Takashi Iizuka (game designer)

Takashi Iizuka (飯塚 隆, Iizuka Takashi) (born March 16, 1970) is a Japanese video game director, producer, designer and screenwriter. Since 2009, Iizuka has been the vice president of product development for the Sonic the Hedgehog series at Sega of America, as well as the head of Sonic Team.[1]

Takashi Iizuka
飯塚 隆
Takashi Iizuka

(1970-03-16) March 16, 1970 (age 50)
Other namesIiz
  • Video game designer
  • producer
  • director
  • writer
Years active1992–present
EmployerSonic Team

Early careerEdit

His first collaboration with Sega involved working with Sega Technical Institute on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 as a designer. Later, he helped supervise Traveller's Tales with the development of Sonic R. He was also the lead designer for Nights into Dreams, and director for Sonic Adventure.[2]

Sega Studio USAEdit

In 1999, he and a small part of Sonic Team moved to San Francisco to establish Sonic Team USA (later renamed Sega Studio USA), in order to gain feedback from the western market. Over in the U.S. his team worked on the international release of Sonic Adventure. Afterward, his team started to develop their own games, where he was the director and lead designer for Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, and Nights: Journey of Dreams. In an effort to further broaden Sonic's appeal to western markets, Iizuka gave western developer, Backbone Entertainment, a shot at developing Sonic titles (Sonic Rivals & Sonic Rivals 2) under his team's supervision for the PlayStation Portable console.

In 2008, Sega's American division, Sega Studio USA, was absorbed back into Sonic Team Japan, making Iizuka the producer for the Sonic series at Sonic Team and the head of the company as well. In 2016, Iizuka relocated to Los Angeles to become the VP of Product Development at Sega of America, while retaining his title as the head of Sonic Team.[3]


Game journalist from Wired described Takashi Iizuka as a difficult man to read, as he tends to slip into corporate speak especially when discussing mixed reception of Sonic games.[4] His long time colleague and composer, Tomoko Sasaki, however described him as someone who "offered a different and fresh, almost unpredictable, way of thinking" and got along well with him from the very start.[5]

Production historyEdit


  1. ^ "Takashi Iizuka interview by SPOnG (September 14, 2010) - Sonic Retro". info.sonicretro.org. Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  2. ^ Chamberlain, Chad (20 November 2007). "Gamespeak: "NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams"". CBS. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Sonic Team head returns to US to establish development 'hub' for franchise". MCV/DEVELOP. 2016-04-01. Retrieved 2020-08-08.
  4. ^ "Sonic Team's Takashi Iizuka on how Sega is changing its game - Rob Boffard". Archived from the original on January 4, 2012.
  5. ^ Napolitano, Jayson (January 12, 2010). "A Blast From The Past: Tomoko Sasaki and Naofumi Hataya NiGHTS Interview". originalsoundversion.com.