Roger Hector interview by hxc (October 2005)
From Sonic Retro
This is an interview conducted by hxc, with Roger Hector, former director of STI. It has been reformatted for better readability. This interview was conducted shortly after a MTV special on Sonic & Knuckles called Rock the Rock was discovered.
hxc: I'm sorry to torment you with these questions again, but we have just had a new video appear, with you on it, the Rock the Rock MTV Sonic and Knuckles special. A member of our community has come up with lots of helpful questions that could sort a few things out
First question: When Sonic 2 was released in America, a new logo was used for the SONIC text on the box art. This text saying "SONIC" had yellow-orange outlined border with blue shiny letters. The O and C had a diagonal circle in the middle. This logo was later used to say "SONIC SPINBALL", "SONIC CHAOS", "SONIC CD", "SONIC 3", and then the last one used for "SONIC & KNUCKLES". We are all very interested how this logo was made, and by whom? We are also very interested in knowing what the font family name was, do you remember maybe?
Roger Hector: There were many different artists that developed packaging art who worked outside of STI . In the beginning this was not tightly controlled. I remember that at one point there were several different versions of the same art (like "title art") and it became a problem. So SOA Marketing decided to produce a Sonic Style Guide (a book containing the official approved versions of all types and pieces of Sonic art) to be used by every Sega division and subcontractor. It took a long time to produce, and STI was only involved at the end to give final approval. The reason it took so long to produce was it required several tries to get STI's approval. Unfortunately, I don't know the names of the artists that did this development.
hxc: The Sonic drawings on mostly all the American Genesis boxarts involving Sonic The Hedgehog were drawn in a special way. Who was this artist making this nicely shaded Sonic looking "cool" all the time?
Roger Hector: Again, this was done outside of STI and I don't know the name of the artist.
hxc: The third question has to do with the Sonic & Knuckles development. We just got videos of a MTV show recorded back in 1994, which were a very big Sonic & Knuckles contest, probably sponsored by STI. In this show we can see you among other developers of a unknown Sonic game.
We can clearly see Kunitake Aoki working with a 3D wireframed program making the Sonic & Knuckles title screen. He also draws the graphics for the 3D title screen in a Digitizer, I think. He is doing an amazing job we can tell. The rest of the gang, except Hirokazu Yasuhara and Howard Drossin, are no even credited in the Sonic & Knuckles staff roll at the end.
One of these guys is Adrian Stephens.
In the MTV show, Adrian Stephens is credited as "The Technical Director". He is showing off in front of the camera by drawing math on a whiteboard while talking about how the Knuckles player's physics work in the game. The math he is using is very confusing.
First of all, I know Naka was behind the programming of the Sonic character's physics. It's part of the Sonic engine he made back in 1991. And the math used by Adrian Stephens can't even be simulated on the Genesis hardware. This makes me wonder what Adrian Stephens really worked on at that time. He can't take credits from Yuji Naka's work.
Adrian Stephens probably did a great job at what he was working on at that time. I just want to know what he was working on, and why he was credited in this show for being the Knuckles physics mind behing the game?
Roger Hector: Adrian enjoyed playing jokes, and the physics math on the white board could have been something fake he threw up there just for fun (I dont remember for sure). But Adrian was also an excellent technical programmer, and he did indeed contribute to the physics code in the game. As Adrian was working in the capacity of Technical Director, he provided assistance to Naka, and helped him solve technical problems. In certain areas, he was a stronger technical designer than Naka. He even wrote some underlying code that was used in the game. Naka respected Adrian (who is a Brit) quite a bit, and he was happy to be able to use Adrian's help.
hxc: Chris Senn was also credited in the Sonic & Knuckles contest on MTV back in 1994, as Artist. He was never credited in the real Sonic & Knuckles game. Also he was working on drawing a female Sonic character.
As the result of this, I believe that some of these people were not working on Sonic & Knuckles at all since the game was already released. I think these people were working on a new Sonic title, possibly Sonic X-treme. That's probably why Chris Senn's character is not a Sonic & Knuckles drawing, and Adrian Stephens math physics was ment to be.
Have we got this right, or is there more to the story?
Roger Hector: Chris Senn was working developing character art in the Sonic team at the time the MTV show was made. It may have been that his art made it into the show, but his art did not make it into the final Sonic & Knuckles game. It was not uncommon to have several STI artists take a crack at creating characters, but the ones that made it into a game were only a small percentage of what was created. But it was not all wasted ...When a new game would get started, we would bring out unused character art from previous games to use as inspiration for the new game.
- Original Interview at Secrets of Sonic Team.