IGN Interview with Takashi Iizuka

Interview Data:

  • Interview Date: 25 August 2005
  • Interview Topics: Shadow the Hedgehog
  • Interview Source: IGN external.png

Shadow The Interview

A chat with producer Takashi Iizuka. Plus, screens and movies.
by Juan Castro

August 25, 2005 -

IGN: How did the Shadow project get started?
Iizuka: We wanted to expand the Sonic franchise by offering a more mature game with features that has never been possible before in a Sonic game. With this in mind, we decided that giving Shadow his own title was the way to go!

In Shadow, the player is given the opportunity to decide Shadow's personality and unveil the truth behind the mysteries that shroud our renegade hedgehog. We were also able to create a charcacter that has the same Sonic speed combined with never-before-seen abilities - weapons, vehicles, and power-ups.

IGN: How did the new morality system come about and how does it come into play?
Iizuka: Shadow is a true rebel and is extremely mysterious. From the beginning, people have questioned whether Shadow is good or evil. In this adventure, we allow player to explore the mysteries of his past. The player must help Shadow remember and aid him through his journey, as he struggles to discover his true meaning.

IGN: In addition to the stable of pistols and machineguns, what kind of weaponry can players expect?
Iizuka: Guns are just one type of weapon - Shadow also has gadgets, alien weapons, and environmental pick-up items like poles, sticks and debris. There are more than 30 different weapons, gadgets and items for the player to use and more than 10 different types of vehicles they'll be able to commandeer.

IGN: What kind of mission structure can players expect?
Iizuka: We tried to differentiate the game in very specific ways concerning the use of good vs. evil. Examples include:

1) Each story's progression is dependant on the choices that each player makes during the course of the game. Unlike previous games we've created, stage order, mid-boss levels, and of course endings, will all be affected by the decisions the gamer makes.

2) Shadow's appearance does not physically change as he progresses through the game. What is affected is the level of "special powers" that increases, as he develops as either an evil villain or a true hero.

3.) We also have mission NPC's at the beginning of each stage. Shadow will meet both an evil and a good NPC that will provide his mission at the beginning of each stage. If the player decides not to choose either mission, they will continue the game through the "normal" path.

IGN: How many stages are there and will players progress the game in linear fashion?
Iizuka: The player does progress through the game in linear fashion, but is given the ability to choose his path during that course. With more than 23 levels and 50+ missions to choose from, the game delivers dramatic sequences of events that expand into different paths depending on how you play the game.

IGN: What can players expect from the environments in the game in terms of interactivity and obstacles?
Iizuka: There is a fully interactivity between Shadow and his environments, not only in terms of gameplay mechanics but how obstacles in his world can be used as weapons or means to navigate through each stage.

IGN: Were there movies or films that inspired the look or direction of Shadow?
Iizuka: We use a variety of different mediums to gather inspiration from, but the true ideas…the heart of Shadow…comes from the brilliant minds of our internal art department. I can, however, say that we did reference films like Underworld, Constantine and even Terminator series while creating concept art for Shadow. These movies and more were used to create the image of what we thought Shadow and his world would be.

IGN: Is it possible to play as multiple characters?
Iizuka: Shadow already offers a deep and involving storyline that unfolds with various paths and endings Thus, the primary adventure and gameplay revolves around our star, Shadow. If we decided to allow a gamer to play multiple characters, we feel it would take away from the ultimate goal. However, depending on which mission you choose, the player will always be accompanied by one of the many cast members of the Sonic series.

The heart of the game is all about high-speed action and it's been challenging to balance the design of a new style of gameplay that includes weapons and vehicles but that's also what's been so exciting. Shadow, like Sonic is known for his speed, his power and his destructive nature.

IGN: Are there differences between the GameCube, PS2 and Xbox versions of the game?
Iizuka: The game will be available for all three platforms will release simultaneously. No exclusive content is planned for any of the platforms. We want to create a seamless experience across all three platforms so that our fans will enjoy the same game no matter what platform they own.

IGN: What do you expect players will enjoy most about Shadow: the traditional Sonic elements or the new weapons and morality system?
Iizuka: Shadow the Hedgehog represents the first of its kind in the Sonic franchise, which means there are a lot of different features that players will enjoy. The favourite will most likely be the fact that in Shadow the team blended high-speed action with weaponry and vehicles. Additionally, the ability to choose Shadow's path will be a lot of fun.


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