Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka took to Twitter to praise fans for getting Sonic redesigned in the upcoming feature film.
Naka, who created the character alongside Naoto Oshima, Hiokazu Yasuhara, and Yuji Uekawa, first introduced the blue hedgehog to the world back in 1991 with Sonic the Hedgehog. The platform game was originally published by Sega for the Sega Genesis console. That game would spawn an entire franchise that has been a wild success. The series sold over 89 million physical copies by 2011 and grossed over $5 billion by 2014.
Naka had previously taken responsibility for the Sonic the Hedgehog film design noting that he had created a department called Visual Entertainment which was the predecessor of Marza, the CG company allegedly behind the design of Sonic.
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) May 2, 2019
Fans made it clear that it was not Naka’s fault and instead placed the blame on Paramount.
Don’t blame yourself, you had no say in his design for the film. The blame is 100% on Paramount, they have no idea what the fans wanted. Sonic will always be one of my favorite video game franchises and this movie won’t change that.
— WilesNailsPower (@WilesNailsPower) May 2, 2019
Dont place your burden unto yourself sir,,it is not your absolute fault,,we know who is responsible of this mess and it is not you
— シネ (@mintyhoshii) May 2, 2019
This isn’t your fault. The CG Studio didn’t design or approve what they were told to make. The blame is with Paramount and Hollywood executives who know nothing about what the fans want.
— Gregory Walsh (@Spindash54) May 2, 2019
Despite initially placing blame on himself, Naka would praise fans after Sonic the Hedgehog director Jeff Fowler reported they planned on redesigning Sonic the Hedgehog for the movie following fans’ reaction to the first trailer.
Yuji Naka would write, “The power of Sonic fans is amazing. It is good to go in a good direction. Thank you so much for loving Sonic.”
映画「ソニック・ザ・ムービー」のデザインが変更へ。製作側が折れる | AUTOMATON https://t.co/RXCBN3OQGJ
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) May 3, 2019
He would reiterate that sentiment writing, “It is good to go in a good direction. Thank you so much for loving Sonic.”
The power of sonic fans is amazing. It is good to go in a good direction. Thank you so much for loving Sonic. https://t.co/uKiY2GLXjf
— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) May 3, 2019
Fowler confirmed he and his team were planning on redesigning Sonic the Hedgehog stating on Twitter, “The message is loud and clear… you aren’t happy with the design & you want changes. It’s going to happen. Everyone at Paramount & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be…”
It’s actually a quite refreshing statement to hear Fowler understand fans were not happy with the design and they are going to do their best to improve the design so fans can enjoy their product. In fact, this sentiment seems quite rare in today’s entertainment world where major corporations and their employees are keen on attacking their fans and customers.
We’ve seen it happen quite a bit over the past year. Electronic Arts notoriously insulted their fans and even told them not to purchase Battlefield V after fans criticized the historic setting of the game. The result was a report that Battlefield V only sold “half the number of physical copies of its predecessor, Battlefield 1.” In fact, EA CEO Andrew Wilson addressed Battlefield V’s poor performance:
“If I think about ‘Battlefield 5’ more holistically, I think we did not do a great job of building momentum early in the project. And I think about this not just in the context of development but I think about this in the context about broader execution against the entire campaign. Our launch didn’t resonate strongly as we would have liked it to with players and we were never truly able to catch-up and as our competitors continued to build momentum whether that was ‘Fortnite’ or ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ or ‘Call of Duty.”
Battlefield V would not be the only game to take this path. One Angry Gamer has an entire list of video games. This behavior has not only effected video games. We’ve seen it in comic books. Maybe most famously with former Star Wars and Marvel Comics writer Chuck Wendig. Wendig launched tirade after tirade against people that eventually ended up with him getting fired.
What do you make of Yuji Naka’s comments? Are you happy with Jeff Fowler’s decision to redesign Sonic the Hedgehog?