Sonic Wii Interview with Yojiro Ogawa
As Sonic and the Secret Rings ships in North America today, we bring you this chat with Sonic Team producer Yojiro Ogawa to discuss what fans can look forward to.
By Adam Doree
Sonic has had a slightly turbulent time of late. Although our view on Sonic the Hedgehog for 360 and PS3 was not quite as scathing as from some angry fans, things at least perked up a bit with his PSP debut in Sonic Rivals. But there's more!
Today, with the debut launch in North America of Sonic and the Secret Rings on Nintendo Wii, fans are hoping for a 'revolutionary' Sonic experience that takes the Sega mascot back to his Mega Drive heyday.
In the game, an evil genie has brought mayhem to the magical storybook world of the Arabian Nights, he's hunting the all-powerful Secret Rings and only one hero can stop him...
For the time being, we're leaving our verdict on the game to be decided by a little more play time of the final version, but meanwhile, we met with the game's lead producer, Sonic Team boss Yojiro Ogawa, to discuss the current state of Sonic and what we can expect from the new game on Wii.
Kikizo: What was behind your decision to base the game's story on the book, 1001 Nights?
Ogawa: Since, as a company, we usually produce titles on multiple platforms, and we already had the Xbox 360 and PS3 version of Sonic under development, as a company we were told that we would also need to release a Sonic title for the Wii close to launch. When the team looked at the controls and the hardware, we realised that the hardware was very different compared to the 360 and PS3 version that was under development, and that we wouldn't be able to convert the game to Wii. So we started a completely different title. Also, since the key word for the Wii console was 'Revolution', we though we would like to revolutionise Sonic as well. And that is why I thought it would be very interesting to have Sonic go into a storybook, that would be a very new concept for a Sonic game, and that's how we came up with the Arabian Nights story.
Kikizo: In the game we have some of the characters from the Sonic universe associated with characters from the book, for example Eggman plays the King of Persia - but are there any links between this story to the core Sonic the Hedgehog series story?
Ogawa: The familiar characters do appear in the story, but we don't have any links to the previous titles - we just wanted to create something different, in a different environment.
Kikizo: Let's talk about the control, obviously we've had demos of this game previously at the shows, did you receive any feedback from players of these earlier versions of the game, and were there any changes or improvements to the control that you've made since then?
Ogawa: The reaction that we received, for example at E3 or TGS, we were aware of the kind of reactions we were going to get, including positive and negative - we did anticipate certain comments in advance. So we didn't really make changes based on these opinions and feedback, but originally we had this game so that you perform a 'speed break' or a 'time break' by just shaking the controller, we changed this function because the sensors were not really picking this up very well, so this was changed. But other than that, we didn't have anything specific that was changed.
Kikizo: So that's kind of similar to Super Monkey Ball on the Wii, right, because at first you had to shake the controller to jump but then they changed it allow you to use the button instead?
Ogawa: Yes, since the controller is very unique with Wii, we will probably see the developers' plans change during development, as it is very different to work with. For this title, the team did originally intend to have the controller be used with just one hand, so that if you have an advanced player, they would be able to play it with one hand today, but we had the idea of just having the players twist their wrists but the X and Y axes didn't quite pick up the values we expected - especially the left and right movements were very difficult. So we changed to having it tilt left and right by holding it sideways. And also, as we were saying about the shaking of the controller, some people could actually perform the shaking of the controller by just dropping it down, but other times needed to lift then drop, or even lift, drop then lift again - it really varies, and depends on how the players use the control, so just having one shaking movement, it differs very much.
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Sonic Wild Fire
Showfloor gameplay 1 (Wii - Sega)
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