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Sonic Team gives 2D platformer Hell Yeah! its blessing

"We asked, what makes it a very bad Gaijin game?"

Sonic Team has given barmy Sega 2D platformer Hell Yeah! its blessing - and a few words of advice for tiny French developer Arkedo Studios.

During development Sonic Team chief Takashi Iizuka gave feedback to Arkedo boss Camille Guermonprez and, crucially, the thumbs up.

"Sega said, would you like to have a meeting with the Sonic Team? Hell yeah! F**k, why not? Let's do that. We saw the two main guys of Sonic Team, they played the game and then we asked, what makes it a very bad Gaijin game? What sucks?

"They said, not a lot sucks, but you should pay attention to what happens when you're jumping, the stop and go, the inertia you have when you're jumping on platforms. You should add this little thing, this little thing...

"We said, hey yeah, it's much better. Thank you very much. That's the craftsmanship. Those guys, they are bright yellow, they glow. Okay, this guy knows what he's talking about. We loved it."

Hell Yeah! is a fast-paced 2D platformer set to launch this summer on PC, PSN and XBLA hot on the heels of Sonic Team's own digital 2D platformer Sonic 4: Episode 2. It is Arkedo's biggest game yet, inspired by all the great platformers of the developers' youth: Mario and, of course, Sonic.

So impressed was Sonic Team with the game that it toasted Camille and co during a dinner.

"They even raised a glass of champagne after playing the game," he said. "That's something we'll never forget. We went for supper with them. The first day it was like, okay, we don't know you. That was normal, because they hadn't play it. Then they played and said, okay, good job, and cheers. That was important for us."

Arkedo's meeting with Sonic Team, and chance to get feedback from the Sonic developer, was just one of the benefits of signing with Sega.

Sealing the deal was the culmination of six years of Guermonprez being "an annoying little brat". "I'd come and sit in with the guy in charge of acquisition for Sega Europe every year with our games, and said, you will probably not buy our game this year, but there we are, and we're going to show you anyway.

"He was always very polite. He said, you are right Camille. You are right. Up until two years ago, when he said, f**k yeah, that's really interesting. It was also at the moment when Sega was thinking about digital, strong IP and making a splash. That was a spark.

"I'm not saying it was a Sega only game, because there were other publishers who made very good offers. There was a big interest in the game a year-and-a-half ago, when we showed it first. But Sega was a no brainer for us. Personally and historically. And also because they came to us and explained what they wanted to make with the IP, and why it was important for them to have such crazy stuff, and that they would let us have a complete creative freedom about that, which was for me non-negotiable.

"But it came from them. They said, if we like that it's because it's Arkedo. We're not going to calm you down. Because the idea of that is to be too much of everything and we don't want to dampen your enthusiasm."

Such was the freedom afforded Arkedo that Sega didn't call the company until eight months after development. "It was a perfect relationship," Guermonprez said.