If rumours and an official LinkedIn profile are to be believed, one of the key players in Sonic Team, technical director Yoshihisa Hashimoto, has left in order to further his career in RPG developer Square-Enix.
Hashimoto is best known for his work recently in Sonic Unleashed, where he helped create the Hedgehog Engine and was the latest in the studio’s “revolving door” system to take the reins on the Sonic franchise and drag it out of the quality quagmire. Before his Director role he had a hand in many Sonic Team games since 1997, including writing enemy programming for Sonic Adventure, the Chao engine for Sonic Adventure 2 and coding tasks for Sonic Advances 1 and 2. It is believed he left Sonic Team as long ago as late April, to take a position at Square-Enix in a similar technical director capacity.
The rumour mill has been turning since GoNintendo carried the rumour, but doubters suggest that a discrepency in his LinkedIn profile (the incorrect Japanese naming of his latest work, Sonic Unleashed) could be a sign of a hoax. If true, it only throws more weight under the suggestion that Sega are seriously re-organising how they are developing and producing their Sonic titles.
We’ve contacted Sega for comment, and will update when we get a response. Thanks to the SSMB for the heads up.
UPDATE: ArchAngelUK has responded to our calls, confirming Hashimoto-san’s departure:
I can confirm that Yoshihisa Hashimoto has left SEGA to pursue another opportunity and we’d like to wish him well in his future endeavours.
Is this the face of a man you can trust? We sure hope so. Yoshihisa Hashimoto, Game Director and Lead Designer on ‘Sonic Unleashed’ over at SEGA Towers in Japan assures us the upcoming title in the series will be nothing short of revolutionary. Previously updated by Patrick Riley, Hashimoto joins in on IGN’s ‘Sonic Unleashed Blog’ page with a lengthy post on how much awesome Unleashed contains along with a couple of brand new screen shots to top things off.
Hashimoto discusses how him and the team conjured up the concept for Sonic’s latest adventure and elaborates on why certain design choices were made over others. There’s some talk on the coming to be’s of the ‘Hedgehog Engine’ too explaining exactly what it can achieve and how it will allow future Sonic titles to benefit from it.
Click here for a direct link to the blog and thanks to Spyne for pointing out the update over on the forums earlier today.
Will ‘Sonic Unleashed’ be the best Sonic game since the Dreamcast era? Sonic Teams producer and lead designer on Unleashed ‘Yoshihisa Hashimoto’ seems to think so!
.:Dark.Prowl:. of SSMB gave us the heads up earlier today regarding a recent interview published by Gamespot with the lead designer of Sonic Unleashed. The interview discusses the newly developed ‘Hedgehog Engine’, playable characters such as Tails in his Tornado plane for a ‘shooting game’, the main story involving the huge beast ‘Dark Gaia’ and the option of new maps available to download over the Xbox Live and PSN service if demand is high enough.
New information on the game has been a little scarce as of late despite a playable demo showing up at the Leipzig Games Convention a couple of weeks back. The interview discusses a good deal of new things and shows some promising features and compelling gameplay Sonic fans have so desperately wanted for some time now. Hang on… Haven’t we heard all of this somewhere before… though?
You can check out the article for yourself here.
In an interview with the latest issue of GamesMaster the director of Sonic Unleashed, Yoshihisa Hashimoto, proved to the world that he has a bit of a clue. A glowing preview of the upcoming Jekyll-and-Hyde game from the magazine includes such questions to the Sonic Team lead as ‘is Sonic Unleashed going to continue the trend (of making Sonic’s world more ‘realistic’)?’
Hashimoto’s response was the news we had all been waiting for:
No, I don’t think Sonic should be something that’s merely realistic… That wouldn’t be Sonic. Our goal is to make it like Disney World. Disney World is ‘real’, but it’s a colourful toon-ish world. Just strolling around it makes you excited. I want to make Sonic’s world like this… with the textures as realistic as possible yet (in) forms that are deformed.
So, like a twisted form of realistic locations inspired by the world around us? Sounds like Sonic 1 to Adventure to me. It’s about time they realised all this nonsensical parp about Maria/Gerald Robotnik/Shadow’s morality was a pointless affair. Sonic fans, here’s a guy in Sonic Team who finally knows what he’s talking about. In a land without Naka, Yasuhara and Oshima, such people have been rare to come by in the last ten years. Yoshihisa Hashimoto is our new pin-up of the month.