Yojiro Ogawa might seem like another Sega
developer to you or me, but to the Sonic fan down the street he could very well be a knight in shining armour. Having worked for Sonic Team for many years, and being involved in Chu Chu Rocket
, Sonic Adventure
and Panzer Dragoon Saga
to name but a few, he certainly knows a good game when he makes one.
With Sonic games being poorly received these days, hype for Sonic and the Secret Rings
has been unsurprisingly less vocal than Sonic on the 360
. But it could still well be the blessing that many fans are hoping for.
With the game pretty much finished – with 100 missions and 40 multiplayer games to boot – SPOnG got invited to a roundtable at Nintendo’s swish Wii House in London for a chat with Ogawa-san. Along with discussing the future of Sonic and the demands of fans, it seems he’s a fan of dinosaurs too. Ace!
What inspired you to create such a unique control system for Sonic and the Secret Rings on Wii?
Well, since we already had the PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360 versions being developed, I looked at the Wii hardware and decided to create something very different for Sonic, exclusively for the Wii. We realised that the controller was unique and different, but we also wanted to differentiate from the 360 and PS3 versions. As you can see, Sonic The Hedgehog
is more of a classical and general type of Sonic game, but since the keyword Nintendo was using for the Wii hardware was ‘revolution’, the team thought it would be a good chance to revolutionise Sonic as well.
Using on-rails gameplay and the demands of a magic camera appears to bring Sonic closer in line to his 2D titles. Is it difficult to introduce new concepts while also paying respect to old titles in the series?
Most Sonic fans are familiar with, and like the Sonic Adventure series, so to change Sonic was a very challenging thing for us to do. For Sonic and the Secret Rings
, because of the Wii controls being so unique, we tried to change the system in terms of how the camera was being represented and the way we express speed in the game.
We have seen deserts, jungles and other stages that represent the Arabian Nights theme, but there is a great level of creativity in the game with regards to stages in outer space and featuring dinosaurs. How were these aspects effectively brought into the story?
Since this game strays completely from the PS3 and XBOX 360 versions, I probably got inspiration from games I was playing at the time, such as God of War
. The ideas of magic and fantasy, big creatures in stories of the Arabian Nights…
I had a discussion with the team on how to express Sonic inside these kinds of environments. The reason there is a jungle stage is because in the Arabian Nights story, Sinbad goes on an adventure in the forest. But a lot of people ask us why we included dinosaurs, as they do not appear in the Arabian Nights story. I thought it would be very exciting to have big creatures, and big creatures equalled dinosaurs in my concept!