Yuji Naka Sentenced, Fined Millions, Likely to Avoid Jail Time

Yuji Naka, the man best known as the co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS into Dreams, and his work on Phantasy Star, has been been sentenced to two and a half years of prison, but that sentence has been suspended for four year, during which time he’ll be on probation. Provided he has no trouble with the law, he’ll never serve time in prison. He has also fined two separate times for ¥20 million and ¥170 million, or a total of roughly $1.25 million USD.

This comes after a seven-month-long legal battle where Naka attempted to, among other things, blame his secretary for giving him information he wasn’t supposed to have in an attempt to get a lighter sentence.

via Twitter

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Report: Yuji Naka Facing 2.5 Years Imprisonment for Insider Trading

Former Sonic Team leader and Balan Wonderworld director Yuji Naka has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for insider trading relating to his time at publisher Square Enix, according to a new Japanese report this morning.

The co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog concluded his third trial on the matter today, according to Denfaminicogamer.jp, with the courts and prosecution demanding that Naka serve the jail time, alongside two additional fines of ¥2.5 million and ¥170 million.

The fines likely relate to the two individual offences that the developer was alleged to have committed in relation to insider trading – on one count, a purchase of ¥2.8 million of stock in DRAGON QUEST TACT developer Aiming Inc, and another count of a ¥144.7 million stock investment in Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier developer ATeam.

The investments were made prior to the news of these games’ development becoming public knowledge, which Naka testified was a mistake on account of accidentally being privy to such insider information via an administration error. That defence evidently did not seem to be well received by the court.

In response, Naka’s defence team is seeking to reduce the fines levied against him, as well as a suspension of the sentence (whether this means a delayed start to the sentence or a full-blown cancellation remains to be seen).

Naka was previously employed by Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix from 2018 to 2021, working with Sonic co-creator Naoto Ohshima and his team at Arzest to produce Balan Wonderworld. Before that game’s launch, he was removed from the project, and since then the creative has been embroiled in a series of court cases and arrests relating to his time at the company.

Via TheGamer

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Yuji Naka Places Some Blame For His Insider Trading on Secretary’s Mistake

The Yuji Naka insider trading scandal has taken another turn this week, with Naka reportedly blaming his recent activity whilst at Square Enix on a secretarial mistake.

Naka was arrested late last year for insider trading, and admitted to it in a trial last month. Naka claims that a secretary sent him information he was not meant to see.

According to Gosokkyu, who has been a good source of information over the course of this story, Naka is likely trying to make the case that this was not pre-meditated, in the hopes of getting a lighter sentence.

Whether this defense will help at all, we’ll just have to see.

via Twitter

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HD Offscreen Sonic ‘06 Alpha Footage From TGS 2005 Presentation Released

As bad as Sonic 2006 ended up being, I still have fond memories of the lead-up to the game’s release. Among them, I remember sitting at my desktop computer, watching a poor quality video of a “real time day night system” from the game’s TGS 2005 tech demo, recorded off-screen by the now-defunct game website Kikizo. While the feature wouldn’t make it into the final game, seventeen years later we’ve finally been afforded a better look at the game’s alpha footage.

Kikizo founder Adam Doree uploaded the footage, as part of a wider effort to release the website’s footage at a level of quality the internet wasn’t capable of in 2005. The footage give us our best look yet at Sonic 2006’s 2005 build, including the epic E3 2005 trailer.

Unfortunately, as noted earlier, this footage is still offscreen, but this is likely the best we’ll get until the TGS footage is either leaked to the internet or released officially by SEGA.

You can find the footage for Sonic 2006, and for the “SEGA the Future” presentation it was a part of, at Adam Doree’s channel here, or embedded below:

In addition to the Sonic 2006 footage, he also has footage for Fifth Phantom Saga, a canceled Sonic Team first person shooter. We reported on that here.

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High Quality Footage for Canceled Sonic Team Game “Fifth Phantom Saga” Resurfaces

The mid-2000s were a wild time for games. Technology was advancing at an amazing pace, developers were playing with unprecedented HD visuals and motion controls, and the idea of Sonic Team making a first person shooter wasn’t absurd, but simple reality. Said FPS, “Fifth Phantom Saga,” was initially shown at Sony’s big PS3 reveal at E3 2005, before eventually getting a more in-depth showing later that year at the Tokyo Game Show.

The game would never see the light of day, and very little media from it has ever been released. That is what makes today’s piece of news so cool: high quality off-screen footage of the game’s TGS trailer and Yuji Naka-presented tech demo has been uploaded by Adam Doree, founder of the now-defunct video game website Kikizo. The footage, which was recorded by Kikizo, has only ever been available in low quality until now, due to the limitations of the internet at the time.

You can check out the footage over at Adam Doree’s Youtube channel, or in the embed below:

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Yuji Naka Admits Insider Knowledge in Square Enix Insider Trading Case

Today in his first trial, former Sonic Team head Yuji Naka admits to having knowledge of unannounced games prior to buying stock in Square Enix partners.

Continue reading Yuji Naka Admits Insider Knowledge in Square Enix Insider Trading Case
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Yuji Naka Has Been Arrested For Insider Trading – Updated Dec. 7

Fuji News Network is reporting that Yuji Naka, former Sonic Team head, has been arrested for insider trading in relation to his time working at Square Enix.

Continue reading Yuji Naka Has Been Arrested For Insider Trading – Updated Dec. 7
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Yuji Naka Reveals He Sued Square Enix For Balan Wonderworld Removal, Criticises Game Release ‘A Disgrace’

Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka has spoken out against publisher Square Enix over the release of Balan Wonderworld, claiming he was removed from the project as director months before the game’s launch – which led him to sue the Final Fantasy company.

Continue reading Yuji Naka Reveals He Sued Square Enix For Balan Wonderworld Removal, Criticises Game Release ‘A Disgrace’
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Yuji Naka Surprised As Screenshots of Scrapped Sonic 1 Enemy Resurfaces

Sometimes, even the creators of a game don’t know what’s been shown of it. 

A little over thirty-one years ago, the Japanese magazine Famicon Tsushin printed screenshots of Sonic 1, taken from the game’s Tokyo Toy Show 1990 build. A few days ago, those screens resurfaced on Twitter, shortly after the magazine was posted to Archive.org, thanks to @VGDensetsu. The screenshots featured a clear look at an unused Sonic 1 beta enemy, from before badniks were created. While this technically wasn’t the first time a decent screenshot of this enemy was found (and blurry screenshots were around in the mid-2000s), it did mark the first time it garnered widespread attention from the Sonic community…and Yuji Naka!

Naka’s reaction was one of surprise: he had no memory of screenshots of the enemy ever being taken. In a tweet, roughly translated by Google, Naka said “I don’t have much memory of putting this enemy on the screen, so it may be a screen I made, but I feel like I couldn’t do that at that time, so it’s a mystery.” Obviously, the usual caveats of relying on flawed Google translations apply here.

You can check out the VGDensetsu tweet here, and you can find the scan below:

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25 Years of NiGHTS (Part 1)

The History

Yuji Naka (left) & Naoto Oshima (right) during NiGHTS’ development

It all began on a plane ride.

Yuji Naka was traveling between America and Japan constantly to oversee Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s development. All that time spent in the air made him want to make a game about flight. Though the idea had its roots in 1992, it wouldn’t be until after Sonic & Knuckles’ completion in late 1994 that they were able to begin development for it on SEGA’s newly released SEGA Saturn.

Sonic Team’s primary goal with NiGHTS was to get away from Sonic. They wanted a long break from the character, and desired to create something new that “contradicted” what Sonic was. Early in development, they explored military themes, before eventually setting the game in a dream world.

NiGHTS into Dreams had various influences. Its character design pulled from circus characters, and was inspired by Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystére” show in particular, which Naka saw multiple times during his many trips to America. Sonic Team also did a lot of research into dream studies, as well as the work of psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Friedrich Holtz. Jung in particular was an influence, with ideas such as his “dream archetypes” and “animus and anima” becoming central to the game. Jung’s ideas are too large for the scope of this article, but Naka does briefly touch on these elements in an interview with TRiPPY, owner of the fan site nightsintodreams.com.

The Release

NiGHTS into Dreams released in Japan on July 5, 1996, with releases following in the US on August 20 and in Europe on October 7. In the US, its release was accompanied by a $10 million advertising campaign, with the usual ads one might expect from SEGA in the 90s. Many copies of the game were sold with the SEGA Saturn 3D controller, which was developed alongside the game because Sonic Team felt the standard Saturn controller with its digital pad wasn’t accurate enough for the game. Some US copies also came with a free pillow as a pre-order bonus!

 Overall, the game was a success, at least by the standards of the SEGA Saturn. It was the system’s best selling game in Japan for 1996, selling 392,000 units. In the US, it was the system’s second best selling game of all time (in terms of dollar sales), second only to Madden ’97. The game was well received by critics, and currently holds an 89% average on GameRankings. It received praise for its visuals, soundtrack, and fluid flight game play, though did receive some criticism for its graphical pop-in and not being “full 3D” like Super Mario 64.

The World

So, we’ve gone over the game’s development and release, but the question remains for anyone unfamiliar with the game: what exactly is NiGHTS? Let’s go over that!

The title character, NiGHTS, is an androgynous being created by the game’s villain, Wizeman the Wicked. Wizeman rules the dimension known as Nightmare. He wishes to destroy Nightopia, the world of dreams, and steal the ideya (human dream energy) of dreamers in order to gather energy and open a portal to the waking world. To carry this out, he created the Nightmarens, with NiGHTS and Reala being his most powerful. But while Reala served dutifully, NiGHTS was mischievous and didn’t like taking orders or agree with Wizeman’s plans, so they rebelled. Wizeman captured NiGHTS, and imprisoned them in a structure called an ideya palace.

Notably, NiGHTS was created specifically by Sonic Team to be genderless, though he/him pronouns have historically been used. The game’s director, Takashi Iizuka, says NiGHTS’ gender is up to the player to interpret, so we’ll be using they/them for this article.

In addition to NIGHTS, the game also stars two children, Claris and Elliot. They’re having nightmares over recent real life fears, and suddenly find themselves in Nightopia, where all their ideya, save for their red ideya of courage, are stolen. This is when they meet NiGHTS, trapped inside the ideya palace. Thanks to the red ideya, which only Claris and Elliot possess, they are able to enter the ideya palace and merge with NiGHTS, freeing them for a limited time. The two children then work with NiGHTS to get their ideya back and defeat the nightmaren boss of each world.

The Game

I’ve seen people call NiGHTS everything from a platformer to a flight game, but anyone going in with those expectations will probably be confused. NIGHTS into Dreams is a essentially a side-scrolling score-attack collectathon.  Each level in NiGHTS has four courses (or “mares”), each of which have an ideya to collect from something called an “ideya capture.”

To get the ideya, NiGHTS must collect 20 blue chips, fly into the ideya capture to destroy it, and then bring the ideya back to the ideya palace, which serves as the start and end of each course. Each ideya must be collected within two minutes. If the player runs out of time, NiGHTS is sent back to the ideya palace and the kid must make it back there on their own. If they are caught by the alarm egg, a large floating clock, they get a game over. Once each ideya is collected, NiGHTS then faces the level boss, which also has a two minute timer. To deal with bosses as well as smaller enemies, NiGHTS has two attacks: the drill dash and the paraloop. The drill dash sends NiGHTS drilling into enemies, while the paraloop has NiGHTS flying around an enemy and forming a “loop” with the sparkles that trail them, destroying any smaller enemies caught inside and damaging bosses.

But there’s more to this game than just gathering the ideya and killing enemies. As I said before, NiGHTS is also a score attack game. Doing the bare minimum won’t even be enough to complete the game, since players need a grade of C in all six levels to unlock the seventh level. To do that, one must understand the game’s scoring system.

Nearly everything in this game contributes to player score. Collecting blue chips, flying through rings, killing enemies, and pulling off trick combos after flying through a power ring will all get you points. You can start “links” by linking the collecting of blue chips and rings together, though you have to be fast as links are broken if NiGHTS goes a few seconds without collecting either. Destroying ideya captures quickly also nets NiGHTS a heap of points, though it is after this that the real scoring starts. 

To get high scores in this game, players need to lap a course repeatedly after getting the ideya, netting every point possible until the very last second. Run out of time, and players not only lose NiGHTS, but all of their points, typically leaving them with an F grade for the course. This lends the system a certain risk/reward quality. For people like myself, this is where the game really shines.

Alongside all of this, the game also features an “a-life” system, which is essentially a precursor to chao. All of the levels in NiGHTS are populated by friendly Nightopians, who can be interacted with in limited ways. Both NiGHTS and the kids can hatch them from eggs, and NiGHTS can also hurt them with a drill dash or kill them with a paraloop. Obviously, hurting or killing them will make them fearful or angry with NiGHTS. Meanwhile, killing Nightmarens and hatching eggs will make them happy, causing them to reproduce and increase their population. Aside from giving them different behaviors, this system also changes the in-game music, which changes based on their mood. There are also some special kinds of Nightopians.

Nightopian/Nightmaren hybrids called “Mepians” can also be created when Nightmarens are knocked into Nightopians by NiGHTS. This is very hard to do on purpose, so the couple I’ve created over the years (one of which is in the above gallery) were created by accident. These Mepians will also breed, creating other Mepians as well as, eventually, King Pians (pictured above). King Pians appear purely by chance, and will construct a permanent castle within the level once created. They’ll also attack Nightmarens and any Mepians that attack Nightopians. Overall, a fairly complex system for what can effectively just be background creatures!

The Aftermath

The NiGHTS storybook.

After its release, NiGHTS did stick around as a SEGA IP for a time. The franchise received a now-rare line of plushies, which were distributed exclusively in SEGA’s UFO Catchers, as well as a line of keychain plushies. In December of 1996, a NiGHTS story book was published exclusively in Japan, and in late 1997 the game received a six-issue series from Archie Comics featuring art from Patrick Spaziente.

The most notable NiGHTS thing to come in this period, however, was Christmas NiGHTS. Given away for free as a “sampler,” it’s probably one of the most elaborate demo discs ever made. The demo implemented a cut idea from the main game: time activated events. During most of the year, the game is just a vanilla demo of a single level, Spring Valley, but come November 26 it transforms into a Christmas-themed sequel to the original game.

Cover art for the PAL release of Christmas NiGHTS

Christmas NiGHTS has narrated opening and closing cutscenes, fully reskins Spring Valley into a Christmas level, introduces brand new courses in that level, and is full of presents that can be unlocked throughout the Christmas season. Everything from playable Sonic to a score attack mode to karaoke can be unlocked, as well as loads of game art and photos of merchandise. Outside of the Christmas season, it also includes winter skins for Claris and Elliot from November through to February, playable Reala on April 1, and other minor differences in the level for certain holidays.

Despite its success, Sonic Team did not immediately begin working on a sequel. Instead, they began work on another game that utilized a more advanced version of the NiGHTS engine: Burning Rangers. After finishing that game, Sonic Team would also begin developing what would eventually become Sonic Adventure. At one point, they did begin work on “Air NiGHTS,” a potential NiGHTS sequel for the Dreamcast that would have utilized motion controls, but nothing ever came of it.

Burning Rangers was released in early 1998

What came next for NiGHTS? Head over to part 2 of this article to find out.

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Yuji Naka Is No Longer Working At Square Enix

Unfortunately, Balan Wonderworld didn’t have the success that Square Enix hoped for. And unfortunately for Yuji Naka, the game’s director and the former head of Sonic Team, the result has been that he is no longer working at Square Enix.

Continue reading Yuji Naka Is No Longer Working At Square Enix
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Reminder: Balan Wonderworld Demo Out Now

If you want to try Balan Wonderworld, the latest game from Sonic creators Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima, it now has a demo out on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, and Steam! If you don’t have the time or just want a second opinion, we’ll have our own impressions article up later today.

Balan Wonderworld will be out on all platforms March 26. It is being published by Square Enix and co-developed by Balan Company and Arzest.

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Yuji Naka Had Trouble on the Official SEGA Test – Because of ‘Mr Needlemouse’

To celebrate SEGA’s 60th anniversary, the game company hosted a special public exam to test fans’ knowledge of its history. We missed it too, we’re upset about that as well. But spare a thought for Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka, who revealed that he actually had trouble knowing the answer to one particular question relating to his blue creation. And, as most things, it all comes down to a decades-old case of mistranslation.

Continue reading Yuji Naka Had Trouble on the Official SEGA Test – Because of ‘Mr Needlemouse’
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Sample Balan Wonderworld in a Demo Coming January 28

Balan Wonderworld, a new collaboration between Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima, will be getting a demo on all current console and PC via Steam on January 28.

Continue reading Sample Balan Wonderworld in a Demo Coming January 28
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20 Years of TSS: The Biggest Sonic Stories of the Last Two Decades

What’s that? You want Sonic the Hedgehog news, sonny? Well, it just so happens that we’ve got a whole LIBRARY’S worth of news stories and features covering the last twenty years! We could tell you when Archie Sonic #117 hit comic store shelves… or we could tell you something interesting instead. How about the biggest Sonic stories to hit the internet since The Sonic Stadium opened its doors in 2000?

Continue reading 20 Years of TSS: The Biggest Sonic Stories of the Last Two Decades
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The Opening Cutscene for Balan Wonderworld is Out, and it’s a Trip

Square Enix released Balan Wonderworld’s opening CG movie today, and it is certainly…something. Check it out below:

Although the game play is clearly distinct from Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima’s past work, Balan has definitely been giving off some major NiGHTS into Dreams vibes, and this opening just adds to that.

Balan Wonderworld is currently set to launch on Switch, Xbox One, PS5 and PS4 next March. Stay tuned to SonicStadium for further coverage!

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Balan Wonderworld Gets March 2021 Release Date

Today’s Nintendo Direct gave us some new info on Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima’s upcoming game, Balan Wonderworld. The game will be launching on March 26, 2021, and will include 12 worlds, each with their own boss fight. You progress through the game by collecting hidden trophies, which you can do with a friend through the game’s co-op mode.

You can check out the game’s new trailer for its Nintendo Switch version below:

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Square Enix Brings Original Sonic Creators Back Together for New 3D Platformer Balan Wonderworld

We always hoped to see the day that original ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ creators Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima would get back together on a brand new project… but we weren’t expecting to to happen at Square Enix! The Japanese RPG publisher has just announced a brand new 3D platformer called Balan Wonderworld, featuring colourful characters and whimsical gameplay that makes you feel like the original Sonic Team never left.  Continue reading Square Enix Brings Original Sonic Creators Back Together for New 3D Platformer Balan Wonderworld

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Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima, and Hirokazu Yasuhara Respond to Sonic Movie’s Design Change

Over the past week, the internet has been all a buzz over the first trailer for the upcoming Sonic movie. Well three people in particular have offered some words regarding the film, all of which Sonic fans should recognize.

Continue reading Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima, and Hirokazu Yasuhara Respond to Sonic Movie’s Design Change

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Ex-Sonic Team Sonic Adventure Artist Hiroshi Nishiyama Rejoins SEGA

The Official Sonic Twitch channel had a surprise guest appearance last week, as Sonic Community Manager Aaron Webber introduced Ex-Sonic Team artist Hiroshi Nishiyama to the stream, announcing his return to SEGA. Continue reading Ex-Sonic Team Sonic Adventure Artist Hiroshi Nishiyama Rejoins SEGA

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Incredible Box of Sonic 2 Development Art & Data Discovered

Sonic 2 Prototypes and Betas have become the stuff of legend and folklore, with numerous tales of lost and stolen versions circulating amongst the community for years alongside of nearly 10 versions which have been discovered to date.

Even now – 27 years after the game’s debut – new and unseen development material is still surfacing, and this time courtascy of a chance meeting at a garage sale!

Continue reading Incredible Box of Sonic 2 Development Art & Data Discovered

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Yuji Naka Says Goodbye to SEGA’s Old Headquarters

A few days ago, Yuji Naka tweeted pictures of himself and his kids giving a fond farewell to SEGA’s old headquarters in Otorii, Tokyo. The company moved out of the building last year, relocating to a building in Ousaki, Tokyo. According to Silconera (via Gamebiz) the building was recently sold for 5.2 billion yen. It was this that prompted Yuji Naka to visit the building. He told his kids that he developed Sonic the Hedgehog on the building’s seventh floor.

Check out Yuji Naka’s tweets and photos below:

As a bonus, here’s another tweet with some additional photos of the building’s exterior:

You can check out some additional photos of the the building, as well as get a look at SEGA’s new offices, over at our source for the tweet translations, Kotaku.

 

 

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20 Years of Sonic Adventure Merchandise

To celebrate 20 years of Sonic Adventure, we take a brief look at some of the best Sonic Adventure-themed merchandise released in 1998 and beyond!

Continue reading 20 Years of Sonic Adventure Merchandise

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Happy 20th Birthday Sonic Adventure!

Sonic Adventure celebrates it’s 20th anniversary today after hitting screens in Japan way back in 1998.

We take a look back at what made this game one of the most enduring Sonic the Hedgehog titles, and why SA1 was such a trailblazing title in not only the series, but in video game history.

The Hype

SEGA of the 90’s certainly knew how to pull out all of the stops when it came to generating a buzz around the next Sonic game, and the anticipation of what was in store brought kids and grown-ups alike to fever pitch…and the announcement of Sonic Adventure was no different.

On the 22nd of August 1998, a few thousand lucky punters were invited to attend the first presentation of Sonic Adventure at the Tokyo International Forum – an event that was luckily recorded for posterity (which you can watch below). The first foray into the world of 128-bit high speed action was introduced by Yuji Naka, entering the stage in Rock star fashion by emerging from a balloon to a face-melting guitar riff.

The event also showcased a “Making of Sonic Adventure” semi-documentary presented in a light-hearted manor, in which Sonic Team embarked on a fact-finding trip to central America to visit the Tulum Ruins, the Caribbean Sea, the Tikal Ruins of Guatemala, and Machu Pichu amongst other locations – all of which influenced stages in the game.

Some members of the Team even became ill on their research trip from altitude sickness – talk about dedication to the cause!

The design

Sonic has undergone several redesigns in his 27 ½ year history (we won’t mention the most recent!), but most fans regard the Sonic Adventure iteration of the neon protagonists to be one of the most successful. Characters traded their pot-bellies in for coloured irises and longer limbs, allowing for some incredibly elastic posturing that would become Yuji Uekawa’s instantly recognisable stylisation which remains the norm for modern Sonic artwork to this day. While the classic design of Sonic has since been translated to 3D, the modern Sonic style allowed for a much easier transition to the medium.

Dr Eggman was given a particularly significant redesign, along with both western and eastern franchises aligning on the Japanese name (although Robotnik would be kept as the name for his grandfather in the sequel).

The story mode

Story was not an element that featured heavily in Sonic the Hedgehog games until Sonic Adventure; in fact, one of the initial ideas while the game was on the development bench was to in fact create a Sonic RPG. For Sonic Adventure to include cut scenes and a narrative was a significant change to the game, and novel in that it in itself was derived from the intertwining stories of six different protagonists (one in fact executed in very few other video games at the time).

The seventh and final story in the game, and the true conclusion only accessible once all six main stories were completed, crescendos in the final showdown with Chaos with the player taking the controls of Super Sonic – something undoubtedly cemented as one of the most memorable video game conclusions for many Sonic fans.

Sonic Adventure was also the first Sonic the hedgehog game to include voice acting (besides SEGASonic Arcade) – and while the jury might still be out on the quality of the dialogue, SA1 is definitely one of the most quotable!

The soundtrack

Hum the Green Hill Zone theme and just about any video game fan will tell you that its from a Sonic game – indeed, the soundtrack has always been a core component of what makes a Sonic game so, well, Sonical!

While Sonic Adventure is not the first video game to include vocal tracks (Sonic CD was doing that five years before) it is one of the first to have a fully-fledged album-like feel, complete with a swathe of character themes and a main anthem Open Your Heart, performed Crush 40, that is unparalleled in magnitude. The intro FMV undoubtedly still brings goose bumps to many!

The shift to a rock-centric soundtrack, a decision made by first-time Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue, was a bold move; the music for the original trinity of Sonic games were after all composed by Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True (and most likely Michael Jackson), resulting in a prolific pop influence. However, the move would prove highly successful and would be followed up with the equally popular Live & Learn in the sequel.

The magic of the soundtrack however derives from a brilliant use of multiple genres – rock, pop, rap, electronic, and jazz to name a few all feature throughout.

The game’s soundtrack has endured long enough that it has been celebrated since with the Sonic Adventure Music Experience, which saw Senoue-san and company re-record and perform key songs from the game and its sequel.

DLC

The Dreamcast was the very first games console to provide a connection to the internet as standard, and as such, Sonic Adventure is the very first game in history to include downloadable content! This came in the form of the Sonic Adventure Christmas download, which was only available for the first few days of release (it was no longer available after Christmas day). While this content only included Christmas trees in station square which played played music and gave a seasonal message when interacted with, it was another example of how SEGA and Sonic games were well ahead of the curb.

Happy birthday Sonic Adventure!

What makes Sonic Adventure special to you? Let us know in the comments!

 

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ThunderBox Launches New Sonic Pop Up Shop

A few months ago, Japanese clothing boutique ThunderBox launched a new exciting range of Sonic inspired clothing and products and they’re not stopping with just one range.

Over the weekend they launched season 2 of their clothing range with a pop up shop in the Laforet Harajuku Department store (It’s in Japan).

Well… check out who paid them a visit!


Yuji Naka himself attended the store with his family! We’re not sure if he made any purchases but based on his social media platforms he really enjoyed his time at the store.

Also, one of our writers was actually in the area and managed to take some photos of the store so you can check out what’s on offer.

The store will be open until November 16th, at which point their online website will start to take orders, and yes folks, they do ship outside of Japan!

Source: Thunderbox

Special thanks to Jonathan Dixon who provided us with some more photos!

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SEGA AGES Sonic 2 Could Include Originally-Cut Features

SEGA AGES developer M2 has expressed a desire to include originally-cut features in its upcoming re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Nintendo Switch. Continue reading SEGA AGES Sonic 2 Could Include Originally-Cut Features

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Naka: Sonic 3 & Knuckles Special Stage Was Inspired By Dragon Ball Z

It is no revelation that Sonic the Hedgehog has drawn upon pop culture in its creation (the Death Egg probably being one of the more obvious tributes to Star Wars), but it appears that the influences from Dragon Ball extend further than super forms and collecting 7 powerful objects! Continue reading Naka: Sonic 3 & Knuckles Special Stage Was Inspired By Dragon Ball Z

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Yuji Naka Joins Japanese Publisher Square Enix

Yuji Naka, legendary coder and de-facto ‘Father of Sonic the Hedgehog’, has announced that he has now joined Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix. Continue reading Yuji Naka Joins Japanese Publisher Square Enix

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Sega Mega Drive: Collected Works Art Book Guns for Second Print Run

A reprint of a critically-acclaimed art book covering the history of the Sega Mega Drive is being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. Read Only Memory’s ‘Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works’ was originally released in 2014 and included interviews with Sonic creators Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima, along with illustrations and concept drawings of the 16-bit console’s best titles. Continue reading Sega Mega Drive: Collected Works Art Book Guns for Second Print Run

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Yuji Naka wishes to pitch Mario & Sonic action game to Takashi Iizuka

Just recently, Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima spoke with the Japanese magazine Famitsu, and commented on the origins of the Mario & Sonic series, as well as Sonic joining Super Smash Bros. Brawl. But Yuji Naka also said that he wishes to give another presentation to Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka about a potential Mario & Sonic action game. See the quote below.

Continue reading Yuji Naka wishes to pitch Mario & Sonic action game to Takashi Iizuka

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E3 2016: Interview With Aaron Webber

Yesterday, I sat down in a quiet location of E3 with the master of memes himself, Aaron Webber. We discussed a little bit of Sonic Revolution, Sonic in Lego Dimensions, but mostly Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice. You’ll hear about improvements made due to the delay, the trailer cutscene, the length of the game and much, more! So please watch and enjoy. Continue reading E3 2016: Interview With Aaron Webber

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19 65 09 17: Yuji Naka Celebrates 50th Birthday

Yuji Naka at Tokyo Game Show 2015
Yuji Naka at Tokyo Game Show 2015

Yuji Naka, the master coder that was responsible for programming the original Sonic the Hedgehog, turned 50 years old yesterday. Doesn’t time fly!?

The former SEGA developer – left the company in 2006 to start his own independent studio, Prope – received a wave of well wishes on his social media channels. Naka-san spent the week enjoying Tokyo Games Show, where he has taken pictures of Sonic and SEGA merchandise available for sale at the event.

Although he has not been associated with the Sonic franchise for quite some time, he is regarded as one of the main ‘fathers’ of the blue blur, deftly creating a game engine in the early 1990s that allowed a character to use curved environments to reward players with bursts of speed. He became a spokesperson for the franchise during his time at SEGA, eventually leading the Sonic Team division during the Dreamcast era. For Sonic’s 20th Anniversary in 2011, he attended SEGA’s Sonic Boom event as well as the fan-organised Summer of Sonic convention.

His latest game, Rodea the Sky Soldier, is seeing a release on the Wii U later this year.

“Thank you very much for all the birthday messages,” he wrote in a message to fans. “I can feel all the love and support from my fans! I decided to be even a cool man in my 50s. I’ll do my best.”

With a seemingly undying love for Ferraris, we’re pretty sure Naka-san will continue to be cool for many years to come!

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The Sonic List: My favorite Sonic related moments

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Iizuka – “Why does that scary fat man keep following me?!” Jason “Hhhhiiiiiiiiiiiii.”

To be honest, if it wasn’t for Barry’s Weekly five list on Segabits, I probably wouldn’t have been inspired to do my own Sonic List column. Seeing how people comment and react to my opinions gives me a great feeling of pride (and sometimes shame). The first time I did one of these columns and saw all the replies, good or bad, it was one of my favorite Sonic related moments. That’s what today’s column is all about. My favorite moments in Sonic-dom. Weather it’s from a game, a cartoon or just part of my life. These are the moments that I remember back with great fondness. Click below and enjoy! Continue reading The Sonic List: My favorite Sonic related moments

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Kickstarter for Megadrive / Genesis Retrospective Art Book Launches

mdbook

The popularity of crowdsourcing to fund projects has gained much momentum recently, and only a few months ago, we featured a news article for the Not Enough Rings parody comic book, which was successfully funded.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the SEGA Mega Drive (or Genesis, depending on where you live), a new kickstarter project has been launched by Read-Only Memory (creators of the Sensible Software book) which will be of interest to many of you: SEGA Megadrive / Genesis: Collected Works. This project looks to be nothing short of amazing, describing itself as a compendium of production artwork, interviews and development sketches.

The book will of course showcase a host of Sonic the Hedgehog material, but will also contain much from other loved franchises such as Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star and Golden Axe to name a few; it also aims to feature images and illustrations that have seldom been seen by the public across its 300 pages.

In addition to this, the creators of the book have already secured interviews with an incredibly impressive line-up of SEGA staff, past and present, including Naoto Oshima, Kazuyuki Hoshino, Yuji Naka, Yuzo Koshiro and Yu Suzuki.

For a pledge of £30 (about $45), you can secure yourself a copy of what is set to be the ultimate coffee table history book. If you’ve got the cash to splash, £250 will not only get you a copy of the book, but an exclusive limited edition print (1 of 100), created by Naoto Oshima, especially for the campaign.

At time of writing, the campaign has already doubled its initial funding goal, so you can pledge in confidence. This is surely one book you don’t want to miss out on!

[P.S. If you love your kick-starters, you might want to check out Far From Faith, a comic set to be animated by the very talented Lynne Triplet, known to many of you at TRiPPY of NiGHTS fame!]

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Sonic’s 10th Anniversary: Merchandise and Memories

A few years back, a wineglass emblazoned with the Sonic 10th Anniversary emblem cropped up for sale on eBay. While most seasoned merch-hogs were aware of the trinity of 10th anniversary items that had been offered by the Sonic Factory in 2001 (the statue, the crystal cube and the pewter ring), this was the first time most had seen this item; its authenticity and origin (along with that of the 10th anniversary lighter) has been much debated amongst Sonic collectors.

Luckily, one fan account reveals the origin of these items, and details the happenings of the “Sonic 10th Anniversary Birthday Party in Japan” which took place a day after Sonic’s 10th birthday on the 24th of June, 2001.

Continue reading Sonic’s 10th Anniversary: Merchandise and Memories

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New SEGA Website Shows PROPE Copyright on Sonic 4

SEGA Japan has recently put up a new website archiving all of its digital download games, and thanks to the keen eyes of Woun over at Sonic Scene, we’ve got some interesting news to report. If you take a look underneath Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, you can see not only SEGA listed as a copyright holder, but PROPE, too. PROPE, as a lot of you will know, is the developer founded by Sonic the Hedgehog’s original creator, Yuji Naka. Could this mean Yuji Naka’s development studio had a part in Sonic the Hedgehog 4‘s development, or is it just an error?

Source: SEGA Japan’s new digital games archives site (via Sonic Scene)

Thanks to SSMB member and Sonic Scene founder Woun for the heads up!

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