Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has told SPOnG that the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise had "become too serious" during his absence as series producer and that the success of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games helped him go "back to the origins" with Sonic Colours.
In a revealing interview to be published later, Iizuka agreed with the sentiment of many Sonic fans about the series relying too much on heavy plotlines and character development.
Sonic Adventure 2 - which Iizuka directed - provided an enjoyable gameplay experience but inadvertently set a design precedent which would continue in Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog in 2006 and Sonic Unleashed.
"I was still based in Sega's American studios at the time [of Sonic 2006 and Sonic Unleashed] and wasn't directly involved in those titles," Iizuka said. "That was actually a good time for me, because it allowed me to see the Sonic games from a similar perspective as a fan's point of view.
"What I felt was that the franchise had become too serious and the story had become very deep, whereas I see Sonic as more of a laid-back, enjoyable and fun experience. I kind of rediscovered that through Mario & Sonic in a way, because that game was very much a 'pick up and play' affair that everyone can jump in and enjoy.
I think that's a better direction for the Sonic brand, and that's why Sonic Colours has a much more fun, enjoyable kind of setting."
Look forward for the full interview on SPOnG, where Iizuka clarifies earlier comments about Sonic Colours being aimed at a 'younger audience,' comments on Yuji Naka's departure from Sonic Team and reacts to diehard fans being more interested in the Wii title than Sonic the Hedgehog 4.