Also Calls Expanding Cast of Sonic Characters “Necessary”
In the full interview with Takashi Iizuka published by UK based GamesTM magazine, Takashi Iizuka, among other things, reveals he was behind the reunification of Sonic Team and its relocation exclusively to Japan. The realignment occurred shortly after Yuji Naka left Sega.
“When Naka-san left the company, it occurred to me that we should unite the teams and build them up as one rather then continue to spread them in separate directions,” Iizuka said, reflecting on his time living in San Francisco as the head of Sonic Team USA. “So that’s when we moved the team back to Japan. At the time I was quite sad because I loved living in America. Today, however, I’m really happy.”
Iizuka led development on Sonic Adventure and the sequel before the change, and according to the interview, his colleagues back in Japan had no clear vision of a 3D Sonic while progress on SA and its sequel were underway. It led to some careful scrutiny of the projects by Sega.
“Platforming was still what made a Sonic game a Sonic game, but we now had this new dimension to play with and we had to think how we could make the best use of it. And that’s where we came up with the adventure parts, giving the player an element of discovery in addition to the platforming.”
Elsewhere in the piece, Iizuka says expanding the cast of characters in the Sonic universe “was necessary” for the hedgehog to be part of a full franchise, adding “Sonic was becoming bigger and as well-known as someone like Mickey Mouse.”
On one of his missteps, Shadow the Hedgehog, Iizuka pointed to popularity with shooters at the time that contributed to his attempt to fuse that with traditional Sonic platforming.
More interesting tidbits is available in the six page features, though aside from a reaffirmation that a Sonic for the 3DS is under deliberation, the piece serves more as a retrospective than anything else. Scans have been made available via Sonic Stadium forumer bolt7, and they are in the gallery below.