaron on behalf of Dread and myself for sponsoring our trip to Sonic Boom; I’m sure I also speak for both of us by saying we are both honoured and flattered to have been considered during the creation of this event to represent Summer of Sonic; we’ve had the time of our lives, and I’m sure I speak for hundreds of other fans when I say…

SONIC BOOM ROCKS!!!

New Issue of OXM UK Reveals More Sonic Generations Details

Some pieces of new information about Sonic Generations have arisen in a new four page preview in the new issue of Official Xbox Magazine UK, which includes a short interview with Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka.

New details from the feature are below:
* Current story details are:
“A mysterious new nemesis (Sega isn’t saying more than that at this time) arrives on the scene and immediately sets about eradicating the very fabric of space and time, as you do when you want to impress the new neighbours, The net result is that modern-day Sonic falls through a wormhole and winds up back in 1991, where he comes-to-face with his younger, squatter, flatter self.

1990’s Sonic isn’t much of a conversationalist, but since the entire world around them has suddenly been drained of colour, it doesn’t take a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation for the two of them to realise that something has gone desperately wrong. Hence, the two ‘hogs combine forces to form what Sega is calling a ‘Dream Team’ partnership, with the aim of restoring colour and vitality to some of Sonic lore’s most famous zones by besting them in both 2D and 3D.”

* Iizuka tells OXM that like Green Hill Zone’s new cave section, every classic level will feature a new visual element to keep things fresh.

* “One of the main rules Sonic Team has abided by during Sonic Generations’ development is that there would be no re-using of old assets or level designs – these are brand new courses with a stunning HD lick of paint.”

* While OXM feels Sonic 4: Episode 1 is an excellent platformer in its own right, they think Sonic Generations feels more like a true follow-up.

* “Sonic’s jumps are weighted perfectly and the sense of speed is as breathtaking as it was 20 years ago.”

* When asked how past levels were selected for the game, Takashi Iizuka responded:
“We took a democratic approach. We only get to celebrate Sonic’s 20th birthday once, so we wanted to make sure everyone got a say. What we did was poll every Sega worker – including those in Europe and America – and asked them to nominate their favourite Sonic levels of all time. Then we did some research with the core fanbase and we were able to draw up a shortlist from there.”

* OXM also asked Iizuka if it was harder to reverse-engineer 3D levels to work in 2D, or vice-versa, to which he answered:
“It was definitely harder to get the 3D levels working in 2D, because some of the famous contraptions – the things that define those levels – have been designed to work freely in three dimensions. It was a real challenge to get them to work recognisably in a 2D plain. Of course, many modern 3D stages also have 2D sub-sections within them, but Sonic has a different moveset in Generations than he did in those games, so that was another thing we had to take into consideration.”

* When asked if Sonic’s friends will be making an appearance, Iizuka replied:
“Of course, because they’re a big part of Sonic history! But they’ll only be making cameos, be it as part of the story or in the backgrounds. Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic will be the only two playable characters in the game.”

You can check out the full interview and the rest of the preview by grabbing the new issue of Official Xbox Magazine UK in stores now, or order a subscription online at myfavouritemagazines.co.uk

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!

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

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

Yuji Naka Chills Out With Naoto Oshima and Takashi Iizuka

You probably thought that most of the Sonic Team Old Guard don’t really get on. Well, today Yuji Naka proved that this was not the case, as he posted photos on his Twitter account about an encounter with Sonic the Hedgehog designer Naoto Oshima! The artist, who left Sega shortly after Sonic Adventure to form Artoon, visited Naka’s PROPE studio and brought with him a little gift.

I think it’s fair to say we all want that picture. Yuji Naka then posted a Tweet with the following photo, adding that current Sonic Team boss Takashi Iizuka joined the pair for some dinner in a local grilled chicken restaurant. Beers in hand as well, it seems like. The Japanese work hard and dine hard as well, it seems.

This funky meeting of minds most likely served absolutely no purpose other than to have old friends sit down and have a few drinks – but no doubt the topic of Sonic will come up. We can just imagine Naka-san asking Iizuka how work is like, with Iizuka throwing his hands up and jovially exclaiming “oh you know, the same old. That crazy fanbase, eh?” followed by chuckles around the table.

All three developers have had a big hand in shaping Sonic into the gaming icon he is today – Naka-san programmed the original Sonic games, and led Sonic Team during the Dreamcast era, while Naoto Oshima designed the Sonic characters themselves. Takashi Iizuka, although he largely oversees development on modern Sonic titles, began his tenure at the studio working as a level designer for Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and was the lead game designer for NiGHTS into Dreams.

Yuji Naka’s Twitter

Iizuka: We ‘Updated’ the Physics for Sonic 4

Sonic Team bossman Takashi Iizuka is a lovable chap in person, but gosh does he say the darndest things. He’s like an adorable grandpa that sometimes spouts politically incorrect slurs that would only be acceptable in the 1970s.

Recently, he demonstrated this again in an interview with Nintendo Power, where he was asked to elaborate on the rather wonky physics of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. Take it away, Papa Iizuka:

NP: We enjoyed [Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1], but the physics felt a bit off compared to the Genesis games. Is that something you’ll look to tweak in future episodes?

TI: In this title, we have not done a straight port of the gameplay [from the Genesis games], but rather updated it with actions which could not be done in the previous titles, like ceiling-running. These changes probably made for a different feel to the longtime Sonic fans. We’re happy for feedback like this, and we’ll make sure we can improve the quality even further in upcoming titles.

Make of that what you will – all I’ll say is “Keep on shinin’, Iizuka. Keep on shinin’.”

Source: Nintendo Power (via Aeropause) / Image Credit
Discuss on the SSMB Forums

Signed Sonic 10th Anniversary Wine Glass: A Closer Look

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmosxuw-h48[/youtube]

Although I have a fair amount of Sonic the Hedgehog loot sitting in the merch lair, there are some folks out there who I think could probably put my collection to shame. Some of you youtubers out there might know a channel called Pete’s Game Room, which is a fantastic showcase of video games and video games merchandise, old, new and rare.

Anyway, last week Pete reviewed an item which is probably known to all you serious collectors out there; the 10th anniversary wine glass – for those of you who want to know more about it and see it outside of the occassional photo online, this is your chance!

Do check out the other stuff on Pete’s Sonic Collectables Youtube channel – it’ll make even the most experienced merch hunter drool!

Knuckles & Amy Confirmed For Sonic Colours DS

In an interview with Video Games Daily, Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka has confirmed rumours dating back to E3 in June, which claimed Knuckles the Echidna and Amy Rose will be appearing in the DS version of Sonic Colours. Iizuka reveals that both characters will feature in the game’s story mode, but like Tails, they will not be playable.

The DS version introduces the other characters like Knuckles and Amy as kind of the guest characters. They don’t have any direct influence on the gameplay but they act as the narrative to the background of the story, so if you play the DS version you get a better understanding of the story for Sonic Colours.

Iizuka also gives us some insight into how Sonic Team implements fan feedback from previous Sonic games into upcoming titles:

The team always looks at feedback immediately after we release a game and they are always looking to the pros and cons of the feedback and try to address those through the next game developed. They don’t really take it fully because they have their own thoughts but they do look at feedback and try to input as much as possible.

That feedback is actually the story of how Sonic Colours came to be. The players had always wanted a pure Sonic action game. They always wanted to play as Sonic and they always wanted the high-speed action stages. That is how we started the project for Sonic Colours — that was the most important feedback to look into. With Sonic Colours we wanted the stage to start with high-speed Sonic action and end with high-speed Sonic action. We didn’t want to break it up by introducing other characters or other kinds of action so the feedback has really influenced this game.

For the full interview, head over to Video Games Daily

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

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

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

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

Source: Official Nintendo Magazine UK

Iizuka: “We recognise there are different needs”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full interview, head over to CVG.

SPOnG Interviews Takashi Iizuka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, that’s the vision that I have.

To read the full interview, head over to SPOnG.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iizuka: Mario & Sonic Helped Define Sonic Colours

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

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

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

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

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

Source: SPOnG

SEGA: “Sonic Colours is for everyone”

Sonic fans have been very vocal within the last month, since an interview retailer GAME held with Takashi Iizuka hit the net. The reason being, because Iizuka stated that Sonic Colours is being targeted at the six-twelve age group, while Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 will cater to older fans. This comment worried and angered many fans, making them feel isolated and lead them to believe that this game will be too easy or won’t be any fun at all for them.

Well, now concerned fans can put their fears to rest. When asked by Destructoid about Sonic Colours‘ target audience, Sonic senior brand manager Judy Gilbertson said “Sonic Colors is for everyone! Let’s say that right out of the gate,”

Gilbertson then went on to say:

“But to clarify further, we definitely don’t want to isolate any of our fan base — we’re absolutely thrilled to see the positive reaction Sonic Colors has gotten from fans and the excitement in the community about its upcoming release on Wii and Nintendo DS.

“Obviously, everyone at SEGA has a deep-rooted love for the Sonic franchise, and we’re always working on bringing new and exciting Sonic experiences to our fans. This year, we have three very different but equally great Sonic titles coming out; each with their own unique design philosophies and approaches to gameplay and all of which are created for Sonic fans and gamers, both those new to the franchise as well as those who have followed these games from the very beginning.”

Gilbertson explains that the game is being developed to be accessible to younger gamers as well as ‘core’ fans, that their mission is to try to cater to existing fans and potential new fans.

“With Sonic Colors, we’re looking to deliver a fast and fun Sonic experience that blends both 2D and 3D game mechanics in a way that a lot of fans have desired for some time,” Gilbertson adds. “But we’re also looking to create a game that is accessible to younger gamers as well as our ‘core’ fans.

“In short, Sonic Colors is designed first and foremost to be fun; the emphasis is still on everything that makes Sonic great, so there will be things there that will please long time fans in addition to elements in the game designed to bring in new Sonic fans as well. We expect that all of these aspects of gameplay will result in an experience that gamers of all ages will truly enjoy. And the game is a great compliment to both Sonic 4, a title that focuses on that retro style of gameplay and is also being released later this year as the first true sequel to the SEGA Genesis line of games, and Sonic Free Riders, which is the first game of its kind on Kinect this fall.

“Sonic fans continue to be vocal and supportive of their favorite franchise and we’re very aware of, and appreciate, that loyalty and dedication. In short, there’s something for everyone in our Sonic line up this year.”

What do you think about this new development? Discuss in the comments.

Source: Destructoid

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

Takashi Iizuka Interview: Knuckles Chaotix 2 and NiGHTS 3 Considered

In an interview with Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka, GamesTM Magazine reaveals that the man behind upcoming titles Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Colours “would personally love to make a third NiGHTS game”.

Iizuka also reveals that he has considered making both Tails and Knuckles games in the past: “I actually considered making a game like Knuckles Chaotix at one point, but Sega has unfortunately not given me the green light to do so.”

Although there are no current plans to make either title, the interest of the head of Sonic Team could mean that there could be a possibility for the creation of these titles in the future; something that should give die-heard Knuckles & NiGHTS fans a small ray of hope.

The rest of the article can be read in next month’s edition of GamesTM Magazine, available to purchase in the UK from the 2nd of September, 2010.