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Hirokazu Yasuhara joins Nintendo A tale of lust, heartbreak, and betrayal

#1 User is offline Guess Who 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:53 PM

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Gamasutra is reporting that Hirokazu Yasuhara - who Retro may know as the main game and level designer behind Sonics 1, 2, 3, and Knuckles - has been hired by Nintendo. Specifically, Nintendo NST, an American branch best known for the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games, as well as Metroid Prime Hunters and the cancelled Wii title Project HAMMER.

Should've stayed with Naughty Dog and worked on Uncharted more, IMO.

#2 User is offline Blue Blood 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:57 PM

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Oshima's already worked on more than one Mario game. What's the big deal?

#3 User is online W.A.C. 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:01 PM

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Good. Hirokazu Yasuhara + Nintendo will hopefully be a fantastic combination. Sure, it would be awesome to see him come back to the Sonic franchise, but he probably has no interest in going back to a series he left before it started going downhill.

#4 User is offline Sparks 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:13 PM

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View PostBlue Blood, on 04 April 2012 - 05:57 PM, said:

Oshima's already worked on more than one Mario game. What's the big deal?
:psyduck: and to think those are my least favorite Yoshi games.

#5 User is online W.A.C. 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:35 PM

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I've been wondering this for quite a while, but why was Sonic R the last Sonic game he ever worked on? [LINK] I wonder if one of the reasons why he left the Sonic franchise was because of the events surrounding Sonic X-treme. I don't know how much involvement he had in that game, but he was a co-author to the game's story and was the map design director.

Posted Image

For all we know, he might've been insanely pissed about what happened to the game. Didn't help that his view of the Traveller's Tales games weren't exceptionally high.

SEGA Retro Wiki said:

"I was opposed to [Sega's] decision to create games that use 'Sonic-something' so that they can sell it easily. I wanted to make good games, not any games that used the Sonic character in a haphazard way."
- Yasuhara on his work on the Traveller's Tales-developed Sonic titles

Personally, I love Sonic 3D Blast but that's for a different discussion.

#6 User is offline OKei 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:38 PM

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View PostW.A.C., on 04 April 2012 - 06:01 PM, said:

Good. Hirokazu Yasuhara + Nintendo will hopefully be a fantastic combination. Sure, it would be awesome to see him come back to the Sonic franchise, but he probably has no interest in going back to a series he left before it started going downhill.
Either as a consultant or maybe even something more, I expect his participation on the next Super Smash Bros. title. Sonic could be in it.

#7 User is offline Covarr 

Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:16 PM

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View PostW.A.C., on 04 April 2012 - 06:01 PM, said:

Good. Hirokazu Yasuhara + Nintendo will hopefully be a fantastic combination. Sure, it would be awesome to see him come back to the Sonic franchise, but he probably has no interest in going back to a series he left before it started going downhill.

Keep in mind, this is specifically NST. They've done some decent emulation-related stuff, and done some good things to the Panel de Pon series, but they've done very little original stuff. When they do, Metroid Prime: Hunters happens, and the world is worse off for it.

On the other hand, a decent level designer would've gone a long way toward making Metroid Prime: Hunters actually fun. The engine and controls were solid enough.

#8 User is offline tokumaru 

Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:03 PM

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View PostW.A.C., on 04 April 2012 - 06:35 PM, said:

Spoiler

I had never seen this! So this is from when Sonic X-treme (or whatever it was called back then) was still an isometric game on the Genesis/MD?

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:10 AM

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View PostCovarr, on 05 April 2012 - 08:16 PM, said:

On the other hand, a decent level designer would've gone a long way toward making Metroid Prime: Hunters actually fun. The engine and controls were solid enough.


Thing is, the amazing single card multiplayer made up for Metroid Prime Hunters HORRIBLE level design in single player, most of my enjoyment was out of online and multiplayer and not the terribly designed story mode.

#10 User is offline SomeSortOfRobot 

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:34 AM

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Nice that Nintendo knows how to pick 'em, but what that team really needs is a better art department.

#11 User is offline Mercury 

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:38 AM

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This is interesting considering Kunitake Aoki has been part of the MvsDK series.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:29 PM

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View Posttokumaru, on 05 April 2012 - 11:03 PM, said:

View PostW.A.C., on 04 April 2012 - 06:35 PM, said:

Spoiler

I had never seen this! So this is from when Sonic X-treme (or whatever it was called back then) was still an isometric game on the Genesis/MD?


I'm afraid not. The image you linked to is pretty much all that ever was of that isometric Mega Drive game. That was done in 1994, which slowly evolved into the early Sonic Mars, which then evolved into the eventual Sonic X-treme. The level maps that Yasuhara worked on were done at the tail end of Sonic X-treme's development, when it became Project Condor. With Chris Senn and Ofer Alon kicked out, Christina Coffin became chief programmer and suddenly had the entire project on her shoulders with the same due date. Since Yasuhara was still working at the Sega Technical Institute at the time, they brought him on during the eleventh hour to come up with level design and now the game should flow into each other. What we have of his work is on the wiki, though Chris Senn (who was the man who scanned these images) did imply that there may have been more than what we have. Before anyone even wonders, no, don't bother him about it. If there is more, he will scan it eventually.

I think the reason the images are drawn from an isometric perspective is...well, probably because it is easier to sketch 3D levels from an angle? Either way, I've always wondered why Yasuhara wasn't involved with X-treme from day one. Here is the guy who designed the original games who is in the same office as you, and instead you give it to some random guy who has never worked on a Sonic game before. Did they offer it him and he just turned it down, wanting to pursue a more original project? And if that's the case, what convinced him to spend any time on Sonic X-treme in its final months? Was it simply the same loyalty to the character that led him to work on Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island and Sonic R? That would be interesting to hear his take on the X-treme debacle someday.

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