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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Kikizo: Some of the original Sonic 16-BIT titles has scrapped levels hidden in the code, due to development time constraints, things like Hidden Palace in Sonic 2. Are there any unfinished levels like that in Sonic Rush that are secretly in the final game somewhere?

Nishiyama: Haha... that happened back then, because when we showed it in the US, we were using something like a 300bps modem, so there wasn't much security, and it [Sonic 2 BETA] was leaked! These days, obviously there's more security and there weren't many unfinished stages nowadays.


Kikizo: Are there any unapparent gameplay aspects regarding the two screens players need to consider, apart from just more vertical space?

Nishiyama: Apart from Sonic moving around and his new abilities, well, you know if there's an enemy in the top screen you have to think about how it will fall to the bottom screen, not just Sonic... the user has to look at both his own movement and the enemy's. You also have to consider how fast you are moving down and then drop into the screen below.

Kikizo: There are quite a lot of good games to choose on DS right now. How long does it take to complete Sonic Rush and what's the replay value like?

Nishiyama: The playtime is going to be really dependent on the user. But, in Japan, within the company, there were some discussions about how difficult the game should be, and actually our management thought that it was too difficult to begin with, so we had to consider the difficulty quite carefully! But when you play the game, there are always special stages to get Chaos Emeralds, and you have to get them to go to the real game endings. And, the special stages themselves are difficult!

Kikizo: Many fans are very pleased to see another proper 2D Sonic game. The original selling point of Sonic was that it's really fast. Some have complained that the 3D versions of Sonic don't really convey that feeling of speed. Where do you see the future for the Sonic series in terms of 2D and 3D? Which do you think is going to be best overall?

Nishiyama: Personally speaking, I think 2D games would be preferable for many users. I believe that in 2D games, say for example shooting games, you have to be careful of the slightest space on the screen, and think in terms of how many pixels of space you have to manoeuvre. 3D games are never going to be like that; they are often very much about more fluid action. I think 2D games are more fun a lot of the time. However, from the graphical point of view, more than anything else, gamers will usually go for 3D, and only occasionally be interested in 2D, so it depends on what the user sees. Our best hope is to have both coexisting.

Kikizo: So, in that case, do you hope to be able to make a Sonic Rush 2?

Nishiyama: Hopefully! I think users will expect it, so if there's demand they can make it happen.

Kikizo: So moving on to Yuda-san. Thank you for talking with us about Sonic Riders. This is the first Sonic racing game since Sonic R on the Sega Saturn. Why did Sega choose to go back to doing a Sonic racing game?

Yuda: Well, as you know, Sonic Riders is not exactly a sequel to Sonic R. Sonic R was developed kind of externally [by Travellers' Tales], although Sega did provide the basic idea. I thought it was a good racing game, but that it would be really nice if the Sonic Team, who knows Sonic best, developed another racing game, and made a better one. Also, Sonic fans have been asking us to make a racing game for about ten years, so by public demand we thought it was a good idea.

Takashi Yuda, Producer & Game Design Section,
SEGA Global Entertainment Division R&D#1

Kikizo: What about this decision to go with the airboard style of racing?

Yuda: First of all, I was not interested in making a conventional racing game. I wanted to make something different and dynamic, to have tricks and stuff. To do that, you can't really be in a car, so inevitably, we came up with other ideas. We thought things like surfing and snowboarding have more flexibility to allow you to do tricks.

Kikizo: We've only seen a few different levels so far, what else can we expect? Stuff themed on previous Sonic games?

Yuda: Each track has at least one thing that reminds you of previous titles and familiar sites, yes...

Kikizo: So we'll get Eggman-themed levels in outer space and such?

Yuda: Of course.

Kikizo: Cool. Can you tell us a bit more about gameplay - there's this battle element where you attack other racers?

Yuda: Sure, we've included attacks. Depending on how well you do the tricks, you go 'up' a level; and the higher your attack level, the more damage you can inflict on your enemy when you attack, to gain an advantage. Also, you recover from enemy attacks faster, if your level is higher.

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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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