Yuji Naka has been a game designer and producer since the early days of the console wars in the 1980s and 1990s. His time in the industry has produced some of the most enduring and recognisable characters in gaming history, most notably Sega mainstay Sonic the Hedgehog. He has also been instrumental in developing MMOs from their inception with his work on Phantasy Star Online.
In this interview Naka examines the early iterations of Sonic the Hedgehog. One of the earliest designs had the character pegged not as a hedgehog, but as a rabbit. Naka reflects on how the decision to change the character came about due to a shift in the game’s main attack mechanic and how the original attack caused issues with the aspect that we most associate with the character – his record-breaking speed through the platform landscapes.