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CONFIRMED - Yoshihisa Hashimoto has left Sonic Team for Square-Enix


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The director of Unleashed may have jumped ship.

Sonic Team isn't exactly the best development team out there, and if the latest rumor is to be believed, Sonic Team is really going to be hurting from here on out.

Buzz about the net says that Sonic Team's Yoshihisa Hashimoto has left SEGA to work with Square-Enix. This information comes from Mr. Yoshihisa's LinkedIn profile. An official statement is yet to be obtained.

Thanks to Hero of Legend for the heads up!

Personally, I hated the 360 version of Unleashed, so good riddance. But this means that Sonic Team may be falling apart. I hope Yoshiro Ogawa (the guy who directed Secret Rings) takes the head of the next Sonic game project, he's probably the only director in Sonic Team now who doesn't have his head up his ass, besides maybe Tetsu Katano (though this is more or les divided on if you liked BK or not) and Morio Kishimoto (he worked on both storybook games).

Still, if you liked the HD Unleashed, this is gonna be bad, bad news.

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In all honesty, I hope Sonic Team DOES fall apart. Honestly, they're nothing but a problem as far as the games go and Sega could easily be doing a better job on their own if their other games are any indicator. Christ, it baffles me that they even bother commisioning them anymore.

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This should come as no surprise, from my understanding, Unleashed was the worst selling primary Sonic game ever. It did "eh" in America and didn't even interrupt the crickets in Japan.

This makes me happy because almost everything good about Unleashed can be attributed to Tomoya Ohtani (music director) or Sachiko Kawamura (art director). As for who should direct the next game, Kawamura would be my pick.

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This should come as no surprise, from my understanding, Unleashed was the worst selling primary Sonic game ever. It did "eh" in America and didn't even interrupt the crickets in Japan.

This makes me happy because almost everything good about Unleashed can be attributed to Tomoya Ohtani (music director) or Sachiko Kawamura (art director). As for who should direct the next game, Kawamura would be my pick.

Thought 2006 was still the hated and worst one? now unleashed is?! Jeez its soo hard to keep up with this fanbase....

I actually liked unleashed and if the director left this puts sonic back on a 2 way track. now we dont know which direction hes heading to now!

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Thought 2006 was still the hated and worst one? now unleashed is?! Jeez its soo hard to keep up with this fanbase....
No, it's just that Unleashed sold less. 06 was undoubtably the worse one, but one would assume that less people bought Unleashed because of lowered expectations.

In all honesty, I hope Sonic Team DOES fall apart. Honestly, they're nothing but a problem as far as the games go and Sega could easily be doing a better job on their own if their other games are any indicator. Christ, it baffles me that they even bother commisioning them anymore.
I agree... to an extent. I have no problem with the staff staying the same, but at this point, they're the last people I want to see commanding this franchise. In fact, now that pretty much all of the original creators have left, it's hard to say whose hands they should put Sonic in. And it needs to be one or two people, three tops; this inconsistency in plot, gameplay, characterization, etc. is quite clearly the result of an anarchical handling. So many people and different companies have played a hand in the series that it's lost its grip on its own reality and needs someone to push it to a common goal. Sonic is a ship without a captain. And Sonic Team? It's an old ship where no one seems to know who the captain is. Edited by SuperStingray
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I guess that kinda sucks since SU was pretty good. It's not like it was THE Sonic game that finally got it right though. It still had a lot of unfun bullshit. I just hope whoever was in charge of Black Knight doesn't take over. I hated that game.

Sonic's in such a sad state. I didn't know SU did so poorly in sales. I guess people are finally getting tired of the mediocre games. I know it's been said a million times but I wish Nintendo would do a Sonic game. I'm pretty sure they would get it right. Hell, let Dimps do a console Sonic Rush and I'd be pretty darn happy. I know they had involvement in SUWii but they had to follow the structure of Sonic Teams game instead of doing their own thing.

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This makes me very sad. I love love loved Unleashed HD, and from all the interviews he really seemed like he wanted to put Sonic back on top again. In a lot of people's eyes he failed, but he sure damn tried and certainly had the right mindset. It sucks that it didn't sell or review well, I hope this isn't him taking it to heart. Unleashed HD did SO many things right. And when it didn't do things right it never seemed to be because of laziness. It always felt like it was trying to do things right.

Oh well, if the Secret Rings director takes over I'll be happy enough. That guy also seemed passionate about Sonic from interviews I've read. As long as the guy in the Black Knight development team who decided "Rings? Springs? Zippers? Loops? Jumping? Pffft, we don't need those. SLASH SLASH SLASH SLASH SLASH is fun enough!" isn't involved.

When it comes down to it, I don't really know what made Unleashed HD so great for me, but I've replayed the story four times and done playthroughs of every single level a good ten times, as well as had the passion to get all S-ranks and achievements on it. So it must have done something right to keep me playing that much.

Except DLC Shamar Night Act 3. That one can die.

Edited by JezMM
  • Chuckle 1
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I've only done the story once. I have replayed the Sonic levels a lot, but I never replayed a single Werehog level. I don't think I ever will either. It's not a case of hating anything new though. I was one of the few people that didn't mind the idea of a monster Sonic or Sonic with a sword. It's just in the end I feel the result just wasn't any fun. Well Werehog was meh, but sword Sonic made me vomit.

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Ok, I've got to put this up front right now: Hashimoto did not approach Sonic Unleashed with the right mindset. It's apparent that he wanted the game to have a certain kind of cinematic quality and it resulted in a game with the players choices predefined virtually down to the individual button press and that's before the game enters a QTE. He designed gameplay around Sonic's character when Sonic as a character had originally been designed for the gameplay. This is how modern movie games are designed.

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If this is true, and at this point I'm not too sure considering lack of any official announcements from either side; I really hope this is the last major change. I want Sonic games to be consistent and actually have groundwork to work upon, because if this departure is to be believed then I wouldn't be at all suprised if the next game was yet another reinvention with nothing in common with Unleashed or past games.

I'm not saying I most definitely wouldn't like it, because I've been proven wrong before; but when you release a game like Unleashed that actually gets a good amount of praise for some of its features, wouldn't it be nice to improve said features and actually build up a sturdy fanbase for these games? They obviously could do this regardless of the director, but when there's someone completely different running things; sure, they might be able to fix a good amount of problems - but by the very nature of new blood a few more problems are going to pop up.

If this has happened, I doubt it's anything to do with the sales of Unleashed. I don't think the 360 version in particular set sales charts on fire in the US, but from what I understand the Wii version sold very well. (The rather profitable market being why it was released on there in the first place.) Of course I don't have any figures to back this up, but I have a hard time believing Sonic 06 (released on 360 and PS3 in their early console lives) managed to make more money than Unleashed (released on 360, Wii, PS2, PS3 and even Mobile). That, and it hasn't even been out a year yet; so it's not quite time to start jumping ship like the world is ending.

As mentioned, the dude just seemed really passionate about doing Sonic "right" in his eyes; sure not everybody agreed with him but he seemed dead-set on making it work whilst actually making an effort. Some people liked the changes, some people didn't - but he actually tried to make some changes because he thought it was the right way to go, and not because a bunch of confused fans kept suggesting they be made.

Assuming what was written in the blogs and interviews was actually the truth, something very dire must be amuck for him to just leave. But like I said, it's a bit fishy so I'll wait until more comes out on this.

Edited by Tombi
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...wow. WOW.

Just when they were finally picking up the pieces and they finally made a GOOD 3D Sonic game after nearly 10 years of mediocre efforts, the guy behind it all leaves. Awesome, great day to be a Sonic fan.

Oh well, at least this means I probably won't even touch the next game.

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I wonder if SU reception had anything to do with him leaving. If he really thought he nailed it he must have been pretty bummed when the shitload 4/10 reviews came rolling in. It's a shame, he did have some nice ideas. I still feel SU wasn't nearly as good as the classics though, even without the Werehog.

I wonder what will happen next.

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Hm... I didn't like Unleashed, but I don't subscribe to the 'If I don't like it, it shouldn't exist' train of thought. This sucks, I was hoping the Unleashed style could be incorporated into later games alongside the Adventure/Adventure 2-style, or perhaps into its own sideseries a la the Sonic & The... series. Not that it can't still be.

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Gameplay for the next game will be identical to Unleashed. They're not dumb enough to use the Hedgehog engine on just one game. All they need to do is create more levels. I assume the same level designers are still working there?

The only thing that'll change is now they'll go back to the whole "pick your character" and when you finish all of them you'll have a nice big extravagant Super Sonic battle with whatever anciant monster is destroying the world.

Oh, and one more thing. Sonic Team, if you want to make the game longer. Add more cutscenes. ALL THE POPULAR GAMES ARE DOING IT! Have you not played Movie Gear Solid 4? We're Sonic fans. We like watching him and his friends. Throw in some witty banter between Sonic and Amy. Show that brotherly (non-gay) love between Sonic and Tails.

I know I said the other thing was the last thing but I got one more thing. Make more NPC's that are actual Sonic characters. The less humans there are the better. Remember though, N. P. C. - Non Playable Character. Just spelling it out for ya'.

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Gameplay for the next game will be identical to Unleashed. They're not dumb enough to use the Hedgehog engine on just one game.
The HE is a graphics engine. It may LOOK pretty similar by this logic, but it's no absolute gaurantee that they'll play similarly.
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The HE is a graphics engine. It may LOOK pretty similar by this logic, but it's no absolute gaurantee that they'll play similarly.

You're right. They'll tighten up those slipery controls. It'll play even better.

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Gameplay for the next game will be identical to Unleashed. They're not dumb enough to use the Hedgehog engine on just one game. All they need to do is create more levels. I assume the same level designers are still working there?

The only thing that'll change is now they'll go back to the whole "pick your character" and when you finish all of them you'll have a nice big extravagant Super Sonic battle with whatever anciant monster is destroying the world.

Oh, and one more thing. Sonic Team, if you want to make the game longer. Add more cutscenes. ALL THE POPULAR GAMES ARE DOING IT! Have you not played Movie Gear Solid 4? We're Sonic fans. We like watching him and his friends. Throw in some witty banter between Sonic and Amy. Show that brotherly (non-gay) love between Sonic and Tails.

I know I said the other thing was the last thing but I got one more thing. Make more NPC's that are actual Sonic characters. The less humans there are the better. Remember though, N. P. C. - Non Playable Character. Just spelling it out for ya'.

Totally agreed with everything. As for me, i don't really care who the next main sonic game director will be. I'm just tired of that all.

P.S. Mister Yuji Naka is ok.

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Show that brotherly (non-gay) love between Sonic and Tails.

Drat, I was hoping for a make-out scene :(

In all seriousness, though... it doesn't really bode well that this guy may be leaving for a rival company, but I wouldn't see it as the end of the world. It might actually help freshen up the franchise - as long as it doesn't fall into the wrong hands and hurl us deeper into the land of cheap gimmicks D:

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Personally, I would have liked it if Sachiko Kawamura left. I hate her charactrer art direction. Hashimoto and Kawamura were responsible for introducing the werehog. But I don't think it's really all their fault. I blame the gameplay programmers for not going over the edge in making the werehog actually... well, fun.

I'm not sure what other duties Hashimoto did. He gets props for finally leading an original, powerful engine, instead of that RenderWare garbage. I just don't like how he okayed the flow of the game. I'd like to see Iizuka direct. Just to see what he can do again without being stuck on a low budget game, like he has been for the past 4 or 5 years. He's more experienced than any of the other directors.

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This is sad. I felt this was the best 3d Sonic game. Yeah, it had some issues, which I found to be minor. Yeah, it had the werehog, which I felt was vastly superior to treasure hunting and mech shooting.

The daytime sections were simply remarkable. I feel that no other Sonic game provided the rush this game did, though going full speed in SatSR (Crest of Wind) was also highly satisfying.

Has there been confirmation of this rumor?

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