Iizuka: “We’re sorry for doubting your parents’ purchasing power”
Completely reversing course on statements he made in several magazines in March, Takashi Iizuka went on the record in an exclusive TSSZ News interview to proclaim a major change: In Sonic 4, he will include not just some, but every Sonic universe character, past and present, in existence.
“We heard the outpouring of grief from longtime fans about the lack of continuity after Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles loud and clear,” Iizuka said through a translator. “But now we’ve heard from the crowd who likes werehogs, interspecies romance, emoboys with guns, and strange comic continuity, and they were a lot louder. Also, their parents have deeper pockets.”
That means players of Sonic 4: Episode 1 will have a roster of dozens of characters to choose from, including Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Eggman, Chip, the Werehog, E-102, Charmy, Mighty, Vector, Espio, Tikal, Soleanna, Silver, Fang the Sniper, Cream, Blaze, Maria Robotnik, Tails Doll, Metal Sonic, Gerald Robotnik, Rogue, Babylon Rouge, Bark, Bean, Eggrobo, members of the Guardian Units of Nations, Chao, that bastard Omochao, and whoever the Hell else had a bit role in Sonic Chronicles.
“By doing this, I am confident every gamer young and old will find someone to enjoy playing with as they embark on this new Sonic adventure,” Iizuka noted.
The large cast in of itself may infuriate portions of the fan base who didn’t approve of such deviations in titles like Sonic Heroes or Sonic Unleashed. There’s also the continuity matter: a playable Eggman could end up fighting himself. Despite that, Iizuka didn’t seem deterred.
“Who cares?” he asked, mocking such veteran Sonic fans. “Oooh, look at me, I’m a 30 year old unwed Sonic fan! Oh no, green eyes! I don’t like change! *laughs* The only green I care about is the money I’m sure to get from making this decision. The game will sell so well, they’ll promote me to head of R&D!”
Iizuka is so confident in his decision that it extends to more than just characters born from the games.
“I’ve felt for a long time that readers of the Sonic comics have been neglected,” Iizuka continued. “A one off mention of a handful from (Sonic) Spinball isn’t enough. I’ve personally made sure their universe has a place in this game.”
So, joining the playable cast in Sonic 4 among others will be Sally, Bunnie Rabbot, Antoine, Rotor, Geoffrey St. John, Ray, Julie-Su, Archimedes, Holly, Beaverette, Saffron Bee, Mina Mongoose, Uma, the Bat Ninjas, Xorda, the Brotherhood of Guardians, Colin and Hope Kintobor, Elisa Acorn, Enerjak, the Destructix, Hunted, Iron King and Queen, Ixis Naugus, Nicolette the Weasel, Snively, A.D.A.M., Carheem, the Dark Legion, and, for some reason, Ken Penders.
In association with the Archie characters’ inclusion, Iizuka also exclusively revealed to TSSZ News that the game will now take place on Mobius, and recognize areas like Robotropolis and Knothole Village in eleventy-billion part acts.
“We’re even added a stage where Sally and Amy fight to the death for Sonic’s love,” he added. “It’s a lot like the other Japanese dating sims, except the scene is so explicit, the courts will label you a level 3 sex offender. I think it’s worth the risk, though…just to experience the gameplay.”
So much variety is still not enough for Iizuka’s tastes.
“If you recall, England had a Sonic comic too,” he said. “Why would I ignore their desires to see representation? Quite simply, I won’t.”
That means several more additions to the cast, including Johnny Lightfoot, Porker Lewis, Tekno, Captain Plunder, Doctor Zachary, Ebony, Hobson, Choy, Fleabyte, Marxio Brothers, Max Gamble, Mesmer, Nutzan Bolt, Omen, Sab, Vermin, Grimer, Commander Brutus, Colonel Granite, and ironically, B.A.R.F.
And those are the old characters.
“We will experiment with adding more friends to Sonic’s universe,” Iizuka continued. “I don’t think we’ve done anything yet with tigers or gorillas, so there are possibilities with those. We also have concept art for a red and brown porcupine we call Punk. He could become a major foe in later episodes, but we may throw him into the first one anyway as a playable friend. He’ll be the next Shadow, but even cooler!”
Iizuka told TSSZ News the huge cast is meant to deliberately divert attention from other mechanics currently under community scrutiny, like the plastic wrap on the ground in Splash Hill Zone, and the motion sickness endured while playing Act 2 of Lost Labyrinth.
“After such an unprecedented move, if fans can’t find something to love about this game, I doubt they’ll ever be pleased,” Iizuka proclaimed. “I mean, seriously? Mobius? We should be able to milk at least another 10 or 12 years out of that!”
At that point, Iizuka, with a sudden spark of excitement in his eye, immediately wrote down Sally Adventure 1-3 on his notepad.
“We did this for the fans,” he continued. “More specifically, we did it for the fans who loved the Sonic of the past ten years and keep pestering their parents to buy multiple copies of a game we half-assed. Actually, I’d like to say something to them personally: On behalf of Sonic Team, we’re sorry for doubting your parents’ purchasing power. They are upstanding citizens who are contributing toward a recovering global economy, as well as my quest for a spankin’ Ferrari. Please keep annoying the crap out of your families. My cars need to complete with Yuji’s.”
Though the character expansion was the most notable component of our interview, we did learn of a few more details of what to expect from the next Sonic. For one, Iizuka says there will be console specfic exclusives again.
“For the XBOX360 edition, we threw in Banjo and Kazooie again for the Hell of it,” Iizuka explained. “Also, since Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing for the Playstation 3 was neglected, we added a special something right out of the box,” telling us that PS3 players of Sonic 4 will receive a coupon good at your local hardware store for just enough rope to assemble a noose.
We’re told even iPhone players won’t be left out. Upon download, the game will initiate a countdown sequence–not unlike what exists on the Sonic 4 teaser site now–that instead ticks down to the detonation of a radiological dirty bomb in Manhattan. Thankfully, Jack Bauer–who, strangely, is also now playable in Sonic 4–knows where you live, and will hunt you down and kill you just before it’s too late.
For those who don’t have PartnerNET and can’t warn humanity of the danger, TSSZ News has confirmed Sonic 4 will be released outside of the downloadable arena. Iizuka told us that Sega will release a Sonic 4 branded novel, meant to be a fusion of Choose Your Own Adventure and Mad Libs.
And that’s not all–there may be secret characters to unlock.
“Who’s to say we won’t poach a few designs from Google Images and add them to Sonic’s family?” Iizuka pondered. “Not like we haven’t done it before, right? We may just rip every sprite from the Internet. It’ll give us more time to make new characters, write awful dialogue, and it’ll give us a few days’ worth of laughs!”
Amid packaging autographed photos of his middle finger among the latest Sonic 4 build for shipment to the gaming press, Iizuka had one final thing to say.
“For those who have been waiting for Sonic’s true return to form, this is the game you’ve been waiting for,” Iizuka said. “I imagine the same could be said for the hundreds of other characters who will be playable in this first episode. And if not, we can make always one or two dozen more, right?”