The rivalry between Sega and Nintendo back in the day was the stuff of legends; there arguably has never been a more heated competition between two game companies since. After Nintendo's near monopoly on video games in the NES days, Sega's Genesis console represented a tectonic shift and proved that there was room for other companies in the business. It must've been all the more shocking, then, when it was announced years later that the two mascots for the companies would be sharing a game.
Game Informer recently interviewed a few key developers on the Sonic franchise to get their thoughts on what it was like during the period of time when Sega exited the hardware business. The initial idea to have Mario and Sonic in the same game was from Yuji Naka – Sonic's creator – but the idea was never realized before he left Sega. The two companies continued to mull it over, but couldn't agree on a type of game that could properly feature the two. A platformer – which would be the first natural idea – wouldn't work due to speed issues. As Miyamoto put it,
I always thought it would be great to have Sonic and Mario in the same game, but if you put them in an action game, the feeling of speed is very different, so it wouldn't have worked.
Eventually, Takashi Iizuka – the current head of Sonic Team – came up with the idea for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. Here's what he recalls,
I started this conversation with Nintendo, and then later when Sega picked up the license for the Olympic Games video games, we had that foundation with Nintendo to say 'We want to bring Sonic and Mario together and have them appear in the same world and have them compete against each other, and we're going to use the premise of it being the Olympic Games and these characters are participating in the Olympic Games together to make that happen. It was the first great conversation about getting these characters together to compete and have fun together.
For the full interview, check it out here; there's plenty of interesting history on Sonic's gradual shift to Nintendo consoles.
What do you think? Do you enjoy the Mario & Sonic games? Would you like to see the two in a platformer someday? Drop us a comment in the section below.