Shmuplations has translated a 1997 Sega Magazine interview with Sonic the Hedgehog co-creators Naoto Oshima and Yuji Naka, and it touches upon several events in the early days of Sega. As a result, we’ve got some nice, random new Sega facts on our hands here. For instance, some classic games like Phantasy Star II were made in an inconceivably small amount of time, as Naka explains:
The whole reason the Phantasy Star project got started was because this specific team was really fired up about making an RPG, so we rolled that momentum into Phantasy Star II, but the pace we were working at was extraordinary. We made Phantasy Star in 4 months, then did Super Thunder Blade in 2 months, and then completed Phantasy Star II in only 2.5 months! After that we did the Daimakaimura (Ghouls and Ghosts) MD port in about 5 months, too. (laughs) I’ve never worked so hard before or since.
My other personal favorite thing from the interview is how Naoto Oshima got started at Sega. He confessed to having almost no interest at all in video games, but he just really wanted to create things for children. Oshima admired Santa Claus and told Sega colleagues, “I joined this company because I want to be Santa Claus.” What a guy! Meanwhile, Oshima enjoyed working with Yuji Naka because he said Naka was the only one who could answer his difficult development questions.
In the same write-up, Shmuplations also translates some discussion by Naka and designer Takashi Iizuka about the nuts and bolts of developing the early Sonic games. This too has cool random Sega facts. For instance, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was originally designed to use a then-upcoming new chip called the SVP, but eventually the team realized the chip wouldn’t be finished in time. As a result, they had to rebuild the whole game and finish it in six months, and only around half of the levels planned for the game were actually completed. Fortunately, the immediate follow-up, Sonic & Knuckles, enjoyed a more leisurely development.
During your relaxation time this weekend, take a glance at the full translation for more Sega facts.