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SEGA explains why it went forward with the Sonic the Hedgehog movies

Posted on October 2, 2022 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Sonic movie origins SEGA

SEGA Sammy senior executive officer Toru Nakahara, who has also acted as a producer on the Sonic the Hedgehog movies, has provided some insight into the backstory and why the company decided to pursue films for the franchise.

In an interview with Pia, Nakahara said that even though Sonic has been a popular video game character in Japan, due to many factors including SEGA withdrawing from hardware department after the Dreamcast, there were times when Sonic was unable to flourish.

Nakahara said:

“Meanwhile SEGA games are very popular in America and Sonic stands out as an iconic character well known by everyone. I believe he is well known in Europe too.”

“Sonic is cheeky at times, rash and quick, talks and laughs a lot, and is mostly a good guy at heart. All qualities which I believe reflect good male qualities from western viewpoints. Even though he is not your typical character that would be loved in Japan, Sonic has shown more personality as the games evolved, and that’s why he is loved by the western world.”

Continuing on about how the Sonic movies came to be, Nakahara explained:

“We had talks about making a Sonic movie because of Sonic Mania in 2017. Despite Sonic not being initially overly popular in America, he seemed to have rapidly gained popularity. At the time, Sonic was in an odd situation where parents were well aware of who he is, whereas children may or may not know him. So it was easy to imagine that if a Sonic movie came out, this would be a great opportunity for Sonic not only to be known to many generations, but also to areas where Sonic may have never been well known especially considering that movie promotion budget far exceeds that of a video game. I thought it was worth joining in to invest in creating a ‘Hollywood blockbuster.'”

“I can remember initially hearing comments such as ‘So many game based movies have flopped,’ and ‘Isn’t he caught in some sort of scam?’. However, with SEGA Sammy Holdings starting, the spirit of taking on new challenges aligned very well with the movie production. It reminded me of the SEGA spirit of ‘trying new things.'”

Nakahara also mentioned difficulties caused by misunderstandings and conflicts with Paramount, who was making the movie, and SEGA who creates the games. Ultimately, “SEGA had to change its mindset for the movie to be seen by a wider audience, while Paramount had to have understanding and respect for the games.” In the end the two sides “were both able to come to an agreement within a good time frame.”

Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 have both appeared in theaters around the world. A third film will debut on December 20, 2024.

Translation provided by Simon Griffin and centurionnugget on behalf of Nintendo Everything.

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