Sonic designer Naoto Ohshima was recently featured in the latest edition of Untold History of Japanese Game Developers and he revealed that the iconic Sonic was originally a human boy. This was obviously before the team decided the character would be better suited as a spiky blue hedgehog.
“I created the first design proposal for Sonic after three years in the design department. Although it wasn’t Sonic then – the main character was a human boy. I remember the idea struck me right as I was going to bed, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t remember it in the morning. So I drew it quickly in the notebook and then fell asleep.”
“My pitch was that the maps of action games were, at that time, always full of squares, everything at right angles. What if we could make a game where a character was running over smooth terrain, running in circles through loops and such? So I presented my proposal to Sega, and they told me that it probably could not be done. But that if anyone could program it, it would be Yuji Naka. They said that if I could get him on board, we could proceed with the project.”