Takashi Yuda interview by GameSpy (January 7, 2006)
From Sonic Retro
GameSpy: You're currently producing Sonic Riders. What was the first Sonic title that you worked on?
Takashi Yuda: During the SEGA Genesis days I worked on the Disney series games, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles. After that, I worked on a few titles for the Sega Saturn and Space Channel 5 for Dreamcast.
GameSpy: We understand that you designed the character of Knuckles the Echidna. What was your thought process in designing this new addition to the Sonic series?
Takashi Yuda: My thought in the beginning was to make Knuckles a partner or teammate for Sonic. I also wanted to add a new playable character to Sonic 3 and Knuckles was a great character for this.
GameSpy: Did you expect Knuckles to become as popular as he did, even going so far as to get his own game?
Takashi Yuda: No, I created him to be a supporting character. I didn't imagine he'd become so popular.
GameSpy: Out of all the Sonic games, which one is your personal favorite?
Takashi Yuda: Sonic 3 on Genesis.
GameSpy: When producing a new game in the Sonic series, do you like to go back and revisit the older games to try and bring some of the better elements of the classic titles into the new ones?
Takashi Yuda: When we develop the next sequel in a series, we always look at the previous game and see if there are elements that we can improve in the new game. But in a case where the game is totally new or is of a different genre, then we start off totally fresh.
GameSpy: Some critics have said that Nintendo is diluting the Mario franchise by putting those characters in a wide variety of non-platform games. Sonic has also appeared in several types of games aside from his original platformers like racing, fighting, board game, pinball, etc. Do you see these multiple genre appearances as a boost to the Sonic franchise, or are you afraid that Sega may end up spreading Sonic out too thin?
Takashi Yuda: Mario is a character with very strong character identification traits, therefore he's able to play an active role in different types and genre of games. Sonic has very strong identification traits as well, but he's well known for one major trait…his speed, therefore I personally don't think putting Sonic in a completely different genre; one that has nothing to do with his speed would be suitable.
GameSpy: What about the introduction of so many new characters into the Sonic universe? Between all the new additions from the Sonic Adventure games, the Sonic Advance games, Sonic Rush, and the birds from Sonic Riders, are you worried that the original cast (Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles) is being lost in the shuffle?
Takashi Yuda: Each character has a specific role in the storylines of our games, so I have no worries about any of the characters getting lost in the shuffle. If we made another racing game, we would have to include Jet and the characters, it only makes sense and gives gamers more selection.
GameSpy: Now that Sonic Riders is almost out, what's next for the Sonic franchise? Are there already plans to develop new Sonic games for the next generation systems like PS3 and Revolution?
Takashi Yuda: I'm still waiting to see how the PS3 and Revolution is going to turn out. We will definitely start thinking about what we can do with Sonic and his friends with the next-gen consoles. We're excited at the possibilities though!
GameSpy: Do you have any ideas for how a Sonic game would work with the Revolution controller? Would you make the control scheme more traditional by using the controller's analog attachment, or do you have ideas for incorporating the controller's unique capabilities into Sonic's gameplay?
Takashi Yuda: We definitely think the Revolution's controller scheme can open up really fun gameplay possibilities. We will definitely factor the unique control scheme into the design of the next Sonic game.
GameSpy: At last year's E3, we were shown a demo of a next generation Sonic title on the Xbox 360. Is there any rough timeframe for when we might expect "Sonic 360" to be released?
Takashi Yuda: You'll just have to wait and see;-)
GameSpy: Will Sonic Riders be the last Sonic title for the current generation systems?
Takashi Yuda: The current gen systems will still be around, so Sonic Riders will probably not be the last Sonic title to appear on current gen systems.
GameSpy: Sonic Rush for Nintendo DS is an outstanding return to classic 2D Sonic gameplay. Are the chances of seeing a new 2D Sonic game on a console system as low as we're afraid they are?
Takashi Yuda: I think 2D Sonic titles will still be created in the future. Now whether they make it to consoles…that I can't say for sure.
GameSpy: What about spin-off games like Knuckles Chaotix and Shadow the Hedgehog? Would you like to do more of those? If so, who do you think deserves his or her own game? Personally, we'd love to see Metal Sonic from Sega CD get his own game.
Takashi Yuda: I think we'd like to create something totally new. We always have new ideas coming and going it's just a matter of finding that one idea that has a certain magic to it, then we'll explore that idea with more depth.
GameSpy: Please give us some parting thoughts on Sonic and his contributions to Sega and the game industry as a whole since his creation.
Takashi Yuda: When Sonic made his debut, his speed and attitude really shook the world of gaming. Prior to Sonic's debut video game characters lacked an "edge" to them. We also design huge expansive levels for this little hedgehog with attitude to play in, that was groundbreaking as well. Since his debut we've always challenged ourselves to create something that would go beyond what we've already achieved. Sonic will never stop evolving as an unconventional character.