An Interview with Yuji Naka Feature - The Next Level

An Interview with Yuji Naka

Sega, Sonic Team, and god-like power.

Article by Hasan Ali Almaci & Heidi Kemps (Email)
June 15th 2004, 06:50AM


TNL: Your next game is the PS2 Astro Boy. Osamu Tezuka's characters and creations are extremely highly regarded throughout the world. It is also Sonic Team's first licensed game. Are you in any way worried about creating a title with such a high-class license?

Naka: I am worried, yes. Osamu Tezuka's properties are some of the most beloved out there. There's a very high standard we have to live up to. . . . It's a good feeling to be able to have this license, but it is a lot of work to make something that lives up to its pedigree. I really want to do my best for it, especially since I like his work so much myself. It's a big responsibility to have.

TNL: Can you tell us anything about the game?

Naka: We plan to release it in Japan during the spring of this year. We wanted to make something very faithful to the spirit of the anime. It's primarily a mission-based action-adventure title. I really like the world of Astro Boy that Tezuka has laid out over the years, so I want it to live up to that standard as much as possible.

TNL: Sonic Team licensed the Havok 2.0 physics engine specifically for use in this game. What sort of things are you planning to do with it?

Naka: We think it will give a more realistic feeling to the world of Astro Boy, and give the player a better sense of control and accomplishment. Like, if you pick up something and throw it, or push things over, the effects are visible and authentic. The physics in this world are based a bit on fantasy, so it's not going to be completely realistic, but . . .

TNL: What sort of genres or subgenres are you interested in working with in the future?

Naka: Hmmm, I want to come up with something entirely new, something that doesn't fit into any established genre - so a new genre that doesn't exist yet. But, we haven't really made a pure adventure game yet, have we? PSO has adventure elements, but still . . .

TNL: The Sega Ages series has been very popular so far. Can we look forward to any Sonic Team game releases under this label? Sonic CD in particular is a highly demanded title.

Naka: There's a lot of old stuff coming out again under that label. We did put out the Sonic Mega Collection a while back, so most of the Sonic games have been re-released in some form or other, save for a few, like Sonic CD, Chaotix, Sonic R, and Sonic Fighters. As for Sonic CD, we have considered maybe putting it out on something like the PS2 perhaps. Still, when you think about it we have quite an extensive back catalog of games that have not been re-released yet.

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