A long Sonic Forces interview with Iizuka and Nakamura
This is a long interview from the last issue of Japanese Nintendo Dream magazine.
“Sonic’s 25th Anniversary Party” was held in America last year. Viewers expectation has been large since the first appearance.
Iizuka: We had presented a title called “Project Sonic 2017” at that time. Fans had waited for modern Sonic and they seemed to be expecting a teaser video during its first appearance. I think we showed the best Game content we could to live up to fans expectation.
Nakamura: I haven’t been the producer of a Sonic game since “Sonic the Hedgehog” released in 2006. I thought “Maybe this Sonic was my own” and we had reconsidered once again. This is the first traditional Modern Sonic title in a long time. I think this title is cool for Sonic as always.
Introducing the new Sonic to players, “The collision of armies”
Q: This title doesn’t look like the Sonic Boom series. I can feel the serious atmosphere here is emphasized. What do you think about the story that makes this “atmosphere”?
Iizuka: I produced the first half of Project “Forces”, Nakamura came when there was a defined subject of the game. At first, I decided the direction of this conventional game would be “Vs. Eggman”, but at this time it is now the Resistance army versus Eggman’s army, a “Collision of different forces”. I had decided the basic concept and the more serious tone “99% of the world was dominated” and made some of the details we had for that timeline.
Nakamura: First of all, this title has a “Serious story”, if anything it’s what we should do with a cool, fun Sonic while escaping from predicaments. I was strongly watching how Sonic won against all his previous enemies. I think how we should continue from this point is with some despair. Sonic recovers the world from despair with his power. This is the story we wanted to make. And the new character, “Avatar”, appears in the game. It’s difficult to show Sonic’s growth as a hero and he weaknesses, however, we can express that with the Avatar. I believe this gives the story more depth and fits the serious tone.
Development Concept of “Sonic All-Stars” (Characters)
Q: What is the position of the Chaotix Detective Agency (3 characters) and the Treasure Hunter Rouge?
Nakamura: Right now the Chaotix Detective Agency assists Silver and Amy with fighting Eggman’s army.
Iizuka: While you’re playing the stage, through wireless communication you’ll know that many heroes are fighting in other places. I think you will feel and enjoy this immersive world.
Resistance Secret Base where comrades meet. You’ll see Amy and Silver there!
Q: As we know – Silver comes from the future, what is his mission now?
Iizuka: You’re right. He does come from the future… (laughs)
Please try to play for yourself at this point, that’s all what can we say about it (laughs). Btw, Chaos appears as an enemy character, so long time no see.
Iizuka: Sonic Adventure, it’s been a really long time since then. Chaos in this new engine has the expression of water we wanted with him at that time. “Yes, it’s great! Yes!” – is what we said.
Q: Is Chaos’s appearance in this title because of how Mr. Iizuka and Mr. Nakamura created the Adventure game together?
Nakamura: That’s not quite true. The Sonic series has really grown in age and each of us have different memories with past bosses. So no, that’s not the case. (laughs)
Q: So, It’s more because of the concept of this title that this became a game with an All-Star cast of characters?
Nakamura: An All-Star battle was another concept we had thought of. We also thought of how we would make such a game. Looking back at the old concept, I can say this an All-Star game too. If we were to add even more characters, there wouldn’t be enough enemies. It’s one of the reasons why the enemy count had continued to increase as well.
Iizuka: This is also the first time for some enemies that should have died to appear once again in a new Sonic game.
Q: Shadow appears as an enemy this time, right?
Iizuka: Why is he on Eggman’s side?….
I’m sure you’re wondering about that (laughs). We will release DLC called “Episode Shadow” for free on the day of release. This story is a prequel, however, it is something I can’t talk about. I can say that it’s in Shadow’s perspective.
Q: So we’ll know why Shadow joined Eggman?
Iizuka: Hmm…maybe..or maybe not….
Nakamura: I hope players will enjoy the DLC too. (laughs)
Q: Do you recommend playing “Episode Shadow” before the main game?
Iizuka: The player can do that. The player can also play it after clearing the game to a certain extent. The player is free to do whichever. It depends on the person. Personally, I play the main part first to some extent and once I understand the character of Infinite, I play “Episode Shadow”.
Nakamura: Of course there is no problem in playing it before the main game.
Q: I’d like to ask at this time about the history of Infinite and his design process.
Nakamura: Before I created the enemy known as Infinite, I had an idea “I wanted to put this kind of character in the game”. First, we tried to make a character that would fit my image (or view) of him.
Q: Mr. Iizuka, why are you laughing?
Iizuka: Well…, I know of the word he can’t use in this interview. I think people won’t understand what Nakamura is talking about. (laughs)
Nakamura: Anyways, I wanted to make an impressive enemy for the Sonic series since he is accompanied by old bosses. He wouldn’t have a strong presence if he had weak design. This is also why his power/speed is stronger and faster than Sonic. Additionally, we had started thinking about why he was like that. We were also particular about making him have a cool, but evil looking design. The mask was also designed with the emphasis on his evil nature.
Q: Btw, what was the reason for making his name “Infinite”?
Nakamura: I can not tell you the origin of his name, but perhaps you’ll know the meaning after you clear the game.
Q: Infinite also has his own theme “Infinite” on the official website, it sounds really cool.
Iizuka: It’s definitely a song that embodies Infinite’s character. On youtube, this song has double the amount of views than the main theme “Fist Bump”. It’s very popular overseas too.
Nakamura: That’s right. Thanks to this song, both heroes and evil have a distinct feeling. I think the result of this was a good thing.
Chronology of stories in the Sonic Series
Q: The Tag Team stage gives off an “Adventure” styled vibe. The pyramid in this stage is a base. Is there any connection here?
Nakamura: There’s no connection here at all. (laughs)
Iizuka: I am aware of “Adventure 2” as we make this game. Various thoughts and actions came to mind, but I try to use these actions appropriately according to the tone of the story. However it is something I’d like to go forward to with interest.
Q: Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes are all connected, but are they connected to this game?
Iizuka: Both Chaos and Zavok are present, however, this is not a spin-off, it is connected to the main series storyline. That’s what I will say.
Q: This current title is mostly a new story then?
Iizuka: That’s right. Overseas fans will do well with this. Every time a new title comes out, they ask “Is it new content”? (laughs)
Thoughts about title and logo of the Forces
Q: What was your thought process behind making the title be “Sonic Forces”?
Iizuka: “Force (Forces)” is a dialect that comes from “Air Force (Forces)”. The title has the meaning of “Armed Forces (軍隊)” and “Power”. The Resistance and Eggman’s army is a “Collision of army to army” and is the main theme of power in the title “Sonic Forces” .
Q: The Resistance logo has 2 stars on it. Is there a meaning behind this?
Iizuka: The star has always been a symbol in the Sonic series. The Resistance Army Star symbolizes this as well.
Nakamura: Actually I like to think that the 2 stars represent Sonic and the Avatar…(laughs)
Nakamura: I thought of a simple design that was both engaging and good. Designers worked on it, but found it a bit difficult to do. Eggman’s Army logo is also more glamorous than usual. The designers had trouble making his new logo as well.
Iizuka: I liked the traditional Eggman mark, I thought it would’ve been fine. The Resistance Army logo is simple as well. I think the balance here is just right.
Nakamura: Now that Eggman has dominated 99% of the world, he’s feeling a bit full of himself.
Iizuka: He says “The world is already mine!” (laughs)
Translated by Woun, usi_oni and KitKat.