Yuji Naka interview by Prima (2003)

From Sonic Retro

This is an interview conducted by the Prima with Yuji Naka. It can be found in the official strategy guide for Sonic Advance 2. The interview can be found here.

The Interview

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?

Yuji Naka: Phantasy Star: The Death of an Era, Magic Knight Ray Earth (SS version), Sonic Adventure, Phantasy Star Online, Puyo Pop, and Sonic Advance, among others.

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.

Prima: Any chance we'll ever see a new 2-D Sonic on one of the console (PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox) systems?

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.

Prima: Where's the NiGHTS sequel (the PSO GBA download doesn't count)?

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.

Prima: Was Cream done in homage to Sonic's original design from the classic mega drive Sonic The Hedgehog?

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.