Yojiro Ogawa interview by GameSpy (July 22, 2005)
From Sonic Retro
Yojiro Ogawa: Our primary goal with Sonic Gems Collection and Sonic Mega Collection was to create an opportunity for children that have not had the chance to experience the original Sonic titles. Mega Collection packaged a solid compilation of titles that founded and established the Sonic series, including many of the ones that made Sonic the Hedgehog famous. In Sonic Gems, we are able to extend that package by compiling more rare and quality Sonic titles. After much deliberation we decided on Sonic CD, Sonic Fighters, and Sonic R.
GameSpy: What is your opinion of the U.S. soundtrack for Sonic CD? How do you feel it compares to the Japanese one?
Yojiro Ogawa: Both the U.S. and Japanese soundtracks include great music. Each were created by considering the different tastes in each country
Due to the amount of space the disk can hold, the U.S. version plays only U.S.-version songs, and the Japanese version, only plays the Japanese-version. We originally thought about switching the songs, but instead, we are now featuring remixed tunes from both the Japan and U.S. soundtracks in the Museum.
GameSpy: It's good to finally see Sonic the Fighters on a home system. Why was it never released on Saturn back in the day?
Yojiro Ogawa: Console hardware has evolved since the time of the Sega Saturn, making it much easier to recreate what was quite difficult to reproduce at the time of Sega Saturn. We have long been hoping to give fans and gamers a similar experience as found in the arcade version of Sonic the Fighters. Now we can fulfill a longtime wish of fans by releasing it for the first time on a home video game console.
GameSpy: The GameCube port of Sonic Adventure featured a dozen Sonic Game Gear titles as unlockable bonuses, and half of them are included in Sonic Gems Collection. Why not include the remaining Game Gear titles as well? What was the thought process behind choosing the specific portable games to include in Gems?
Yojiro Ogawa: In Sonic Adventure DX, these Game Gear titles are unlockables, requiring players to satisfy condition requirements to unlock them. In Sonic Gems Collection, the Game Gear games are immediately accessible.
The six GameGear titles on Gems represent what we felt were the best and highest quality of Game Gear titles, and were included in Gems as an addition to the six Game Gear titles in Sonic Mega Collection Plus, thus rounding out the collection.
Yojiro Ogawa: There is possibility, but I think the first issue will be whether gamers will accept Sonic Gems Collection. If Gems becomes popular among consumers and they are eager for more, it may well be that we include these games.
Yojiro Ogawa: There is a good possibility, and we have tried on a number of occasions. However, because of the complexity in developing on the SEGA Saturn, it is more difficult to port NiGHTS and Burning Rangers to a current-gen console.
GameSpy: We know that the two Vectorman games are unlockable in the U.S. version of Sonic Gems Collection, but these games were not created by Sonic Team. Why include these games in a Sonic collection? How do you decide which non-Sonic games will appear in these compilations (like Vectorman or The Ooze)?
Yojiro Ogawa: We regard Vectorman as a good game. To the extent that we attempted to include it in Mega Collection. We create a list of titles to include in Sonic Gems, taking into consideration the non-Sonic titles that gamers would want to play. We also looked into the quality of the gameplay, graphics, nature of the game, and whether it satisfied a certain requirement to be included as a bonus in a Sonic-title compilation. As we have received many requests for Vectorman from gamers, it became a top choice.
GameSpy: Are there any different games to unlock in the Japanese version of Sonic Gems Collection (as was the case with the original Sonic Mega Collection)? If so, why weren't these games included in the U.S. release?
'Yojiro Ogawa: Yes there are different unlockables in the Japan and U.S. versions. Throughout the entire development cycle, we had hoped for both Sonic Gems unlockables, be standardized. However, rating issues and standards are different in each country and thus the unlockables are different.
As to the Sonic titles, both versions of Sonic Gems Collection feature the same ones, and are loaded with lots of extra Sonic-related elements. We know you will be satisfied.
GameSpy: Has revisiting all these old Sonic games and seeing some of their unique aspects (like the racing in Sonic R or the time traveling in Sonic CD) inspired the design of future Sonic projects?
Yojiro Ogawa: Past titles always help to stimulate new Sonic projects. We often look at past games to prevent ourselves from imitating them or following their specific patterns. They also inspire newfound ambitions to continuously take on future challenges that were inherited from the past.