Yuji Naka interview by Prima (2003)
From Sonic Retro
Prima: When did development start on Sonic Advance 2?
Yuji Naka: We began working on the concept as soon as we finished developing Sonic Advance; then we began working on it in earnest around February of 2002.
Prima: How large was the team?
Yuji Naka: I can't give you the exact number, but it was more than 10 people.
Prima: Who was the project leader?
Yuji Naka: The director was Nishiyama Akinori.
Prima: What else has he worked on?
Prima: Who is the lead character designer for the Sonic series?
Yuji Naka: Yuji Uekawa.
Prima: What other characters has he created?
Yuji Naka: He is the creator of a character named Ristar, who starred in his own mega drive (Genesis) game. You can find that on Sonic Mega Collection. He also did a lot of work on Samba de Amigo, etc.
Prima: How long has the game been in development?
Yuji Naka: It's been about eight months since the substantial work began.
Prima: What improvements has Sonic Advance 2 made over the first Sonic Advance, graphically and in gameplay?
Yuji Naka: The graphics are more sophisticated and refined, and it feels a little more mechanical. As for gameplay, we boosted the system, so it's got a faster feel than any other 2-D Sonic game. Because of this, the zones are six times larger. We also added trick actions and there are more opportunities for strategic play.
Yuji Naka: Well, each console has its own special way of displaying graphics, and the users are aware of this. However, if users were requesting one, I can't say that it's impossible.
Prima: Would you like to do a new 2-D Sonic title on a console?
Yuji Naka: If the opportunity presents itself, then, yes, I'd like to do one.
Prima: Are 2-D games still viable in today's market?
Yuji Naka: I have to say that it's difficult for console games. As for the graphic display capabilities for the game systems, there are certain aspects that are not well suited to the 2-D format, unfortunately.
Yuji Naka: At present we have no plans for a sequel. However, the possibility has not been ruled out.
Prima: What's the future for Sonic on GBA?
Yuji Naka: We're working on it.
Yuji Naka: We've settled on the direction for the series characters, but we have not consciously sought to bring back old designs.
Prima: Are there any plans to support a link between Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic The Hedgehog DX or a new Sonic console title?
Yuji Naka: What the future holds is still a secret. As for a link between NGC and GBA, we realize that this could be a very appealing function. So we are thinking positively about it for the future.
Prima: Why has Sonic remained so popular throughout the many years since his debut in 1991?
Yuji Naka: Well, obviously, one reason is that he is a very charming character. Also I believe that another big factor is the fact new games keep coming back in newer titles.
Prima: What's next for Sonic and Sonic Team?
Yuji Naka: Next will be Sonic the Hedgehog DX for Nintendo GameCube and Sonic Pinball Party for the GBA. What happens after that is still a secret, but it will be something worth waiting for.We're also planning another TV anime that will be produced in Japan. This will also be of great interest to our fans.
Prima: Any favorite Sonic the Hedgehog websites?
Yuji Naka: It's not as if I've visited all of them, so please allow me to say no comment. However, I can say that I am very appreciative of everyone's enthusiasm. Thank you very much.
Prima: Would you like to say something to your many, many fans?
Yuji Naka: Both Sonic and the Sonic Team are zipping right along and we are grateful for your support.