IGNDC Interview with Yuji Naka

Interview Data:

  • Interview Date: 11 February 2000
  • Interview Topics: Sonic Adventure, Burning Rangers
  • Interview Source: IGN external.png

IGNDC Talks Shop with Sonic Team
We partied with Naka-san and the boys at the Sega Dreamcast Championships. Get the scoop inside.
February 11, 2000 - 311 had just taken the stage, and the thunderous sound of guitars drowned nearly ever bit of discernable conversation. But after a bit of negotiating, the crew at IGNDC managed to weasel their way into a private room in the back of the party that raged on during the First-Annual Sega Dreamcast Championships, which contained a host of Sega's gaming heroes, including the legendary Yuji Naka. We had a chance to chat with Naka-san about the contest, Chu Chu, and of course, Phantasy Star Online. Here's what he had to say:

IGNDC: We're wondering, first off, what you think of Sonic Adventure being the feature game of the Championships?
Naka: It's very hard for me to comment on that, as I haven't seen the whole progress of the contest. Seeing the reaction from the crowd is very impressive, though. In comparison with contests I've seen in Japan, this particular contest was run well.


IGNDC: Were you impressed with the skill of the players?
Naka: We were worried in the beginning that maybe the stage was too difficult, especially for people in the audience who may not have known too much about Sonic - they may have been left with the impression that the game was too difficult. However, the last two contestants thankfully managed to get over 200 rings.
Maybe all the players would have done better if they'd been looking at the monitor, instead of the big screen. The big screen wasn't very clear, so they couldn't do their best. I was impressed that the last contest attained so many rings.

IGNDC: Yeah, he's a big fan. I hear he carries a picture of you around in his wallet?
[ Laughs ] Yeah, I saw the picture in the wallet. I'm very honored.


IGNDC: One game that you can probably expect the same level of appreciation for is Chu Chu Rocket. It's actually just about to be released in the states, and as it's been well received in Japan, a lot of gamers can't wait to get their hands on it over here.
Naka: That's great. It was very difficult for my team in the beginning, working with the network component. However, making the game was a valuable experience for us, as we learned quite a bit, and we're proud to have produced a good title.

IGNDC: It's probably helped you to get ready for Phantasy Star Online….
Naka: Yes. We'll be making Phantasy Star Online based on what we've learned with Chu Chu Rocket. It's sorta like taking small steps.
Most of the network games currently are PC based, and making network game for the console is very different.


IGNDC: How's the game coming along so far. Can we look forward to something exciting at TGS this year?
Naka: We'd like to, at least, show Phanatasy Star Online working at TGS.

IGNDC: Lastly, what do you think we can expect from Sonic Team now that you're you've finished, or are currently buttoning up, most of your known projects?
Naka: That's still a secret. It will take us a long time to figure out what we'll do next.

IGNDC: We'll certainly be looking forward to it.

Just as Yuji Naka and the rest of Sonic Team get up to leave, The Ultimate Dreamcast Fan bursts through the doorway, copy of Burning Rangers in hand, and demands an autograph. Obviously hoping to make it back to Japan in order to continue work on Phantasy Star, Naka agrees to The Ultimate Dreamcast Fan's terms, and signs the game's instruction manual using his very own felt pen. When asked about the possibility of a Burning Rangers sequel, Naka isn't as compliant.


The identity of the UDF has been hidden to protect the guilty..plus Anoop says he's embarrassed. Ooops!

— Interview conducted by Brandon Justice and Anoop Gantayat, IGNDC


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