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Interview

Podcasts

SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show: Interview with Aaron Webber, Sonic the Hedgehog PR & Social Media Manager

He’s back! After leaving SEGA of America in 2014, Aaron Webber has returned as the PR & Social Media Manager for the Sonic the Hedgehog brand. Since returning, Aaron has been making waves on the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, catching both fan and media attention with his sly wit and deep knowledge of the franchise.

Aaron was kind enough to sit down with us over at the virtual SEGAbits recording studio for his first interview since returning to SEGA to talk about his new role, SEGA’s move to LA, his approach to interacting with fans, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, his favorite Sonic games, and answers to some burning canon questions!

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Community, Fan Works, Hacking, Podcasts, Site News

SEGA Channel Retro: Windy Valley Mod for SADX, Featuring CorvidDude

The live show is already over, but you can check out the archived stream above as well as more content below!

This week’s live show on SEGA Channel Retro is a tour through the Windy Valley Beta Mod that was released recently for Sonic Adventure DX. We’ll also have CorvidDude, the author of the mod bringing his insight on restoring the level from the AutoDemo.

If you want to check out the mod for yourself, you can hop over to CorvidDude’s YouTube channel and check the links in the description of this video.

I’m joined by Overlord, GeneHF and OverlyEquippedin our little venture as we also check out the latest Sonic title, Sonic Jump Fever as well as catch up with Sonic Dash with Andronic. Also say hello to me as I try to roll eggs with Billy Hatcher in SEGA Superstars. Finally I take a blind look at Atlus and ACE Team’s latest offering, Abyss Odyssey.

Sonic Adventure DX: Windy Valley Restoration Mod with CorvidDude [Twitch] [YouTube]

Sonic Jump Fever, Sonic Dash, SEGA Superstars [Twitch]

Abyss Odyssey [Twitch] [YouTube]

Podcasts

SEGAbits Interviews Roger Craig Smith, Voice of Sonic the Hedgehog

This week on the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show, hosts Barry and George welcome a guest who has helped shape the sound of SEGA’s speedy mascot – Roger Craig Smith, voice actor of Sonic the Hedgehog! Roger is also well known for voicing Batman, Captain America, Chris Redfield, Ezio Auditore, and more. Recent projects include Batman: Arkham Origins which features the recently released “Cold, Cold Heart” DLC pack and SEGA’s Sonic Boom which spans video games and a television show which release later this year.

Join us as we talk with Roger about voicing Gotham’s Dark Knight and Green Hill’s Blue Blur. Roger also provides details on how he got into the business, and has some great advice for aspiring voice actors. Yes, we even asked him about his work on Valkyria Chronicles and his earliest work as Sonic at Alton Towers.

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Podcasts, Sega Retro

Interview: Tom Kalinske – SEGA of America’s President and CEO from 1990 to 1996

This is it! The third Console Wars focused episode of the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show in which Barry and George speak with the man himself, SEGA of America’s former President Tom Kalinske! Tom has an amazing history with the toy and game industry. Before his years with SEGA, Tom served as President and CEO of Mattel, reviving the Barbie brand and creating the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe line. During his time at SEGA, Tom reinvigorated the SEGA Genesis brand, helped in the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog, and led the launch of many famous pieces of SEGA hardware including the Game Gear, Pico, 32X, Nomad, and Saturn.

Tom Kalinske’s career is chronicled in the book “Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation” by Blake J. Harris, and if you haven’t purchased a copy yet, do so today. If you’ve read the book, are reading the book, are awaiting delivery of the book, or are simply a fan of SEGA during the 90’s, this show is a must listen!

Also, make sure to check out the other Console Wars interviews including a discussion of SEGA’s marketing efforts with SEGA’s former Director of Marketing Al Nilsen and an interview with the author of Console Wars, Blake J. Harris.

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Interviews, Podcasts

Interview: Al Nilsen, SEGA’s Director of Marketing (’89-’93), appears on the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show

Al Nilsen, SEGA of America’s Director of Marketing from 1989 through 1993, sat down with Barry and George on the latest SEGAbits podcast to talk about the glory days of the SEGA Genesis. Al and his team were behind everything, including promoting the famous “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t” campaign, the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog, implementing the legendary “Sonic 2sday” worldwide launch of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in 1992, and rolling out the “Welcome to the Next Level” campaign.

Al’s appearance is in anticipation of the release of “Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation” by author Blake J. Harris, which you can pre-order today from Amazon.com. “Console Wars” tells the story of SEGA vs. Nintendo during the early 90′s, as told from the perspective of SEGA of America president Tom Kalinske. Based on over two hundred interviews with former SEGA and Nintendo employees, “Console Wars” is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It’s the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.

Expect more “Console Wars” content throughout May, including a podcast with the author Blake J. Harris next week, and a podcast with Tom Kalinske the week after that!

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Game News, Interviews

SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show Interview with Sonic Boom Producer Stephen Frost


 
Hot on the heels of the reveal of the new Western television series and video game Sonic Boom, SEGA of America producer Stephen Frost sat down with SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show hosts Barry and George, as well as David of Sonic Retro, to discuss all things speedy and blue. In this hour long discussion we delve into the genesis of the project, learn more of the team at Big Red Button Entertainment, and get a few hints at what we can expect to see in both the game and show. If Stephen’s enthusiasm is any gauge for what we can expect, we’re in for a real treat later this year!

Learn more about the new branch in the Sonic franchise at the official Sonic Boom website.

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Game News, Interviews

SoS 2013 – Takashi Iizuka Interview

Takashi Iizuka (SoS 2013)Over the past few years the Sonic series has hit a bit of a renaissance, with Colours and Generations achieving relative success critically as well as commercially. Typically, just as this turnaround is achieved, the newest game shows signs of radical change to the 3D Sonic formula that had finally gained acceptance. Sonic Lost World’s new design is the kind of decision that means it’s always interesting to chat to Takashi Iizuka, the man at the top of Sonic Team today and the public face of the team. He’s always cheery and approachable, but you can never quite predict the answers you’ll get from him. We caught him right at the beginning of Summer of Sonic, as the organisers were on stage welcoming attendees!

[Sonic Retro sits down at one end of the large room, with Iizuka and Sega’s interpreter. At the other end, Jun Senoue is faintly strumming away on his guitar, playing the Station Square music. When asked which site we’re from, the reply elicits the customary “Ah, Sonic Retro” from Iizuka.]

Retro: We’re seeing Sonic Lost World at the convention today, and one of the things that is very noticeable is that it goes back to an older, more classic visual feel for the game, with recognisable elements of the original Sonic the Hedgehog design. What motivated you to make this change?

Iizuka: With the previous game (Sonic Generations), it was for the 20th anniversary so we decided to celebrate Sonic’s history. With that one, we tried to compress 20 years of history into one title and aimed for a high quality, HD re-imagining of what Sonic could be. With Sonic Lost World, what we wanted to do was imagine how best Sonic should be going forwards. So we looked back at what we had done before and tried to think about what would the best, playability-wise for Sonic going forwards, and what’s the best look for Sonic.

With Generations, it was HD and really detailed, almost so much that it was hard to see the rings when you were running through the levels. So this time, we stripped everything back and tried to renew Sonic, and we simplified the graphics to match the playability, the style of what Sonic should be.

[Read on for Iizuka’s views on the limitations of Sonic’s previous 3D outings, inspirations for Sonic Lost World and differences between working in the USA and Japan!]
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