Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima interview by Saturn Power (July 1997)
From Sonic Retro
Saturn Power: What can you tell us about Project Sonic?
Yuji Naka/Naoto Oshima: Initially this project started as a company project. One of the games which the Sonic Team did was Jam. This game's been written for people who've never played a Sonic game before.
When we made NiGHTS we recieved a lot of letters asking us what the Sonic Team was and who Sonic was. That's why we started this project; we wanted to introduce those people to Sonic.
Saturn Power: What next then?
Yuji Naka/Naoto Oshima: Right now we're planning to release Sonic Jam in June (in Japan) and the Saturn version of the new Sonic game at the end of the year. We are also organising the merchandising side of things, too - things like dolls and T-shirts.
Saturn Power: It's been a while since you've done a Sonic game, hasn't it?
Yuji Naka/Naoto Oshima: Yes, it was three years ago. We've had a good rest period to recharge our batteries and now we're full of new ideas for the new game. To tell you the truth, we had planned to leave another Sonic game for five years (laughs). In the long term, though, we're hoping to extend this project over a number of years.
Saturn Power: What sort of data is included on Sonic World (the 3D environment section of Sonic Jam)?
Yuji Naka/Naoto Oshima: First of all, Sonic World uses 3D polygonal fields. Players can move from place to place (e.g. buildings) within fields and can access information by operating Sonic. It's like an information centre where you can watch a film or listen to music, or access information about characters and their personal histories.
Sonic World contains pictures of this and also images from Sonic, the Animated Film - which was produced as a test - they are very valuable pictures.
Saturn Power: Do any other characters appear in Sonic World apart from Sonic?
Yuji Naka/Naoto Oshima: Actually Tails appears, too. You can grab hold of him and fly off with him if you like - it has nothing to do with the game, but it might be fun to go flying once in a while.
Another thing you can do is to switch your view to that of Tails, flying through the air - this has nothing to do with the game either, but it gives you a different perspective; with Tails you are flying through the air, whilst with Sonic you are on the ground.
Saturn Power: What was the most difficult part about creating the Sonic World section of the game?
Yuji Naka/Naoto Oshima: The history was the most difficult part - it's hard to gather all the information together. We're assembling a chronological table of big events in Sonic's history. I would say that among them, game history is the most difficult... there are so many games we have never even heard of.
Saturn Power: For example?
Yuji Naka/Naoto Oshima: Well, as you know, Sega's a big company and before we knew it lots of different game systems had sprung up (including Game Gear, Master System and Pico). We have had to collect up every single program, not only in this country but also from the US and Europe. Now, though, we think we have been able to assemble copies of all the existing Sonic software.