Special Interview with Mr. Sonic the Hedgehog, the Superfast Hedgehog!
My translation of the article from IGN Japan
We asked Mr. Sonic about his most recent activities, as well as current trends in the gaming industry.
By Kurabe Esra
Mr. Sonic the Hedgehog (hereby thereafter referred to as Mr. Sonic), appearing in many popular games as well as starring in various other works like anime and movies, has given IGN Japan a valuable opportunity for an interview. In this article, I’d like to introduce Mr. Sonic's recent activities as well as his opinions on current trends in the game industry.
Mr. Sonic himself.
(Read it in Google Docs Here, or continue under the cut)
The reason behind this interview was when I met Mr. Sonic at the venue of the Tokyo Game Show 2021. Sonic was taking pictures with fans, and our Magazine’s own Daniel was able to grab a photo of him and Sonic.
“Mr. Sonic, what was your impression of TGS this year?” I asked.
“Hmm… right! It was tons of fun walking around the place and taking pictures with all those different people. Everyone was the best!” Sonic amicably answered.
“I wanna see that one group with the muscular dude compete with Knuckles in strength,” he added.
I didn't know who the “muscular dude” was referring to until after the interview, when I checked with Sega public relations. It turned out to be a staff member of the Vantan Game Academy who was exhibiting at the booth.
At the time of this TGS, a collaboration between Mr. Sonic and Capcom’s hit game “Monster Hunter Rise” has been announced, although details have not yet been revealed.
“I will be supporting the Monster Hunter expedition!” I said.
“OK! Isn’t there a swarm of dinosaurs over there? Starting now, let’s have some fun!” Sonic said, looking quite excited.
At TGS, Sonic and Otomogaruku from “Monster Hunter Rise.”
While I had immediately applied for an interview with Mr. Sonic when I met him at TGS, he had a very busy schedule at the time, so the interview took place at the SEGA SAMMY Group headquarters "GRAND HARBOR" the following week.
Mr. Sonic (left) and the author (right) exchange business cards at SEGA headquarters.
Mr. Sonic himself met me at the entrance and showed me around the spacious “GRAND HARBOR” lobby. Giant displays of the first “Virtua Fighter” and “Space Harrier” were situated at the entrance; You can really feel the history of Sega in this place.
The SEGA SAMMY Group headquarters moved from Haneda to Osaki in 2018, however this didn’t seem to bother Mr. Sonic.
“When I run, the buildings are only a few seconds apart from each other, so for me nothing’s really changed," he said. He didn’t look sad about it at all.
Mr. Sonic (left) showing us the large “Virtua Fighter” display.
The interview was to take place in the conference room, but before we began Mr. Sonic first read my business card. When I realized that my business card was in the hands of such a legendary person, I got so nervous I couldn’t speak. After all, this year marked the 30th anniversary of Sonic’s first appearance in his debut video game.
Mr. Sonic reads the author's business card. (not included due to image limit)
“Um ... congratulations on your 30th anniversary," I spoke first.
“Thanks!” Sonic cheered. “...But, 30th anniversary? Even though I’m 15 years old …?”
Seeing me stuck in my words, Mr. Sonic added, “Well, seeing as I go on adventure after adventure so speedily, I guess it takes time to write about it all in your works, huh. Therefore to me, it feels more like ‘it went by in a blink of an eye!’”
“Oh, I see. That’s right.”
Mr. Sonic (left) looks back on the “30 years that passed in a blink of an eye”. (not included due to image limit)
To be fair, Mr. Sonic was always running at such tremendous speeds. Naturally then, the question “When did you first become so fast?” Came up first.
“From birth!” Sonic answered with the swiftness of a hedgehog that could reach the speed of sound.
“Hoh… As expected from someone as fast as you.”
When I was a kid, everyone I knew admired that speed of Sonic’s. Even now, 30 years later, he still hasn’t weakened at all. While keeping slender, he’s able to maintain a well-trained figure. Therefore I asked him what kind of routine he has to maintain his healthy body shape.
“Run a lot, sleep a lot, and eat lots of chili dogs!” He answered simply.
Mr. Sonic enthusiastically talks about chili dogs.
It's been known for some time that chili dogs are Sonic's favorite food. He often eats chili dogs while in Japan, and while the size is a little small, he says it’s still delicious.
Speaking of food, previously I had reviewed the cafeteria of the SEGA SAMMY Group headquarters “GRAND HARBOR” and gave it a high score of 8.7 points. However, when I shared this review with Mr. Sonic, he seemed very dissatisfied.
Mr. Sonic is not convinced about the cafeteria review.
“Hey! Shouldn’t it be a full 10 points? There’s chili dogs for lunch in that cafeteria, right?!” Sonic said.
“S...Sorry.” His evaluation criteria, based solely on whether or not they served chili dogs, was very… Sonic.
When asked if he had any favorite foods other than chili dogs, Sonic mentioned Alex Kidd (who from now on will be called Mr. Alex): "His onigiri looks really tasty~"
Before Sonic’s debut, it was Mr. Alex who acted as Sega’s mascot character. In the recently released “Lost Judgement,” Mr. Alex’s game on the Master System makes an appearance. As a mascot who also represents Sega, what does Mr. Sonic think about his senior?
“Hmm… Though we fought and raced against each other during ‘Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed’, he seems like a nice guy!” Sonic reminisced.
Mr. Sonic drinking cola during the interview.
Even though the Master System was a console from before Mr. Sonic's debut, in “Lost Judgement” you can also play an arcade game known as “Sonic the Fighters” by AM2 Lab.
“What do you remember about your time in ‘Sonic the Fighters’?” I asked.
“Those passionate, intense battles had a different kind of ‘speed’ than running. It was really interesting! To this day I often think back to that final boss battle I had with Metal.”
“Oh, I see.”
Sonic the Fighters Video
“Lost Judgement” Contains Master System games as well as Sonic’s old games, but of course Mr. Sonic has made an appearance in new games too. A remaster of the Wii masterpiece, “Sonic Colors Ultimate” has just been released to all current consoles.
“Sonic, how was the response to this work?”
“I’m curious about that too.”
“Gorgeous speed courses and lively sounds… It’s my favorite, so I hope it becomes everyone else’s favorite too!”
“Is that so?”
Mr. Sonic in “Sonic Colors Ultimate”. (not pictured due to image limit)
Sonic was happy to hear that the game was highly rated by IGN's reviews. However, as a fan, I'm still curious about the latest work in the series. “Sonic Forces” from 2017 was the last 3D Sonic original title, but the teaser video of a new game was released on the 30th anniversary livestream “Sonic Central” in June this year. Not much is known about it, except that it's expected to be released in 2022.
“It’s fine if you can’t share much, but is there any more information that you’d be willing to share with the fans about the new game?”
“Sorry! I try not to learn anything about my adventures before I go on them. I also don’t know much about it.” Even Sonic himself had no new information to give.
“But, my best adventure is always the ‘next one’! So stay tuned!”
“Yes, I’ll be looking forward to when it comes out.”
New Sonic Team Game - Official Teaser Trailer | Sonic Central 2021
While you wait for the newly announced game to come out, there are still many Sonic-related games currently on sale. It was announced that several Mega Drive titles, including “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “Sonic Colors Ultimate” mentioned above, will be added to Nintendo Switch Online by the end of October.
"How do you feel about being included in the Switch Online service as a signboard title for another platform?" I asked.
“I’m not sure if it's a platform or a signboard, but it sure feels good getting to be the first one to arrive! To those who are new, as well as those who have been with me since the start, I'm looking forward to working with you once more!”
Mr. Sonic is pleased to hear that he is the first one to arrive. (not pictured due to image limit)
If you think about it, being a trailblazer, someone who arrives first, suits Mr. Sonic, who emphasizes speed. However, Sonic the Hedgehog was not the first live-action movie based on a video game. Popular game franchises such as “Mario,” “Resident Evil,” and “Tekken” had all come before it. “Sonic the Hedgehog”, released in theaters in 2020, may not have been the first to arrive, however it’s quite popular for a movie about a game.
“Do you think that the popularity of this movie has expanded your fan base?”
“I won’t know for sure until I meet them~. But it feels like I’d have an answer if there were more events like this one (TGS). I wanna hurry up and meet you guys!” Sonic said.
Unfortunately, “Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)” was released at the time of the global Coronavirus pandemic, making it difficult to interact with fans during this period. All kinds of events had to be held online, and amusement parks were all temporarily closed.
"I want to hurry up and meet with my fans soon," says Sonic.
“Who would you like to go to an amusement park with after the pandemic is over?” I asked.
“I've already been with Tails, so maybe Amy and Knuckles, since they can keep up with me,” Sonic said. He seems to prefer a date with someone who’s speedy.
...... By the way, Amy Rose, who often adventures with Sonic, is Sonic's self-proclaimed girlfriend, though Sonic himself has so far denied such rumors.
“Mister Sonic, I hear it's complicated, but what is your relationship with Miss Amy? Is she your girlfriend?”
“No comment!” Sonic answered with a wide grin and a laugh.
Seeing as the topic ended here, I decided to instead ask about the recent trends in the gaming industry.
“What is lacking in the gaming industry these days, in your point of view?”
“I don’t know much about the gaming industry, but no matter what it is, like with everything, it's never fast enough for me. But whatever game it is, it always needs to be cool!”
Speaking of speed, the next-generation PS5 and Xbox Series X/S have significantly faster loading times. However, due to the shortage of semiconductors, supply has slowed down.
Mr. Sonic gives his views on the gaming industry these days. (not pictured)
“Currently, semiconductor shortages have been a problem in the industry. What are your thoughts on this issue?" I asked.
“Sorry, you’d have to ask Tails about that kinda stuff. Oh, but I wonder if he could invent something even more amazing!”
Miles “Tails” Prower (Mr. Miles) is Sonic’s friend and companion. He likes to play with machines and is famous for his mechas, so I would certainly love to hear his opinion on the semiconductor shortage problem. I couldn't interview Mr. Miles this time around, however if there is a person who could invent something Mr. Sonic calls “even more amazing”, it may very well be Mr. Miles.
That being said, the arrival of the next-generation consoles is a pleasure, and it's incredible seeing how these games have evolved over time. Mr. Sonic has been a shining icon on the latest hardware for over 30 years, but many of his friends have been appearing less and less frequently as time goes on.
“How do you always keep up with the times?”
“Well, hm… I don’t ever pay attention to that stuff, so maybe that’s the trick.”
Mr. Sonic's answer seems to represent the spirit of Sega, who has always been a pioneer for the future. I look forward to their future activities.
Mr. Sonic poses at the Sega headquarters.
At the end of my interviews, I usually ask for a message to give to fans, however this time around I asked Mr. Sonic something a little different: “What would you like to say to Dr. Eggman if you could right now?”
“Come back anytime you make another interesting toy! I’ll be waiting, y’hear?”
IGN JAPAN will continue to keep track of new information about Mr. Sonic. If you have anything to say about this interview, please let us know in the comments.
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