Yasushi Yamaguchi, also known as Judy Totoya, was a SEGA employee during the 80s and 90s that was involved in different projects including Sonic CD as a special stage designer and also helping with compressing the game’s ending cinematic for the SEGA CD, specifically the Metal Sonic chase scene.

Judy however is most recognized for creating Tails, Sonic’s iconic partner! Celebrating Sonic 2’s 30th anniversary, Judy went on his twitter account to post about some interesting tidbits about Sonic 2’s character design process!

Miles “Tails” Prower

Starting off with Tails’ design, the first interesting bit of info was that Tails’ shoes had belts because they were too big for him so he used them so they could fit more tightly! The rest of the twitter tread is translated bellow:

In the second game, when 2 a player mode was confirmed, the American staff came up with many ideas for the character, but the programmer, Naka-san, said he wanted a “1.5” player character that could be played with his sister and that could be handled by beginners. The character was not a rival, but a sidekick.

Naka-san asked us to make him a cute fox like the one that appeared in Urusei Yatsura.
At first, he had a single tail, but it didn’t have enough impact, so I came up with the idea of using two tails like a propeller, inspired by Myau from Phantasy Star 1.

The first Sonic game was an explosive hit in the U.S., but not so much in Japan, so we tried to create a cute design with Japan in mind.
The characterization and coloring were all designed to be symmetrical to Sonic’s.

The relationship between him and Sonic was created in the image of Piccolo and Son Gohan from Dragon Ball in his childhood during the creation of the game. As you know, the etymology of the name “Prower” comes from the word “mph”.
The name “Prower” was coined by combining “per hour” with “power” because “power” is too strong a name.

Judy Totoya
Illustration drawn by Yasushi Yamaguchi a.k.a. Judy Totoya to celebrate Sonic 2’s and Tails’ 30th Anniversary!

Super Sonic

Well, the original story goes without saying, but it was a super-secret reward that could only be seen by those who cleared the special stages that were very hard, which basically meant that Super Sonic was too important tio be revealed publicly 😭

First of all, Super Sonic would not have been born without the existence of manga artist Tamakichi Sakura.
During the development of Sonic 2, Tamakichi wrote an article in Famitsu’s “Shiawase no Katachi” (The Shape of Happiness) about how he was desperate to see the true ending of Sonic 1, but the result was so disappointing that he decided to give Sonic 2 a reward that would definitely make it worthwhile.

The basic specification of all Sonic items with a time limit on the consumption of rings was decided on relatively quickly, but the problem was the graphics.
We tried various patterns, including a seven-color glowing figure, but none of them were good enough.

Half-heartedly, I drew the current Super Sonic, but it was not realistic to draw all the patterns, so I replaced only the basic pattern, the transformation animation, and the normal running animation, and the rest was handled by color changes. High-speed running was solved with two flight animations. Since this was the only feasible level, it was implemented as a big secret.

We were on a tightrope with a very tight schedule, and it was 1:00 a.m. on the day of the master-up when we started work on the ending picture. The program had been dummy-programmed, so all that was left to do was to replace the final pose with a new one.

Judy Totoya
Illustration drawn by Yasushi Yamaguchi a.k.a. Judy Totoya to celebrate Sonic 2’s and Super Sonic’s 30th Anniversary!

Mecha Sonic

Although he is overshadowed by Metal Sonic from Sonic CD and has little presence, he was probably the strongest enemy if all the attacks we had thought of in the idea sketch had been implemented.
Mecha Sonic had power and aggression in mind while Metal Sonic was more speed based.

Other attacks during the idea phase included:
– A long laser shot from his mono eye
– Homing missiles from its fingers (total of 10 missiles)
– Super Gravity Smash (a gravity projectile that disappears after a certain period of time but sucked out your rings when approached), which was launched when the chest armor opened.
However, these attacks could not be implemented due to the schedule.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the creation of the Death Egg zone map was cancelled and two consecutive boss battles were held in a dedicated boss room, but the original plan was to have them appear as mid-bosses in the middle of the zone. The design concept was to incorporate the designs of Mechagodzilla and Gigan into Sonic to make him look strong and dangerous.

After the graphics for the game were completed, the blade was added as an additional attack during the spin jump attack, but it was completely retrofitted, so we did not know where it would come from. When we created the illustration, we placed the blades on the left and right sides of the head and added the option to reload the blades after they are ejected.

I had already finished drawing the model for the 29th anniversary last year, but I had no time to finish it in time, so I neglected it and finished it for the 30th anniversary. I regretted a little that it would have been easier to make a 3D model while I was drawing it. 😅

Judy Totoya
Illustration drawn by Yasushi Yamaguchi a.k.a. Judy Totoya to celebrate Sonic 2’s and Mecha Sonic’s’ 30th Anniversary!
Early sketch drawn on one of Judy Totoya’s notebooks

Some people asked what I meant by “Prototype Anti-Sonic Unit” in the illustration of Mecha Sonic that I posted yesterday. I used the term “Mecha-Sonic” to mean that Mecha Sonic was the first combat unit created solely to counter Sonic, while Eggman’s other mechanics were created for his ambitions.

Incidentally, I am not sure about the timeline regarding the GG version of Mecha Sonic and Metal Sonic on Sonic CD.
As for the game numbering timeline, Mecha Sonic was the first.

Judy Totoya

Sonic 2 is over 30 years starting November 21st! The game marked the first appearance of Tails, Super Sonic and Mecha Sonic!

Stay tuned to Sonic City fore Sonic the Hedgehog related news and updates!

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