"largely left" to individual teams before.
Now the series has more 'directional stability', says Iizuka-san, whereas before it "tended to fluctuate" game to game. He's made an effort to "really better define" the blue hedgehog.
Iizuka-san tries to "preserve the image of Sonic" that fans want, so they"treat those voices seriously," but you need to mix it up otherwise it'll go stale. He wants new experiences without hurting Sonic.
"Before I assumed this current position, the direction of each Sonic title was largely left in the hands of the individual directors behind each project. You had all these different ideas about what Sonic should be, and where it should go, and so it tended to fluctuate from project to project," explained SEGA's Takashi Iizuka.
"Since I came back, though, I've made an effort to really better define the direction of the series and its characters. I think Sonic 4 and Colors were ways of defining that, and I'm satisfied with how both of those went."
"I try to preserve the image of Sonic that these fans are looking for, and I try my best to participate in the assorted fan events that take place," he added. "So I treat those voices seriously, but on the other hand, I think it's also necessary to surprise them, to turn against their expectations -- in a good way. I want to introduce new aspects that don't shake what the fans want, but also provide something new to the package."
Sonic 'sped up' the action platform genre: "Back when Sonic was on the Mega Drive, there were tons of side-scrolling action games out there. The fact that Sonic took these platform games -- which were very slow, reserved affairs -- and made them into these quick, exhilarating things was an incredibly unique, futuristic thing for the time."
"As time went on, the action genre further evolved, and now we're to the point that this sort of high-speed platform action is pretty much defined by Sonic. It's the only one in the industry, and that's something I want to retain going into the future," said Iizuka-san. Soon to release is Sonic Generations that blends modern and classic Sonic.
"I wouldn't say that I think Generations is a new start. Instead, it's more of the peaks of the past 20 years, is the way we're approaching this. Generations is about taking the past 20 years of history and rolling it into one really fun product. I think, as a result, I would like to make a new standard Sonic, a modern Sonic if you will, in 2012 and beyond."
Sonic Generations releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC this week, November 4th in Europe.