Sonic Team

Moby ID: 1992

  • SONICTEAM, Ltd. (from 2000-04 to 2004-07)
  • Sonic Team (from 1991 to 2000-04)
  • Sega AM8 R&D Division (from 1990 to 1991)

Overview edit · view history

Sonic Team is arguably one of Sega's most well-known and prolific development teams. The core team of Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima, and Hirokazu Yasuhara originally gathered at Sega's consumer division in 1990 when the company was trying to create a character to rival Nintendo's Mario. They chose the simple name Sonic Team, which has stuck ever since.

Though technically still operating under Sega's consumer division, after the completion of Sonic the Hedgehog, the entire team moved from Tokyo to San Francisco, sharing office space with Sega Technical Institute, who contributed to the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

In 1995, Sonic Team was officially established as a division within Sega, known internally as Sega CS3 R&D Division. The studio was headed up by Yuji Naka, with Naoto Ohshima and Takashi Iizuka directly below. The studio was renamed to Sega R&D 8 in 1998 after the AM/CS distinction was abandoned, and in 2000, R&D8 was spun off as an independent studio, at last being officially known as Sonic Team.

In 1999, following the US release of Sonic Adventure, Sonic Team USA was established in San Francisco as Sonic Team's US satellite studio. Another Sega studio, United Game Artists, was merged into Sonic Team in October 2003, and Sonic Team itself was merged back into Sega in July 2004, though it has continued to operate, responsible for the Sonic the Hedgehog and Puyo Puyo franchises. After Yuji Naka left Sonic Team, Akinori Nishiyama, headed the team in Japan. After Sega Studio USA was integrated back into Japan Takashi Iizuka headed the team. At Sega it currently operates as the second consumer R&D division.

Few of the original Sonic Team staff remain with Sega today. Programmer and director Yuji Naka left in 2006 to establish the independent studio PROPE. Game designer Hirokazu Yasuhara left Sega in 2002 to join Naughty Dog. Character designer and artist Naoto Ohshima left in 1999 with Yōji Ishii to establish the independent studio Artoon.

Credited on 109 Games from 1990 to 2023

Displaying most recent · View all

Sonic Superstars (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Sonic Frontiers (2022 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Sonic Origins (2022 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Sonic Colors: Ultimate (2021 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Puyo Puyo Champions (2018 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch...)
Sonic Mania Plus (2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch...)
Sonic Forces (2017 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Sonic Forces (Digital Bonus Edition) (2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch...)
Sonic Mania (2017 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Puyo Puyo Chronicle (2016 on Nintendo 3DS)
Sonic Runners (2015 on iPhone, Android, iPad)
Puyo Puyo Tetris (2014 on Windows, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS...)
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games: Sochi 2014 (2013 on Wii U)
Sonic Lost World (2013 on Nintendo 3DS)
Sonic Lost World (2013 on Windows, Wii U)
Sonic Lost World (Deadly Six Edition) (2013 on Windows, Wii U)
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (2012 on Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3...)
Sonic: Generations (2011 on Nintendo 3DS)
Sonic: Generations (2011 on Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3...)
Puyo Puyo: 20th Anniversary (2011 on Nintendo DS, PSP, Wii...)

[ view all ]

History +

July 2004

SONICTEAM, Ltd. is merged back into Sega and the Sonic Team name is retained.

October 1, 2003

Due to SEGA's financial woes, United Game Artists is integrated into SONICTEAM, Ltd.

April 2000

After the reorganization, Sonic Team becomes SONICTEAM, Ltd., annex of Sega Corporation.


After completing Sonic Adventure, 12 members of the development team move from Tokyo to San Francisco to establish Sonic Team USA.


The development team receives its new name after creating Sonic the Hedgehog.

Trivia +

Producer guru Naka Yuji, the reknown programming genius behind Sonic, had a really cool tatami floored office on the top floor of the Sega Corp. building where he oversaw his dedicated team of developers. He was known to reward competency in his staff and free-lance support. In spite of his gruff, rockstar exterior, he was surprisingly approachable during game show parties and often spoke of the challenge of personal creative growth.

Related Web Sites +


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