Ohshima at the 2018 Game Developers Conference
|Born||February 26, 1964|
|Other names||Big Island|
|Occupation||Character designer, game producer|
Naoto Ohshima (大島 直人, Ōshima Naoto) (born February 26, 1964) is a Japanese artist and video game designer best known for designing the Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Eggman characters from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Although Yuji Naka created the original tech demo around which Sonic's gameplay was based, the character in his prototype was a ball that lacked any specific features. Sonic Team considered numerous potential animal mascots before deciding on Ohshima's design, with an armadillo or hedgehog being the top choices because their spikes worked well with the concept of rolling into enemies.
After leaving Sonic Team, Ohshima formed an independent game company called Artoon. There he went on to work on such games as Pinobee and Blinx: The Time Sweeper , and in 2004, the sequel to Blinx, Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space . In 2010, Artoon was absorbed into AQ Interactive. That same year, he and other key members of Artoon left to form Arzest. Early in his career, he was credited under the nickname "Big Island" in a number of games, which is a literal translation of his family name.
Nights into Dreams is a 1996 action game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Saturn. The story follows teenagers Elliot Edwards and Claris Sinclair, who enter Nightopia, a dream world where all dreams take place. With the help of Nights, an exiled "Nightmaren", they begin a journey to stop the evil ruler Wizeman from destroying Nightopia and consequently the real world. Players control Nights flying through Elliot and Claris's dreams to gather enough energy to defeat Wizeman and save Nightopia. The game is presented in 3D and imposes time limits on every level, in which the player must accumulate points to proceed.
Sonic Team is a video game developer owned by the Japanese video game company Sega as part of its Sega CS Research and Development No. 2 division. Sonic Team is best known for the long-running Sonic the Hedgehog series and games such as Nights into Dreams and Phantasy Star Online.
Sonic the Hedgehog is the protagonist of the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series released by Sega, as well as numerous spin-off comics, animations, and other media. Sonic is a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog who can run at supersonic speeds and curl into a ball, primarily to attack enemies. In most games, Sonic must race through levels, collecting power-up rings and avoiding obstacles and enemies.
Phantasy Star is a role-playing video game (RPG) developed by Sega and released for the Master System in 1987. One of the earliest Japanese RPGs for consoles, Phantasy Star tells the story of Alis on her journey to defeat the evil ruler of her star system, King Lassic, after her brother dies at his hands. She traverses between planets, gathering a party of fighters and collecting the items she needs to avenge her brother's death and return peace to the star system. The gameplay features traditional Japanese RPG elements including random encounters and experience points. All the characters have predefined personalities and abilities, a unique element compared to the customizable characters of other RPGs of the era.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis home video game console. It was released in North America in June 1991 and in PAL regions and Japan the following month. The game features an anthropomorphic hedgehog named Sonic in a quest to defeat Dr. Robotnik, a scientist who has imprisoned animals in robots and stolen the powerful Chaos Emeralds. The gameplay involves collecting rings as a form of health, and a simple control scheme, with jumping and attacking controlled by a single button.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD is a 1993 platform game for the Sega CD. The story follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he attempts to save an extraterrestrial body, Little Planet, from Doctor Robotnik. As a Sonic the Hedgehog series platformer, Sonic runs and jumps through several themed levels while collecting rings and defeating robots. Sonic CD is distinguished from other Sonic games by its time travel feature, a key aspect to the story and gameplay. By traveling through time, players can access different versions of stages, featuring alternative layouts, music, and graphics.
Yuji Naka is a Japanese video game programmer, designer, and producer who was the former head of Sonic Team, where he was the lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog series of games on the Sega Genesis. With Sonic Team, Naka also led development on games including Nights into Dreams (1996), Burning Rangers (1998), Sonic Adventure (1998), and Phantasy Star Online (2000). In 2006, he left Sega to found Prope, an independent game company. In January 2018, he joined Square Enix, where he is directing Balan Wonderworld.
Sonic Jam is a video game compilation developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Saturn. It was released in Japan in June 1997, and in North America and Europe two months later. It contains the four main Sonic the Hedgehog games released on the Sega Genesis: Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992), Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994), and Sonic & Knuckles (1994). It also features a 3D environment, "Sonic World", which doubles as an interactive museum of Sonic the Hedgehog content.
Sonic X-treme was a platform game developed by Sega Technical Institute from 1994 until its cancellation in 1997. It was intended to be the first fully 3D Sonic the Hedgehog game and the first original Sonic game for the Sega Saturn. It built on past Sonic games while introducing elements to take Sonic into the 3D era of video games. The storyline followed Sonic on his journey to stop Dr. Robotnik from stealing six magic rings from Tiara Boobowski and her father.
Burning Rangers is a 1998 action game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Saturn. Burning Rangers is set in a futuristic society in which fire is the remaining danger. Players control one of an elite group of firefighters, the Burning Rangers, who extinguish fires and rescue civilians in burning buildings. Most of the tasks the players complete are centred around collecting energy crystals to transport civilians to safety. In lieu of an in-game map, Burning Rangers features a voice navigation system which directs players through corridors.
NiGHTS is a video game character from the games Nights into Dreams and Nights: Journey of Dreams, developed and published by Sega. Nights is a "Nightmaren" who resides in Nightopia, a dream world where the dreams of all human beings are acted out every night.
Blinx: The Time Sweeper is a platform game developed by Artoon and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released for the Xbox on October 7, 2002. A sequel, Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space, was released for the Xbox in 2004.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game series and media franchise created and owned by Sega. The franchise follows Sonic, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who battles the evil Doctor Eggman, a mad scientist. The main Sonic the Hedgehog games are platformers mostly developed by Sonic Team; other games, developed by various studios, include spin-offs in the racing, fighting, party and sports genres. The franchise also incorporates printed media, animations, a 2020 feature film, and merchandise.
Takashi Iizuka is a Japanese video game director, producer, designer and screenwriter. Since 2009, Iizuka has been the vice president of product development for the Sonic the Hedgehog series at Sega of America, as well as the head of Sonic Team.
Yasushi Yamaguchi, also known as Judy Totoya is a game designer and artist. He designed the character Miles "Tails" Prower in an internal contest hosted by Sonic Team. He originally named the character "Miles Prower", however SEGA wanted to call the character "Tails". Yasushi Yamaguchi sneaked in his name though, and "Tails" became his nickname.
Kazuyuki Hoshino is a video game artist who works for Sonic Team. His first role involved working with Sega on Sonic the Hedgehog CD as a character/sprite, special-stage, and visual designer. He is notable for creating Metal Sonic and Amy Rose. He was Sega Studio USA's art director and lead character designer until part of the studio was absorbed back into the Japanese parent company. At the American branch, he worked alongside Takashi Iizuka, as they both determined the best direction and style for their games.
Arzest Corporation is a Japanese video game development company that develops games for video game consoles. It was formed on June 25, 2010 by key members of Artoon, which was also founded by Executive Vice President Naoto Ohshima, best known as the character designer of Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as his nemesis Dr. Eggman. Arzest was also founded by key Artoon and Sega members who worked on the Panzer Dragoon series.
Balan Wonderworld is an upcoming platform game developed by Balan Company and published by Square Enix. It is scheduled for release in early 2021 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. The game is being directed by Yuji Naka with art direction by Naoto Ohshima, co-creators of Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights into Dreams. It is the first game by the studio, formed as a subsidiary of Square Enix under Naka.
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