Eurogamer: How do you feel when you read old-school Sonic fans slagging off the Sonic franchise and what it's become?
Takashi Iizuka: The fundamentals of both games, the 3D Sonic or the 2D side-scrolling games, are the same. Sonic is all about the speed and the platforming. It just comes down to how the gameplay differs when you're playing in 3D and 2D side-scrolling.
I understand there are differences in the ways users interpret the 3D side than the fans who particularly like the 2D classic side of the game.
This is why we're releasing two different types of Sonic games this year - to please the 2D classic fans who have been playing from the Genesis [Mega Drive]. Sonic 4 is more for those fans.
There are also fans who like the 3D Sonic games which have been released in the past couple of years. Sonic Colours is probably more for the users who appreciate the 3D side of Sonic.
Eurogamer: But how do the negative comments make you feel? Do you ignore them?
Takashi Iizuka: It's more that those fans are not positive towards the recent 3D Sonic games because we've been releasing only 3D Sonic games in the past couple of years.
It's hard to please both 2D and 3D fans at the same time, in the same title for instance.
This is why the team decided to release two different types of Sonic games. It's always hard to dodge every negative perception or make everybody happy with just one title. So we're giving two options to the users.
So, either way, you'll be pleased.
Eurogamer: How is development of Sonic 4 being shared between Sonic Team and Dimps?
Takashi Iizuka: First and foremost Sonic Team gave a product brief to Dimps so that we can make sure we're all on the same page when creating this title.
Then we had Dimps' level designers come up with the initial concepts of the stages. Then it's going back and forth and discussions - Sonic Team giving the direction and suggestions.
That's how the level design and gameplay has been developed into the current state.
Eurogamer: What platform games have you enjoyed recently?
Takashi Iizuka: I'm a fan of the genre, and as part of my learning and part of my job, I play quite a lot of the platform games that have been released in recent years.
I've been a big fan of the Mario franchise since I was a child. I've been playing mostly Mario games, including the recent ones.
Eurogamer: What is it about Mario Galaxy 2 that makes it so good?
Takashi Iizuka: It's hard to specify what makes it really good. But it's a game I enjoyed. I see a lot of ideas. To be a very good platformer it's almost like ticking the right boxes.
Eurogamer: LittleBigPlanet is a platformer that allows players to create levels and customise characters. Any plans for similar features in future Sonic games?
Takashi Iizuka: It's something the team is not looking into at the moment. Sonic games, it's pretty clear that how good the level design is directly affects the quality of the game.
The team believes the speed and the tempo is crucial. Sonic Team are the professionals at doing it. It's hard to leave it up to the users because it's quite difficult.
We have, however, allowed this feature through PlaySEGA, which allows our users to create their own levels. But in terms of future Sonic games, this is not in the plan.
Sonic Colours is due out on the Wii and DS "holiday 2010". Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 will be available to download from Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network "late 2010".