Continuing the Sonic the Hedgehog 30th anniversary interview with 4Gamer, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka shared his memories behind the development of Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2.
4Gamer: So you practically worked on each main series title after Sonic 3. Are there any notably memorable titles that come to mind?
Takashi Iizuka: “I have profound memories of Sonic Adventure and its sequel Sonic Adventure 2. We went through great hardships in creating the former, but I have memories of how fun it was to develop the latter.”
4Gamer: Sonic Adventure was the series’s first 3D Sonic game that was released in the early days of the Dreamcast. That was in 1998.
Takashi Iizuka: “The hurdle of getting the 2D Sonic we knew and ‘making it 3D’ was really high. The people around us were also skeptical and asked, ‘Will it really be fun?’ and such. However, when an image showing a looping part of Speed Highway appeared, everybody praised it, saying, ‘This is it!’ I remember being so happy about that. However, the volume for the game was just enormous, and we still had a mountain of work to do from there. The sheer amount of resources was a battle in itself.”
4Gamer: What were you in charge of for Sonic Adventure?
Takashi Iizuka: “As the director and lead designer, I was in charge of the game direction and everything. Up until that point, we had at the most around 20 people on a project, but that suddenly increased to an organization of over 50 people for Sonic Adventure. The chaotic situation went on for a while.”
4Gamer: Then, three years later, Sonic Adventure 2 was released. Was that the fun development?
Takashi Iizuka: “I went back to America again for Sonic Adventure 2, but at first we only had 11 people that went to the States. We went from an organization of over 50 people before that to a reckless project for a sequel made by only 11 people [laughs]. In a sense, you could say that we were the select few. In any case, development in America was just so much fun. I practically have no memories of any difficulties.”
4Gamer: I get the impression that the game was mostly shaped up from the previous game.
Takashi Iizuka: “Sonic Adventure 1 was crammed with different elements since we established high goals for it. For Sonic Adventure 2, the theme was about ‘how do we surpass the previous title’ with a staff of only 11 members. We decisively removed any unnecessary elements. While we kept the element of six playable characters, the story was split in two (between hero and dark). We chose a game design based on work efficiency. As a result, I believe we were able to make something that felt complete overall. That was also the birth of Sonic’s new rival, Shadow the Hedgehog, and it ended up becoming a profoundly memorable title for me.”
Here’s a Japanese trailer for Sonic Adventure 2:
If you missed the previous part of the interview, Iizuka talked about Sonic 2022 and his introduction to Sonic in 1992.