Interview: Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka

Like some kind of HTML-based level from Sonic the Hedgehog CD, we jump between the hedgehog’s past, present and future with his capable custodian, Takashi Iizuka.

By Rupert Higham, October 6, 2010

We have been here many times before. There’s a new Sonic game speeding towards us across the sky-blue horizon and fans, like abused spouses, cling to promises that “this time things will be different.” Long-time Sonic stalwart, Takashi Iizuka, holds the reins at Sonic Team in Japan and is charged with all of the spiny blue mammal’s current adventures. Having spent the day being consistently surprised at just how much fun we were having with the blue fellow (predictably with the reliably 2D Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and more remarkably with Sonic Colours), we sat down with Iizuka-san to discuss his tenure at Sonic Team and why this time things really will be different.

The levels feature a level of depth and detail uncommon for Wii titles. Combined with the stable frame-rate, it's quite an achievement.

VideoGamesDaily: You have worked on the Sonic series for many years now. How do you feel about the way the series has evolved?

Takashi Iizuka: Sonic actually has nineteen years of history for me and there are so many titles in the past. In terms of 2D Sonic it kind of started with the release of the 1994 game (Sonic 3/Sonic & Knuckles) and obviously 3D has been running since Sonic Adventure. I perceive this history by providing two different titles this year. While Sonic 4 is revisiting what classic Sonic has been and always should be – creating the best classic 2D Sonic possible – Sonic Colours is looking at the well received parts of 3D Sonic and also adding something extra, new surprises to it, so that’s the reason behind the two new Sonic titles, it’s a way of me revisiting those different Sonic franchises and living up to the strengths of two different kinds of games.

Sonic's always done well out of theme parks. See also: the Casino Night Zone.

Sonic Colours appears to have combined many aspects of the previous 3D games with the classic 2D design of 16-bit Sonic. Which games have influenced Colours the most?

The direct comparison would probably be Sonic Unleashed‘s day time stages. In Sonic Unleashed we offered day time stages which is more like the pure Sonic side where as the night time stages we offered the werehog. In that title the day time stages were very well received and so that basic gameplay has been taken from Sonic Unleashed’s day time stages.

The Wii version of Sonic Colours is being developed by Sonic Team while the DS version is being handled by Dimps. How have you coordinated the two games?

The way I coordinated it is firstly, that the Wii version and the DS version are two completely different games though they will both be Sonic Colours. The Wii version is a 3D Sonic game and the DS version is a 2D side-scrolling Sonic game. They both have their strengths. I didn’t want to make a compromise between the two platforms but to live up to each of their strengths, so for the Wii version it will be the best 3D Sonic possible while for the DS version, Dimps have been very good with Sonic Rush using the dual screens, so we want both teams to concentrate on their own strengths and not focus on similarities but add any colour powers in their own way.

Posted in Interviews, Top 5, and tagged with , , , , .

One Response to “Interview: Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka”

  1. sonicsegaman says:

    great article sega made a good decision by intergrating sonic team into one unit. i hope the focus on quality improve because they dont know how many hardcore gamers they destroyed by ruining sonic. now back to sonic 4.


Kikizo Classic: