Sonic Team Interview November 2005

Our newest interview with Sega's Sonic Team takes us to Akinori Nishiyama and Takashi Yuda, for discussion on everything from Sonic Rush to Riders and lots more Sega stuff besides.

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It seems barely a month passes these days without Sonic Team or some Sega studio rushing back to talk to Kikizo. This time, we met with two prolific Sonic Team creators, from the Sega department now officially known as Global Entertainment Division R&D Dept #1.

Akinori Nishiyama is the charismatic creator behind the thoroughly well-received Nintendo DS Sonic title, Sonic Rush. A vocal supporter of 2D gaming, we found that Nishiyama-san had some interesting insights to offer about the making of Sonic Rush, plus what to expect for those gamers foolish enough to still be on the fence about the picking up the acclaimed title, and also, what's next for "2D Sonic"...

Takashi Yuda is another Sonic Team stalwart currently working on at least two Sonic Team projects - Sonic Riders, the focus of our chat with him, and another top-secret project that nobody's talking about yet.

In addition to the focus on Sonic's latest two, we got some assorted updates on other Sega Japan goings on as well. Enjoy this latest Sega interview -- and you can be assured of more high-profile guests on Kikizo VERY soon indeed.


Kikizo: Nishiyama-san, thank you very much for your time today to talk about Sonic Rush. This is the first major, traditional 2D Sonic game in some time. How has it felt to work on a classic-style Sonic title?

Nishiyama: These days, the platforms are obviously becoming stronger all the time, and on the PS2 it's pretty much all about 3D games. But I think there's still space for 2D - especially on the portable systems like DS. I want to keep this tradition going as much as I can for our videogames.

Akinori Nishiyama, Department Manager,
SEGA Global Entertainment Division R&D#1

Kikizo: Obviously Nintendo DS is recognised as an innovative platform. How did you allow Sonic Rush take advantage of its features?

Nishiyama: Because Sonic gameplay is already well established, back when I considered the innovative functions of DS, I thought that if I started using every function of the DS, it would be a totally unrecognisable game. So, I just considered how a Sonic game should best be implemented for the DS, and for that, I knew I wanted to use the two screens for Rush, and keep the focus on how to best use the two screens.

Kikizo: Sonic level design has always been very clever and precise to be as fun as possible; Yasahara-san [the designer of the original 16-BIT Sonic levels] left Sega a long time ago, and I am wondering how these 2D levels are still designed in with that 'genius touch' it always had before?

Nishiyama: Well, I think that if you always have the same kind of levels, it won't be as fresh or have the same kind of impactf for the users anymore. You always have to be more innovative, and try to make the action more dynamic. You are right; it is very hard for us to keep it this way, and it is challenging to maintain the user's attention.

Kikizo: How have you differentiated things in terms of the level themes for this game?

Nishiyama: Obviously, each level always has to have some sort of personality. But, during the development of Rush, there was a problem because of the capability of the DS. Because it's new hardware, naturally you'd think it's much easier, offering much more capability - but we had quite a lot of problems! So, to make it even better looking, we had to come up with different ideas and be original with the sprites we were using, like for example leaves falling, and so on. So, it was quite a struggle.

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Video Coverage
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO
DescriptionDur.SizeDetails
Newly Added Sonic Videos
Sonic Riders
Anime intro
1.52m 15.5MB SD, 30, DF
640x480
1.3Mbps
Sonic Riders
New gameplay footage - new course revealed! Splash Canyon - Tails
1.41m 21MB SD, 30, CAM
640x480
2Mbps
Sonic Riders
New gameplay footage - Metal City - Sonic
1.27m 18MB SD, 30, CAM
640x480
2Mbps
Sonic Riders
New gameplay footage - Green Cave - Dr Eggman
1.41m 21MB SD, 30, CAM
640x480
2Mbps
Sonic Riders
New gameplay footage - Metal City - Amy
1.41m 21MB SD, 30, CAM
640x480
2Mbps
Sonic Rush
Newly added recent direct feed gameplay footage (Sega)
1.55m 15MB DF, SD, 30
640x480
1Mbps
Rub Rabbits
Thought we might as well stick this footage of the Project Rub sequel here as well. (Sega)
2.05m 16MB DF, SD, 30
640x480
1Mbps
Recent Sonic Rush/Riders Videos
Sonic Rush
Gameplay footage (Sega)
1.53m 21.1MB DF, SD, 30
640x480
1.5Mbps
Sonic Rush
Gameplay footage (Sega)
1.39m 18.5MB DF, SD, 30
640x480
1.5Mbps
Sonic Riders - 60fps
Gameplay footage with Sonic (hi quality)  
1.00m 20MB HD, 60
640x480
3Mbps
Sonic Riders
As above, normal quality  
1.00m 10MB SD, 30
640x480
2Mbps
Sonic Riders - 60fps
Gameplay footage with Knuckles (hi quality)  
1.28m 30MB HD, 60
640x480
3Mbps
Sonic Riders
As above, normal quality  
1.28m 15MB SD, 30
640x480
2Mbps
Sonic Riders - 60fps
Direct feed Japanese trailer (hi quality)  
1.39m 17MB HD, 60
640x480
3Mbps
Sonic Riders
As above, normal quality  
1.39m 8MB SD, 30
640x480
2Mbps
Sonic Next-Gen Videos
Sonic the Hedgehog
Realtime in-game gameplay footage demonstrated by Yuji Naka (hi quality)  
5.08m 140MB HD, 60
800x448
4Mbps
Sonic the Hedgehog
As above, normal quality  
5.08m 70MB SD, 30
640x360
2Mbps
Sonic the Hedgehog
The full trailer (hi quality)  
2.22m 64MB HD, 60
800x448
4Mbps
Sonic the Hedgehog
As above, normal quality  
2.22m 64MB SD, 30
640x360
2Mbps



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