Sonic the Hedgehog has a new boss, and a new direction
Today Sega of America announced that the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has a new chief brand officer: Ivo Gerscovich, who has a background in Hollywood-tinged game projects.
Interestingly, longtime Sonic the Hedgehog developer Takashi Iizuka is heading back to the U.S. to oversee development of new games in the franchise, after being sidelined during the most recent reboot of the IP, Sonic Boom.
Iizuka's return is notable has he headed up development of mainline Sonic games, starting as director of 1998's Sonic Adventure, on the Dreamcast. He moved to San Francisco to oversee development of Sonic Adventure 2, heading Sega Studio USA, which produced a number of Sonic titles. His experience with the franchise dates back to the Sega Genesis. He serves as vice president of product development and will move from Tokyo to "establish Los Angeles as the centralized hub for the global brand," according to the press release.
Gamasutra last spoke to Iizuka in 2011, when he was producing the franchise's 20th anniversary title, Sonic Generations:
"I think if we can get to the point where we're 30, 40 years from the series' start, and there are three generations of Sonic fans -- that's when I think he'll have really established himself as a character. I want to use the past 20 years of experience to keep us going well into the future," he said at the time.
It seems he'll have his chance to aim for that goal, as Sega is promising games, TV series, and even a feature-length film to come.