Shadow the Hedgehog was aimed at US market

Takashi Iizuka’s masterpiece Shadow the Hedghog wasn’t received too well by critics, mostly because the game, well sucked. But now he explains why the game was the way it was…

“After Sonic Adventure, we had two studios, in the US and Japan. The Japanese Studio was to develop a Sonic game in the standard style, and the US studio was to develop something different which could contribute to the Sonic franchise. That background generated the Shadow game as he appeared from Sonic Adventure. We wanted to offer other game systems to attract a different audience from traditional Sonic fans. In the US, first and third-person shooters were popular and we decided to go with a character who could work with them.”

I honestly assumed that Shadow the Hedgehog was just ‘Sonic Team’ trying to put out a product like Ratchet and Clank or Jak & Dexter. Too bad the concept wasn’t why the game was bashed…



11 responses to “Shadow the Hedgehog was aimed at US market

  1. ShadiWulf says:

    Iizuka talking about Shadow the hedgehog…

    sounds like a bad omen to me.

  2. Sloth_26XX says:

    Oh great, that lame game was aimed at the US gamer…

    I genuinely feel insulted now.

  3. Sega Stylista says:

    George, my friend, does Iizuka’s statement help connect anything I ever tried to explain about mainstream western marketing and game design? I hope so, because he is stating exactly what I went to great pains to explain before I finally gave up. He even specifically states "first and third-person shooters were popular and we decided to go with a character who could work with them". Doesn't get more obvious than that?

    Werehog was put in Unleashed to appease the GoW crowd.

    Binary Domain obviously has felt the mainstream western FPS/TPS influence and you see reactions to that..

    Why can't these great Sega designers just give us a great game according to their artistic vision? Blame Johnny mainstream dudebro gamer and we have the big mega corps to thank for his inclusion into the hobby.

  4. George says:

    Mainstream = Sonic titles.

  5. CrazyTails says:

    I think I read this long time ago so it's nothing new to me. Being worried about a franchise that I fell in love with in my younger days has been pretty exhausting for a pretty long time.

    It feels so much better not caring anymore.

  6. crackdude says:

    This game might have prevented me of getting married.

  7. -nSega54- says:

    "GameSpy: Out of all the characters currently in the Sonic story, why did you choose to focus on Shadow for a new game?

    Yuji Naka: When we took a look at which Sonic characters were popular among fans, Shadow was ranked right behind Sonic. We've also wanted to do a "gun action" game for a while now, and he seemed to be the best fit for that idea. He and Sonic have a very different identity, after all. Finally, as we've been building the Sonic brand, we've had ideas of doing a spin-off series, so perhaps that's what Shadow will lead to.

    GameSpy: Shadow's always been portrayed as a character who can't be defined as wholly good or wholly evil. We've seen that during the game the player can do actions which affect which alignment he leans towards. How does this affect the progression of the story and gameplay?

    Naka: In all the stages, Shadow can complete missions for either the dark or the light side. So depending on the player's actions, the story will change and new stages will open up. We've seen before that Shadow is looking for a reason for his existence, so Shadow the Hedgehog is all about giving you the opportunity to find that reason for him.

    GameSpy: Many people were initially surprised to see Shadow with a weapon, which is unusual for the Sonic series. Why did you decide to give Shadow the ability to bear arms?

    Naka: Well, there have been some shooting sequences in the Sonic Adventure games before, but they've been more "stand-and-shoot" style bits. We really wanted to challenge ourselves and do a high-speed gun action game. We decided that Shadow would be the perfect venue by which to try our hand at this genre."

  8. matty says:

    So this is what it sounds like

    when doves cry…

  9. ShadiWulf says:


    Naka barely had any involvement with Shadow the Hedgehog if that's what you are trying to prove. He was in Japan. Shadow the Hedgehog was developed by Sonic Team USA under the strict supervision of lord Iizuka.

    I don't see how the story is supposed to appeal to US gamers though. I think Iizuka made the story for himself. =D

  10. -nSega54- says:

    Yuji Naka certainly had involvement in Shadow the Hedgehog, as you can see. Dude there are ways development studios can communicate with each other…. Just because he was in Japan doesn't mean he can't communicate with them over the internet, through conference calls, weekly reports, all that stuff. That's how Nintendo of Japan is so heavily involved in the development of Donkey Kong Country: Returns even though it was developed in Texas.

    Yuji Naka was Iizuka's boss and Iizuka reported DIRECTLY to him. And if you read that interview, everything people plame Iizuka for, like the addition of multiple characters, was fully supported by Naka, who says in the interview that he doesn't think people would even like a Sonic game without the other playable characters. He also mentioned one of the retro Sonic ports and a rare Sonic arcade game, and admits they "were not done under his supervision." As opposed to Shadow the Hedgehog, which he supervised. Here's more:

    "GameSpy: Most of the recent Sonic titles have featured Sonic with a large cast of supporting characters. Is there any chance that, in the future, you might want to do a game starring Sonic alone again?

    Naka: We have given it some thought, yes. But you see, "volume" seems to be a big thing in games these days. The media's always going on and on asking about every single little thing about a game. "Who's in it? How many stages are there? What are the play modes?" It's practically all I ever hear! And the Sonic world has a bunch of established characters, so if we did a game with just Sonic … I can already hear people saying, "But where's Tails? Where's Knuckles? Where's Shadow? How does he do this by himself?" And then I'd have to explain, "No no, see, it's just SONIC this time." But yes, it is a challenge I'd like to do. After all, the games in the series since the first have been constantly introducing and adding new characters, so maybe Sonic deserves some "alone time" again." "

  11. The Effect says:

    It doesn’t matter if the game was aimed at the US. It only matters how the game turned out… which, by the way, is totally a matter of opinion. Good luck convincing a hardcore Sonic fan to understand the concept of opinions, but still, that’s the way it is anyway.

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