Plenty of developers have spoken about seeing the Nintendo Switch - and its integrated Joy-Con controllers - and being inspired with gaming ideas. That seems to have happened to Sonic Team designer and producer Shun Nakamura, which could be good news for Dreamcast fans.
The cult hit on SEGA's last console - which had a Wii re-release - was Samba de Amigo, a music rhythm game famous for its add-on maraca controllers that you would shake to the beat. On Wii it naturally made use of the Wii Remote, though ideally it would have been played with two of the controllers (rather than with a wired Nunchuk). Asked by Eurogamer whether the series could make a comeback with the Switch, Nakamura-san made clear that he'd love to do it; naturally getting the money-men to approve such a project will need more than enthusiasm, but it's a good start.
I really, really want to make it! This is coming from someone who had to make physical items you had to buy and plug into your console in order to play Samba de Amigo at home. When the Wii came out, there was only one Wii Remote, and you had to buy another one. You could still do it, but it's a bit of a hurdle to get over. The first time I saw the Switch, I thought oh my god - this is it! You don't have to buy another peripheral, you don't need to buy another controller. I'm really, really interested in that.
Elsewhere in the interview Nakamura-san is positive but a little non-committal on how the success and critical acclaim of Sonic Mania could influence future Sonic Team projects. Acknowledging that it's 30fps on Switch and 60fps on PS4 / Xbox One, he spoke about Sonic Forces as a project in the works for a number of years, and that development on the Nintendo system's version was initially tricky due to the hardware being rather surprising.
When we were doing concepts for the game, we really wanted to make it multiplatform. Regardless of what hardware you have, how you're playing the game - the base idea is for that experience to be the same on the machine. And this was back before anyone knew what the Nintendo Switch would be. Even when we were drawing the lines of having Xbox One, PS4, we were going to have Nintendo's new hardware - even though we didn't know anything about it, we got the budget and schedule sorted before we even knew what existed. It was a bit of a panic when we first got the Switch - it was a little bit different to what we were expecting, so it was a case of seeing how we could make that work. There were some challenges - but because we have our own engine, we were able to customise it very quickly in a way that could work for the Switch, and in a way that it could really be the same experience on the Switch without it having to feel or look different.
We'll see how Sonic Forces turns out very soon. In the meantime we can fantasize about Samba de Amigo on Switch - come on SEGA, make it happen!