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Takashi Iizuka

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The Hard-To-Please Old Fans According To Iizuka

It’s been slow, so why not.

Takashi Iizuka, the long time target for everything older fans perceive wrong with the series, sat down for an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine to talk up the 3DS version of Sonic Generations. He dropped that the fans of the old Mega Drive games are very much hard to please. He hopes that Sonic Generations will fix that.

“Our team are always trying to present new gameplay innovations so it’s hard to please fans who like the gameplay from the older games,” said Iizuka.

“However, we have included the older gameplay as part of Sonic’s 20th Anniversary, so we think the fans of the older games will enjoy it [Generations] as well. We are also looking into continuing the Sonic 4 series which was released on WiiWare, and we’ll keep developing titles so more fans will enjoy the games.”

Easy on the Sonic 4: Episode 2 comments. Lord knows the fire wave it will bring with it will be enough further down the road.

It may not be necessary to keep trying to please the older fan base by trying to recreate a 1:1 variant of the Mega Drive games in a 2.5D environment, as some of the demands (and believe us when we say we are certainly no strangers to seeing some of these on this very site) border the point of just rom-hacking Sonic 1 or 2 and releasing games in that manner.

At the same time, trying to shoe horn in mechanics such as the Werehog, swords, angsty characters with guns, or even shoddily implemented team-based game play isn’t necessarily the way to go. When thinking of “gameplay innovations”, as they call it, the best strategy is to see what can work with the base gameplay instead of throwing darts at post-it notes on the wall and going with it. Knuckles taking the Werehog’s place while keeping similar play style and calling it Sonic and Knuckles 2? Bank.

If Sonic Colors was anything to go by, just release a game that’s charming and genuinely fun to play and everyone will be happy. You could even argue that the formula was within reach as early as 2002.

[Image Credit: Cyrus Parker]

Community, Game Secrets, Interviews

Interview: Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka at Summer of Sonic

Saturday, June 25th. A thousand-strong horde of Sonic fans descends upon the Camden Centre in London, to celebrate a video gaming icon with music, games, laughs and chilli dogs. So far, so Summer of Sonic, but this was the 20th anniversary show so there had to be something just a bit special going on, and blimey did they ever deliver on that. How? By getting Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka to drop by London to enjoy the festivities, do some signings and some Q&A sessions. That is pretty hard to top, ladies and gents, especially when fans were able to quiz the pair on Madonna, the joint American/Japanese development of Sonic 2, and dat barrel. However, Sonic Retro was also able to get a little more into the bargain and snag an interview slot with Naka and Iizuka. Exciting? I thought so.

Now if you will, allow me to set the scene. Things are behind schedule and everyone is hot and totally knackered, a fact that fellow attendees will attest to. We’re now down to the last interview slot of the day, and another site needs to cram into the session too. We finally get to head in as Jun Senoue takes to the stage to wow everyone downstairs. Still, I know things are going to be at least a little bit good when we’re asked what sites we came from – the mention of our site causes an “Ah, Sonic Retro!” from Iizuka, as he tilts his head back and smiles with a mixture of recognition and amusement. If you were ever in doubt of Retro’s reach, dear reader, that should give you a rough idea of our place in the grand scheme of things.

Then, with little time to spare and more questions than I can possibly ask, we get down to business.

Retro: Naka-san, you joined Sega around the time of its first real console releases, having worked on the SG-1000 and Sega My Card series back in the mid-80s. What was it like to see Sega become a video game publisher that was known all over the world?

Naka: At the beginning, Sega’s real catalyst for success was the arcade, and Sonic pulled it along and really built upon that. Also, the fact that we had hardware and were a first party helped to give us that status in the market, as a global name. So, I feel really happy to be able to be involved, really lucky. It’s really amazing that something created in Haneda, which is not at the centre of Tokyo, sold worldwide.

Hit the post break for the rest of the interview!

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Game News

First Look and Details for Sonic Generations 3DS

Don your scuba masks, because here comes one hell of a flood.

Earlier, we reported that Nintendo Power confirmed Sonic Generations on 3DS. Now, thanks to forum member Effexor, we have delicious gigantic scans of the article and images of the 3DS version for your consumption.

But for those of you who don’t want to sift through all the text to find whatever tasty morsels of information are in there, just hit the jump for the key details. You can also find the scans down below.

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