Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by McGuirk, Jan 10, 2007.
And I thought low volume distortion was niche...
Blugenesi recently did an hour-long video retrospective on Sonic 2 and while I haven't watched it yet, Craig Stitt left comments with some insights! (Thanks to @Mastered Realm, who pointed this out in the Hidden Palace Discord).
Stitt still thinks his turtle sidekick could've been fun, though he concedes that Tails was a much better character.
Yasuhara and Yamaguchi were easy to work with, but Naka wasn't. He only dealt with Naka directly in team meetings, but he says he was arrogant and didn't want to work with Americans (at least partly because he didn't like speaking English, though Stitt is sure there were other reasons).
Stitt was actually going to be one of Sonic 3's lead artists until Naka demanded that he be given an all-Japanese team, threatening to quit (again). Apparently, this was his "'go-to' weapon" when he wanted things to go his way.
Naka and threatening to quit, name a more iconic duo
Sega and fans?
Oooff, Naka. Just… what a dick.
Thanks for making Sonic feel fun to play, seriously, love Sonic 1 - 3K. But more and more I’m coming to the conclusion that he’s a dick, and he’s always been a dick, who’s legacy is far behind him now. So enjoy your day in court I guess.
Also though, huh, a Sonic 3 that looked like 2… what a weird but potentially neat thing that’d of been. I always liked Sonic 2s art. But Sonic 3 had great art too so can’t say I hate how it turned out, well except maybe Sonic’s sprite set.
Sonic and glitches
No, no, that's too ephemeral...
Speaking of his comments – he reacted to my video about Sonic 2 prototype and answered some questions.
I also uploaded a small clip with Hidden Palace on Twitter and asked mister Nishimura and mister Yamaguchi why many screenshots of HPZ were released, while there is not a single one with Dubious Depths. I got no response.
However, Ohshima-san sent a message today. Quote:
"They probably don't remember because it was a long time ago. I just didn't make it due to limited time."
I mean, it's not like Naka's insistence on working with the Japanese is clear-cut racism. The Americans were less experienced in game development and their products were typically lower quality in my opinion, they would be difficult to communicate with because of the language barrier, they have a different work culture, and they did not possess a shared cultural experience to draw their concepts from. It's completely understandable and unless someone gives an instance along the lines of, "Naka called me a gaijin dog and spat on me," his friendship with Cerny, desire to create a product that was inspired by and appeals to the West, and the fact that he even moved to the US makes me doubt the whole racism angle people like to imply. I'm not doubting he was a dick and diva about it though, lol.
Working successfully in cross-cultural teams is a skill that needs to be cultivated, and someone's failure or unwillingness to do so is not something to be condemned inherently. Yasuharā clearly possesses a more open and global-thinking personality, so it's no surprise he got along with STI. I have lived and studied/worked abroad since I was 18 (American - lived in South America and Europe), and I have met many people who are perfectly nice but will not work with people outside of their in-group because of how it will impact the work culture. Intercultural business was a large component of my BSc. and MSc. studies, and I feel like it is pushed as an ideal while ignoring the drawbacks that exist in reality. Some groups will thrive in these situations, some will not. My opinion is that if it sacrifices the quality of the team's output, 'diversity' should not be pursued for its own sake. STI is a pretty great case study of this.
Anyways, despite Naka's bitching and moaning, his team gave us Sonic 3. The others gave us Spinball. You decide
It’s not like it’s an isolated incident though. Fair enough, he might not click with American work ethic (I’m sure plenty of the Americans thought Japanese work ethic is weird, I know I do, seems very cruel and that’s saying something given US labor force cruelty), but he was a dick with Xtreme too, he’s an ass to Oshima and he’s Japanese, and of course in recent memory we have Balan Wonderworld… that game seems to follow his particular brand of stubbornness.
He may not racist but he’s definitely a dick. And for what it’s worth, Sonic 3 was built off 2 which was built off 1, so the coding foundations were there at least. Spinball didn’t have that luxury.
Naka seems to live by the “take my ball and go home” mentality, or more along the lines of Cartman saying “screw you guys I’m going home”
That was my point! He’s a dick, not a racist dick.
Funnily enough, adding to my point in my previous post: I literally just came out of a meeting where the client wanted a team of native speakers for a project as the current market is not receptive to non-Danish branding, and translating/localizing the work would increase the cost.
No harm, no foul. I was actually the one who brought it up, as I could foresee it being an issue based on the work he required (all my available consultants are foreign nationals). Forcing people into this project would not be beneficial for either party. There’s no racism involved; the client has an immigrant background himself. It’s just about making sure the right people are on the project.
Cerny and Naka get along because Cerny speaks Japanese and worked at SoJ. If Naka were racist, he’d treat Cerny like shit anyway.
If anything it makes Naka seem like even more arrogant of a dick, because the point of STI was to cross-train Sega's American devs on the Japanese game design because Japan was dominating the games industry at that point. Kicking out all the American devs defeats the purpose.
Exactly, that was the point. Working with the Japenese devs was supposed to get them that experience and quality.
I dunno. After the chaos that was Sonic 2's development, I don't blame Naka for being frustrated with STI and wanting to avoid going through it all over again. He and his team were devs trying to develop the latest core installment for Sega's premier franchise, not some babysitters.
Maybe Naka either didn't care about all that or didn't want the American devs to be capable of churning out more decent products, for some reason.
Sonic Spinball was forced on STI at the last minute with only 3 months (or something like that) dev time because they needed a game for Holiday 1993.
I'd guess the chaos was more down to the time deadline and language barrier stuff, not the American staff whose art got cut. "Babysitters" is a little mean, Craig Stitt for example had an art degree, experience in non-game computer graphics, and had already done Kid Chameleon. STI ended up being kind of a failed experiment in the end anyway.
Yup, and either of those two points make him come off as arrogant, thinking himself more important than the organization in which he worked. Especially the latter, because it means he literally wanted to hinder part of the company out of some sense of competition, which was definitely a thing at Sega.
Also who’s decision was it to bring the JP staff over to STI? Im guessing it was some order from above, which if that’s the case he’s taking his aggression out on the wrong people, it’s not the artists fault that Naka got caught up in that situation.
Oh, I don't doubt that there were many capable members in the American side of the staff. But trying to get Sonic Team to lead and "train" less experienced members with a different work culture while having to deal with the language barrier was a recipe for disaster, and not the kind of experiment you'd expect Sega to do with such a high-profile game as Sonic. From everything reported, the whole thing was an exercise in frustration for everyone involved, and doing everything in his power to avoid having to deal with all that nonsense again was probably the wisest thing Naka could have done.
Cerny had pitched the concept of STI to SoA and then asked Naka to join to make Sonic 2. Cerny had then left by the time Sonic 3 was being made, which probably influenced the culture/goals of STI and Naka's actions.
Kid Chameleon is a fun game but its gameplay and art are not even comparable in quality to that of Sonic 2. There's a reason we're not on Kid Chameleon Retro. I'm sure Stitt is a fine artist, and I didn't want to mention anyone in particular within my original posts, but he and the rest of the team had minimal experience compared to the Japanese developers and it shows in the examples of their work that we've seen.
Apologies if this has been brought up before, but I couldn't find anything when searching. Does anyone know what version of Sonic is being run in "Tesla Arcade"? It's that in-car uh "entertainment system" where you can play games on your Tesla's dashboard, I think. I was going to add it to the References to Sonic or something, but this probably needs to get added to the wiki somewhere. I'd imagine as an additional "systems=" listing for an existing article, but I'm not tech-savvy enough to recognize which version of Sonic is actually available here.
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