Sega developer Takashi Iizuka has outlined his vision for Sonic on the PlayStation 4 and next Xbox.

Without confirming work had begun on a Sonic game for the next-generation of consoles, the Team Sonic boss said he has already begun to think about how the famous blue hedgehog will make his debut on Sony and Microsoft's next round of hardware, and revealed he'd like to return to the 3D Sonic style of games in doing so.

"Sonic over its past 20 years has evolved a lot," he told Eurogamer. "In that, there are two distinct, different play styles. There's the 2D side-scrolling platform action Sonic, and the forward view 3D action platform action Sonic. With the Sonic 4 series we've created that side-scrolling 2D platform action.

"But I'm also interested in the challenge of doing something completely new with the 3D Sonic's forward view platform action, and bring something new to the table with that as well."

Microsoft and Sony have refused to discuss their next-generation plans in public, but both companies are rumoured to be preparing to unveil their new consoles in some form at E3 in June.

Reports vary on the capabilities of the next-gen, but most agree visuals achieved using the DirectX 11 standard provide a good indication of where Sony and Microsoft will go.

But what will the extra horsepower mean for Sonic?

"I don't think Sonic will ever become photo-real," Iizuka said. "I think Sonic will always remain stylised and will have that bright, colourful world. What the high hardware spec will allow us to do is make that more convincing.

"For example, for Sonic Generations, in the Hedgehog Engine, we used Global Illumination - GI technology - for the lighting system. But increasing the hardware spec will allow us to have real-time lighting calculations, so dynamically changing lighting happening. That's just one example of where the hardware is limiting us in doing what we really could do. So by having higher end hardware spec, we'll be able to do, for example, the real-time lighting calculations. That will give more presence to Sonic.

"We're not after realism. We're after making it more convincing. So we're still going for that stylised, bright and colourful Sonic look. We're not going for photo-real."

Meanwhile, as Microsoft and Sony sort their next-generation plans out internally, Nintendo is preparing to release the Wii U, its Wii successor, in time for Christmas.

Iizuka said Sonic is the "perfect fit" for the device, but kept his cards close to his chest when quizzed by Eurogamer.

He said: "The Wii was an extremely successful platform. It was totally global. It went into the families that maybe would not have picked up a home console before. It created that living room experience with families, and it had great success.

"Now, adding the controller, and in a sense upgrading the Wii, it has got potential to further that and increase its customer base.

"I feel Sonic is the right fit because it is that kind of family experience game. I do feel Wii U is applicable to Sonic. But how we will apply using the controller to Sonic is something we're still thinking about at the moment."

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

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Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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