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Naoto Ohshima Interview at Gamasutra


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Yeah, I know, I'm cross-posting, but screw you. <3


Sonic Team legend and Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator, Naoto Ohshima, spoke to Gamasutra about some of his past work, including his time directing Sonic CD and the inspiration for the blue blur’s sneakers.

After discussing NiGHTS Into Dreams, attention turned to Ohshima’s Mega CD project and the reason behind time travel – a theme he has since revisited with Blinx: The Time Sweeper on the Xbox. “I wanted a Sonic where the levels changed on you — where Sonic would go really fast, like in Back to the Future, and bang, wind up in a different place.”

Ohshima also spoke of the time-travelling cutscene, displayed whenever Sonic reaches a speed in Sonic CD that sends him to the Past or Future. The original plan was to have an instant change, following a sonic boom, but apparently it was not technically possible so the loading cutscene stuck.

Speaking of Yuji Naka, the designer also spoke of how his team worked in Japan on Sonic CD in tandem with Naka’s SEGA Technical Institute in the U.S. on Sonic 2.

Sonic the Hedgehog’s original design came up again, with discussion of how the character was created for the American market leading to questions of Sonic’s iconic blue, red and white colours. Ohshima said that, as we know, the blue was to symbolise SEGA, but what was more interesting was yet another tenuous link between Michael Jackson and the blue blur. Apparently Sonic’s shoes are directly inspired by Jackson’s Bad album cover. “I also thought that red went well for a character who can run really fast, when his legs are spinning.”

Naoto Ohshima left SEGA many years ago to lead Artoon, but now has management duties at sister development studio Cavia, which recently finished Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles and is working on Square Enix’s Nier. But with this change in approach to more Western, adult-oriented games, does Oshima still have time in his life to go back to the mascot platforming gig?

Shine on, you legend. Shine on.

Long story short - Ohshima sez: Sonic's shoes were inspired by Michael Jackson's Bad album cover; he wanted to have 'Back to the Future' style sonic booms and instant changeovers between Past/Present/Futures in Sonic CD; and he probably had more fun on Sonic CD than Naka did on Sonic 2.

Good stuff eh? Full interview's here - http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4208/out_of_the_blue_naoto_ohshima_.php

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Very interesting. I think I see why Oshima-San wanted time travel in CD portrayed like that, it'd really drive across the epicness/tragedy of a stage turning into a good future or a bad future respectively. It'd have been awesome to see a stage revert to it's past status like that too. Pity it never got implemented due to technical limitations.

And I always thought Sonic's shoes were Santa inspired. Very....enlightening :lol:

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I think it is interesting to know that Oshima meant for CD to be a reimagining of the first game more than anything else. I'm also surprised that Oshima didn't attempt to do his original vision for the PC port of the game, where the load times probably wouldn't be an issue, but who knows how much input he actually had for it. And lol at the understatement of the year.

Edited by Tornado
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It seems Sonic pays a lot more homage to MJ than we thought.

Their initial idea for the time travel kinda makes me want another game similar to Sonic CD...except a lot better that it was last time. I can picture a revamped version that works a lot better than its predecessor.

Good interview nonetheless.

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But Sonic CD wasn't Sonic 2; it was really meant to be more of a CD version of the original Sonic.

I love hearing creators talk about their games. I always felt that Sonic CD was just like the original in terms of gameplay style and objective. Like they were recreating the style of the first, where Sonic 2 was more of an evolution on the speed. CD was an evolution of its own just by adding such a heavy gimmick, but it's what makes the game especially unique. It's one of those "what if" moments in Sonic history, between CD and Sonic 2.

The instant time-travel would've been cool, but they did a nice job of covering it. I kind of like the time travel loading scene now. It took me a while to realize it was a loading screen. "BLOORWP BLOORWP BLOORWP BLOORWP!"

Edited by Stretchy Werewolf
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Hm. I really feel like the biggest letdown of Sonic CD was the time-travel system... the loading animation isn't a big deal, but getting up to a decent speed on a lot of the more maze-like levels was a bit of a chore.

It's a pity it couldn't be implemented as Oshima planned it; that would've been pretty impressive. Hey, though: with today's technology, it could always show up in Needlemouse 2. :P

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That CD-transition would have been awesome and epic! CD was a great game, don't get me wrong, but I didn't appreciate being interrupted while running super fast; it broke my concentration.

I really respect Oshima- one of my favourite people in the game business. I wish him luck with future projects!

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