Late final month, Sega held Sonic Central, a stream jam-packed with Sonic the Hedgehog information. In addition to information about merchandising offers and upcoming animated shorts, we realized about three new tasks on the horizon for the speedster. Sonic Colors: Ultimate is up first, bringing the Wii favourite ahead to fashionable platforms, adopted by Sonic Origins, a compilation of basic video games from Genesis and Sega CD. However, the information that everybody was ready for got here within the type of a cryptic teaser trailer for the next mainline game from Sonic Team.
Unfortunately, there was subsequent to no information within the teaser. While web sleuths have pieced collectively some information, Sonic Team and Sega have been tight-lipped concerning the 2022 launch, not even offering a title on the time of the announcement. With particulars scarce, I reached out to go of Sonic Team and longtime collection designer, director, and producer Takashi Iizuka to be taught extra concerning the Sonic Central information and what the 30th anniversary means for Sega’s Blue Blur.
What does it imply to you for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise to achieve the 30th anniversary milestone?
For the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, it means we’ve got reached the turning level the place we’ve got related throughout generations. The era of their teenagers who performed Sonic the Hedgehog on their Genesis would have kids of their teenagers now – maybe they’re taking part in Sonic video games collectively or telling their youngsters about taking part in Sonic once they have been their age, form of like passing the torch to the subsequent era. Also, for me personally, attending to work with the creators who grew up loving Sonic, like Christian Whitehead who labored on Sonic Mania, or Tyson Hesse who labored on the animated shorts, has been very provocative.
Takashi Iizuka as he appeared in May’s Sonic Central presentation
When taking a look at methods to rejoice the anniversary, what have been the stuff you actually wished to ensure occurred?
For me, anniversaries have all the time been a time to rejoice and admire the followers. In previous years, this is able to have meant holding occasions all around the world and getting to satisfy and work together with followers from many various nations, however with the present state of issues we will not actually try this, so we’ll consider different methods to current one thing that may actually make everybody pleased just like the upcoming Sonic Symphony.
When I spoke with you at E3 2019, you told me that 2021 would be the next big year for Sonic. As you alluded to, rather a lot has occurred on this planet since there. While you have been nonetheless capable of make a bunch of bulletins, did the pandemic have an effect on your plans?
To be trustworthy, I might be mendacity if I mentioned that the pandemic did not have an effect on our plans in any respect. We have been working from house at Sega of America since March of 2020, and whereas we’ve got been efficient at working from house, it additionally did impression our plans. But we’re not letting that cease us from executing on issues as greatest as we will and have this be a memorable 30th anniversary for our followers.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate
Pivoting to the bulletins you made, why do you suppose now is an efficient time for Sonic Colors to reach on fashionable platforms?
While this can be recent in everybody’s reminiscence, final yr noticed the discharge and hit of Sonic the Hedgehog in film theaters. As a consequence, many individuals who had by no means performed a Sonic recreation have been launched to our charismatic character. I had anticipated this and wished to ship a title that will be a quintessentially Sonic title for these new individuals to expertise. That title was Sonic Colors, which couldn’t be performed on any of the present platforms and was why I wished to convey it to fashionable platforms.
Can you inform us something about what to anticipate with the Sonic Origins assortment? I do know lots of followers who’ve been with the collection so long as I’ve are going to be anticipating that one.
We have launched these titles many instances up to now working on emulation however seeing that 4:3 display ratio on fashionable 16:9 shows feels very retro. The idea behind Sonic Origins is to make these 4 legendary titles really feel extra fashionable. Of course, this implies displaying the title within the full 16:9 display codecs of recent shows. We nonetheless have time earlier than this title releases so I am unable to actually get into the small print but, however I consider this can be a title that not solely first-time gamers will take pleasure in, but additionally core followers.
The Sega Ages model of Sonic the Hedgehog 2
I’ve been telling those that the latest Sega Ages variations of Sonic 1 and a couple of on Switch are the most effective methods to play these video games at the moment due to all of the enhancements. Do you suppose these new Sonic Origins variations will have the ability to rival or surpass these variations as the easiest way to expertise these basic video games?
I’m glad you just like the Sega Ages variations of Sonic 1 and a couple of. There are lots of authentic options and recreation modes we put in there solely, so if individuals have not performed it but, they need to give it a go. However, Sonic Origins could have options that not even the Sega Ages variations have. Not solely will the playable recreation space be within the 16:9 format, however it would even be a multiplatform launch of a title containing Sonic 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles, and CD. Look ahead to listening to much more bulletins about Sonic Origins within the close to future.
Speaking of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, it has been a very long time since we have had a re-release of that recreation. As somebody who was integral to the event of that authentic title, how does it really feel to convey it again to marketplace for the primary time in so lengthy?
I believe lots of followers actually admire the information that we are going to embody Sonic 3 & Knuckles in Sonic Origins, however I believe I’m probably the most excited out of everybody. It was the primary Sonic title that I labored on and is a title that’s actually near my coronary heart, so having the possibility to re-release this title after a long time is one thing I’m actually wanting ahead to. As growth on the title is at the moment progressing, each time I see Sonic 3 & Knuckles information, I’m reminded of all of the exhausting work and pleasure I had once I was youthful making that title. It actually brings again lots of reminiscences for me.
A nonetheless from the teaser for the at the moment untitled Sonic Team recreation
After Sonic Forces, many followers have been interested in what the subsequent mainline Sonic recreation from Sonic Team can be like. Now that it is formally introduced, are you able to give any particulars concerning the form of gameplay they need to anticipate from the brand new recreation?
Thank you for being so affected person. Ever because the launch of Sonic Forces, Sonic Team in Japan was making an attempt many various approaches to ship a next-gen Sonic expertise. While celebrating 30 years of Sonic titles and excited about what the fashionable gameplay expertise must be for a Sonic title, we additionally wanted to consider what path ahead we should always plan to take for the subsequent decade. There is rather a lot I am unable to but discuss, however we’re working exhausting on the title. We stay up for sharing extra information about this title sooner or later.
Are there any specific stuff you hope to perform with the brand new recreation? What classes did the workforce be taught from video games like Sonic Generations and Sonic Forces that can be carried out into the title?
There is rather a lot I am unable to say but concerning the title, however I do consider we’ll see an development in what a contemporary Sonic recreation could be. Of course, we won’t deny the high-speed motion that characterised earlier fashionable Sonic video games like Sonic Generations or Sonic Forces, fairly we’ll create a title that our present gaming followers and new players will take pleasure in.
As you look again at its first 30 years, what do you’re feeling are the most important accomplishments of the Sonic franchise, and the way do you hope to make the subsequent 30 years even higher?
We have had many key factors up to now 30 years of Sonic historical past. Of course, the primary key level could be the success of the Genesis – that needs to be the best achievement of all of them. Because of that success we launched an animated present, comedian books, and lots of different types of media. The subsequent huge key level was the transition from 2D gameplay to 3D gameplay with the Sonic Adventure collection. We have been capable of recreate the fun and sensations from the 2D side-scrolling video games in a 3D setting, which was the inspiration for the present Sonic titles. The subsequent huge key level got here final yr, and it wasn’t associated to video games, however fairly the discharge of the hit film. With the discharge of the film, I might really feel everybody instantly recognizing Sonic. If we glance again on the historic accomplishments, we will see that each the developments of the video games in addition to the growth of the media have led us to such a profitable achievement. I’ll concentrate on these two crucial factors as we transfer ahead to the subsequent 30-year milestone.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate is the subsequent huge Sonic launch, coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on September 7. Beyond that, 2022 is ready to convey the releases of Sonic Origins, the untitled Sonic Team recreation, and the Netflix collection, Sonic Prime.