E3 2006: Sonic Team Interview

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May 24th, 2006
Sonic The Hedgehog (Xbox 360)
Sonic kind of has a different look right now: He’s taller—and I don’t know if that means older or if, now that [the designers] have more polygons to work with, they can make him a little more fuller featured. What was the strategy behind evolving Sonic and some of the other characters in the game, from previous games?

Sonic Team: (after the Sonic Team laughs upon hearing the translation of the question) One of the reasons is that, with the next generation of hardware, the players will be slightly older, so they wanted to make sure that Sonic could appeal to older gamers, as well as younger gamers. The other reason is that, in this particular game, they’ll be interacting with more humans—with the human world, the more realistic world—and there’ll be a lot more humans than in previous games. In order to talk to them, they figure that he should be a little taller, so he’s not doing this (strains his neck to look up) all the time.

You have a new character, Silver—what’s the motivation behind creating the character and how do you flesh out a personality…how do you decide what kind of character to make him?

Sonic Team: Before he [Shun Nakamura] started working on the Sonic game, there was another game he was working on, which involved a character with telekinetic powers that he really liked…

Not a Sonic game?

Sonic Team: No, not a Sonic game. (Translator turns to ask Nakamura a question in Japanese and gets a reply, then continues with the answer.) It wasn’t an actual game. He was just coming up with different ideas and concepts. When the team decided to make the next Sonic game…one of the fun things about Sonic, with a bunch of games, is you have new characters showing up with new abilities, and when it came time to think about new characters, they basically said, “Well, here…how about this one? This could fit really well with Sonic.” So, that’s how that came together.

As you know, there is a whole bunch of different characters in Sonic. Everyone’s got his own personality, everyone’s got his own color—Knuckles is red, Tails is yellow/orange—and so the first thing they did was try to determine what color is [Silver]? What colors do we have left? (laughing) So he turned out with a silver color.

As far as his personality goes, they were playing with a bunch of different personalities. One of the initial ideas was to make him somewhat similar to Shadow, but the problem with that is, you’d be somewhat similar to Shadow. (chuckles) At this point, they’re still fleshing out the story, but he’s from the future and he’s a little bit young—he’s got this strong sense of justice, but they’re just still fleshing it out.

When it was demo’ed for me, the demonstrator said, “Silver isn’t evil, but he’s definitely trying to stop Sonic,” which seems to be a conflict in terms. Is it possible to talk about that?

Sonic Team: (Translator said they have this part fleshed out, but they aren’t willing to talk about everything just yet.) There’s what Sonic is fighting for and what he thinks is right, and there’s what Silver is fighting for and what he thinks is right—and obviously they’re not exactly the same in this case. Initially, when you start playing the game, the player will see things from Sonic’s point of view, and [the player will think] “Okay, well, Sonic thinks it’s right” and the player’s going to deal with it. And Silver is trying to stop him…“Okay, Silver must be wrong” will be the initial impression. But as the player goes through the story and begins to realize what Silver is fighting for and what his mission is, then they’ll start to see things from his point of view as well.

One of the things we are going for here is a deeper storyline.
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