Mario and Sonic interview Pt. 2

Interview: The future of Sonic, Wii and Sega

Last Friday we posted the first part of our huge interview with Sega Europe president Mike Hayes, and marketing director of Nintendo Europe, Laurent Fischer, about the epic union of gaming's two biggest icons in Mario and Sonic in the Olympic Games.

In the concluding half of our chat, Fischer talks about Nintendo's outlook on 2D and 3D on DS, as well as its philosophies for Wii development. Hayes discusses the present state of Sonic, the future of the mascot and how, despite Hayes' career shifting over to Sega, he is still sits firmly in the Mario fanboy camp.

Will the DS version share the 3D format of the Wii game?

Laurent Fischer: We can't say right now but, in my opinion, it doesn't matter whether it's 2D or 3D. There are fantastic 3D games on DS but we're not especially focused on one or the other.

If it has to be 3D, it will be 3D. If we think it would be better in 2D, it will be. Metroid Prime Hunters is good in 3D, as is Mario Kart DS and Super Mario 64 DS. But then you have New Super Mario Bros. which is great in 2D. So it just needs to be relevant to the game.

Do you think some developers make mistakes in the 2D or 3D decision, considering some of the 3D games on DS that don't work as well as they should?

Fischer: I think that the DS in particular is extremely innovative and when we launched it we were going against the wind. We knew we had to explain why we did that, how it works and why we were sure that strategy was the right one.

It took time for everyone to endorse the machine and its technical abilities. Once the console had been accepted, it was THEN that everyone had more questions about how to use it. I'm sure that right now there are no question marks over how to properly develop for the DS, and it's the same story with Wii. We are willing to focus on completely new and innovative gameplay experiences, and that's what Wii and DS owners expect.

The perfect example is Sonic and the Secret Rings on Wii - the way they put together a new Sonic experience with the Wii controller suited it perfectly. Plus, remember that the Wii has only been out for three months.

From what I've seen of projects in development for this year, they focus on creativity and using the Wii's features to open doors. All teams working on the Wii hardware are very enthusiastic and enjoy it.

Mario has made guest appearances in numerous third-party games in recent years. Is that something we can expect more of?

Fischer: It's a matter of relevance. There's no strategy or plan. If it's going to be funny and do something which is new then it's relevant and in this particular case, with Mario and Sonic, it's about making a gamer's dream come true.

How is Sega coping with Wii development as a whole? Some developers have found the Wii Remote to be unpredictable and challenging...

Mike Hayes: It's a dream for us because it allows us to do something different. I think all developers like to be at the cutting edge and want to do things differently so there's nothing better to work on than Wii.

Are there challenges in development? Of course there are - you always have challenges. But we hire the best people to overcome those challenges and make a better game. I don't think you'd find a developer anywhere who would grumble about working on Wii.

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