Yuji Naka interview by Games Radar (June 27, 2011)
From Sonic Retro
This is an interview conducted by Games Radar, with Yuji Naka. In this interview it is learned that the rare Sonic 1 proto seen in this pic is lost and was considered for inclusion with Sonic Mega Collection.
Games Radar: We've seen some pictures on the internet, taken from old magazines, of pre-production versions of Sonic 1. Were these ever playable, or are they just mock-ups? Is this what the game looked like?
Yuji Naka: Actually yes, these are authentic and it was something that was playable. In 1990 the team created a demo for a toy show. There was no TGS, so the major show to go to at the time was this toy show. So they used this as a playable demo to show what Sonic would be like and to show the breakneck speed that Sonic has. This actually has got seven layers of background scrolling – the trees one layer… a lot of effort went into creating it. I am looking for this ROM. It's gone. Nowhere to be found. These photos are very rare – I would like this photo.
Games Radar: We can email it...
Yuji Naka: And another thing to add to that is we worked really hard to find this software. It must exist somewhere, we created the build for it. When we created Sonic Mega Collection, we thought it would be a great addition to have – the original prototype that we used, the first one shown in the world, but it's just nowhere to be found and it's such a great shame that we can't find it. I'm really happy to see it because I haven't seen those pictures at all.
Games Radar: So there it is, folks. Somewhere out there, there's a 1990 prototype of Green Hill Zone with a different Sonic sprite and seven layers of scrolling. If you do find it, please show Naka-san. You'll make him very happy.
Ready-Up also asked which videogame character Naka and Iizuka like most besides Sonic. Naka-san said he likes Eggman - saying we should not forget that it is his 20th birthday too (good point). Iizuka-san said he didn't make Sonic, but he did come up with Shadow the Hedgehog, so that's his favourite.
-Bell tolls in the distance-
The final revelation from the interview came when I asked why Sonic Team didn't make a Saturn Sonic game and what they thought of the cancelled Sonic X-Treme project...
Games Radar: You were both working on NiGHTS on Saturn in 1995 on Saturn while Chris Senn was making Sonic X-Treme. I was wondering what you thought of Sonic X-Treme and why you didn't make a Saturn Sonic yourself?
Yuji Naka: The reason why there wasn't a Sonic game on Saturn was really because we were concentrating on NiGHTS. We were also working on Sonic Adventure – that was originally intended to be out on Saturn, but because Sega as a company was bringing out a new piece of hardware – the Dreamcast – we resorted to switching it over to the Dreamcast, which was the newest hardware at the time. So that's why there wasn't a Sonic game on Saturn. With regards to X-Treme, I'm not really sure on the exact details of why it was cut short, but from looking at how it was going, it wasn't looking very good from my perspective. So I felt relief when I heard it was cancelled.
- Original Interview at Games Radar.