Whether you’re getting your first Sonic game signed or you’re privileged enough to be playing on stage with Jun Senoue, one of the great things about Summer of Sonic is that it’s a chance for fans to connect with the people making the games we care about. Last year I was one of the lucky ones, as I had the great pleasure of interviewing Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka for this very site.
My luck continued this year. While I might have managed to scare the president and CEO of Prope away from the UK for good (though I’ll fervently deny that in court), Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka returned to Summer of Sonic and numbered amongst those who gracefully agreed to face a bout of questions from Sonic Retro. So, on with the show!
Retro: How did you first become involved in the video game industry? Did you work on any games before Sonic 3?
Iizuka: The university I went to was the kind of university where you learned about electronics. Most of the students will have worked with electronics companies like Toshiba and Sony after graduating. The difference was that I wanted to find a fun job, so the only company I went for was Sega! If I didn’t get that, I would have ended up going to a normal electronics company. Sonic 3 was the project that I started in my first year at Sega, but as practice I was involved with Golden Axe 3.
Retro: Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations have received the best reaction of any Sonic games since Sonic Adventure 2, both from critics and fans. What changes do you think explain the positive reactions that have been achieved?
Iizuka: Before Sonic 4 and and Sonic Colours where I was the producer, it seemed that the whole direction wasn’t really in tune. There wasn’t really an idea of how to portray Sonic. When I became producer, I was able to portray Sonic in the way that he really should be portrayed. This may have had an impact on the way the new games have been received.
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This week, Sega has released more from their vintage library for the modern consoles with the return of their Sega Vintage Collection line. Xbox 360 owners can invest in the game packs for 800 Microsoft Points, or individually on Playstation 3 for $5 each. These collections offers a variety of Master System, Mega Drive/Genesis and Arcade titles this time around, which also includes the release of Monster World IV which was released previously for the Nintendo Wii, now for next generation consoles.
These collections are significant, besides the fact that the Xbox Live Arcade releases come in packs of three, they’re being handled by M2 as opposed to Digital Eclipse/Backbone. Which also means a number of features that are actually interesting, which involve sound tests as well as leaderboards for the “Trial” mini games based around core sections of each game, replay modes that allow you to record and share your gameplay, and online multiplayer for supported titles. In addition, Super Hang-On features a 3D mode for 3D-enabled televisions. These packs include Alex Kidd & Co. and Monster World Collection this week. Next week will see the release of the Golden Axe Collection and the Streets of Rage Collection. Hit the jump for the complete list of games as well as screenshots.