SEGA will release the latest entry in the Sonic series, Sonic × Shadow Generations, on Friday, October 25, 2024, for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC (Steam/Epic Games Store).

Sonic × Shadow Generations includes two titles: Sonic Generations, originally created to commemorate Sonic’s 20th anniversary, now enhanced with new elements for a more beautiful and accessible experience; and Shadow Generations, a completely new game where Shadow, one of Sonic’s rivals, dashes through stages with intense and cool actions.

In an interview with Takashi Iizuka, the producer of the Sonic series, and Shun Nakamura, the producer of this new title, they shared their thoughts on the game and discussed the future development of the Sonic brand.

Mr. Iizuka and Mr. Nakamura. Mr. Iizuka participated online from the SEGA of America office in Irvine, Southern California.

Takashi Iizuka:

Producer of the ‘Sonic’ series. (left in the photo, referred to as Iizuka in the text)

Shun Nakamura:

Producer of ‘Sonic × Shadow Generations.’ (right in the photo, referred to as Nakamura in the text)

The Sonic Brand Has Become More Widely Known Due to the Influence of the Movies

――SEGA has been actively promoting the Sonic brand in recent years, and how has the response been?

Iizuka: The movies have been a big success, with the third installment set to premiere overseas in December 2024. Alongside this success, our licensing business, game sales, and merchandise have all seen significant boosts. In the United States, it’s quite common to see kids wearing Sonic T-shirts or carrying Sonic backpacks around town. It’s truly heartwarming to see that Sonic is loved by the younger generation as well.

――The influence of the movies seems substantial, then.

Iizuka: The Sonic brand has always been popular, especially in Europe and America, but the movies have undoubtedly broadened its recognition even further.

――What aspects of Sonic do you think have been embraced?

Iizuka: I think Sonic’s appeal lies in his unpretentious nature and edgy yet reassuring character. He’s a bit cheeky, which is cool, but he always stays true to himself. Maintaining a character that children can feel comfortable watching has been crucial for over 30 years. I believe we’ve been successful in conveying that enduring charm.

――Could you tell us about the current strategy for expanding the Sonic brand?

Iizuka: We aim to expand Sonic’s presence across various media platforms. This includes not only movies but also ventures like animated series on Netflix, ensuring Sonic’s charm reaches audiences through all forms of media and generating interest in the games from there.

However, at its core, Sonic is a gaming franchise, so our primary focus is consistently delivering entertaining games. In recent years, we’ve released new titles annually, such as Sonic Origins, Sonic Frontiers, and Sonic Superstars.

We’re dedicated to offering new experiences and it seems that those who have come to know Sonic through other media are also enjoying our games. Sales of our past titles have seen significant growth as a result.

――As the Sonic brand, this year you’ve announced the theme “Fearless: Year of Shadow.” What is the aim behind this?

Iizuka: With the upcoming release of the third movie focusing on Shadow, we’ve decided on this theme to emphasize Shadow’s appeal as a brand alongside the movie.

“Fearless” conveys the idea of facing challenges without fear, which we’ve embraced as the central theme.

――Was Sonic × Shadow Generations born as part of this thematic approach?

Nakamura: Exactly. Through the movies, we believe there are fans who are interested not only in Shadow but also in the Sonic series as a whole. When deciding to create a product for these fans, we thought Sonic Generations, which looks back on Sonic’s past adventures, would be enjoyable for new customers as well.

In addition to that, we decided to produce a completely new work where Shadow plays an active role, aiming to delight not only new customers but also long-time fans who have been watching Shadow’s activities over the years.

――Do Sonic and Shadow’s stories intertwine?

Iizuka: Sonic Generations starts with a monstrous entity called the “Time Eater,” which erases time and space. Similarly, in Shadow Generations, the “Time Eater” appears and the story begins with the creation of a blank space called the “White Space.” I can’t reveal more details, but I can say that there is a shared universe between them.

In Shadow Generations, Shadow Shines With Two New Abilities

――Regarding the development of the entirely new Shadow Generations, could you share the focal points you emphasized?

Nakamura: Originally, Sonic Generations was designed for players to enjoy revisiting past memories. Similarly, with Shadow Generations, we aimed to create a title where players could relive Shadow’s adventures, as envisioned by Iizuka. We added new elements to ensure that the game effectively communicates Shadow’s charm.

――Mr. Iizuka, you are also the creator of Shadow. Are there specific points you emphasize when portraying Shadow?

Iizuka: Shadow is the only character in the Sonic series with a tragic background. This forms the basis of his personality, so I emphasize conveying Shadow’s allure by including his background in the portrayal.

――In Shadow Generations, it’s mentioned that new elements have been added. Could you please elaborate on these specifics?

Nakamura: We’ve introduced a special move called “Chaos Control.” It allows the ability to stop time, which can be used to freeze enemies or gimmicks in their tracks, enabling players to strategize or discover new routes. For those familiar with the series, it enhances the exploration of more elaborate actions, and it also serves as a support ability for players who may find action sequences challenging. We believe it will be beneficial to players of all skill levels.

Iizuka: The concept of “Chaos Control” itself appeared in Sonic Adventure 2. However, this is the first time we’ve implemented it as a system where you can actually stop time. Being able to manipulate stages by stopping time adds a gameplay element that is characteristic of Shadow, and I’m personally very pleased about that.

Nakamura: Another new element is “Doom Power.” I can’t go into details, but it’s an ability controlled by Shadow after awakening to the power of darkness. Alongside “Chaos Control,” players will utilize these two abilities to conquer challenges, distinguishing it from Sonic Generations.

Through footage revealed at the recent “Summer Game Fest 2024,” Shadow showcased “Doom Power,” revealing his appearance with black wings. This new ability portrays his transformed state, offering surprises and enjoyment not only for existing Shadow fans but also for new players.

――Could you please highlight the story elements of Shadow Generations once again?

Nakamura: Whether you’re new to Shadow or planning to see the movie, I believe everyone will enjoy it. Those who have loved Shadow until now will discover new facets and deepen their admiration. We’ve also ensured there are connections that can be explored with Sonic Generations, so I hope fans will appreciate that aspect as well.

Iizuka: Sonic Generations itself was developed to be enjoyable even without a strong narrative, but conversely, Shadow Generations places significant emphasis on its story. Therefore, those who are looking forward to Shadow’s story should be quite satisfied.

――Are there elements linking the story to the narrative of the third movie?

Iizuka: The movie tells a story in a completely different world, so there are no direct links between their narratives. However, for those who develop an interest in Shadow through the movie, this game will certainly showcase his charm to the fullest.

――By the way, what does Shadow mean to both of you personally?

Iizuka: I’ve been involved with Shadow’s character since its conceptual stages. Initially introduced in Sonic Adventure 2, he garnered a lot of love from fans, allowing him to appear in subsequent series entries and portray his exploits.

Receiving love from fans and nurturing Shadow over the years has been a rewarding experience. Now, with the third movie highlighting Shadow and focusing on him under the theme “Fearless: Year of Shadow,” we’re delivering a new title featuring him, which is truly exciting.

Nakamura: When depicting Shadow, I ensure to preserve the edgy, dark hero image that Iizuka has carefully crafted. I collaborate closely with him to maintain Shadow’s essence when he appears in new works. In both the scenario and the game systems, we strive to capture his essence, so I’m confident that players will enjoy his charm in this new installment as well.

Sonic Generations is a Game that Even Those Who Have Played it in the Past Can Enjoy

――Please tell us about the points you focused on during the development of Sonic Generations.

Nakamura: Sonic Generations is an enhanced version of the original game released in 2011. During development, we discussed internally which elements, including evolved actions since then, to incorporate. We aimed to allow players to experience both nostalgic memories and new gameplay.

Iizuka: We remastered Sonic Colors (2010) as Sonic Colors Ultimate, released in 2021, and received a lot of requests to also remaster Sonic Generations at that time. It was originally released on Nintendo 3DS as well, with some differences compared to other platform versions. There was demand to experience the same content on Nintendo hardware, so we also released a version for the Switch this time, aiming to appeal to a wide range of customers.

――Were there any challenges you faced during development?

Nakamura: Since over 10 years had passed since the release of the original version, most of the team members were new to the development, and there were very few staff who knew the original version’s development process. Alongside the original development team, we recalled what we had been careful about during the production at that time, recreated Sonic again, and defined Shadow.

At that time, there was still an aspect of developing with passion, and the specifications were not firmly organized, which made it difficult to share opinions. However, in the end, we were able to create the work in a satisfactory manner.

――What new elements are there in Sonic Generations?

Nakamura: We have added a new feature called “Chao Rescue.” I can’t go into details yet, but it’s an element that both new and past players can enjoy, so please look forward to it.

A new action called “Drop Dash,” which allows you to dash the moment you land on the ground, has been added. This enables even more enjoyable high-speed action with greater comfort.

――Finally, could you please give a message to all the fans who are looking forward to this game?

Nakamura: This year is the Year of Shadow, and we’ve launched initiatives focused on him, but I still believe Shadow exists because of Sonic. This game allows fans of both characters to enjoy their stories together. I think it will be attractive to Sonic fans, and for those getting to know Shadow anew, I hope they can fully appreciate the allure of this dark hero. Through both games, I hope you can delve into the charm of these two characters.

Iizuka: This year, under the theme “Fearless: Year of Shadow,” we are working across various media such as games and movies to convey Shadow’s appeal. Shadow is one of the most popular characters in the franchise, second only to Sonic. Shadow Generations is designed to introduce Shadow’s appeal from scratch to those who may not know him. Additionally, Sonic Generations offers a chance to reminisce about Sonic’s past adventures. I believe we’ve created a game that will be enjoyable for both fans and new customers alike, so please look forward to it.

Title: Sonic × Shadow Generations
Supported Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
Manufacturer: Sega
Release Date: Scheduled for October 25, 2024
Price: ¥6,589 each [tax included]; Digital Deluxe editions are ¥7,689 each [tax included]; Collector’s Edition for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 are ¥12,969 each [tax included]
Genre: Action Adventure
Target Age: Rated for all ages by CERO (Japan’s rating system)
Notes: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC versions are digital download exclusive

Source: Famitsu

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