We’re Not Retracting the Rumor, and Here’s Why
Last week, TSSZ reported that Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka essentially burst into laughter upon inquiry about the Wii U project with the working title of Sonic Dimensions. We elected not to retract the rumor in response; instead, we asked the original source of the information to offer anything more to clarify the situation.
After speaking to the source, who did not want to be identified on account of being unauthorized to speak about the situation, we want to clarify a couple details from the original article. The article was not clear that Dimensions was not only a working title for the next Sonic, it was a work in progress, one of several Sonic concepts Sega pitched and minimally programmed for Nintendo to consider for Wii U shortly after E3 2011. Those pitches occurred on an earlier version of Wii U hardware, and since we’re now told at least three hardware revisions have been made to the system since, it is entirely possible though not confirmed the Dimensions project–or any of the other currently unnamed Sonic concepts pitched, for that matter–simply didn’t make the cut, or evolved into something more current. If that’s the case, we do not know what, if anything, the evolution has yielded. We do know, however, that in its state at the time, the Dimensions project was well received internally.
Second, the original piece stated that “Sega is allegedly working directly with some Nintendo developers on this game. [....] The Nintendo developers are allegedly assisting Sega design the levels, which we’re told will be more surreal, on similar thinking as Colors.” The latter portion about more surreal levels was clear; what wasn’t is how Nintendo was helping Sega. Our source says Sega is part of Nintendo’s Developer Relations Program. The program helps third parties by allowing eligible developers to access senior Nintendo staff for project supervision and insight. We do know such a program exists because TSSZ found one such portal for it, publicly available at WarioWorld.com, but with a login required. Our source explains this particular portal is also used to arrange meetings and includes a Rolodex of sorts to access Nintendo personnel.
In the case of Sega and in the context of this project, our source says Sega still made concept levels on their own, then on Nintendo’s side, designers reviewed and if necessary, offered corrections. What’s more, at times Nintendo subsidiaries are the ones affording feedback. Our source says Retro Studios is one of those subsidiaries participating in the program, but there’s no indication Retro was specifically looking at levels in this Dimensions concept.
With those clarifications out of the way, the bottom line is this is why we labeled the original story as rumor in the first place. With Nintendo’s hardware evolving, especially on something as unconventional and potentially innovative as Wii U, some ideas simply can’t make it to the next level because what was once there to take advantage of may not be there anymore. We weren’t trolling, and the fact we want to get these updated details out there hopefully demonstrates that. It’s not that the core idea is wrong–we still do not believe it is in the context of time–but we may have a situation where, based on the new information received, the idea has been rendered obsolete. One could consider it, in some respects, a modern day, short lived Sonic X-Treme, except we may still see bits of pieces of what was to be in whatever Sega ultimately has planned for Wii U.
With that in mind, there are still a couple of tidbits from the concept we’d like to share with you, including some new, specific details we’ve learned, as well as a possible road map for the entire future of the Sonic franchise. Those are coming later this week.