Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka talked about Sonic 2022 and his introduction to Sonic the Hedgehog in a special 30th anniversary interview with 4Gamer. While he couldn’t share too much about Sonic 2022, he revealed more tidbits and vague information about the upcoming title. For instance, the mysterious symbol that we saw in the teaser trailer.
Here are some quotes from the interview about the new game:
Takashi Iizuka: “We haven’t announced a brand new action game for the Sonic series since Sonic Forces, and that caused fans to worry. While it was a bit premature, I wanted to at least take the occasion of the 30th anniversary to announce that a brand new title was in development.”
4Gamer: Is there a meaning behind the mysterious symbol that was presented?
Takashi Iizuka: “It is something symbolic that appears in the game, but the meaning is still a secret. However, I will say that it’s not something one would figure out through deduction. we’ll eventually share more details, so please wait a little longer.”
In the following section of the interview, Iizuka talks about his introduction to Sonic the Hedgehog:
4Gamer: From this point, we’d like to once again talk about your relation to Sonic, Iizuka-san. You’re currently working in America, correct?
Takashi Iizuka: “Yes. I’ve been part of the ‘Sonic Pillar’ team in charge of Sonic business at Sega of America in Los Angeles since 2016. As a creative officer, game development is a given, but I also supervise animation, merchandise, and all-things creative involving Sonic.”
4Gamer: So now you oversee everything related to Sonic, Iizuka-san, but tell us about your introduction to Sonic.
Takashi Iizuka: “I joined Sega in 1992. That was around the time Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was being made in America, but I was doing debug work as a new employee in training. That was the first time I was introduced to Sonic. To this day, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is still among my top 5 games. Everything from the characters to visuals and sound left a big impression on me. So, just when I was enchanted with its degree of completion, my superior reached out to ask, ‘How would you like to work on Sonic the Hedgehog 3?’ And of course, I immediately replied with the OK.”
4Gamer: If I remember correctly, Sonic 3 was made in America, right? Did you fly to the States right away?
Takashi Iizuka: “After receiving my reply, he said, ‘So you’ll do it!? Then get your passport!’ [laughs]. I’ve never been overseas until then. I was never interested in traveling abroad, but I decided to experience life in America to make Sonic 3.”
4Gamer: So you joined the company and immediately shipped off overseas. That’s rough!
Takashi Iizuka: “That was definitely a 180-degree turn for my life. I had my worries about the culture change and language barrier. However, being able to work on a big title representing Sega felt like a fresh new start at age 21.”
4Gamer: How was the development environment?
Takashi Iizuka: “We had three people, including myself, on the planning staff. I copied and stole the techniques of my seniors and was able to really focus on development. It was a lot of fun to work on it. At the time, the stage map structure was all on paper, but the maps for Sonic 3 were just way too huge. I remember giving the graphic designer a paper that was larger than a tatami mat.”
4Gamer: You were in charge of level design at the time, right?
Takashi Iizuka: “Yes, I really enjoyed doing level design work. I was enthusiastic about taking the Mega Drive’s capabilities to their limits for the stages I worked on. I had to find a way to show more using backgrounds that had only two layers, so I figured things out while consulting with my seniors.”