Yuji Naka interview by Euro Gamer (May 23, 2003)
From Sonic Retro
This is an interview conducted by Euro Gamer with Yuji Naka. It covers the development of Sonic Heroes. The running commentary has been edited out but can still be read on Angel Island interviews here.
Euro Gamer: Is Sonic Heroes a proper sequel, or is Sonic Adventure 3 coming at a later date?
Yuji Naka: The Adventure series is completed. Sonic Heroes is a new style of game.
Euro Gamer: How hands on in the creative process are you these days?
Euro Gamer: What was your role on the original Sonic?
Yuji Naka: I was involved from the beginning of the creation of the game. I was responsible for designing the characters, and was the main programmer, while the mapping was done by the guy who left to join Naughty Dog to do Jak II. He was involved in until Sonic 3, and then he didn’t do anything at Sega. He was quite useless!
Euro Gamer: Do you miss creating games for proprietary Sega hardware?
Yuji Naka: Yes, I miss that very much… when Sega is more vitalised I will definitely want to work on it. Will that happen? I will try very hard.
Euro Gamer: If that doesn't happen, who would you like to see Sega merge with?
Yuji Naka: ...
Euro Gamer: Why has Sonic endured so long as a brand?
Yuji Naka: The user has to be happy. I can't really tell if I will keep going until after the sales figures come in. I think children just really like Sonic.
Euro Gamer: Why choose GameCube as the platform for Billy Hatcher?
Yuji Naka: The user [demographic] of GameCube is very close to the approach of the game.
Euro Gamer: Any plans for conversions to other systems?
Yuji Naka: No.
Euro Gamer: What about an Xbox or PS2 exclusive?
Yuji Naka: We think multi-platform is the way to go.
Euro Gamer: What is your priority? Commercial success or creative?
Yuji Naka: As a creator, my goal is to make games for the largest audience. I think we must make it easy for children to play.
Euro Gamer: How do you plan to use old Sega IP going forward?
Yuji Naka: We've already launched the Mega Collection, and the DX series...
Euro Gamer: Any plans for a Nights sequel?
Yuji Naka: Our team has 100 members and we have to allocate resources between Sonic, Phantasy Star, and Billy Hatcher. We get a lot of requests for sequels to Burning Rage, for example, but at the moment the answer is no.
Euro Gamer: How did it feel to force Nintendo to put the GameCube online with PSO?
Yuji Naka: Since we can't take control of GameCube online, we feel very comfortable.
Euro Gamer: What game or type of games do you admire most from your rivals?
Yuji Naka: I couldn't name a specific game. Genre wise, I like racing games. I like cars and participate in real racing - I have been for three years now. I own a Ferrari 360 Spider and a Lotus Exis. If I could make a game based on my experience it would be really nice.
Euro Gamer: What's your opinion of the quality of the games on show at this year's E3?
Yuji Naka: I can see too many sequels, and I'm sad I didn’t see many originals. I think our stand was the best.
Euro Gamer: Are you still passionate about games? Do you still find time to play games yourself?
Yuji Naka: I don't have the time to play others games. I only just have enough time to play my own games. If I do have time I like to play Mario. That kind of game appeals to me. I like portable games, especially.
Euro Gamer: Any thoughts on Sony's PlayStation Portable?
Yuji Naka: I am very interested in portable stuff. In terms of cost and lead-time it's going to be very exciting.
Euro Gamer: Are you excited about Nokia's N-gage?
Yuji Naka: I'm kind of disappointed in the delay in [Nokia's] release date. Sonic Nhas been finished for ages. Is it too expensive? No, it's actually much cheaper than I thought it would be.
- Original Interview at Angel Island Interviews.